Gardaland Ghost TrainOnce upon a time, ghost hunting was a rare vocation. The only “ghost hunters” I ever heard of — when I was a kid — were Ed & Lorraine Warren, who happened to live in my home state of Connecticut. Back then, if you mentioned “the ghost hunters,” you were assumed to be referring just to those two people, in particular, and to no one else. Now, with many media outlets hosting ghost-hunting television shows, everyone and his brother and sister and first and second cousins seems to be a ghost hunter.

Until now, I suppose it was harmless … aside from the time, energy, and money wasted on a futile enterprise … but it has finally claimed a life. WBTV-3 reports on a guy who died trying to see a “ghost train” in North Carolina (WebCite cached article):

A man who was with about a dozen people who were looking for a legendary “ghost train” in Iredell County was hit by a locomotive and killed early Friday morning. …

“It’s extremely steep, rugged terrain,” said Captain Darren Campbell of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office. “The train impacted with one of them before he was able to get off the tracks.”

The train was rounding a curve on Bostian’s Bridge over Third Creek which is located two miles west of Statesville.

Christopher Kaiser, 29, died at the scene and two more people were injured, according to Iredell County Sheriff Phillip Redmond. Kaiser’s body was found below the trestle down a steep incline, Redmond said. …

“During the investigation, witnesses told deputies they were at the site in hopes of seeing a ‘ghost train’,” the Iredell County sheriff’s office said in a press release.

As I read this, this question leaped to mind: Why would someone stay on the tracks when they heard a train coming, long enough that they could not get out of its way? Trains are not known to be silent or sneaky as they approach; quite the opposite, they tend to be thunderous and loud. So I couldn’t figure why these people wouldn’t avoid it. But then, almost as if in answer to this question, I read:

The group of people did not immediately run from the real train because they believed the train was — in fact — the ‘ghost train’ and posed no real threat, sheriff’s officials said.

Yep. It’s true. They stayed on the tracks, even after hearing the train coming, because they thought it was a harmless “ghost train.” Maybe it’s time people used their heads as something other than a hat-rack?

Photo credit: marcoPapale.

P.S. I wonder if the late Mr Kaiser will be given a Darwin Award?

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