Amateur Ghost Hunter Dies Hunting for “Ghost Train” … On Active Railway

This is why I started Spell and Ritual. There are too many armchair occultists (or as in this case, “paranormal investigators”) who lack not only the basic knowledge of their field but common sense.


STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) – A man who was with about a dozen people who were looking for a legendary “ghost train” in Iredell County was hit by a locomotive and killed early Friday morning.

The incident happened on a train trestle at 2:45 a.m. near the 900 block of Buffalo Shoals Road.

Christopher Kaiser, 29, died at the scene and two more people were injured, according to Iredell County Sheriff Phillip Redmond. Kaiser’s body was found below the trestle down a steep incline, he said.

The injured patients were airlifted to a local hospital.  Their condition was not immediately known.

“During the investigation, witnesses told deputies they were at the site in hopes of seeing a ‘ghost train’,” the Iredell County sheriff’s office said in a press release.

The sheriff said the incident coincided with the anniversary of a train wreck that occurred at the same location in 1891.

Crewmen on the train tried to warn the group to get off the trestle and most were able to get away. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Christopher Kaiser’s family and friends at this time of need, of course.

But if I may be so crass as to illustrate a larger point about the growing occult community, which includes these “paranormal investigators” who seem to primarily be thrill seekers looking for scary experiences to share with friends, I would like to ask the following questions:

1) Why was it necessary for them to be on the trestle to investigate the supposed ghost sightings? A follow up to that would be why not send only the people physically capable of reacting quickly if trouble developed?

2) Why didn’t anyone check the schedules of trains, call the railroad to get permission or even scout out the location to see how active the area was? In other words why wasn’t this “investigation” grounded in the real world?

3) Couldn’t the “ghost train” be seen from the ditch the unfortunate Mr. Kaiser ended up in?

The answer to all these questions seem obvious to me. But they weren’t to Kaiser and company. And that’s not his fault.

It’s ours. And by ours I mean the wider occult community that ignores the growing trend of amateurs and dilettantes getting on television and claiming expertise about hunting ghosts or hunting monsters who are really just hunting for quick profits by teaching people to hunt for trouble.

Standing on a section of train track where there’s no place to run waiting for a ghost train is not just foolish, it’s pointless. Had their little adventure been successful and they saw a ghost, what would have been accomplished? Who among us hasn’t seen evidence of ghosts and spirits? And how many of us know of safer and more meaningful ways to explore the outer reaches that we could show people like Kaiser if we weren’t too busy trolling forums and pretending we’re “above” these ghost hunters?

I have always seen the place of the American occultist, whether Thelemite, Chaos Magician, Wiccan or good old fashioned Witches and Warlocks, as a sort of Merlin to the American round table. The fact that we hoard ancient and arcane knowledge, often for selfish reasons, makes us important voices to help steer the wider Judeo-Christian society away from dangers they don’t actually understand. We should strive to be advisers and experts on the things the Christopher Kaisers of the world don’t know but find themselves involved in. This man is dead because he thought he needed to be on that trestle to experience a haunting. We know better but no one shared that with him.

Clearly I’m not of a mind that some Witch somewhere knew what he was up to and sat idle. But we allowed television shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State to supplant real expertise, and to dispense falsehoods. Ghost Hunters, in particular, represents paranormal research as an amusement park ride available year round for people with free time on their hands. Paranormal State does worse in many ways.

And what if Kaiser and company faced metaphysical instead of physical danger? Would the Twilight themed Silver Ravenwolfery disguised as occult expertise that these shows dispense actually be enough to protect them? If you had a child who was going “ghost hunting” would you allow them to prepare by watching these shows and perusing the Internet?

The community of practitioners in America should speak out about the dangerous pseudo-occultism that is being embraced by the mainstream. Christopher Kaiser died because no sane occultist told him he could see this supposed ghost while standing somewhere safe – that he wasn’t going to see something on the tracks he couldn’t from on the road or frankly through a Black Mirror. But how many others are fed on by spirits they disturb, or “crossed” or are otherwise victims of forces they don’t understand?

And how much responsibility do you and I share for that?

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