The Ghost of Dead Man's Curve

During the early 1900s, the stretch of track along the Lackawanna River, just north of the Jessup-Peckville station of the Delaware & Hudson Railway, was known as Dead Man's Curve, on account of the many accidents and tragedies that have taken place there.

For instance, in August of 1909, two young boys, Mike Talfy and John Polfice, were mangled to death after being struck by a southbound train of this particularly dangerous stretch of the Delaware & Hudson tracks. What made this stretch so dangerous was the fact that it wasn't a hairpin curve, but a wide, sweeping curve where trains could pick up an enormous amount of speed. Yet the curve was just tight enough to prevent pedestrians from seeing the smoke-belching steel monsters barreling towards them.

Scranton Tribune, Jan. 18, 1908.

In early 1908, D & H engineers reported seeing strange things at Dead Man's Curve, which made plenty of people take notice because the Delaware & Hudson company had a reputation for hiring only the best, most reliable, and most trustworthy engineers. Yet many of these engineers reported seeing a man stepping onto the tracks just as his train rounded the curve, and then seeing the man hurtling through space as if struck by a speeding locomotive. Believing that he had struck a living human being, the engineer would stop the train and a thorough search of the tracks would be made-- but nothing would be found.

The following are two such stories that appeared in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader and the Scranton Tribune:

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Jan. 18, 1908.

Scranton Tribune, Jan. 16, 1908.


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