American Mythology: The Phantom Train of Marshall’s Pass

During the late 1800’s in Colorado, narrow gauge railroads crossed the Great Divide of the Rockies heading for Sante Fe and other parts west. In those days, nothing facilitated the Westward Expansion and what Americans thought of as Manifest Destiny more than the invention of the steam locomotive. The Iron Horse, as it was known.

Various folklores grew up around the railroads, including those of ghostly trains. Much as in earlier seafaring times when folklores centered around phantom ships—the Flying Dutchman being the most famous—where dead souls seeking vengeance chased the living, so too in the early Industrial Age in America similar tales were handed down about the captains of the locomotives. The engineers.

Whether these frightening accounts were actual events or not remains open to debate. Still, they are a part of American mythology.

The attached early map from the Denver and Santa Fe Railroad shows Marshall Pass (in the story, Marshall’s Pass) the topmost rail crossing of the Great Divide. It is at this Rocky Mountain pass that one of the tales I’ll be telling this weekend takes place.

It’s accompanied with a flat-picked score on a Taylor 6-string guitar.

 

DARK TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL

Friday, October 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sweet Beet, Bradford, New Hampshire.

An outdoor event. Bring warm clothes, chairs and blankets.

Freshly made hot food and drinks available for purchase.

 

Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at the gate

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