August 28th, 2010 17:51 EST
Can We Link Christopher Kaiser`s Death to the Bostian Bridge Train Wreck of 1891?
A first sighting of `a ghost train wreck` is witnessed by a small party of curiosity seekers on August 27, 1892, exactly one year after the horrible train wreck of Bostian Bridge. At this time the ghost of baggage master, Hugh K. Linster was spotted.
The second major train-wreck-channeling occurs on August 27, 1941, when a woman stranded with a flat tire experiences the entire catastrophe right before her very eyes. When she attempts to show her rescuers the carnage in a ravine it has vanished into thin air.
Yesterday was the 119th anniversary of the Bostian Bridge tragedy, and 10 to 12 ghost hunters, hoping to have a paranormal experience of their own, were walking around the bridge shortly before 3 A. M, early on Friday. Suddenly, a real Norfolk-Southern train appears out of nowhere, coming around a corner, apparently, at a rate of speed of 35 miles per hour.
This caught the ghost hunters by surprise; the frightened party has to race nearly 150 feet to safety and most make it, but two did not. Christopher Kaiser, 29, of Charlotte is struck and killed by a train. Before he was hit, Kaiser is able to push an unidentified woman to safety.
Kaiser is heroic in his final moment, but the woman nonetheless falls off the trestle about 30 to 40 feet and is seriously injured herself. It looks like this is the only way out, the only way to get off the railroad track, and necessitates a falling off of the side into a heavily forested ravine, which I must admit, I`ve only seen in pictures.
Some speculation is necessary to get a clear picture in your mind of just how this new accident occurred. Perhaps the party imagined, since they had probably done a good amount of research on the original 1891 passenger train accident that a paranormal repetition of the train derailing was in progress.
Hold that thought for a moment; so one wonders whether they imagined the real train was possibly a "ghost train tape loop` playing in real time right in queue on its inevitable anniversary.
In my way of thinking, a poltergeist experience must resemble watching old film footage on a Kinescope machine, such as they used on the Boardwalk of Coney Island in the early Twentieth Century. That is why I term it a `ghost train tape loop,` since it would appear as ethereal, transparent, flickering, a black and white nether image.
But it wasn`t real. The ghost train, that is. Yet the Norfolk-Southern train was real, with three engines and one car. Is it coincidence that this accident happens right on the anniversary, August 27th, and at the identical time of 3 A.M. of the first train crash? (An alternate version of the story puts the time of the derailing at 3 P.M.)
Yet we know that ghost hunting is popular, so the idea that 10 or 12 thrill seekers wanted an out-of-body-trip is not that unusual. We know that two major incidents of ghost train sightings have been chronicled since 1891. This number is not that large, but it`s enough to warrant significant sÃ©ances on particularly special days, that mark events that tend to freeze History in its virtual tracks.
For Romantics a ghost spotting is most real. This is the camp where I reside. For men of science this is just a bunch of hocus-pocus. Iredell County Sheriff`s Office Capt. Darren Campbell, 38, who has reported to CNN on this unfortunate accident, hasn`t heard of any ghost train sightings in recent memory. Also, an elderly grandson of Mrs. Bostian, the original owner of the property in 1891, had no stories of "ghost train` mirages.
Again mere speculation. But perchance these ghost hunters were in search of the spirit of Hugh K. Linster. H.K. is the principal poltergeist of the Bostian Bridge fiasco. Linster was a baggage master who had worked for the railroad for 30 years and anticipated with great hope his imminent retirement on that fatal day (8/27/1891).
Linster was setting his gold watch for 3 O` Clock (maybe AM, maybe PM) right when the train jumped off the tracks and plunged downward to the depths of Third Creek. Mysteriously, H.F. was locked in a time warp right at this moment, the last instance of his life. This is my way of explaining why his spirit comes in and out of focus, lingering eternally around Bostian Bridge.
Hugh asks for the time and sets his gold watch to 3 O` Clock for the remainder of time. My theory is that the spirit is lodged or frozen in a time/action warp that is impossible to alter or undo. Only a miracle of sorts can unfreeze H.F. from this petrified time warp.
Just recall whenever your record player starts skipping on the Beatles` line, Let me take you down and it keeps repeating that line ad infinitum. You`re in the shower (eternally), so you can`t remove the needle from the turntable. The spin is permanent. Such a nightmare is H.F.`s predicament.
Okay, H.C. is stuck and I`m a believer. But the train accident was a result of faulty judgment. The ghost hunters were on a fairly long bridge that measured 300 feet. The only way to get off was to jump. And if they couldn`t run fast enough from a train going 35 mph, they would be hit. It`s a miracle that most of them escaped, but tragic that Christopher Kaiser didn`t quite make it off.
The odd thing here, and I`m not trying to be disrespectful, is that Kaiser`s own death becomes part of the Bostian Bridge legend. It now functions as a suspicious and bleak epilogue to the story of the baggage master, Hugh K. Linster. Unfortunately, some stretching of the tale of Kaiser`s obvious heroics and demise will be seamed in with the first account from 1891.
Thus, fresh details will be sewed into the fabric of writings from popular paranormal blogs and web pages devoted to a vast array of ghostly tales a la Americana. A weaving of past and present will occur and the two affairs will merge as one in popular imagination. Distinctions between fact and legend will blur with time.
Is this right? Probably not, yet the living will never let the dead merely exist in eternal peace. The living feel a need to tamper with the departed, a flaky form of misguided mischief. In terms of cause and effect, intervention may be a trigger for this newest tragedy. The only way to truly see a ghost is to become one yourself. Chew on that.
The Train at Bostian`s Bridge