Want to ask a question? Click here

Do people still see the Maco Light?

Ben Steelman

The usual story is that the Maco Light vanished around 1977, with the Seaboard Coast Line pulled up the old Wilmington & Manchester railroad tracks in the vicinity of the intersection of U.S. 76/76 and N.C. 87 in Brunswick County.

The light (originally two lights) had been seen since at least the 1880s. Traditionally, it was supposed to be the ghost of railway brakeman Joe Baldwin, beheaded in a railroad accident, out looking for his head.

Even before 1977, some people claim the light had been fading. (John Harden, in “Tar Heel Ghosts,” claimed it was about the brightness of a 25-watt bulb — which is still pretty considerable in an area that’s otherwise nearly totally dark.)

In January 2009, however, Doug E. Anderson of the volunteer psychic research team Port City Paranormal, took a photograph of the old rail bed near Maco at night. Nothing was visible to the naked eye. With a Canon XTI, however, Anderson obtained images of a reddish orb that seemed to be swinging slowly back and forth — very close to traditional descriptions of the Maco Light. Anderson said the group was careful to photograph 150 yards from the highway, so traffic lights or reflections could not have caused the image.

To see the image, and Anderson’s account, click here.

More on the Maco Light: click here.

Note: We polled longtime Wilmington residents on Facebook and found some fond memories. Driving out to see the Maco Light was a regular pastime for area teenagers in the 1950s and ’60s, and may have served as a local substitute for the “submarine races.”


User-contributed question by:
Linda Kincaid

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!

Bookmark and Share

Ask a question

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.

Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Your question:

Post a comment

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.

Your comment: