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THE HEADLESS SWITCHER

DURING THE CIVIL WAR A SWITCHER IN MANTEO, NORTH
CAROLINA WAS WAVING DOWN A TRAIN WITH A LANTERN, BUT
THE TRAIN FAILED TO STOP AND THE SWITCHER WAS CUT DOWN
AND DECAPITATED. HIS HEAD WAS NEVER FOUND.
TWENTY YEARS LATER, RESIDENTS OF THE AREA AND
PASSENGERS ON THE RAILROAD LINE BEGAN REPORTING
THEIR SEEING A LANTERN WAVING ALONG THE LINE AROUND
ABOUT MANTEO. CLOSER SURVEILLANCE, THEY SAID, SHOWED
THAT THE LANTERN WAS BEING WAVED BACK AND FORTH BY
THE HEADLESS SWITCHER.
THE LEGEND THAT GREW FROM THESE REPORTS HAD IT THAT
THE SWITCHER WAS SEARCHING FOR HIS HEAD.
A PRIEST WAS CALLED IN FROM WILMINGTON TO EXORCISE
THE SWITCHER'S GRAVE, BUT THE EFFORT WAS FRUITLESS,
BECAUSE THE SWITCHER WAS NOT AN EVIL SPIRIT.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD TALE WHILE A STUDENT AT BELMONT
ABBEY COLLEGE, NORTH CAROLINA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; NORTH CAROLINA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 10-23-1965

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