This is a simple local ghost story that I have grown up hearing. It happened near a small town called Milford. There are a couple of different versions of it, but this is the one that I was always told.
It was very late in the evening when a young couple got into their buggy and headed for their home in the country outside of Milford. It was quite aways away and, as a result, they were still on the road long after darkness fell. It was springtime and had been raining earlier in the day. Just after the sun had finally set, a thick fog rolled in over the plains, and the road became hard to see.
The red lantern on the couple's buggy did little to dispel the thickening gloom, and once or twice the husband accidentally led the horses off the lane a step or two. There was an old wooden bridge they had to cross along the way. Unfortunately the spring rains had caused the creek under the bridge to flood. The horses stepped onto the bridge and started to cross. At that very moment, the bridge gave way. The rushing water swept the horses and the husband (still holding the reins) away. The soaked young woman managed to escape death and, frightened and cold, frantically began searching for her husband with the buggy's red lantern, which had somehow managed to stay lit. While she was searching, the temperature dropped very rapidly (as it tends to do around here). By the time she was found the next morning, she was nearly mad with fever, fear, and exhaustion. She was taken home where she later died of exposure. The young man's body was never found.
The Milford Light is seen mostly on foggy nights in the spring. You travel down Old Lantern Road and stop your car a few yards away from the bridge. Put the car in park and turn off your headlights. Never, ever shut off the car's engine or get out of the car.
There has never been any specific time that the light shows up. Some people get to see it, many do not. Those who have seen it sometimes waited for as long as an hour before it showed up.
If you're one of the lucky ones, in a few moments, a red ball of light will show up just on the other side of the bridge. It moves around aimlessly for a bit, then, when it "sees" you, it starts to move toward you very rapidly. This is the time to leave. People who do not leave or who shut off their car (when I say it comes rapidly I mean it), have reported it going straight through the car, leaving bubbled paint across the hood, roof, and trunk.
Even when you leave, the light often attempts to chase you down. As far as I know, no one has ever left the car once the light was seen, in fear of being burnt (after seeing what it does to paint, I can see why).
There has been no logical explanation for the Milford Light, even though it has been investigated more than once. A group of graduate students from the nearby University of Illinois once investigated and made a report about the light. I have never found such a report, but people still claim it exists. Many people believe that this odd light is the ghost of the young wife still looking for her husband.
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