On August 27, 1891 in Statesville, NC a passenger train headed for Asheville jumped the track on the Bostian Bridge and 30 people lost their lives. On the anniversary of the accident, at least one ghost of the dead comes back for a very strange reason.
The day of August 26 was going along fine for Hugh K. Linster, a baggage master for the rail road. He had just received a gold watch for 30 years of service and was looking forward to a long retirement. It was an extremely hot day and Hugh, known as H.K. to everyone was looking for ward to getting to Asheville and the cool weather at least for a while before coming back down from the mountains into the heat.
The all board sounded and Linster began to make sure his job was done when he looked at his watch for the time. The watch said it was 9:30 but H.K. knew it had to be later than that. He asked a passenger for the time. The man replied it was 3 o’clock. As Linster began to set his new watch, all hell broke loose.
As the train crossed the Bostian Bridge, it jumped the track. Seven cars were plunged 70 feet into the Third Creek below. the carnage was unmatched in anything Statesville had seen. Hugh Linster never made it to retirement. His body was found in the wreck having been killed immediately upon impact with a broken neck.
One year later on August 27, a small group of people were walking near the bridge when they heard a terrible sound. Fearing yet another train wreck they raced to the bridge and were met by a man in a rail road uniform. Very calmly he asked them for the time. Thinking he was in shock, they pushed passed him to where the thought the sound came from.
There was nothing there.
Confused, the people turned towards the man who had met them on the bridge. He tipped his hat to them and began to walk away before vanishing into thin air. They had just met the ghostly spirit of H.K. Linster. One of the people noted that when he looked at his watch, it was 3pm. The same time the wreck occurred.
As the story goes, every year on August 27, the wreck of the number 9 happens again and again, Linster goes looking for the correct time.. Perhaps he always will.
(I should note that there is a conflict with the time of the accident. While some sources say the time was 3pm, others say it happened exactly at 1:52 am)