Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Paulding Light

In all of Michigan, there is no other phenomena that captivates and baffles as much as the Paulding Light.

Not to be confused with the Northern Lights of Michigan, the Paulding Light is a phenomena that has yet to be fully explained. This is in spite of the fact that Ripley's Believe It Or Not supposedly offered a large monetary reward for anyone who could explain the cause of the mysterious light.

The most intriguing aspect of the light is that it is said to appear almost every night, beginning at dusk. And while the origin of the light has yet to be found, locals report that it appears to originate from Lake Superior and makes its way inland. Its appearances have lasted everywhere from a few brief minutes to over half an hour. The color of the light has been known to vary from white to red and its intensity also fluctuates.

As to what exactly the light is, there are many, many theories. Ghostly explanations usually involve a railroad worker. In one version, the ghost is that of a railroad switchman who failed to warn a train of the impending switch. As a result, it is said that the train wrecked and many passengers were killed. Grief-stricken, the switchman stumbled into the woods and was never seen again. However, his ghost returns every night, waving a lantern for all eternity.

In another version, a conductor at the rear of a stopped train signaled the train approaching from behind to stop. For whatever reason, the second train didn't stop and struck the stopped train, killing the conductor instantly. It is said that the conductor's ghost waves his lantern every night in a futile attempt to stop the train that sealed his fate. In alternate versions of this story, the conductor is decapitated in the accident. And of course, there are versions that are obviously "combos" of the aforementioned stories: headless switchmen, etc.

Still another version says that the lights are the spirit of a postal worker who was attacked and murdered by Indians at the edge of the nearby swamp. And in keeping with the Indian theme, a final legend says that the light is the ghost of an Indian chief dancing on top of the power lines. His actions are said to be an angry response to the lines destroying the land he loved.

In fact, so many people have made the trek into the woods in search of this light that a small sign has been erected on the side of the road to direct people. Proving that regardless of what the Paulding Light is, its lore is far-reaching.

© The Ghosts of Ohio