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Jacob Hatcher

The Light of Chapel Hill 

By Jacob Hatcher  

Community Columnist  

The details are a little fuzzy, but legend has it that under just the right circumstances, you can stand near the train tracks in Chapel Hill, Tennessee and see a strange light swaying back and forth. Some say it’s the ghost of a railroad employee, and other folks say it’s the spirit of a local man that had been run over by the train. Having family from the area, we were familiar with this tale, and as teenagers, decided we needed to see what all the fuss was about. On a cool, full moon Friday night, some friends and I headed south from Nashville in hopes of finding ourselves in a horror movie.  

 Like a hunter waiting for a trophy buck, we sat in silent suspense.  

After what seemed like an hour, my friend whispered, “Light. I see the light.” And there it was; a hundred yards down the tracks a dim light went from one side of the tracks to the other, moving closer to us, then further away. All my life I had heard of this light, and now here it was right in front me.  

A hush fell over the place. The owl that had been hooting in the oak tree behind us had disappeared and a car hadn’t driven down the nearby highway since the light appeared. It was like they knew something we didn’t. The once clear sky had become covered with clouds, blocking the moon to where everything was pitch black. Except for that light in the distance.  

At this point we’d settled ourselves next to a field off the side of the road, leaning up against the fence post to support our shaking legs. Unbeknownst to us, while we were investigating the ghost on the railroad tracks, the farmer’s donkey was investigating us.  

And when that donkey started to bay like he was announcing the opening to a new episode of Hee Haw at full blast, me and my friends ran to the truck like we’d never run before, wishing a fresh pair of pants wasn’t an hour’s drive away. 

 

 

 

 

 

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