Ghost Light Road

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Once called “Bombing Range Road,” now Greenbriar Road, this stretch of pavement in North Florida was once referred to by locals “in the know” as “Ghost Light Road.” At the time, before the road was paved, you could drive down the perfectly straight, eerily empty limestone stretch, surrounded by pine scrubs on both sides, without encountering another human for miles.

If you came back at night, though, the fun started. You began at one end of the road and turned off your headlights, slowly making your way forward. As your car drifted into the darkness, invariably you’d see, in the distance behind you, a single white light, exactly at the level of a motorcycle headlight. The light would follow behind, increasing in speed, until finally it disappeared right before it touched your back bumper. Noiselessly, the light would reappear in front of your car and speed away into the distance.

A dead motorcyclist? “Swamp gas?” We may never know. Unfortunately, as is often the case with long stretches of Florida passage, Green Briar Road has been paved over and heavily developed. But, who knows? Maybe some dark night a suburban soccer mom will be driving home after book club and get the urge to turn out her headlights. What’s that approaching in her rear-view mirror?