(Orig. Published 9/2002)
Almost one year has passed since our last triumphant investigation of Boston Township, or Helltown. We conquered the cemetery mound with nary a scratch from the tired ghost and his tree-limbed brethren. We traversed the Highway to Hell like skilled navigators. We escaped the clutches of that anonymous figure who stalked us in the woods. And the cops didn’t catch us.
So, with a fool’s confidence, we dared to venture yet again into that dark valley.
Almost immediately upon entering Helltown, this buzzard loomed ominously above the trees on Stanford Road. A sign of things to come?
Before we could answer that question, more devilish wildlife attempted to impede our destination. Deer, at least three of them, loitered along the side of the road. One of them turned around and shot us a baleful stare. Unfortunately, the photo did not turn out so well. The buck’s pink eye hypnotized us into forgetting to focus the camera before taking the shot.
We fearlessly ventured forward onto…
THE HIGHWAY TO HELL
Sneaking past the suspicious eyes of neighboring residents, we drove on down Stanford Road, brazenly disregarding the “road closed” sign. Unable to go further by vehicle, we parked the car and hoofed it down the road, and beyond this barrier.
We didn’t need this sign to tell us that this was some rough road. We hiked further past this sign and up the hill until we reached . . .
THE HOUSE ON THE HILL
The old propane tank. Seems we were not the only ones here.
Though not visible in these photos, some new excavating equipment was parked in the driveway and fresh, large tire tracks were found around the grounds. Is the house slated for demolition?
To the right, an ORB!
Below, more shots of The House.
In front of The House stood this marker. Our best guess is that the W carved in the top stands for “Witch.”
9/23/02: One helpful reader recently wrote that the W means “whistle,” meant to alert the railroad engineer of an upcoming railroad crossing. Could this have been the site of an old railroad? We’ve never noticed signs of one, but we weren’t exactly looking for them, either. On the other hand, as our helpful reader points out, it was not uncommon for homeowners to simply take markers and retransplant them in their yard (of course, we prefer this explanation since it fits with the “Witch” theory!). Many thanks to Ghostrider for this clarification.
7/19/03: Richard from Atlanta, GA (!) says that the “W” is actually a marker for a water line to the house. We’re not quite sure how this explains the “witch” theory, so we would strongly advise taking his suggestion with a grain of salt….
11/13/03: Josh breaks this sad news: “I recently made the trip to visit the house and someone had cut the “w” from the post. Just some FYI. It looks like someone carved it out and took it as a trophy.”
7/5/04: Magick Maker from Georgia (!!) also agrees that this is a railroad whistle marker, and offers some valuable tips in locating abandoned rail lines. He writes:
“Seeing that W sign and the various explanations made me chuckle to a degree, but I would like to explain exactly what it is and why it’s there. (Considering I’m in Georgia myself, this may seem hard to believe, but trust me here.). The marker you have, is as has been suggested, is a whistle marker. Looking at the picture, I’d guess that you are maybe ten feet to the right of the tracks old location.
Finding abandoned rail lines is something of a hobby of mine, and I can offer you some advice on how to check if one is near that location. First, check the ground around such markers. Finding bits of limestone, coal, and metal are a good sign. Remember, granite and limestone were used in the early days of railroads as ballast. And trains burned coal.
Next, look for a rise (even a slight one) to the left of the marker. ONLY the left. The reason is simple: railroad engineers drive on the right hand side of the locomotive. So, this signal had to be on the right side, with the track to its left. Just looking at the picture, it seems to me that there is a rise to the left of the marker.
Third, remember, these things are usually 200 feet from the crossing’s actual location. If you suspect there is a crossing, always move down from the marker and look there, not right at it.
Finally, the style it’s made in, makes me think that it is an old PRR (Pennsylvania Rail Road) marker. First off, it looks to be made of concrete, with a slight taper from the base. The letter would have been bronze or brass, to reflect light at night. Not likely someone could have carted it off, since the PRR had a habit of making these things to STAY. Probably weighs something around 500 or more lbs and is three feet taller underground than what you see. Normally, when seeking an old rail line, you can check the trees. They’ll be smaller along the alignment (line) than the surrounding area. Problem is, as trees grow, this becomes harder and harder to do.”
Webmistress Note: An excellent analysis, but we must respectfully disagree on one point–we have it on good authority that the “rise” next to the W marker is actually a witch’s grave.
8/14/04: Well, it’s about friggin’ time! Dead Ohio’s railroad expert, Fast Freight, provides his opinion on this god-forsaken marker:
I must say all this hoopla and analysis on the damn W-post are classics! I’m surprised someone hasn’t mentioned it’s a whistle stop while riding that long black train on the way to hell!
The latest submission explanation from Magick Maker is definitely getting closer, but not close enough to satisfy old Fast-Freight. Those damned things are placed exactly 1500 ft from a road crossing. If they were only 200ft. from the x-ing, by the time I’d see it and grab the handle to blow the horn while traveling at 50 mph, I’d be a mile past the crossing. This marker is a New York Central RR concrete W-post! The Pennsylvania line basically used 2 distinct types of W-posts: 1.) the classic Keystone-shaped type with the W in the center made out of cast iron that fit over a pc. of 3″ pipe with a set screw to hold it in place, and 2.) a solid cast iron flat post that is slightly tapered towards the top with the raised W cast into it.
Brass or Bronze is usually affixed to the marker.
Those W-posts do have a tendency, though, to travel around and get relocated by people for use around the homefront–such as next to one’s driveway or a centerpiece in the yard with flowers planted around. I have about 5 around the house here! I’m not sure if there are any witches graves beside, next to, or underneath them!
A terrifying site–one of many neatly-stacked piles of lumber. One need only imagine for what purpose this wood is being stored.
THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL
Or, Boston Cemetery. What is it about this cemetery that creeps out so many? Perhaps it has less to do with the legends regarding the tired ghost and strange moving trees, and more to do with the obvious fact that this cemetery rests upon a large Native American mound–most likely a burial mound.
Of course, this tree IS pretty creepy.