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Pennsylvania folklore

The Bloody Mary Ritual

We were having a sleepover at my house that Saturday night. Me and my four best friends; Alex, Bianca, Sabrina, and Lacey. We made cookies and watched movies and did our hair and makeup. By midnight, we’d run out of planned activities. It was time to improvise. “Let’s try that Bloody Mary thing,” Lacey suggested.

Hoop Snakes

Now the Pennsylvania hoop snake is something to be reckoned with. It is long, and its colors vary with the type of whisky you’ve been drinking. But everyone agrees that you can tell a hoop snake from a regular snake by the way it moves. When a hoop snake travels around, it grabs its tail (with the poison stinger at the end) in its mouth and rolls along until it sees something it wants to sting. Then it whips the stinger out of its mouth quick enough and lashes out with its tail…

Phantom Drummer

Now when Colonel Howell of the British Army chanced to meet the daughter of the wealthy farmer Jarrett, who owned land near Valley Forge, he fell head-over-heels in love. Howell had a bit of a reputation as a womanizer, but it faded away after he met Ruth. The girl had a brother serving under Washington and none of her family liked the red coats, but so overwhelming was Howell’s love for her that it conquered the reluctant maiden’s heart…

Ghost in the Stacks

I saw her out of the corner of my eye while I was studying in a remote corner of the second-level stacks in the library. She was pretty, with reddish hair and pensive, wide eyes in an intelligent face. I straightened up, patted my hair to make sure it was smooth, and took another look. She was gone…

Storm Hag

She lurks below the surface of the lake near Presque Isle, her lithe form forever swimming through the weeds and the mire. Pale and green of skin, her yellow eyes shine luminously in the dark, and her thin long arms wrap themselves around the unwary, while foul-green pointed teeth sink into soft flesh and sharp nails at the end of long bony fingers stroke you into the deepest sleep there is. She is called by many names, but to sailors of Lake Erie, she is known as the Storm Hag.

The Melt Shop

All the men working in the Melt Shop of the steel mill soon learned to be very careful around the furnace and the ladles full of molten steel. Every worker feared what would happen if the chains holding the ladles full of hot liquid ever broke while they passed overhead. Burning to death in molten steel might be a quick demise, but it would be agonizing.

Goblin of Easton

There was once a monk at the mission who loved money and power more than he loved God. He would hear the confession of the good folk who attended the mission, and then would blackmail them into giving him gold and silver to keep their darkest secrets.

Bloody Mary

She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.

Axe Murder Hollow

Susan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour.
“We’d better stop.” Said Susan. Ned nodded his head in agreement. When he stepped on the brake, the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They went off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.

Olde Fort Mifflin

There is only one word for Fort Mifflin during a reenactment. LOUD! My ears were ringing as I hurried inside the ammunition mound, according to my assigned role. The mound muffled the sound of canons a little bit. But I still reckoned I’d be deaf all day tomorrow!