|Definition||An unexplained recurring light found in modern Gurdon, Arkansas, folklore.|
The Gurdon Light is an unexplained light located near railroad tracks in a wooded area of Gurdon, Arkansas. It is the subject of local folklore and has been featured in local media and on Unsolved Mysteries. The location is still in use by the railroad and is one of the most popular Halloween attractions in the area. The light has been ascribed various colors, ranging from blue, green or white, to orange, and has been described as bobbing around. Its exact location is said to vary and witnesses have described it appearing at various times of day or night.
According to Wes Boulden, the light originates from a lantern of a railroad worker who was killed when he fell into the path of a train. The legend states that the man's head was separated from his body and was never found, and that the light that people see comes from his lantern as he searches for it. In another variation, the light is a lantern carried by railway foreman William McClain, who was killed in the vicinity during a confrontation with one of his workers in 1931. The lights are believed by some to be from passing cars on the highway in the distance (which looks like small floating lights that flash off in the distance). However, this highway opened in 1974. The light has been reported seen and spoken of since the Great Depression.
- Brown, Alan (2002) "Haunted Places in the American South", University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 1-57806-477-5
- McNeil W. K, Clements William M. (1992) "An Arkansas Folklore Sourcebook" University of Arkansas Press, ISBN 1-55728-254-4
- Unsolved Mysteries: Gurdon Light, NBC (December 1994)
- Tailor, Troy (1998) "Haunted Arkansas: The Gurdon Light"
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: City of Gurdon