John Brady's Lantern

During the early 1900's, the nation’s railroads were run by strong, dedicated men who were proud of their professions and heritage. Folk heroes such as Casey Jones and John Henry are known to everyone, but no one remembers John Brady. He was not an engineer or steel-driving man. John was a conductor for the Grand Trunk Railway.

         One spring evening John was aboard a freight train that was roaring through a raging storm to reach Hagersville, unfortunately a priority train was approaching behind, so they needed to move out of the way so it could pass. The train took a switch that led them to Caledonia. John was in the caboose when he suddenly felt the car slowing down. He looked out the window and was astonished to see that the caboose had separated from the rest of the train!

         The shrill whistle of the approaching priority train filled his soul with terror. He saw its blinding light racing toward him. He grabbed a red lantern, ran to the rear of the platform, and frantically waved a warning signal. He was still standing there when the express slammed into the caboose and exploded covering the scene with a flaming shroud of wood and twisted steel.

         John Brady's body was found the next morning. His head missing and never recovered. Close to a century later, his headless spirit is still seen walking along the tracks near the Caledonia Station. Most railroad veterans are sure that it is the phantom spirit of John Brady still searching for his head.