Monday, October 22, 2007

Ghost Light Road

Back before "development" began "improving" our quality of life in this part of the county in which I live [extreme sarcasm in use here], there was an old legend floating among the endless pine farms that used to exist here. I'm sure you've heard of haunted houses, haunted libraries, and maybe even a haunted lighthouse, but we like to do things a little bit differently here. We had our own haunted road.

The road's original name was Bombing Range Road, as it provided access to an airfield and bombing range operated by the U.S. Navy in the years before and during World War II. A few years back (before I came into the world) the road was officially renamed Greenbriar Road for "real estate reasons". Regardless of what the road was officially named, we locals had only one name for it: Ghost Light Road.

Ghost Light Road was a perfectly straight, limestone and sand road that cut through the pine plantations and cypress swamps of my beloved home. If you visited this area back in those wonderful years, and happened to venture onto Greenbriar Road at night, you were met with a very interesting phenomenon.

Driving down the bumpy dirt road, your first thoughts would be "where the heck does this road go?" It would have been the darkest of night, with the light of millions of stars and the moon filtering through the tall pine trees being the only relief from the pitch black. The fresh scent of pine would fill your nose, and the cool air of the swamp would provide relief from the otherwise muggy weather. As you bumped along, you would begin to notice a light - a single light, as if a motorcycle's headlight - approaching you. The light would approach for minutes on end, and as you wonder what such a light could be, it disappears into the blackness. Are my eyes deceiving me? you wonder. You witnessed this a few times that night, in unpredicatable intervals. It was as if the phenomenon was teasing you.

About a decade ago, the road was paved and traffic began to increase as more people moved to the area surrounding. Three schools popped up near the road, and traffic increased greatly. "House Farms" took the place of pine farms toward the eastern end of the road, where thousands of yankees were planted. The ghost died; yet another piece of local history and culture lost to overdevelopement.

If I were to stand in front of all the 2700 students who attend my extremely overcrowded school and ask who knew what Ghost Light Road was, MAYBE 5 or 10 would raise their hand... A relatively small symptom of a deadly disease spreading through the lifeblood of Florida.


Jim said...

Sadly, that's the way of most of Florida. I live in Central Florida now, where developers run the show. It's not quite as bad yet in NW Florida, where I grew up, although St Joe has big plans.

You're right about the lack of interest in your generation - and my generation is worse. We're the ones intent on living for today, ignoring the past and the future and setting an ignorant example for our children and grandchildren.

Keep up the good work. If each of us enlightens one person or more, perhaps we can turn the tide.

Paintsmh said...

That's an interesting story. Scary, but interesting. And I would have NEVER wanted to drive that road by myself back when!

Floridacracker said...

Growing up there, our ghost road was out at Moultrie. There was an empty house on Vail Point road ... the Vail Point Mansion, that we were sure was haunted ... at least that is what we told our girlfriends. A gate kept your car out, but we would park and walk in on the long drive.
Nothing like a ghostly presence to raise the snuggle factor on a moonlit walk.
But I digress...

So give me some land marks on this Ghost Light road, I grew up there and never heard of it.

Oh, and your school is 4 times larger than ours and we are 6 through 12.
This might be why your High Q team stomps us at tournaments.

Hurricane Teen said...

Jim - Thanks for stopping by! St. Joe is responsible for all the havoc around here, too...and most of Florida.
I also truly believe that my generation will be more conscious of what we do to this Earth simply because of how much your generation has screwed it up (no offense.) Even though I do not buy into all this global warming hooplah and Al Gore's propaganda, it is raising awareness of other ways we are harming the Earth.

paint - Awww, never?? Read FCs comment about the effect of haunted places on girls :-D

FC - Ha ha, I unfortunately was too young to exploit the snuggle factor of a ghostly presence while this still existed...but I am sure there were many who did.
"Ghostlight Road" was purely a Fruit Cove-Switzerland thing. Even Orangedaleans and Sampsonites don't know about it. It has a rodeo on it, and up until a short time ago, that was pretty much it! It meets up with CR-210 where the county road makes a sharp southward turn toward CR-16A. Roberts Road also used to end on it until they renamed it Longleaf Pine Parkway this past summer }:-(
Enough info?
About the High Q...If these yankees bring any good, it would be higher education. I am taking a lot of higher classes that would not be offered if there were only stupid country folk like me attending the school. Thanks for stopping by.

SophieMae said...

What a cool phenomenon! And a typically sad end. Just about every time I go out lately, I find another wooded area or pasture or entire farm missing. *sigh*

Paintsmh said...

Yeah, so, you are missing one very important part, I am a girl, and though with a guy that might be cute, I am SO not taking another girl with me!! LOL

Hurricane Teen said...

sophie - We have farms disappearing by the lot here, too. My county's population is expected to more than double its population by 2025. The largest part of this development is taking place right in the heart of my ancestral home (Mill Creek) You can see why I hate it so?

paint - Well, in today's world, especially up in your part of the nation (no offense) you'll find some people tending to swing that way. :-D Though I am sure the direct spot where you live is not quite as accepting as the city? I would hope so.

