; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Ghostly Harbinger of Death & Destruction?

The following newspaper article appeared in The (Honesdale, PA) Citizen' on October 9, 1912:


Spook Appeared About A Year Before Big Dam Broke On September 30 Last

"September 30 was the first anniversary of the Austin flood, which destroyed the Potter county town and drowned many of its inhabitants," says the Clinton County Times. "It is known that the people of Austin had a scare early in the spring when the high water and pressure moved tho dam a few inches from its foundation, and tho residents took to the hills where they remained all night and part of the next day until the water receded. But it is not generally known that the residents had another scare shortly before this when a ghost appeared that frightened some of the people and was the talk of tho town.

"While the people were on the hillside a young man came to Lock Haven to report the situation to his sister, who, with her family, were much unstrung and worried because all kinds of rumors were heard. One rumor afloat had it that the dam had broken with horrible results. The young man called on the writer before returning to Austin and told about his and the other folks who were on the hill in the chilly rain expecting the big dam to break at any moment and the rushing water to carry away their houses, stores and other buildings before their eyes. Before leaving he mentioned the ghost and related a few words of the ghostly tales that were the talk of the town until the threatening condition of the dam seemingly scared away the ghost and the talk.

"In the railroad and on and off the cars were the places the ghost haunted and frightened the railroaders with its queer and spooky actions. It was a very tall man ghost, dressed in black that would appear and disappear mysteriously, and no questions asked, for those who saw it did not care to ask questions or its business. The railroad men naturally felt uneasy or scared with a ghost riding their cars and none of them attempted to put it off when they saw it crawling between and running over the cars.

"About a year after the arrival of the ghost the dam broke, with the result that will always be remembered by those who witnessed the horrible scenes. In their misfortune, following the flood, the Austin people who fortunately escaped with nothing valuable but their lives forgot a little thing like a ghost; and the ghost must have been scared out by the dam talk or lost its life in the flood.

"The gentleman who brought the tales about the apparition to Lock Haven, when the giant dressed in black was doing the ghost walk at Austin, figured prominently in the stories of the flood, as he was one of the many heroes of the disaster. He was a newspaper man, and by good luck happened to be at home when the dam broke, and sent out the first news of the catastrophe, was well written, considering the situation and the fearful story to tell the outside world. Immediately the newspapers and magazines had their best writers and photographers on the way to Austin. The professional writers and news gatherers not told of the ghost because the survivors of the flood were stunned and for that reason to what happened before the rising of the water and breaking of the dam, with all its indescribable effects.

"Everybody who escaped in the flood had a sad tale to tell the correspondents, but none mentioned the ghost. If they did, one of the fellows might have begun his of the flood with a ghost coming to Austin, and being a spirit from the side of life that came to warn the people of their danger and what was to follow; and that nobody cared to quiz the spook. Tho writer might have started his big news truthfully. Who knows?"

NOTE: you can read about the 1911 Austin, PA (Bayless) Dam flood and on YouTube - The Austin, PA Flood Disaster 1911. Lon

Ghosts and Haunted Places of Pennsylvania: Paranormal Case Files and Haunted Places Series

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

Ghost Hunting in Central Pennsylvania: True case studies from the founder of the Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Society

Cursed in Pennsylvania: Stories of the Damned in the Keystone State