THE GHOST OF DARKISH KNOB
Parsons, West Virginia
During the years prior to the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was the path to freedom for many slaves who were held in the south. The route through the rugged hills of what is now West Virginia was a favorite among guides for these escaped slaves because of the many hiding places and the treacherous mountains.... but sometimes these places led to death.
And to ghosts....
Near the two of Parsons is a tall, steep hill that is almost entirely covered with loose rock. It is a dangerous place and only one path leads over this hill and it is nearly impassable. The hill is called Darkish Knob and among local residents, it has long had a reputation for being haunted.
In the years before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was busy bringing as many slaves as possible to the north. These escaped slaves had to travel at night, hiding and sleeping in the daytime, so that they wouldn't be seen. One trip through an area had to be different from the next for the guides that led these slaves. They had to sleep in different houses and use different trails to avoid the authorities who might be waiting for them along the familiar routes.
One of the best routes north wound through the mountains of West Virginia (although is was still part of the state of Virginia at that time). There were many places to hide out here but traveling at night through the deadly passes could be treacherous. To the slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad though, only death and despair awaited them if they went back, so these men and women would often travel along trails that most people wouldn't even attempt in the day time.
Such was the trail over Darkish Knob. It was here that a small house was hidden near the base of the hill that offered rest and safety for the slaves. The house was so well hidden that many travelers passed it by because they couldn't find it in the darkness. This made it the perfect place to hide out.
One night, a young girl was trying to locate the house. She was being chased by slave-catchers, men who had been hired to find runaway slaves, and missed the house and started up the trail over Darkish Knob instead.
She rode her horse to the top of the hill and along the path that drops down into the Cheat River. As she reached the top, she turned and looked back. The horse lost his footing and plunged over the edge of the hill. As the girl fell to the rocks below, she let out a bellowing scream that was heard for nearly a mile.
The ghost of this young girl is said to return to the top of the hill every year on the eve of the date of her death. The ghost moans and cries for several minutes and then lets out a terrifying scream as the moment of her death approaches.
Parsons, West Virginia is located in the north central part of the state, north of Elkins and along Highway 219.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor, All Rights Reserved
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