In the southeast corner of Harrison County, WV there is a small little community called Johnstown. It has had a long history of travelers and merchant activity. This particular story takes place not long after the Civil War.
It was a time of traveling peddlers who went from place to place, town to town, peddling/selling different items. It seems that this particular peddler came to Johnstown and did quite well selling whatever he had. He probably made quite a bit of money. He left town early in the evening and was seen traveling past the local church and into some woods just beyond. He never came out.
Later his relatives came looking for him since he had not reported home. A search was made of the woods which turned up his blood stained hat and coat. No trace of the man, his horse, his wares or any of his belonging were ever found. Eventually he had been waylaid in those woods, murdered and robbed. Not long after that people who would be traveling to Johnstown down that road would encounter a very strange site. Seemingly this would only happen at dusk.
They would see coming towards them in the half light a figure. A figure that did not reply to their greetings, a figure that when it came close enough to be seen had no facial features at all. It was charcoal grey and looked like a three dimensional shadow. Truly this was not a living being. The folks who met the creature would try to run from it only to be chased. It was not until they crossed a creek would the creature stop.
After a while they began comparing stories about their encounters with the “Black Thing”. Time passed and the state highway department came in and decided to move the old road out of the woods to a cleared area below. When construction first began in the old woods a body or human skeleton was unearthed. No doubt, the local folks said, that was the Black Thing, and it was trying to tell the living it had been murdered. The old folks said that if the bones would be buried in the local graveyard, consecrated ground, that would “lay” the ghost.
However, the bones were put back where they were found and the site unmarked. You can still see that old road as it goes through the woods. It’s grown over but still one can walk it. I have the distinct feeling the Black Thing is still there, still waiting to tell someone it was killed. I’ve been out that road many, many times in daylight, but not at night. Nor do any of the other local folks go there at night. But I do believe it’s still there, waiting.
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