Emily's Bend

Emily’s Bend

Emily was born on a ranch near Mono Vista, California in the mid-’60s and graduated from high school in 1980. She was just a farm girl and knew the life of a farmer. She was still living at home but would take trips once in a while on her own. Her favorite trip was to ride the train to visit Alice, her older sister.

Alice lived in Fremont California, about one hundred and fourteen miles away. Emily would get her mother to drive her to Jamestown, about eight miles away, and she would catch the train and go to Fremont.

Emily probably loved apples because she could pick them fresh from the tree. Emily lived on a small farm just north of Clover’s Apple Ranch. Of course, she would pay to pick the apples and never dream of stealing them.

Before visiting her sister, Emily would visit the apple farm, pick a half-bushel basket full, and take them to her sister’s house. This was about 75 apples. Alice loves getting apples and would make the best apple pies and cobbler in town.

Emely's Train Accident

It was late October, and Emily was boarding a train headed toward Fremont, California.  This was a short trip. However, the train made stops in every little town to pick up and drop off passengers. The train trip usually lasted about 3 hours.

Emily had just picked apples to take to her sister’s house and planned to stay for a couple of weeks.

It was a slow, uneventful trip until the train reached the Sunol Valley area. The train was approaching the Alameda creek bridge. It was going about 45 miles per hour when the conductor saw some kids fishing from the bridge.

The conductor applied the emergency brake, and the train squealed to a stop.  Unfortunately, Emily was walking down the train’s aisle when this happened, and the quick stop sent her into the metal door at the end of the train car.

The impact was disastrous, as she tripped and fell headfirst into the door handle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The apples she picked were broken and scattered all over the train car. 

The kids fishing on the bridge ran in the opposite direction and were never identified.

Emily died on the train at the age of 20, just a few days after her birthday.

Emily's death shocked the community

Her family was notified. The pain was overwhelming. It was hard to believe that Emily was never coming home again.

The train conductor was only eight months away from retiring. He had worked for the railroad for 33 years without a single accident. He quit that day and never stepped foot on the train again.

The notice of Emily’s death spread throughout the community, and many people started putting flowers on the ground next to the spot where Emily lost her life.  

Three months after Emily's death

It started in early Feb 1984, about three months after Emily died on the train. A train went through the exact area when another accident was reported.

Someone was hit on the tracks! The conductor was upset and called the sheriff to report another death on the tracks.

The news spread like fire as local townspeople gathered at the train tracks. You could hear people talking in the crowd, “What happened?”  “It’s another death.”

The train conductor and the sheriff started walking the tracks, looking for the person who was reported hit, but no one was found.

Maybe they were thrown off the tracks and are in the nearby grass area. Many townspeople joined in the search, but no one was ever found.

The sheriff asked the train conductor, “How do you know someone was hit?”

The conductor said, “When I came around the bend, there was a girl just standing on the track, holding a basket; she didn’t even attempt to jump off the tracks; there is no way I could have missed her!”

And yet, no one ever found a body, and no one was missing in the area.

One of the townspeople said, “Sounds like Emily to me.”  The sheriff was familiar with the Emily case because he had just worked on it three months ago.  The sheriff said, “I can’t put that in my report.”

After an exhaustive search of the area, it was determined that no one was hit.  The Sheriff interviewed the train conductor in more detail and learned that the person he saw was dressed in a white veil and seemed to be just standing or floating over the tracks.

The train was finally cleared to continue, and the conductor was relieved that no one was killed.

The news of the accident hit the newspapers

The newspaper report started calling that part of the tracks “Emily’s Bend.” The article discussed the accident three months ago and the new accident, where nobody was found. Well, it wasn’t an accident; it was more like a sighting. Since no one was killed, then the case was closed.

After reading the news article, many of the townspeople started talking about Emily and how it was probably her standing on the tracks that day. She must be coming back as a ghost.

People started reporting seeing Emily on a regular basis

It happed so much that the local newspaper stopped reporting about it. It seems to be happening about every month. Someone would report seeing the ghost of Emily walking down the street. It would usually happen between midnight and four in the morning. They all said she looked like a lost girl, strolling down the street, carrying a basket of apples.

People also reported that they could smell apples whenever they saw her.

After a few years, the story became a local legend, with most people ignoring the reports. It was one of those sad events that many people just couldn’t forget.

Even the trains that came down past Emily’s Bend would slow down to a crawl to prevent more accidents.

The story of Emily would be forgotten for a few years. Then it would occasionally reappear as more people would report seeing her.

The mayor reports seeing Emily

Just as the story of Emily started to die down, the mayor reported seeing her at 2:00 AM as she was walking toward town from the tracks.  She looked like a soft cloud you could see thru but still solid enough to make out her shape, and she was still carrying that basket of apples.

Some claimed the mayor was trying to get free publicity, while others believed him. The story made the local papers again with the mayor’s sighting.

A few townspeople decided to pool some money and hire a ghost investigator to determine why Emily hadn’t decided to move on from the accident scene.

The investigator reported that Emily was present, walking the tracks and the local town. She was looking for a place she could live in without upsetting anyone.

It turns out that Emily was the most gentile, thoughtful ghost the investigator had ever been involved with.

Emily finds a new home

The ghost of Emily started showing up at a local grocery store regularly.  Employees would report strange noises late at night as they closed the store.

Emily’s reputation as a gentile, caring ghost put the employees at ease. However, being in the store alone at night was still freaky.  Most employees didn’t want to work the late shift to avoid the situation.

Many times when the manager of the store unlocked the doors to start a new day, he would find an apple on the counter.

After telling a few customers about it, the news started spreading around town, resulting in another newspaper article called “Emily’s Apples.”

It turns out that many people were willing to pay top dollar for any apple that was placed on the counter overnight by Emily.

While a regular apple would sell for 50 cents, an Emily apple would sell for $5 or more.  It was said that her apples were the absolute best. Sometimes she would pick out a green apple, some times a yellow apple, but most of the time, she would pick out a bright red one.

Of course, the store loved the publicity and that her apples were sold for ten times more money than regular apples.

Then the store owner decided to stop selling Emily’s apples. She decided to collect them each week and make an apple pie. A single slice of Emily’s Apple Pie would sell for $12.

That was more than 30 years ago. I guess the price now would be closer to $100 per slice.

During the late ’80s, the apples stopped appearing on the counter. It seems that Emily has finally moved on. Maybe it has something to do with her mother passing away in 1988, so now she has someone to spend time with.

Not all ghost are scary

If my house were haunted, I would hope it would be someone like Emily. This is a very unusual ghost story because most ghosts seem angry, violent, and dangerous. Emily seemed to be a sweet girl who would never hurt a soul. She wasn’t even interested in scaring anyone.

Most ghosts seem angry because something or someone has killed them, or they are just pure evil, such as a serial killer.

With everything else equal, I would rather have Emily leave me an apple than another ghost leaving an axe stuck in my forehead in the middle of the night.

If you are old enough, you remember the cartoon “Casper the friendly ghosts,”  well Emily was a friendly ghost.  I almost said Emily was a real live friendly ghost, but that doesn’t sound right.

1 thought on “Emily’s Bend”

  1. Via Promote Horror, I found this podcast. And I listened to this one.

    And it’s great! Really weird stuff. nicely done.

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