Fact, Legend, or Both

Day 6

How does a story become a legend. Is it true? Is it all fabricated? Is it a combination of both?

In the paper the other day there was an article about the Stone Couch. I had never heard of it but I found the story fascinating seeing that it is located a short drive from where I once lived. According to one legend a native American woman was hiking with her baby. She stopped to feed the baby. When she reached around to get the child it was dead. She placed a curse on the stone formation and all who sat on it.

Another story dates back to the flu pandemic of 1918. A man was driving his sick wife and child to the doctor’s. His tin lizzie broke down. He made the couch for his wife and child to sit on and rest while he walked for help. When he and the doctor returned mother and child were dead. The man faded away and his spirit is said to walk the site.

Legend has it that if you sit on the couch once you will get strange marks or a rash on your body. If you sit on it a second time someone you know will die. If you sit on it a third time you will die. I have never checked this out to see if there is any truth to it. According to the article in the paper, a woman documented her third sit down for a you tube post. She is still with us. Although this is not hers, here’s a video of it. It is 9 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uPV12VsrmA You will need to copy and paste in your browser.

However, there is an interesting spot about 10 minutes from where I lived.. Here is a brief history of the place:

PEDDLER’S GRAVE (Mahanoy City, Schulykill County) The Peddler’s Grave is a landmark recalling a brutal murder committed there on August 11, 1797, the first recorded killing in the county.  It’s the final resting place for Jost Folhaber, a local traveling peddler killed by a robber, Benjamin Bailey, who was later captured and hung. The peddler was buried under the tree where he met his untimely end. The grass withered and never grew again,and the snow which fell to a great depth all around the spot would melt at once as it fell about the tree. Passer-bys saw strange sights, and one young man, reported that he had seen the peddler, whom he had known well in life, running around the tree pursued by a man with an axe, reliving the crime. So dreaded was the spot that no one ventured to pass the grave if they could avoid it, and there were rumors of moans and cries in that vicinity, heard near and wide. Now it’s a popular tourista spot; go figure.  The story was taken verbatim from Old Schuylkill Tales, written by Ella Zerbey Elliott in 1906.

This place I have visited and never saw anything strange. Maybe I just went at the wrong time. Of course, I never went at night. Maybe I should have.There are other places in and around Schuylkill County where strange things are reported to occur that I have also visited. Maybe I will write about them in a future post.

So, what places of legend are near you or have you visited?


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26 responses to “Fact, Legend, or Both

  1. I love these tales. I suspect I’m not alone, hence the creation and continuation of the stories. Thank you for the idea to dig around for the legends of my neighborhood.

  2. jumpofffindwings

    It’s amazing how the places where we lives are often filled with mystery. So much of local history lies undiscovered by the very people who live there. (I’m thinking about all the stairs in Portland and a recent book that came out about them.) It’s great that you actually visit these places. I hope you write about them, too. (March is 31 days long, so…maybe.)

  3. Maybe. Who knows what lies ahead for the next 26 days.

  4. Once I visited the grave of Marie Laveau, famous Voodoo woman of New Orleans. I watched people arranging gifts to her in the afterlife. In return they expected to receive money in their current life. I overheard a woman telling of her experience, she received an unexpected large amount of money after visiting and leaving gifts for Marie. It was really out there, I didn’t take part.

    • I often wonder if it is like Pavlov’s dogs. Two things happen in close proximity and our brain makes a connection betwteen the two events.

  5. Personally, whenever I see an open manhole a tiny part of me wonders “Is this from where the infamous giant alligator that lives in the sewers escapes?”

  6. Sara Thornton


  7. Lainie Levin

    Stories like these are fascinating to me! I don’t know that there are many legends right around me, in my suburban old neighborhood, but I’d have to imagine that they’re there, if only I paid closer attention…

  8. Well, the legend isn’t exactly wrong. All of us are going to lose people eventually no matter where we’ve been sitting!

  9. I live in Huntington, Long Island. Nearby is a large rock dedicated to Nathan Hale who supposedly said something like: “I regret that I have but one life to live for my country?” Or is it “one life to give for my country?” In any case, every time I pass that rock, almost daily, I think about him and wonder if it’s true. Good to be back. Even ‘tho I am not participating in the March Solstice, I am enjoying reading posts of “old friends” in TWT.

  10. Bob, your haunting tales are creepy but so interesting. Thanks for sharing the video and the narrator was bold to sit down on the couch after what you recounted.Truth or not the tales are worth telling.

  11. Creepy and fascinating 👍😊

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