Status: Former Railway; County Dirt Road; Ghost Lights
During the 19th century there was an oil boom in the area and a railway line was built through the Big Thicket area of Southeast Texas to move supplies through the area. The part of the Santa Fe Line between the ghost town Bragg and Saratoga is now known as Bragg Road or more commonly The Ghost Road.
Bragg was a farm town that grew up around Bragg Station on the railway. In the early 20th century, its population began to dwindle until no one lived there anymore. Saratoga faired better – although its population did drop drastically after the boom ended and the railroad closed up – and still has a population now. The town was based on the sulphur industry as well as the railway.
In 1934 the tracks on the closed rail line between Bragg and Saratoga were removed and it was repurposed into a road.
The Saratoga Light(s) have been seen since the late 19th century; although with the advent of electricity in the area the number of reports did decrease. Most reports now are from people driving the road very late at night between 2am and 4am.
The Light(s) usually appears as either a single light or in a group of three or more. They are usually a bluish-white color but both green and yellow have been seen as well. No one has ever caught the phenomena; anyone who gets close – one person claims they got to within 30 feet before they changed color and shot into the sky – the Lights will either escape into the sky or simply fade away.
So, what are they? Well, no one really agrees on that.
Since sightings date back to before the rail road stopped running, much less when the tracks were removed, most people put stock in the earliest theory that a conductor lost his head in an accident here and the Lights are his lantern as he searches for his head.
Of course, there is the fact that pretty much every Ghost Light on railway tracks or were once there uses pretty much the exact same story does dampen this theory a bit. At least this is true in the United States and Canada.
The other most commonly told story is that of a new bride – seriously new brides should never go anywhere on their own for at least the first month, am I right? – went for a walk and never returned. It is assumed she disappeared into the swamp – drown or found some of that quicksand we all thought was going to be a huge problem when we were kids. Anyway, her new husband went looking for her with a lantern and never gave up until his death. The Lights is believed to be his lantern eternally searching for his beautiful bride.
The pragmatic, well, they say its just lights from either nearby farms or cars on other roads. One problem, though, reports of the Lights predate both electricity and automobiles in the area. Then there’s always Will-O-Wisps – glowing swamp gas – which apparently are a proven phenomenon.
The truth will probably never be known but I agree with the stories that something happened on that long dark road and it probably involved death.
Many people who have encountered the Lights verify that if you get out of your car and approach the Lights on foot you can get much closer to them.