The Hooker Man Tale – One for Halloween

Well, it’s late now. Posting this so I don’t miss the mark this year for Halloween. What kind of paranormal website would this be if I didn’t post on Halloween? This year I thought I would recount a spooky tale from my state (New Jersey) when I was younger. Not specifically a Halloween tale, but still creepy I think. If you know any tales or lore specific to your area, post a comment and share.

The Hooker Man
This is one of those urban legends, but it always scared me. Maybe it was just because I was younger and easy to scare, maybe it was because three completely unrelated people told me the same story, and it was about a specific place, not just anywhere in the state, or world.
In the late 1800s a railroad worker was hit and killed by a train near Netcong,NJ. Legend has it that the Hooker Man is railroad conductor Samuel A. Crook, who actually was injured in High Bridge, NJ, but there is no report that I can find of his death by train.

As far as the Hooker Man, the story goes this way: he had been walking along the track at night with a lantern, maybe checking the track for debris so trains could pass safely the following day (hardly the work of a conductor). No trains were supposed to be using the track that night, but unfortunately one happened along and the man was hit.

His hand carrying the lantern was severed in the accident, and ever since a ghostly light has been seen moving up and down a specific stretch of track somewhere on the line through Netcong and Bud Lake, NJ. An eerie ball of light moving up and down the track on certain nights.

A friend of mine actually admits to seeing the light move eerily down the track, then fade away. Some speculate that the Hooker Man light may actually be ball lightning, a static electrical effect related to atmospheric conditions. I witnessed a ball lightning event years ago, actually two at once. I thought they were car headlights, one beside the other drifting down the road, then I realized they were about 35 feet or so above the ground. They must have been drifting down the power lines along the street.

As far as the Hooker Man is concerned, may claim to have seen the lights, and the story has made its way from one generation to the next. Now the railroad tracks are part of Colombia Bike Trail, and while there are certainly some strange stories about the trails, I haven’t heard of any Hooker Man sightings by bikers or hikers.