Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blue Mist Road and the Legends Behind It

If you are a resident of North Hills (Wexford, Gibsonia, Allison Park, and other surrounding areas) in Southwestern Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh), you are likely quite familiar with North Park. I myself enjoy going there to hike and jog as it is quite beautiful and - even in its busiest hours - offers much serenity. But one road in particular that intrigues many (myself included) and is fodder for much local legends in the area is an old dirt road called Irwin. Or, "Blue Mist Road" as it is often referred.

Now, I am the sort who loves to explore old buildings and churches (especially ones that have been abandoned) and will also never shy from entering a cemetery, regardless of the time of day (or night). But something about this particular road unnerves me and always has since I moved to the area.

At first glance, it seems fairly innocuous. Just a dirt road that eventually leads out to one that is more traveled (910).

 I have walked it a few times, determined to make it down to the end. But somewhere at about halfway down, I always get the feeling that I shouldn't go much further. At least not by myself. Perhaps it is just me being superstitious, but there is a certain point where I do feel I should turn back.
Now, this could be partially due to the fact that some of the supposed history and urban legends behind Irwin or "Blue Mist" Road are quite disturbing. One in particular stating how the road was once a haven for the KKK. It is also said that the tree on which they used to execute lynchings still stands. This has been disputed, however, by some investigators, particularly the folks at Weird U.S (a site that I do encourage you to check out). According to them, this is doubtful. They report that the branches of the tree aren't strong enough to hang a human on. They also go on to state that because Pennsylvania was an abolitionist state (and even abolished their anti-miscegenation laws in the year 1780, long before the Civil War came to fruition), the Klan would not have had that great of a stronghold. In this, I can see where Weird U.S. is coming from. But I will also say that just because Pennsylvania in general might not have been huge Klan supporters, that does not mean that there weren't groups whose ideas coincided with such a group. Even if such ideals weren't acceptable by most, that doesn't mean that even a small group formed a chapter and worked at more underground level. And if you look into the history of the Klan, there is talk of how they did have disturbingly higher connections (but that's a whole 'nother post). Either way, the story of The Hanging Tree remains as one of the more prominent legends of Irwin.

Now, less disturbing, but still eerie is the reason behind the nickname, "Blue Mist Road." Why Blue Mist, you ask? Well, apparently this due to tellings of a blue mist covering the road at nightfall. Some have even claimed to have seen blue orbs among the trees.
Toward the end of the road, there is a point where the road diverges into three paths. One of these paths is marked with a rusty mailbox and leads up to a foundation where The Witch House once stood. Another leads to place known as the Midget Farm (or Midgetville). The Witch House was said to have been home to a few satanic covens (animal mutilations and disappearances of local teens were widely circulated during the 1980s and 1990s according to a few sources).
As for Midget Farm, it is said that it was inhabited by a little person trying to escape scrutiny. Anytime a curious local might venture onto the path, the "midget" would chase him or her away. There have even been stories of rabid dogs coming out of nowhere and sitings of a half-deer-half-man.

Among the creepy tales is one of doomed romance. Near the three-way fork in the road is a small cemetery. The graveyard is said to be so old that the names and dates on the worn down headstones are mostly unreadable (I will add that the idea of such a graveyard was also part of the inspiration for my short story, The Cemetery by the Lake). The cemetery is said to have two particular graves belonging to two former star-crossed lovers. According to legend, anytime the moonlight hits these two stones, they supposedly lean in to one another as if to try and touch or kiss. Hence, they are referred to as the 'kissing stones.'

Of course, every urban legend has believers as well as those who will debunk it. Whether or not you choose to believe is entirely up to you. As for myself, I will say that I do feel as though I am entering a world different from my own in the few times I've set foot on Irwin. And not matter how crowded North Park gets during its peak hours, Irwin or "Blue Mist" is almost always deserted, save for maybe one or two occasional jogger or biker.

I will also add that if you do decide to venture onto Irwin Road, it is not illegal to do so (at least as of this posting) though only authorized vehicles are permitted. Meaning you will have to walk or bike (though do check into what the rules may be before going on any sort of adventure).
And speaking of not taking your vehicle onto Irwin, that may be a good thing. As another legend states that if you park your car beneath the hanging tree (and some stories say to honk three times), the car will fail to start up and strange things will begin to happen. And according to some, one unfortunate teen met his demise by doing so...

Weird U.S.
Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History & Lore
Pennsylvania Haunts and History

Photos in this article taken by Tiffany Apan.

Tiffany Apan is a critically acclaimed independent recording artist, a stage/film actress, author, and award-winning producer/writer. You can find more about her at her Official Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and her production company website. She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers. She also does freelance writing, and editing. Her own stories are available at Smashwords, Barnesand Noble NOOK, Amazon, and other retailers. Her novel series, The Birthrite Series, is also available in both ebook and paperback form. In addition, she is a contributor to Ravenous Monster Webzine.

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