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A Ghost in the Furnace

Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. The plant was moved to Eddystone in 1928.

The following unusual story comes from the August 26, 1902, edition of the Wilkes-Barre News, and gives a chilling description of an encounter with a ghost of a former co-worker at Philadelphia's Baldwin Locomotive Works. While it's easy to dismiss ghost sightings experienced by small children with impressionable minds or vagabonds with a penchant for whiskey, there's something extra spooky about a story when it involves a tough-as-nails iron worker sent to the hospital after collapsing from sheer fright. Was James McGlone tormented by a phantom of a former friend? Or was he merely suffering from the effects of overwork and exhaustion? Read the article and draw your own conclusion.

Laborer at Baldwin's Fainted on Beholding Apparition of Workman Who Had Been Killed

Philadelphia, Aug. 25-- In the glare of a furnace at the Baldwin Locomotive works, James McGlone, a laborer, declares he saw a ghost at 3 o'clock this morning. According to McGlone, the apparition was that of a man who had been killed at the works several days ago.

McGlone and a score of other men were busy in the machine shop this morning when the spirit is said to have appeared. The men had been working all night and were eager to finish up their tasks before the day shift came to work. No one worked harder than McGlone, who is noted for his strength and endurance.
"Where's the big monkey wrench?'' It was the foreman of a gang of men who spoke, and McGlone went behind some big engine boilers to get the tool. Back of the boilers were the furnaces, their tongues of fire leaping out over the iron bars and plates that were lying upon the floor.

Above the roar of the furnaces the workmen suddenly heard a loud cry. Thinking that McGlone had met with some terrible accident, they ran behind the boilers.

Stretched at full length upon the floor was the man who had only a few moments before had been the personification of strength and activity. As the workmen bent over McGlone he half raised himself and, pointing towards one of the furnaces yelled out:

"Oh, Tom! Tom!"

With a gasp he fell into a dead faint.

Not knowing what to make of McGlone's strange behavior, the other employees summoned a patrol wagon and sent him to the Medico-Chirurgical Hospital. At the hospital it required a half-hour's hard work to restore the man to consciousness.

When McGlone opened his eyes he told a strange story to Dr. Widmeyer and the other physicians. He says that when he went behind the boilers to get the wrench he felt a strange sensation come over him-- a sensation that he could never find words to explain. It seemed as if someone was standing near him.
In the search for the monkey wrench McGlone suddenly turned towards one of the furnaces, only to behold a sight that he says froze the blood in his veins. In the glare that came from the half open door stood a man who had been instantly killed some time ago.

"He just stood there at looked at me with an awful, sad faraway look in his eyes," the iron worker declared to the physicians. McGlone says that the spectacle was too much for him, and that he fell to the floor and his his face in his hands. "I feel ten years older today than I did yesterday," the man continued.

The doctors at the hospital do not know what to make of McGlone's story. The man was not drinking and is sincere in his belief that he saw a ghost. When he recovers from the shock that he received he will be taken to his home at Cleveland and Susquehanna avenues.

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