Just after midnight Monday, five teens parked on train tracks that cut across County Road 554 and shut off the car in search of ghosts.
"They were playing a stupid game called 'Ghost Train,' and the object is to get scared, kind of like telling stories on Halloween," Butler County Coroner Jim Akers said. "The game was to park on the tracks, let the windows fog up inside and let your mind play tricks on you."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported when a passenger train came around the bend, the driver couldn't start the car again. Three teens fled to safety, but two, in a panic, were unable to unbuckle themselves. One girl ran back to help them, just as the train smashed into the car.
Victoria Swanson, 15, and Haley Whitmer, 17, died at the scene. Kaitlyn Fowler, 15, was seriously injured and hospitalized.
The game, outlined in a 2007 post on strangeusa.com, is rooted in the story of a train wreck which occurred in the 1900s, killing nearly everyone on board. Once one parks on the tracks and shuts their car off, the windows will fog up and supposedly train whistles can be heard.
"While sitting in the car you will hear something tap on your window and if [you're] brave enough to look outside a woman will be standing there asking you where her baby is," the post says. "And for the extremely brave, if you decide to get out of your car you will see a decapitated man in the ditch searching for his head."