Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: Ghostly figure saves train from traversing a washed-out bridge.
Example: [Tan, 1979]
Origins: This story has circulated in a number of forms, some that are mute about the identity of any of the passengers aboard the rescued train, and some that name various important personages (including Queen Victoria) as having been saved by the ghostly figure.
As a belief tale,
Another interpretation focuses on the improbable coincidence of the moth's being drawn to the lamp's beam at just the right moment to project a menacing figure onto the tracks if the train was to be halted before plunging into the abyss. While moths are indeed attracted to light, what could have caused one to throw itself at that lamp at just the precise instant necessary to save so many lives? Surely some benevolent spirit or personal guardian guided the moth's flight, possibly the ghost of someone who had died at that very spot and now looks to safeguard others across a dangerous span (e.g., the
Finally, the tale can be regarded as a parable illustrating the mysterious ways by which the Almighty acts on His children's behalf, His unseen hand working miracles:
[Collected on the Internet, 2006]So, there you have it: This all-purpose supernatural yarn can be held aloft and brandished as a confirmatory tale by those who believe in Jesus. Or angels. Or protective spirits. Or the power of skeptical thinking.
No, the figure the engineer saw in the headlight's beam was not an angel... and yet God, quite possibly through the ministry of His unseen angels, had placed the moth on the headlight lens exactly when and where it was needed. Truly "He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."
Mark states that after the Resurrection, the Lord "appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country"
Barbara "omnibustled" Mikkelson
Last updated: 6 June 2008
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