A guide to haunted cities and towns located along the Orange Belt, just outside of Pittsburgh. Traveler's experience ghost sightings, vanishing hitchhikers, unexplained shadows, and ghost cars.
The Road with Haunted Towns, Vanishing Hitchhikers & Ghost Cars: The Haunted Orange Belt
Have you ever been driving late at night along the Orange Belt and discovered that the car behind you with the blaring headlights was nothing more then a ghost car that has just totally fell off of the face of the Earth right in front of your eyes? You know, poof! It's gone. You then find yourself wondering if it was a figment of your own overly-tired imagination; or was it entirely something else, but you really don't want to go there.
The good news is that the chances are high that it is not all in your head, and that the creepy reality is pretty strong that it was one of the ghost cars spotted regularly on any average dark foggy night on the well driven Orange Belt. In fact most of the locals would claim that you have just encountered one of the many reported ghost cars often seen at an alarming rate on this road, but most optimists would stand by their belief that you need some serious bed rest followed by a visit to the shrink.
I feel strongly that you should visit the cities located on the Orange Belt for yourself and draw your own conclusions about what you see or feel. The haunted Pittsburgh roadway, known to the locals as notably nostalgic by day and undoubtedly creepy at night, is the longest road that surrounds Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In fact the orange belt runs a staggering 109 miles and runs through many of the most haunted towns in southwest Pennsylvania.
Many of these small towns found along the Orange Belt have there own unique haunted story-filled pasts, mostly kicked to the curb by non-believers as nothing more then folklore, but still continue to bring in flocks of ghost hunters year after year, especially in the late fall, as they search for the gravely details of what once was, and still may be lurking in the dark shadows of the trees and eventually into the deep crevices of their minds.
The Haunted Cities & Towns of the Orange Belt
The 13 Bends in Boston, Pennsylvania: We will start this haunted journey with one of the most notorious haunts that began at the turn of the century when a girl's orphanage went up in flames while the children were sleeping in their beds. Many different stories have inspired ghost hunters to check it out for themselves, and if you dare to park your car and actually walk to the site just before you get to the charred school bus, you will see crumbled cement and smell fire or burning flesh.
Baby powder sprinkled on your steamed up car windows will often show small hand prints of children at different times, and on nights where there is a full moon you can hear screams and cries for help. This place really pushes the fear factor to the test at midnight on an evening with a new moon when it is darker then usual.
*NOTE* Similar accounts of this story entail that each road has13 bends going up, 12 coming down, and are haunted by children who burned to death in an orphanage fire in the early 1900s. These other haunted locations include Campbell's Run Road in Harmarville, Renzie Road in Boston and Coulterville Road, winding from North Huntingdon to South Versailles. The folklore passed down through the years includes a burning building, children screaming and bells ringing to white lights and handprints of children on visitor's car windows.
Directions: Starting at the Boston Bridge heading on the Orange Belt, count each major bend until you have reached 13. This should be just before the top of the hill, approximately 3 miles from the Boston Bridge. Just behind the large cement blocks on the left side of the road is where the orphanage once stood. There is a dead-end driveway to the far right of the blocks, pull in and park if you dare. Walk across the grassy area with crumbled ornate cement and you will see the abandoned ruins of the bus as well.
Dead Man's Hollow in Liberty, PA: The hollow can be found from the remains that include the ruins of the Union Sewer Pipe factory that burned down in 1924. The locals claim that a ghost makes its presence felt in the hollow each October. There are stories of rustling sounds among the fallen leaves with no one present and other unexplained noises.
Dead Man's Hollow at one time had its own Loch Ness monster. A newspaper story from the late 1800s about a monster snake rearing its head in the hollow surfaced and pandemonium quickly took over and stories soon flooded the region. It said it was 30 to 40 feet long with a head 2 to 3 feet in circumference. When the eye witness saw it, he almost fainted from shock.
Directions: Turn right off of the Boston Bridge and go one block. Turn right again into the parking lot of the walking trails. From the Youghiogheny River Trail at the Boston access of the walking trail, the haunted site is just about ¼ of a mile down the trail in the darkened nook that suddenly turns cold and eerie all at once.
White Oak, Pennsylvania: The severe 90-degree turn on Coulterville Road just off of Lincoln Way has been a hot spot for entities and accidents, one more than likely due to the other. Many accounts of late night sightings of a lady in white, a black dog and an old sickly man that appears at the side of the road have been reported by passerbies.
Continue your ghost tour up to Eighth Street and make a left, continue down to the end of the road until you come to the old church and a small cemetery. Park and visit the ghostly residents, and before you can say boo you will undoubtedly hear the playful footsteps of the ghost children and see dark figures out of your rear-view mirror.
Pitcairn Haunted Woods: The deep thick woods off of Johnson Road have witnessed many horrible events including murder. People have come up missing for days and can only describe a lapse in time and confusion clouded with dark figures that randomly appeared then quickly disappeared. The woods themselves surround a haunted cemetery just off of the road marked closed. A shadowy figure known as the "Johnson's Shadow Man" has been spotted near the reservoir and fog embodies the area around the graves making it hard to see.
Directions: From 48/Mosside Blvd turn onto Broadway Blvd, make a right onto Wall Street, then a left onto 3rd Street to Short Street, and then a left onto Johnson Road.
*NOTE* Johnson Road runs from Monroeville to Pitcairn, and is home to the "Shadow Man," a shadow-like figure that haunts the Pitcairn side of the closed section of the road. People have reported hearing voices and sounds of people walking at night. Many sites report that more than five bodies have been found on Johnson Road in the last 20 years, but the Monroeville Police Chief can only recall three homicide victims found on the road. The old trails behind the forgotten baseball fields in Pitcairn have been reported as haunted as well. The locals claim that they are haunted by enraged 19th century workers who died in accidents at the town's railway yards.
Harmarville: Haunted trail and woods where ghosts appear as alive and kicking. They will pass you on the trail, acknowledging you then disappear. The woods are haunted by miners usually seen in the form of orbs floating throughout the woods. You can hear footsteps following you and the feeling that you are being touched.
Directions: Off of Route 28 in Harmarville, turn onto Guys Run Road until you come to a "Y" in the road, go to the left onto Campbell's Run Road. There are various trails to explore.
Oakmont: The Bright cemetery is notorious for the creepiness that it reeks whether its day or night. The grave site is named after the founders of Oakmont, and the cemetery is home to the tombstones of many of the Bright family members. The name of Adam Bright, a Civil War soldier who was captured by the Confederate Army, was added to his parents' headstone, despite the fact that his body lies elsewhere. Local folklore claims that Adam Bright visits quite often. He's been spotted repeatedly, wearing his uniform and wandering through the thick fog late at night, possibly visiting his family.
Directions: From Route 28 turn right onto the Hulton Bridge, turn right onto Allegheny River Blvd, turn left onto Pennsylvania Avenue and right onto 4th Street. The cemetery is on 4th between Pennsylvania and Maryland avenues.
*WARNING* Do not disturb graves in any way, shape or form. Do not enter areas marked "Stay Out" or posted with "No Trespassing Signs intact"! The haunted areas that I have listed were all accessible and free to investigate to your hearts desire.
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