Ever since our first news article here at The Occult Section, we’ve been warning people about the dangers of ghost hunting and urban exploration. Trespassing is not only illegal, but it’s often dangerous, as the location is usually off-limits for a reason. Here is another story of some teenagers who were tragically killed while trying to scare themselves.
Two teens in Missouri were killed and another was critically injured when their car was hit by a speeding Amtrak train while they played a dangerous game known as Ghost Train.
Five teens were sitting in a parked Jeep Cherokee on tracks near Poplar Bluff just after midnight on Tuesday, playfully hoping to be “haunted” by the spirits of dead passengers from a carrier that allegedly derailed there in the early 1900s, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“They were playing a stupid game called Ghost Train, and the object is to get scared, kind of like telling stories on Halloween,” Butler County Coroner Jim Akers told the newspaper.
“The game was to park on the tracks, let the windows fog up inside and let your mind play tricks on you.”
Instead, a real Amtrak Texas Eagle train approached.
After the driver couldn’t start the car, three of the teens, including Haley M. Whitmer, 17, managed to escape.
But Kaitlyn P. Fowler and Victoria E. Swanson, both 15, weren’t able to unbuckle their seat belts and got stuck.
Whitmer, 17, whose parents owned the Jeep, ran back to help her friends just before the train struck, the Post-Dispatch said.
She and Swanson were killed instantly, authorities said.
Fowler, who Whitmer managed to free from her seat belt, was seriously injured, police said.
She was flown to a local hospital and then taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where she was reported in critical condition on Tuesday afternoon.
The two others who escaped the car were not hurt.
Their names were not released.
None of the 200 people aboard the San Antonio-bound train were hurt.
The teens, who were on break from Poplar Bluff High, had played the game before.
Their parents told authorities they didn’t approve of the game, but the girls never had a close call before, the Post-Dispatch reported.
“They were obsessed with it,” Akers said. “The girls were apparently infatuated with sitting on the tracks and scaring yourself. The girls had gone out many times to do it.”
According to local lore, the spot where the girls were hit was the site of a train crash in the early 1900s.
Everyone aboard, including a man who was decapitated and a pregnant woman whose fetus was ripped from her womb, was killed.
The point of the Ghost Train game is to listen for the fated train’s whistle in the distance and look for ghosts, the Post-Dispatch said.
“This is a horrible tragedy,” Akers said. “This is some type of game going on in teenage culture in our county for years.”
There are many safer ways to be ghost hunters. The main lessons here are don’t trespass, and don’t do stupid things like park your car on active train tracks. Ghost hunting is fun, but it’s not worth anyone’s life.