This story has been told by grandparents for ages. It is hard to say whether the facts we see in this story are 100% authentic but it is true that it is real and the details mentioned in this story are enough to prove that. In the 1870’s, the old storage sheds which were along the tracks were abandoned a little while after the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was built. And it didn’t take a long time for the poor folk of that area to move in. The sheds were a sort of a home even though they were very cold because of the winter wind which pierced through every crevice. The tiny fireplaces that the poor constructed were of very little help.
A very gentle and kind woman by the name of Jenny also lived in one of the small sheds. She had been a victim of hard times and didn’t have a family to protect and support her. She was forced to work wherever work was available and she used to take any shelter that was available. She never ever had enough to eat and the tiny fire in her little shed was only enough to help her survive in the cold months.That didn’t stop her from being optimistic and helping out other people who needed food and medication, even if that meant giving up on her own meals.
On a very cold evening, she sat down while she was shivering over her little fire and sipped on a barely warm broth. The sparks from her fire flew and lit up her skirt. Desperate to fill her stomach, she didn’t notice the fire and kept up sipping the broth. The fire began to burn her clothes and began to scorch her skin. She got up in terror and she threw her brother over the flames in an attempt to stop the fire but the broth was of no help.
She ran out of her shed in order to save herself while the flames were engulfing her entire body. She ran towards the station that was not far away, hoping that she’d find someone to help her.
In moments, her body became a glowing ball of fire, which barely looked human and the pain was unbearable for Jenny.
Her screams turned louder at every step and turn and she blindly reached the tracks of the train. She didn’t see the train which was coming towards her in agony. She couldn’t hear the horn of the train, see the headlights or the screeching of the breaks as the driver tried his best to stop the train. He spotted a fire-eaten figure but he couldn’t halt the train and the train mowed her down putting an end to her screams.
Alerted by the sudden halt of the train and the sounds, the authorities ran back towards the dead body of Jenny which was still burning. The men put off the fire, picked her up and carried her back. She was given a proper Pauper’s funeral. She got buried in a grave which was unmarked in their local churchyard.
In the matter of a couple of days, another poor family, stuck by poverty, had moved into her shack. Jenny was forgotten despite all the help she provided.
She was forgotten until a month later, a train which was rounding the station faced the same situation and was confronted by a glowing ball of fire. Before the engineer could step on the breaks, he plowed over the ball of fire and was too late to bring it to a halt. He leapt from his seats and ran back to the tracks only to find nothing there. He searched and looked everywhere for a burning body or even a trace of burnt ashes. Shaken by the incident, he told everything to the station master who remembered Jenny after hearing the ordeal, immediately. He realized that her ghost had returned to remind everyone and haunt the tracks.
It is still evident to this day that the ghost or the spirit of Screaming Jenny appears on the West side of the Station on her death anniversary.