Thursday, October 25, 2007

Axe Murder Hollow



image from OKCupid

We'll take a cruise up I-79 and head towards Erie for today's story. This gruesome tale starts in a quiet wooded area off of Sterrettania Road in Millcreek. There you'll find the burned out foundations of a small home. (Not anymore, though. We've been told that plot was the last site sold in the housing project that's sprung up in the area.)

A rock path from there will lead you to a creek with a tree stump near its' bank. A jealous husband who suspected his wife of cheating on him with a farmhand chased her down that path and beheaded her with an axe on that stump. (Other versions say he killed her and his children in the house.) Then he immolated himself by setting the small house on fire.

Skip ahead a few years. A young couple are driving down a narrow road along the creek in the rain when the car got mired in the mud. The driver, being cautious in the secluded spot, told the girl to lock herself in the vehicle while he went for help.

She sat for what seemed to be forever in the car. Then she heard the muffled sounds of a struggle, followed by a gurgling noise. A bright light shone in the car and a voice commanded her to get out. Too terrified to protest, she unlocked the door and stepped into the rain. Hanging from a tree by his ankles was her dead boyfriend, blood dripping from his slit throat.

She turned to the man, and then ran screaming into the dusk. The shadowy figure held a light in one hand, an axe glistening with blood in the other, and was reaching out for her. If you ever visit an old friend that's a long-time Erie local, ask him about the tale. He'll know it. He may offer to take you there. A nice rainy evening would be a perfect time to visit.

Erie's not the only place with a similarly gruesome tale. A reader wrote "There was a tragic murder in York county on Iron Stone Road. A husband killed his pregnant wife and children with an axe and then hung himself. It's said that spheres of lights circle the house!"

There's also supposed to be another Axe Murder Hollow in McKean. A reader, Sally, wrote that "Axe Murder Hollow is located in an area of Thomas Road between Sterrettania Road and California Drive. I lived within walking distance of Axe Murder Hollow for over 30 years and never met any kind of Ghost or supernatural being."

"The property around there is all privately owned property and I knew one of the owners. He owned a lot of construction equipment and was sick of curiosity seekers trespassing on his property and would go out at night with a shotgun with rock salt and fire in the direction of trespassers. This, of course, just added to the excitement and rumors." As for us, we think we'd rather bump into an unarmed spook.

Developers in Erie gobbled up the land and built suburban homes in the Hollow; even the old burnt-out lot was sold. You can barely recognize the place now. But the road is still there, running right along the creek...

10 comments:

Gaslight said...

Why are there never any names or dates in stories about "Axe Murder Hollow?" This story is not even urban myth, it is pure fiction.

Ron Ieraci said...

Gaslight - that's what makes it and other like tales an urban legend rather than historic fact.

Maybe it's rooted in some dusty old event passed down by mouth; maybe it's a figment of someone's imagination that's somehow taken hold in popular lore.

Could it be fabricated out of whole cloth? Sure - but something about the area lent itself to the story. Heck, it may be nothing more than a cautionary tale meant to scare backseat Romeos away from the lane.

Who knows? The person that started the story, maybe three generations ago, sure ain't telling.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are this. A jealous man kills his wife. We hear this everyday in the news. Some creep decides to kills innocent travelers and blame an old tale. We hear this in the news too. My mother grew up here in Erie and she personally knew people that were able to research facts and nothing has been able to prove that it didn't happen

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - that's the beauty of these tales; they've been passed down through the generations, and there's some event behind the lore. This one could very well be the story of a long-ago crime. As you say, it happens every day.

Anonymous said...

If it is pure fiction then by definition it is an Urban Legend.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - We categorize things as urban legends when the events aren't verifiable. That's not the same as not happening, though that, of course, is one possibility.

Azurerains said...

I am from Erie & have been there many times growing up. They built houses there & the site where the old foundation stood was the last lot to sell.

Sally Owen said...

Axe Murder Hollow is located in an area of Thomas Road between Sterrettania Road and California Drive, in McKean, Pa. I lived on Sterrettania Road, within walking distance of “Axe Murder Hollow” for over 30 years.
I used to walk my dogs through the area known as “Axe Murder Hollow” quite frequently. Never met any kind of Ghost or supernatural being. I have walked through there all hours of the day & night.
I did; however, stay on the road. The property around there is all privately owned property and I knew one of the owners. He owned a lot of construction equipment and was sick of curiosity seekers tresspassing on his property and would go out at night with a shotgun with rock salt and fire in the direction of tresspassers he would hear in the woods. This, of course, just added to the excitement and rumors.

Debbie said...

I ACTUALLY LIVED THERE in Erie,Pennsylvania on Thomas Road. My dad built a house in those same exact woods. He never told us the story till about a year later of living there but I personally thought it was pretty coolest thing living in the haunted woods. I live in Florida now but I miss those beautiful woods a nd the big open stream of water by them. Living there I never saw anything mysterious but you never know ;)

Willy T said...

I grew up in this area of Millcreek. Any kid who went to Walnut Creek Middle School, right down the road from here, can tell you a different version of this urban legend. Based in truth or total fabrication, it was harrowing stuff at that age! When I went there in the 90's, they still did a hay ride down that road every Halloween, and some faculty member would usually dress up like the bloody, lantern holding murderer. It was memorable enough for me to look it up just now! Thanks for posting this