TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
 
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map


Texas | Columns | Texas Ghosts

THE GHOST ROAD
IN HARDIN COUNTY

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
The best time to visit the Ghost Road in Hardin County is late in the evening when nightfall descends over the Big Thicket and your imagination begins to push aside conventional thoughts like, “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

Skeptical, solid-thinking men and women have driven down the arrow-straight stretch of woodland road between Saratoga and Bragg--and emerged from the Thicket convinced they “saw something.”

The ghostly light of Ghost Road has been explained in various ways--as the distant lights of automobiles, swamp gas, and other natural phenomenon. And there’s the endearing legend of a railroad brakeman who was supposedly decapitated in a train wreck and wanders up and down the road, lantern in hand, looking for his missing head.

No matter what the explanation is, the ghost light apparently exists. It has appeared in newspapers and the prestigious National Geographic. Even a school textbook tells its story.
Bib Thicket Ghost light - Hardin County, Texas
Photo courtesy Ken & Yvonne Rudine, August 2007
Bragg Road Ghost Light >
The ghost road began as a rail line when the Sante Fe Railroad hacked a route from Bragg to Saratoga in 1902 and opened the Big Thicket with regular service, carrying people, cattle, oil and logs.

When the oil played out and the virgin pines were cut over, the tracks were removed and the tram line became just another county road.

Bear and deer hunters began coming back with strange stories about a floating light on the road. One old man swore that a light had rushed between his team, panicking the horses and dumping the driver and his wagon in a ditch.

Soon, everyone began hearing about the ghostly lights dancing through the woods, darting and floating in different colors--red, white, blue and green.
In his book, “Tales from the Big Thicket,” F.E. Abernethy described the enlarging stories: “Light-seers poured onto the road by the hundreds. People of all ages and intellects came to see and test their belief in the supernatural. They shot at it, they chased it, and they tested it with litmus paper and geiger counters. A preacher harangued the road’s multitudes from the top of his car, making the Light as an ill omen of the world’s impending doom. There were some nights the light didn't show at all, but for the most part it was there to inspire stories that could be passed on, to change and grow at the will and imagination of the story teller.”
By the 1960s, the light was supposedly chasing and floating over cars, stopping engines, burning hands and running over people.

Today, thanks to people like Hardin County Commissioner Ken Pelt and Big Thicket advocate Maxine Johnson, the ghost road is on its way to becoming an East Texas tourist attraction, not only because of the ghostly lights, but for its scenic appeal. The green tunnel of pines and oaks shades a botanical experience with rare plants such as bladderworts, floating hearts, orchids and sundews.
Bragg Road pipeline crossing and deet stand
"The green tunnel of pines and oaks"
Photo courtesy Ken & Yvonne Rudine, August 2007
Bragg Road FM 1293 Junction , Saratoge Texas
Junction of Bragg Road and FM 1293
Photo courtesy Ken & Yvonne Rudine, August 2007
Old Bragg Road sign - Saratoga ghost road, Texas
Old Bragg Road sign at the junction with FM 1293
Photo courtesy Ken & Yvonne Rudine, August 2007
Bragg Road Ghost Light >

Pelt built signs at each end of the road and made other improvements and Johnson is raising funds for historical markers, picnic areas, and interpretive displays, including one at Dearborn, a ghost town and sawmill site near the road.

But the road’s biggest attraction remains its ghostly light--an ethereal entertainer who may be real or simply the figment of a lot of imaginations.

By driving down the road on a quiet moonlit night, you can decide for yourself.


Book Hotel Here:
Ghost Road Area Hotels - Beaumont Hotels


More on the Ghost Road:

Ghost Light caught on game amera
Photo courtesy Jim Adams, Jr. , 2011
  • Ghost Road Light Caught on Game Camera by Jim Adams, Jr.

  • Saratoga Ghost Road/Bragg Road Ghost Light by Ken & Yvonne Rudine
    Two miles north of Saratoga off FM787 is the beginning of Bragg Road which travels north to FM1293. It is the Ghost Road where the Saratoga Mystery Light has appeared. Peering down this road is like looking in an infinite rifle barrel, that is green trees on top - pink dirt on bottom. This former railroad bed is now a dirt road, 8 miles long by 2 cars wide. Under daylight conditions it takes 30 minutes to safely drive to its junction with FM1293... more

  • The Ghost Road by Bob Bowman

  • The Big Thicket Light by Archie P. McDonald

  • Pollok and a Mystery Light on the Bodan by Ken Rudine

  • Saratoga, Texas

  • Beaumont Hotels - Ghost road area hotels

    Related Topics:
    Texas Ghosts | East Texas

  • More Ghosts & Haunted Places

    Related Topics:
    Texas Murders & Hangings

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.


    Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Go to Home Page »
    TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
    Texas Counties
    Texas Towns A-Z
    Texas Ghost Towns

    TEXAS REGIONS:
    Central Texas North
    Central Texas South
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Panhandle
    Texas Hill Country
    East Texas
    South Texas
    West Texas

    Courthouses
    Jails
    Churches
    Schoolhouses
    Bridges
    Theaters
    Depots
    Rooms with a Past
    Monuments
    Statues

    Gas Stations
    Post Offices
    Museums
    Water Towers
    Grain Elevators
    Lodges
    Stores
    Banks

    Vintage Photos
    Historic Trees
    Cemeteries
    Old Neon
    Ghost Signs
    Signs
    Murals
    Gargoyles
    Pitted Dates
    Cornerstones
    Then & Now

    Columns: History/Opinion
    Texas History
    Small Town Sagas
    Black History
    WWII
    Texas Centennial
    Ghosts
    People
    Animals
    Food
    Music
    Art

    Books
    Texas Railroads

    Texas Trips
    Texas Drives
    Texas State Parks
    Texas Rivers
    Texas Lakes
    Texas Forts
    Texas Trails
    Texas Maps
    USA
    MEXICO
    HOTELS

    Site Map
    About Us
    Privacy Statement
    Disclaimer
    Contributors
    Staff
    Contact Us

     
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved