What Happened at the Train Tracks near Rentchler, IL?

The Louisville & Nashville Railroad had a line running from Belleville to Mt. Vernon, IL (and beyond), that was abandoned by CSX from Belleville to Okawville in 1989. (Right of way)

Given the thousands of abandoned railroad corridors we have traced, this one generally seems pretty unremarkable. However, this particular abandoned line had an urban legend associated with it involving twin Albino boys who grew up on a farm near Rentchler, IL.

Image: An L&N local meets a Family Lines through freight at Rentchler siding just east of Belleville, IL. (RRPicutreArchives)

The story goes that these boys were bullied in school for their albinism. The bullying didn’t stop there, and the twins were tied to the tracks and left to die

It should be noted that there is no evidence that this story happened, and indeed shares many details with similar urban legends. If you'd nonetheless like to read further into this urban legend, Rayzor has an excellent summation of the story.

Looking north from railroad tracks at Okawville, c.1900. (Genealogy Trails)

The legend further goes on to say that if one drives out to Rentchler Rd where the tracks used to run, and puts a car in neutral, the spirits of the twins will actually move the car forward up a slight incline. Depending on whether you're a glass half empty or glass half full connoisseur of paranormal activity, the twins are either helping you cross the train tracks or trying to push you onto the train tracks out of revenge.

This is actually the car going down, even though the topography of the land makes it appear as though you’re moving up, and once again shares similar details with other stories. And without railroad tracks there anymore, it's even more difficult to say.

Sadly, tragedy did strike the area in 1969, when two teens were murdered in the area on prom night. The car they were driving, a 1963 Plymouth, was discovered on Rentchler Station Road. It is possible that this incident has played into the urban legend surrounding the area, although the albino twins story goes back much earlier that the 60's.

This urban legend, as well as many others, appear in the book Weird Illinois, which is an awesome novel not just for its historical accounts of ghost stories, but includes numerous abandoned places, unsolved mysteries, and many other local tales that are well worth exploring. I say this as a reader of the book myself, not just an affiliate for it.

Thanks as always for reading!

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