Alexis Becker, CFNN Paranormal Activity Correspondent
“I was going to get food with my friend and her dad, and we saw this random light at the end of the train tracks but there was no noise to go with it,” said Cape Fear student Shelby Horne. “It was a really weird experience.”
A small town ghost story that will haunt you throughout your Halloween night. The story of Archer Matthews, a Ticketmaster for a train in Vander, North Carolina.
Archer was working on a dark and stormy night some time in the late 1700s to early 1800s. He noticed that the next train was not coming for a while. He decided to go for a stroll alongside the railroad tracks. He grabs onto his lantern and begins to walk the tracks. He hears a noise coming toward him on the track. While investigating, he slips and falls into the center of the tracks, which knocks him unconscious.
The noise grows closer; it’s a train coming full speed towards the Vander pick-up area. The train conductor notices that there is no one at the station and keeps up his speed. He notices something on the tracks. He then realizes it’s Archer. Blaring his horn and slamming the breaks, he tries to stop. Archer is still unconscious, lying there. Unfortunately, the train is never able to stop. It slams into Archer, decapitating him and killing him instantly.
His ghost supposedly still haunts the railroad tracks searching for his head; it is said that he can still be spotted searching for his head with a single cigarette and his lantern.
According to the Fayetteville Observer, “Dozens of people over the years claim to have seen the lights, with reports going back to the 1930s. But recent sightings have declined, perhaps because the main lines aren’t used anymore and some say because the Cape Fear High School football stadium and its lights have dimmed the scariness of it.”
Either way, it’s a popular urban (or rural) legend that has entertained many generations on our side of the river, so if you ever find yourself in Vander on a dark, moonless night, take a look down the tracks. See if you can spot the Vander light… if you dare!