October is a wonderful time to go hiking and witness the beauty of the changing season as well as creatures preparing for winter.
It’s also a time to celebrate Halloween by seeking out spooky wild places. Here are some wild lands where you may have a creature or two hiking with you – but not one that’s still living.
1. Gold Mine Trail, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Maryland
This haunted jaunt begins at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and passes by the site of an 1906 explosion that killed a miner. Afterwards, spirits known as “Tommy Knockers” began to haunt the mine. Two years later, a night watchman saw “a ghostie-looking man with eyes of fire and a tail 10 feet long” crawling out of the shaft, so the mine closed.
Say hi to “Tommy Knockers”, click here.
2. Appalachian Trail, Virginia
It was this time of year when four-year-old Ottie Powell vanished in 1891, while collecting firewood in a forest bright with colored leaves. His body was found five months later near Bluff Mountain, where a memorial for Ottie can still be found. Backpackers claim that those who spend a night at Punchbowl Shelter may encounter his spirit.
Pay Ottie a visit, click here.
3. Devil’s Den, Gettysburg National Battlefield, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg was the Civil War’s deadliest battle with over 50,000 corpses. Devil’s Den is a rocky outcropping once used by snipers. Today it is notorious for causing cameras to malfunction, especially when used to try to capture Gettysburg’s phantoms. The most commonly sighted is the barefoot, rifle-carrying “Hippie,” who’s thought to be a former member of the 1st Texas Infantry. You’ll know him by his calling card: pointing toward Plum Rum and saying to visitors “What you’re looking for is over there.”
Have “Hippie” show you the way, click here.
4. Bloody Lane, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
The bloodiest one-day battle in American history happened in 1862 at Antietam. After only 12 hours, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. The road known as Bloody Lane is said to be haunted by some of these soldiers, evidenced by sounds of phantom gunfire, shouting and singing, as well as sightings of ghosts in Confederate uniform. Many fallen soldiers were buried under Burnside Bridge, visitors have heard phantom drumbeats and seen blue balls of light moving through the air.
The sights and sounds of Bloody Lane: click here.