October 02, 2017
It's almost time for Halloween, and if you're way too old to go trick-or-treating, fear not: You can still overeat candy, still dress up for a night of drinking and still work up a good scare or two.
To celebrate the coming holiday, Thrillist published a list of the creepiest urban legends in every state. You might guess Pennsylvania and New Jersey's top terrors are related to Centralia and the Jersey Devil, but the choices here offer a welcome change of pace.
Ever heard of old Charlie No-Face? His tragedy became a decadeslong whisper-down-the-lane phenomenon in Western Pennsylvania, leaving late-night motorists with their fog lights blaring. In 1919, a boy by the name of Ray Robinson was electrocuted by a trolley wire as he inspected a bird's nest in the town of Hillsville.
Robinson's survival was a medical miracle, mainly because most of his face was melted and disfigured. The video below contains graphic photographs of Robinson as a grown man. He became a local recluse who mostly kept his company limited to his family, but not before strange tales of his nighttime activities took hold in Beaver County.
Charlie No-Face allegedly haunts an abandoned freight tunnel in Hillsville. He's also become radioactive, glows green and can stall out your car simply by touching it.
In New Jersey, a more recent sensation earned the distinction: The Watcher.
In 2014, an unsuspecting couple purchased a home in Westfield, Union County, for a price of $1.3 million. Within days, they received a disturbing anonymous letter warning them their movements could and would be tracked. The letter also expressed pleasure that they had brought "young blood" — their children — into the residence.
The family understandably never moved into the home. A year later, they sued the former owners, claiming they had received letters from "The Watcher" and refused to disclose this information in order to complete the sale, but the previous owners countersued for defamation. The story garnered worldwide attention and has prevented the family from selling the haunted home.
The lawsuit remains unresolved, as does the identity of The Watcher. Some brave soul was actually willing to rent the place while the owners search for something else to do with the property, such as redevelop it. But theories abound as to what's been going on here. Some say it's a local loon who's probably harmless, yet no one seems willing to find out. Others believe it might be the work of a disgruntled prospective buyer who lost the bidding war.
Police have been tight-lipped about their investigation since a fourth letter arrived in February. Our only hope to solve this may be in the realm of fiction. NBC pre-emptively bought a project in development by former "Homeland" producer Alex Cary. Time will tell whether "The Watcher" ends up reflecting the truth of the mystery in Westfield, if it ever comes to light.
Check out the rest of the country's top urban legends here.