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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
A ghostly tale from Brooklet
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    With Halloween coming up, here's some ghostly history in Bulloch County
    Every town in almost every county across the United States has its share of “Ghostly Tales” and Bulloch  is no exception. The sleepy little burg of Brooklet is to many “spook central” in Bulloch. Along Highway 80 just east of town there is an area where spectral visions are said to reign supreme. Generations of Bulloch Countians have grown up listening to the tales of supernatural goings on that would seem to deny any logical attempts to explain them.
    To get to this sometimes scary site, one must go east on Highway 80 between two and three miles to the junction of the highway with Railroad Bed Road. Turn left onto this roughly prepared dirt road and continue some two miles until you reach the intersection with Robertson Road. You must then turn right onto Robertson Road.
    It is said that once you begin heading down Robertson Road you may begin to feel the hairs rising on the back of your neck. Your eyes may even begin to fool you. This site was for many years the location of the main line of the Savannah and Statesboro Railroad. This seven mile long dirt strip of rural Georgia is comprised of farmlands and pastures, filled during the day with agricultural undertakings.
    During some late evening and early morning hours, however, it has become the favorite site (or should we say sight?) of Georgia Southern students who have come to check out the many tales heard in the dormitories about the ghostly goings-on. According to many local residents, these sightings all began with the accident that took place on the Savannah and Southern Railroad when a train stopped here because of equipment problems.
    Once stopped, the train’s switchman began walking towards the engine and at some point fell in between the engines. Not knowing what had happened, the train’s crew began pulling forward and the wheels cut off his head. As the story goes, the train continued on, and it wasn’t until it arrived that it was discovered the switchman was missing. Once a search began, his body was found, but not his head.
    This situation is quite common in historical records of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Revenants, (the correct term for headless figures seeking their heads) figure quite prominently in local legends, particularly in the South. The most famous of these is the Maco, North Carolina switchman, whose dim figure is often seeking carrying a lantern down the site of the old railroad tracks still looking for his head after all this time.
    So, the modern spook seekers stop in the middle of Robertson Road. Getting out of their cars, they begin looking up and down the darkened dirt strip. According to legends, almost always a series of floating lights will soon appear (usually yellow or orange in color), accompanied by an almost transparent figure which floats about the almost fluorescent lights. These lights are sometimes bright enough to be reported by country folk as far away as the hamlet of Grimshaw.
    A local church has in the past held a festival that includes a hayride for the young-uns on Railroad Road. Before they leave for their spooky journey, they attend a campfire at which time the adults tell the children about the floating lights and the headless switchman. Older members of the church are usually stationed alongside the roadway to make sure that this ride is one the children won’t soon forget, just in case the poor trainman doesn’t make an appearance himself.
    It is said that the best times to witness the full force of spectral sightings is during the warmer part of the fall months, in the very early morning. This is especially true when there is an early morning fog which follows a late night rain. There is more yet to the story. Some say they have witnessed a black man underneath the lights taking shovelfuls of dirt and tossing it across the road. The most logical reason for this apparition, locals say, is that this area once was a cotton plantation and he must be digging his own grave. Even more unsettling to some is the fact that quite often he is seen standing next to the remains of what used to be a small private graveyard.
    The tales get even stranger: some say they have seen ghost dogs, and there are at least several reports of ghostly horses pulling what appear to be chariots. One story mentions an entire ghostly zoo full of all kinds of creatures with even cages discernable in the lights seen on that foggy morn. No matter what you might believe, it can be said that the evidence is overwhelming that something is definitely out there on this old abandoned railroad track outside of Brooklet. Maybe.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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