The Cohoke Light

 Reference 1:

From Obiwans web pages (  and (

This mysterious light appears in West Point, Virginia at a place called the Cohoke Crossroads. It is described as a yellow light that moves along the railroad tracks at the crossroads. The light has been known to break up in front of an observer and reform behind him. The light is now on private property, and perhaps that's why newer accounts of this light are hard to find. There are two stories about the light. One claims that the light is from the lantern of a headless railway worker who was killed along the tracks. The other legend centers around a phantom train which apparently disappeared during the Civil War while carrying wounded soldiers.


  Reference 2:

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 08:48:10 -0800 (PST)


yourname bob turner


This is really not a story as much as it is a comment on the Joe Baldwin/Maco, NC story. An almost identical story is told about a site at Cohoke, near the town of West Point, VA (the ghostly character at Cohoke was a supposedly decapitated brakeman). I have been to the Cohoke site, have seen the ghostly light, and have pictures of it (taken by a friend when I wasn't present). Descriptions I have heard of the Cohoke phenomenon are virtually identical to the Maco stories although Cohoke isn't quite as lively as old Joe. I saw it only for one brief moment as a faint, distant glimmer. My visits to Cohoke were 30 years ago. Subsequently, I visited Maco about 25 years ago and, although I didn't see old Joe, I did talk to a former local person who had seen the phenomenon and was very impressed with it. Then, a few years later, I became acquainted with persons in the Nashville, Tennessee area who knew about an identical phenomenon at a nearby site called Chapel Hill. Subsequently, I have learned through research that there are perhaps a score or more sites around the US where the similar apparition occurs, generally with the same explanation of a decapitated railway worker or passenger searching for his head. In no case has documentation of the veracity of the tale been forthcoming. In a number of cases, I think Maco included, the railroad is a thing of the past and the tracks have even been removed, but the light still appears at the site. I have one photo of the Cohoke light off in the woods beside the track. There is a web site for Cohoke although I haven't checked to see if it's still active. I don't have the URL but the title is "The Light at Cohoke" if you want to search for it.


 Reference 3:

From: Tidewater VA Road Rides:

The Cohoke Light.According to thrill seekers, this mystery is witnessed after dark near Lanesville church. Have you seen the light?


  Reference 4:

from: In the Pit...

Case One: West Point/Cohoke Railroad, King William County, VA

Legend: On many nights if you stand on the railroad tracks near the tiny crossroads town of Cohoke in King William County, northwest of West Point, you will see a phantom light come down the track, like a train light, but silent. Sometimes this light is said to be preceded by the apparation of a Confederate soldier from the chest up, waving a lantern as if summoning the train. (Sorce: The Ghosts of Virginia, L.B. Taylor, page 19)

Disclaimer: Section 917 of the King William County Code relates it is unlawful to loiter within 200 yards in all directions of the Southern Railway right-of-way, punishible as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Investigation: 10/18/01, 1:00 AM. Parked off of Mt Olive Cohoke Road at the East crossing. Walked about 100 yards down the track to the west and waited for about 45 minutes, with no results. Rudy snapped a few pictures and we headed to the West crossing, also on Mt Olive Cohoke Road. Walked about 75 yards down the tracks also down the west and waited for aprox. 30 minutes, again with no results. Conclusion: Inconclusive. Upon closer reading of the story in L.B. Taylor's Ghosts of Virginia, it seems as if the light appears most often on cloudy or dimal night. The early morning of October 18th was clear. With as many witnesses as listed in the book, this will be a place to check out again, on a darker night.


 Reference 5:

A student project...