Thursday, October 24, 2013

The 'Allison' Legend

Here is an intriguing tale about the 'Allison' legend or Allison’s Grave which is located at the Mosquito Valley Cemetery near DuBoistown, Pa. As with most ghost stories, there are many variations. Some say that the shadowy spirit seen at the cemetery is a woman who was decapitated in a plane or car crash. Others say she was a WWII nurse who died in a plane crash while traveling home. As these and other stories spread, the cemetery on Mosquito Valley Road eventually became a common destination for Halloween pranksters, enthusiasts of the paranormal, and those who were just curious.

Before the 'Allison' legend there was a documented sighting of a 'headless woman dressed in flowing white robes.' This was reported in The Columbian (Bloomsburg, PA) on September 28, 1899.

People living in South Williamsport are greatly agitated by a strange apparition which appears nightly - that of a headless woman dressed in long, flowing white robes.

Sunday night, a young woman ran screaming into the residence of a Mrs. Houser and said that the figure had walked by her side in a lonely place along the edge of a high retaining wall skirting a dark ravine and cavorting in a most terrifying manner. A young man returning from a visit to his girl saw it in the shape of a phantom dog, which, when he kicked it, as he did repeatedly, was always far enough away to miss his foot, finally vanishing entirely, when he lost his nerve and ran home.

Superstitious people believe the ghost is that of an unknown woman whose skeleton was found on the mountains back of Duboistown. Many are afraid to venture out after nightfall.

So...who was Allison?

A few clues to her identity have been found in Lycoming County court documents, land deeds, and online genealogy sites.

Her name was Edna A.(Bogert) Allison, the second wife of Herbert F. Allison. After almost 20 year of marriage, they divorced in 1958...after having one son. A local businessman, Larry Allison, who is Herbert Allison’s grandson from his first marriage, has confirmed that. In the resulting divorce settlement, Edna took ownership of a rock and sand quarry business as well as a second home, both located in Nassau, The Bahamas.

In August of 1960, Herbert Allison remarried for a third time but, on January 3, 1961, he died suddenly while vacationing in Palm Beach, Fla.

According to his obituary printed in the January 5, 1961, edition of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 54-year-old Allison was president of Lycoming Construction Company and director of the First National Bank in Montoursville. He was buried in Twin Hills Cemetery following a private family service.

According to the records, in June 1964, Edna Allison left Williamsport on a commercial airline flight to Phoenix, Ariz. From there, she traveled to Aspen, Col., where she boarded a Cessna 310 on Sunday, June 28, for a flight to Dallas, a stopover before her final destination in the Bahamas. There, she was scheduled to attend a business conference in Nassau in connection with her business interests there, according to the article in the July 1, 1964 edition of the Sun-Gazette.

Piloting the light twin-engine plane was William Evans, 38, of McAllen, Texas. In addition to Edna, the other passengers were Ed Gorman, 38, of Dallas, and Gus Theoklis, 29, of Los Angeles. When the plane failed to arrive in Dallas, the Colorado Civil Air Patrol searched the mountainous area near Aspen, but the plane could not be located. According to the July 1, 1964 edition of the Brownsville (Texas) Herald, the search for the plane was made difficult due to heavy thunderstorms and high winds.

Four months later, in mid-October, the plane was finally discovered in a remote high mountain area 9 miles northeast of Aspen. Edna and the three other occupants were found, still buckled into their seats. The sheriff leading the recovery efforts stated that it appeared the plane had “plunged straight down into the mountainside.” according to the Big Spring (Texas) Herald, Monday, October 19, 1964.

Due to the badly decomposed condition of Edna’s body, her remains were cremated and returned to her family members: a brother, Howard Bogert, who also lived in Mosquito Valley, and her son, who was then an Army private assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Edna Allison’s ashes were spread at Mosquito Valley Cemetery where a small gravestone marked her memory. A large monument inscribed with the Allison name was later installed...due to the vandalism and the repeated removal of the small stone from the cemetery.

If Edna's restless spirit remains on our astral plane, let's hope that she finds peace in the near future. As for the headless woman who roams South Williamsport...finding out her indentiy and circumstances in life may help someone move her spirit along as well.

Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories, The (Big Book of Ghost Stories)

Ghost Stories of Pennsylvania

Ghosthunting Pennsylvania (America's Haunted Road Trip)


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