Paintsmh said...

Ehh, to a certain extent. We are fairly understanding here, because we have a lot of city folks moving in, and the grade behind me had one guy who was very much more attracted to the same gender. But he was a wonderful guy and we adored him. Though I would definitely rather be out on that back road with a guy!!

rcwbiologist said...

That just sucks.... We are lucky to still have a ghost road near us. And hopefully it will stay that way since it partially runs through a wetland that is very hard to develop.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...

HT, you and FC, among others, inspired me to put some of my memories and research of Florida's past on a personal blog. Hope you enjoy!

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - Ah, heck, people of that nature tend to be some of the nicest around!...But they still weird me out a little.

rcw - I hope your ghost road survives, too. Wetlands sure don't stop developments here. They will build on every little tiny piece of high land - every little hammock among the swamps until they can't build anymore. Looking at a satellite image of the northwestern and central part of my county is proof of this.

eye - Thanks for stopping by! I like your blog! I have left a comment.

jim - Well, you can give FC all the credit, then, because his blog is the one that convinced me to beging blogging about Florida.

SwampAngel65 said...

Sad. Development sucks and it seems there's nothing anybody can do about it. That's why it's important for folks like you to keep those old stories alive!
BTW, there's a similar road northwest of where I live that is supposed to have ghostly lights. We ended up there one evening and waited...and watched...and waited...nothing. I think development is pushign the ghosties out of Florida!

Hurricane Teen said...

swamp - I'm doing my best, but unfortunately there are some stories I will never hear. The ghosts are running away.

Anonymous said...

I heard about ghost light road from a friend of mine and being the curious person that I am wanted to see if it was true for myself. So my friend and I and two others went down there. Let me tell you the story is true the only thing not true about it is the fact the ghost is still there I've seen it after the road had been paved. The light itself was scary but the only thing scarier than that was when we got home there were two hours of time we couldn't account for.

Anonymous said...

Gotta go back. Haven't been there in thirty years. Lived in Switzerland. When we went down the road the light would appear in front of us. When we got close, it would flicker out and then appear BEHIND us. Then turning around, it would be in front, flicker out and then be behind us again. We could play this game for hours. The story I heard was it was someone in the military who died on the road going to or from the airbase that you can see on google earth or maps. One of the coolest and scariest things I can remember.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the seemingly high cancer rate around Roberts Rod, Cunningham Creek school, Julington Creek Plantation,etc could be related to the poisons that are likely in the ground from the airbase & bombing range that used to be there? Does anyone know exactly where the airbase and bombing range was? I am looking to buy a home, and would like to avoid the area on and near where the airbase & bombing range was as I've already had cancer once-and lived off Cunningham Estates Rd near State Rd 13 for ten years.

Hurricane Teen said...

Well I have never heard of a high cancer rate in that area, and I highly doubt that the bombing range could have anything to do with it. I do know exactly where the bombing range was, but I don't tell people where it is :-)
When it comes to carcinogens, the northwest part of the county is probably the best because it's never had heavy use of pesticides like in other parts of the county. I wouldn't be too concerned about it.

Anonymous said...

I am a native and lived in Mandarin. One night about 2AM, spring 1990, my friends and I were down there and went down what we called "asylum" road and saw something we will never forget. There were about 8 girls in white hospital-style gowns playing volleyball without a ball or net and asked us to join them. At that point, 2 rottweillers can at us and we left. I can't find it documented that there was ever a mental institution or asylum back there. Do you have any information?

MinorcanMeteorolgist said...

Hi Paytra!
It's amazing how after a few years this post still gets a lot of viewers. There is a drug rehabilitation facility near the CR-210-Greenbriar Road junction. Perhaps this is our asylum?
Check it out here:'009930%200000'&qhlt=true&qzoom=true&qbuf=250

Anonymous said...

December 1971; from Mississippi was working Lake Wells Country Club; befriended son of Donald Ducks orange juice factory owner.would hang out after work sometimes, one evening; 4 of us went to see ghost Light,a bit south of gravity hill.entered dirt rd.with large oaks.After standing outside of car approximately 6min I skeptically asked"Where's this Ghost Light YA'll told me about?? Right behind you! Sure enough there it be! 24'hovering 4'above the grass generating enough light to illmunate the grass.little smaller than a soccer ball."How come there's no TV cameras,has anyone ever caught it??? He says'you can't catch it;go ahead and try.' I approached within 10ft,it vanished to reappear 30'ft to the right continuing deeper into the woods weaving around bushes and trees varring 3-5'in heights until it could no longer be seen? I felt the Rush; but never felt endangered.It seemed intelligent full of energy!Damn sure it was not swamp gas! Wish I knew just where that spot is located today.�� Twig