My Ghost Road Experience


Last week on my blog I paid tribute to the road that inspired me to write my Light Keeper series. I also made a promise to share with you my own personal paranormal experience with the road. So here it is.

Yes, it’s true! My family and I had our own experience with the Light on Bragg Road. While I was writing The Legend of the Light Keeper, my husband would take me out to ride the road for inspiration. We’d load our sons in the Jeep and head out to the old stretch, knowing we’d see the eerie glow of headlights in the distance. It was fun, cheap entertainment. As a skeptic the stories would intrigue me, but I never really thought it was more than the optical illusion I’d seen and heard about many times before. At least not until a bright, glowing orb appeared right ahead of us in the middle of the road.

The object seemed to glow on its own and was about the size of a softball, yet it was hard to determine if our headlights were reflecting off something from that far away or not. After watching the bright object, we guessed that it must be a beer or soda can reflecting off our headlights. We all watched it, expecting that at any minute of our slow pace, we’d be close enough to read the label. We called out which name brands we thought it would be and laughed it off, but then when it was just about fifteen feet away, it suddenly brightened and shot straight up into the air.

Bending down in my seat, I kept my eyes on it until it disappeared above the treetops. The orb never stopped glowing on its way up, it never changed size, and it only stopped shining once it passed the tree line where it seemed to burn out.

We were silent for a few seconds, each of us trying to process what had just happened. Did we really just see that? Did that really just happen? Yes, it had! Finally, we all talked at once about how awesome it was. We questioned if this was the same Light we’d always heard about and shared our theories, but I was determined to let logical thinking prevail.

Maybe it was a bird and what we saw were its eyes reflecting off our headlights? But then how did the reflections never change? I mean, at some point a bird wouldn’t have his eyes in my direction. The reflection would have disappeared as it flew up past the beams. If it were a bird that big, wouldn’t we have seen its body too? Surely some light would have reflected off the wings? Wouldn’t we have seen two eyes reflecting so close, and not just one? Why didn’t it stop at the trees instead of over them?

I have thought out every possible scenario for a logical explanation about what we saw that night, and honestly, I can’t tell you what it was. Was it the Ghost Light? Was it something else I haven’t considered that is perfectly normal? We will never know. Am I trying to convince anyone to believe me? Absolutely not.  Believe what you want. I’m not saying that there couldn’t be a “normal” explanation, but I haven’t found one on my own.

The fun is not knowing. What I have is a story like many others. I’ll share it with people, knowing it will gain me some silly stares and a few questions of my sanity, but that’s okay. It’s something that my family and I experienced together, and something we’ll never forget.  To me that’s all that really matters. We went out seeking fun and found it, along with a memory that will surely be passed down to my grandchildren someday. Every now and then, just for fun, we go back and hope to see it again.

So, if you are ever out in Southeast Texas and you’re looking for some spooky fun, head on out to Bragg Road and see if you can catch a glimpse of the Bragg Light. If you have your own story, feel free to share. If you have any guesses as to what we saw, I’d love to hear them!

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Finding Inspiration in Strange Places


I’ve always been one to find inspiration in the strangest places, so with my debut novel, The Legend of the Light Keeper, releasing next month, I decided to pay tribute to the road that inspired my series.

Yes, Ghost Road really exists. I didn’t just make it up for my book, though I did take a few creative liberties. It is fiction after all. So when I was building my world I had to fudge the actual layout of the town a bit to make it all work. The legends are all real to my area too, and though they all don’t take place directly on Bragg Road, it certainly gets readers thinking about the history of places and that was kind of my point.

Bragg Road in Southeast Texas is located 1.7 miles north of the intersection at FM 787-770 and spans eight miles to FM 1293.  For years the dark, spooky road has been a mystery steeped in legend and rich history from the days of oil booms and industrial growth in the area. The road was originally built as a branch off the Santa Fe railroad that was used to carry supplies and people from Saratoga to Beaumont daily.

When the industry supply gave out, the branch was abandoned and the tracks were pulled up, leaving an eight mile road that is straight as an arrow and flat as a board. This landscape causes an optical illusion when car lights shine in the distance from the 787-770 end.  Two lights so far away will appear to be one. This is best seen if you enter the road from the 1293 entrance. However, many will argue that isn’t the only light you’ll see.

Hundreds of claims have been made over the years from people seeing the Light flying over their heads, over their cars, and even chasing them down the old dirt road. I have heard stories of the Light burning atop car hoods and shooting up into the air. Such tales have encouraged visitors and now the road is a scenic drive complete with information stations that tell its history.

If you ask anyone that’s been in the area a while, most will have a story to share about it. What I find most fascinating is that out of everyone I’ve spoken to about the mystery, no one ever debates whether the Light exists, but rather what it is.

Scientists have done experiments over the years and their best guess is swamp gas. Many will debate the swamp gas theory based on their own experiences, though, and that’s how urban legends are born.

The most popular legend is that a brakeman for the railroad was decapitated while on the job and has since been roaming the road swinging a lantern to find his head. The “headless man with a lantern” story is popular across the United States to explain many other ghost lights, leaving many to wonder how can a headless man “look” for anything. So yeah, it’s a popular tale, but a little silly.

Other explanations have been thrown out over time, but I say, let it be. The fascination is in the mystery. What we have is a good excuse to take a drive on a Saturday night and seek that rush of adrenaline that only fear of the unknown can bring. So what if what most people see are headlights? I’ve seen them. It is obvious what they are to anyone who is familiar with the road and its layout, but I have to agree with the few who know that there is another light out there, one that cannot be easily explained. I believe that, because I’ve seen it for myself. Join me next week when I share my own personal story of seeing the Bragg Road Ghost Light!

Also, be the first to receive special announcements, featured content, and contest information by signing up for my newsletter at the top of the page. You’ll get a special sneak peek of my cover!