According to folklore legend, this light comes from the lantern of a railroad worker who was killed when he fell into the path of an oncoming train. As legend has it, the man’s head was decapitated and was never found. The light that people see is said to be coming from his lantern as he looks for his lost head.
Some believe that the cause of this light is by piezoelectricity from the constant stress that the area’s underground quartz crystals are under.
Gurdon, Arkansas sits above large amounts of quartz crystals and the new Madrid fault line.
The Gurdon lights are located near railroad tracks in a wooded area. It is the subject of popular folklore in the area and makes for a popular Halloween attraction in the area. These lights have been featured in local media and on Unsolved Mysteries and Mysteries at the Museum.
In another variation of the folklore tale, the light is carried by railway foreman Will McClain. He was killed in the vacinity of the railroad tracks during a confrontation with one of his workers, Louis McBride in 1931. It was said that McClain believed McBride was the one who removed spikes from a section of track causing a freight train to derail, in the attempt to derail the Sunshine Special passenger train. McBride confessed to the murder and was electrocuted to death.
Although it is unknown exactly where the light comes from or who is carrying the light it makes for an interesting tale.