Midnight Special - question!

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Hello, I hope it is okay to post my question here. I am a writer and am currently researching the song, Midnight Special. In this 1920s song, the midnight train passes the Sugar Land penitentiary giving the prisoners inside a glimpse of freedom. One popular interpretation of the story is that the prisoners believed that if the train's headlight shone on them they would be the next to leave on parole -- that was their superstition anyway. But I am curious as to the logistics of this. If a train is traveling the same way, on the same track, at the same time, wouldn't its headlights shine onto the prison in the same way each night? Why would the beam illuminate one prisoner's cell one night, but not the next? Perhaps I am not supposed to think about this too hard.... or perhaps I am missing something ... which is why I am here! Thanks in advance for any responses!

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Welcome aboard. I agree with your analysis, although headlights of different engines may be mounted in different positions, especially in the steam era. Therefore, each headlight might illuminate a different cell.

Superstitions, however, are usually not based on science or logical reasoning.

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