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A wanderer was hanged for a murder he didn’t commit, after which he returned as a smiling ghost

This eerie tale of a ghost was published in the “Philadelphia Times” on September 4, 1892, with the subtitle: “after this, even the intelligent part of the community begins to believe in ghosts.”

The story itself occurred three years earlier in the area of the town of Uniontown, specifically on Old Creek Road, which led from this town to a neighboring one. Near this road were several isolated plots, one of which was inhabited by a certain Nancy Pratt, a woman of quite advanced age.

One day Nancy Pratt was found lying in a stream with numerous wounds on her head, apparently leading to her death. Quick searches led to an unnamed local vagabond, who was found with jewelry belonging to Nancy Pratt in his bag.

The vagabond insisted that he hadn’t killed anyone, but had seen the old woman run out of her house and jump into the stream, receiving fatal wounds. And when he realized she was dead, he went into her house and took valuable items from there.

Of course, nobody believed him, and soon the vagabond was hanged on a tree, right next to the very stream where Nancy Pratt’s body was found. But soon the neighbors of the old woman began to say that she had long been suffering for unspecified reasons and indeed wanted to end her own life. And the lynchers began to feel a little guilty (but not too much).

Months passed, then a year, another, a third. Old Creek Road became deserted because a convenient highway was built nearby, but local farmers sometimes used it to shorten their route. And they began to increasingly talk about a ghost of the hanged vagabond wandering along the road.

It was already the end of the 19th century, so only the least educated citizens believed in the ghost. However, the farmers insisted that it was true and that they had seen it with their own eyes. And they claimed they were ready to vouch for their words.

When repair work began on the new road, the local residents remembered Old Creek Road and started using it again. And the number of those who saw the ghost began to increase rapidly in geometric progression.

The first to detail his encounter with the ghost and to whom “even the intelligent part of the community” believed was the local doctor Hardman. One night he was returning home after an urgent visit to a patient, and he was frightened when a human figure suddenly appeared on the road in front of him from behind the trees and slowly walked along the edge of the road.

The doctor was on horseback, and from his position, despite the darkness of the night, he clearly saw this figure. And the more he saw, the more he realized that it was something strange.

The figure was a man dressed in a dark suit and a straw hat, and a rope was tied around his neck, stretching several meters behind him. And the rope was so tightly squeezing his neck that his throat swelled three times and his face also looked unnaturally swollen, it was noticeable even from the back.

The doctor had only recently arrived in this area and had heard nothing about the vagabond hanged by the stream. And he didn’t even think about seeing something supernatural, so he just called out to the man several times.

The man turned around and the doctor saw unnaturally bulging eyes with some “strange gleam.” Only then did the doctor realize that he was not looking at a man. He spurred his horse to pass by the terrifying sight as quickly as possible, but the horse suddenly reared up and began to neigh loudly, as if very frightened.

The doctor whipped her and spurred her again, but the horse reared up again and threw the doctor onto the road, and then ran back the other way. While the doctor was getting up, the ghost disappeared somewhere, and the doctor didn’t find the courage to find out where, and just trudged home.

When he got home, the doctor couldn’t get the terrifying face of the ghost out of his head, and the next day he finally decided to return to the place to unravel this mystery. He took a shotgun, his bulldog, and an assistant named Lawson with him.

They hid in the bushes near the spot where the ghost came out onto the road, and when night fell, they saw nothing, but heard loud painful groans and lamentations coming from a large tree nearby. And then the dog began to behave as if it saw something terrible, then it rushed to that tree and … as if it hit an invisible wall.

The blow was so powerful that the dog flew back several meters. But the dog got up on its paws and rushed there again. And again it somersaulted. After a couple of such attacks, the dog didn’t get up anymore, and when the doctor and Lawson approached it, they saw that the bulldog was lying dead with a broken neck.

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