The stories behind these mystical lights range from the death of a lost love to that of a work place injury resulting in a headless train conductor. The one consistent in these stories involves a suspended light approaching your car only to disappear moments before impact. Facing childhood fears, Lauren and I traveled what is commonly referred to as the “Ghost Road.” Not one to believe in ghost, I hoped to photograph the lights, but to no avail. There are countless videos and images of the fabled Saratoga lights on-line. But, like all pictures of Bigfoot, they too are grainy and out of focus.
Unlike most ghost stories, Beaumont is home to a few less frightening tales . For example, Forest Lawn Cemetery plays host to a romantic ghostly tale. Within this sprawling cemetery is the Kissing Statue. This statue is an intricately carved granite figure of a man and woman eternally frozen in a loving embrace. But, are they? Supposedly, shinning your headlamps on the statue will cause them to lean inward and kiss. Cameras at the ready, I was no more than a peeping-tom waiting to photograph two slabs of granite making-out . As previously stated, I don’t believe in ghosts. However, the longer I sat and watched, the more I wanted to see them kiss. Perhaps, within this large cemetery lies a couple who had gone to war, married, had kids, grand-kids, grown old, and died, but somehow their love remained.
Another great story involves the French House, Beaumont’s oldest standing home. Mr. French, a tanner and merchant, built this house in 1845. Today the French House is a museum containing some of the French’s actual furniture, possessions, and clothing. It’s said that at times Mr. French can be seen on the front porch rocking in his chair. Under the light of a waning moon, I never saw Mr. French. Yet again, something within me longed to see a ghost. Imagine the stories Mr. French could tell us. He would have watched as Beaumont, a small town, central to the timber and rice industry, became a boom town after the gusher at Spindle Top. His perspective would be like a time-lapse of Beaumont’s development. The fields he once farmed are now auto dealerships, businesses, apartments, and homes.As the sun began to rise, an orange glow settled on Mr. French’s porch. Why do we love a good ghost story? Perhaps these stories connect us to our history. The thought of having a long discussion with an 1800’s tanner, a couple who’s love conquered time, or a conductor who saw virgin timber transported by steam train, is amazing. These would literally be the story of a lifetime.