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The Mystery of the ghostly mound builders

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The famous ancient mound builders in South Huntington Township took on life as the 800 year old ghosts started stalking out at night, disturbing the tranquility of the country neighborhood in December 1920. All was not well within the famous tomb which once stood 300 feet long and 12 feet high. Dave Kelly, the high constable and custodian of the peace in and about Gratztown—a mile from the mound—had been asked to investigate.

Kelly did not take stock in ghosts, spirits or such things. He had more of a practical mind. He set bear traps all about the mound and figured the traps would be more apt to catch the spooks than any other method. He figured that all ghosts have two legs at least, and the traps were pretty likely to produce results if the spirits stuck around long enough.

The first news of the stalking of the ghosts of the ancient mound builders came on Halloween. A frightened traveler rushed breathlessly into Gratztown to tell all what he had seen. A couple of weeks later, two more witnesses reported seeing an eight-foot apparition with a slightly smaller specimen nearby.

Back in 1893, Dr. W. J. Holland and his assistant from the Cathese museum of Pittsburgh invaded the quietness of the mound builder’s tomb of an ancient race that inhabited that part of the country and removed one of the eight foot specimens. The mound was originally about 100 feet longer and more than 12 feet high. It was located on the J. R. Secrist farm in South Huntington Township. The farm had been in the Secrist name since the late 1700’s. Holland traveled around the East Coast excavated several of the ancient mounds that ended up in the Carnegie Museum.

Did this act anger the ancient denizens of the mound? This was the question the residents were unable to determine. Many of the disbelievers preferred to give the mound builder’s tomb a safe distance at night.

Others believed that daring whisky runners capitalized the ghost business with a haunt to keep people away from the mound so they could hide their whisky within the tomb. They were in the vicinity of several of the largest distilleries in the country and since prohibition was in effect, large amounts of whisky was stolen from the warehouses and never accounted for.

Dave Kelly’s bear traps just might have caught a ghost which turned out to be a red-blooded whisky runner! On another note—could our Bigfoot species be descendants of the 8 to 9 foot mound builders?

Read more about mound builders here.

Haunted Places Examiner: Debe Branning



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