Halloween is the one time of year where people across the country celebrate fear and the unknown. And no Halloween is complete without a good scary story. While many have heard tales of a man in the back seat, or an escaped convict with a hook for a hand, most are unaware that Pittsburgh is host to several urban legends of its own. I have compiled my top five favorite Pittsburgh legends for your reading pleasure. So light some candles, dim the lights and enjoy.
5. 13 Bends
According to legend, an orphanage once stood along a stretch of road somewhere just outside of Pittsburgh. Sometime in the 1800s the orphanage caught fire and burned down–killing thirteen of the children stuck inside. Travelers driving along the nearby road have reported the road bending thirteen times when traveling in one direction but only twelve times when going the other way. Additional reports claim that the hand prints of children were found on their car windows after driving the stretch of road.
Unfortunately, there is no actual evidence of thirteen bends or the orphanage fire. In fact, even the location of the road changes from tale to tale with some claiming it is located in Harmarville while others say it is in McKeesport.
4. Blue Myst Road
Another popular haunted road is Irwin Road, better known as Blue Myst Road, after the blue colored mist that supposedly hangs over the road at night. A number of different legends surround Blue Myst Road including the story of a nearby graveyard where the headstones of two lovers are slowly drifting towards each other. If the headstones touch, the world is supposed to end.
There are also tales of houses along blue Myst Road being home to witches or angry little-people who attack trespassers. There’s even a legend of a half-deer-half-man creature that stalks the woods along the road.
Once again, there is little to no evidence supporting any of these claims, but Irwin Road does exist and is located in the North Hills. Apparently the only danger of visiting the road is from the locals who are sick of trespassing thrill-seekers.
3. Ghost Bomber
In 1956, a Mitchell B-25 Bomber plane crashed into the Monongahela River–killing two of the six passengers on board. Although there were many witnesses and several recovery attempts, the plane has never been found.
Of all the legends on this list, this is one of the most fascinating cases. There is absolute historical evidence of the plane crashing and, despite all odds, the plane has not been recovered to this day. Some believe the plane contained government secrets, was quickly recovered, and taken away by agents who threatened witnesses to forget what they’d seen. Others believe the plane simply vanished.
The most likely of cases is that the plane is still lying at the bottom of the Mon buried under layers of dirt.
2. Congelier House
Also known as the “House the Devil built,” the Congelier Mansion was located at 1129 Ridge Avenue in Manchester and, according to legend, has been home to a number of sinister and paranormal happenings. The Congelier Mansion was once considered the most haunted house in America and was even visited by Thomas Edison while he was experimenting with communicating with the dead.
The legend states that the Mansion was built by Charles Congelier for him and his wife, but when Mrs. Congelier found out her husband was having an affair with the maid, she brutally murdered them both. A few days later, she was found cradling the maid’s head and singing lullabies to it.
The next resident of the house was the reclusive Dr. Brunrichter, who was later discovered to have had the heads of several women in his basement. Apparently, he was experimenting on them.
After that, the Equitable Gas Company purchased the mansion to use as housing for its immigrant workers until they began mysteriously dying one-by-one.
By 1927, the house had exploded, leaving behind nothing but a crater. Many believe that the house had returned to Hell from which it came.
In reality, most of the claims about Congelier House have not been proven. There was a house at 1129 Ridge Avenue, and it was home to a Marie Congelier. In 1927, The Equitable Gas Company blast, caused by a massive gas storage tank igniting, exploded the windows of the Congelier House sending shards of glass into Marie Congelier killing her.
1. The Green Man
Said to haunt the Piney Fork Tunnel along the South Side’s Route 351, The Green Man is one of Pittsburgh’s most well known urban legends. He is also known as Charlie-No-Face because The Green Man has been described as a faceless being who walks along Route 351 at night and supposedly emits an eerie green glow.
The reality is not nearly so frightening. The Green Man was a real person named Raymond Robinson. As a boy, he suffered a horrible accident while playing on a trolley bridge. The high voltage electrical line horribly disfigured Robinson, causing him to lose his eyes, nose and an arm. Due to his frightening appearance, he resorted to leaving the house by night to take his daily walks in order to avoid disturbing passerbys. Robinson, however, was extremely friendly and would often allow strangers to chat with him or take pictures in exchange for a beer. Robinson died of natural causes in 1985 at the age of 74.
Pittsburgh is an old city with a rich history full of stories. Tell us your favorite local legends in the comments and have a happy Halloween!