A Report of Inexplicable Screams
According to the March 27, 1915, issue of the Watertown Daily Times, the citizens of Carthage, New York, had been hearing horrible, seemingly disembodied cries at the spot where the New York Central tracks crossed John Street. A witness described the sound as “one of the most weird that can be imagined, at first, and then [it] ends with a shriek of ‘murder,’ that is both loud and piercing.”
The police were called. No explanation was found. It snowed, and the screams continued. No footprints were left behind.
The article also explains that this particular spot “is used the least of any of the other crossings in this village and there have been more people killed at it.” Well, maybe it was avoided because it was so dangerous. But that’s not all. Readers also learn that “a woman was murdered in the vicinity of this crossing, and some are of the belief that it is her ghost come back.” The same readers are then left with no solution to the mystery — just like the poor residents of John Street.
Mapping the Crossing
Trying to locate this haunted site, I was lucky enough to find a map of Carthage printed in 1915, the same year the ghostly screams were reported. I cropped it to show that — in Section 6, colored brown — there are two spots, close together, where the NY Central tracks crossed John Street.
Things look somewhat different today, according to Google Maps. Apparently, a chunk of John Street was simply removed so that trains could have the full right of way. No crossing = no more fatalities? In the process, a curve was put in to meet the north-south street marked “Bender (Quinn)” on the 1915 map, and the top part of that street was renamed John. Also, there’s a leftover stub of John Street extending from North Clinton. Hopefully, these changes all make sense to the good people of Carthage.
Fortunately, for ghost hunters, the once-haunted area remains easy to find, since it sure looks like there are still tracks there. Just mosey along the John Street curve on the west side of the tracks, or set up shop at the dead end of that eastern stub of John Street. You might ask the neighbors if they’ve heard anything and maybe even present them with a copy of the 1915 article.
As always, be extremely careful when investigating haunted train tracks. As always, let us know if you visit this spot, regardless of whether you hear any spectral shrieks or not. I imagine the screaming ghost might be hoarse by now, but one never knows . . .