Legend has it one can drive down “Ghost Road” in Brooklet on any given night and you will see a mysterious orange light and ghostly apparitions.
In fact, Bulloch County videographer Jason Martin said he has captured footage of the phenomenon, and invites the public to a free outdoor screening of his film “The Legend of Ghost Road" at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 in downtown Statesboro.
The story is well known throughout the area, with numerous accounts and listings online touting “Ghost Road,” also known as Bulloch County Road 404 or Railroad Bed Road in Brooklet, as being one of the “most haunted places in Georgia."
In a past Statesboro Herald column, Bulloch County historian Roger Allen wrote: “To get to this sometimes-scary site, one must go east (from Brooklet) 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...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,” Allen wrote. “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.”
In Martin’s research, he found different accounts. In some versions, the man was a conductor, while some tales claim it was just a man who fell on the track and was run over. The orange light seen along the road appears at different distances, often appearing to stay the same distance away even when one is driving towards it, and often appearing to move closer before disappearing, he said.
Other legends claim “ghost dogs” can be seen digging in their master’s graves in a cemetery nearby; that a slave can be seen digging what is believed to be his own grave; and that horse-drawn carriages and other apparitions have been reported. Martin said these urban legends will be explored in his film.
Martin said he first became aware of the “Ghost Road legend” in 2003 when his brother invited him to take a cruise down the allegedly haunted stretch of road. On any given night, especially around Halloween, carloads of teens, university students and others might be seen cruising the dusty, sandy road in search of ghostly thrills.
There are few homes along the road, and long stretches of “nothing but trees and thick woods” where there is nowhere to turn around, he said.
On Martin’s first of several unexplained sightings, he saw the legendary lights, and on subsequent outings took photos and videos. Later, as his videography career expanded, he renewed an interest in the legend and started doing more research, he said.
The film includes his own videography as well as accounts and footage from others who have explored the road and captured images of what he believes are supernatural occurrences. It is unknown as to when the alleged train accident was to have happened, but Martin has heard accounts that extend to past the early 1980’s. The tales so intrigue him, he decided to produce a documentary, he said.
The free public viewing will be held in a parking lot across from Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Eagle Creek Brewery in downtown Statesboro. There will be a few seats available but “it might be best if you bring your own chairs.” Wavy Shavy Ice Truck will offer shaved ice, and there will be “Ghost Road” tee shirts available for $25 on site, he said.
Also, the film will be viewable at ghostroadmovie.com after the Sept. 23 screening. Tee shirts will also be available online at thelegendofghostroadhttp://www.thelegendofghostroad.com.com. For more information, contact Martin at (912) 601-4883.
Holli Deal Saxon is a Herald writer. She may be reached at (912) 243-7815.