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  Family Ghost Hunt

by Dave Yanko

We heard the stories about The St. Louis Ghost Train (read first). Now it was time to see for ourselves.

We had high hopes. But we really didn't expect to see anything when we struck out for St. Louis around 10 p.m. on a Friday in December.

As we drove along the highway on the moonlit night, my wife set the mood by using a flashlight to read the kids a short story about the ghost train. We aimed to make the evening an event, regardless of the outcome. Plenty of goodies and hot chocolate would help us bide our time at the old railroad crossing.

The gravel road that leads to the former railway track is unmarked and difficult to find following spoken directions. Three courteous men at Emile Lussier's hotel led us to the spot, located approximately eight kilometres (five miles) north of town, at about 12:30 a.m. We parked on the side of the gravel road, facing west, and we looked south along the ditch beside the old track bed. For half an hour, we saw nothing but a group of teenagers milling about two vehicles parked in front of us.

As they left, we immediately pulled onto the path that runs parallel to the tracks. We travelled in a southward direction for perhaps 200 metres (215 yards) when my wife asked: "What's that?"

Sure enough, there was a dim light ahead of us in the distance.

I stopped the car, turned off the lights, and we watched as the light got brighter and moved slowly from left to right before us. I think we were more excited than frightened, although the kids would later refuse to get out of the car for a better view.

Over a period of about an hour, the light made a series of appearances about every 15 minutes. It came into view, grew brighter, moved slowly to our right, and then it faded out. Each sighting was 30 seconds to a minute in length, followed shortly thereafter by one or two similar episodes. We'd then wait about 15 minutes before the next series began.

The light did not seem as bright as a train light. But I've never seen the light of a steam locomotive. At no time did I notice a beam emanating from it, however, it did appear to be coming in our direction. Several times while the light was present, my wife and I thought we saw a flickering of light on the bank of the old track bed beside us. But that may well have been stimulated imaginations at work, or just clouds moving past the bright moon.

Through binoculars, it looked like a single light with a yellow hue. We agreed it did not resemble automobile lights. I can't offer a good estimate of how far away it was. Without knowing the source, that's difficult. But a really rough guess would put it no closer than 500 metres (540 yards).

What was it? We don't know.

But we had fun seeing for ourselves the phenomenon known as The St. Louis Ghost Train. We plan to return to the old track bed on a moonless night.

A couple of years after we posted our two ghost train stories, two northern Saskatchewan girls came up with a compelling theory on the source of the lights. Check out Mystery Solved?, but I recommend reading The St. Louis Ghost Train first -- ed.

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