HEDGER'S GHOST STILL WANDERS AFTER BRUTAL MURDER|
Hedger's Ghost sprung from the mouth of Devil's Run, about
one-half mile up the Little Kanawha from the Belt Cemetery (photo view from cemetery) and across the river from the Fairfax Farm (background), over a century the creature has moved up and down the river for at least five miles, including hanging out on Leading Creek
There was no doubt about the early residents of the
Fairfax Farm and the region believing in Hedger's Ghost,
with frequent encounters, former Fairfax Farm resident
Charles McCoy (pictured) pointing toward Devil's Run across the
Little Kanawha from the 100-acre Fairfax meadow, now grown-up
By Bob Weaver
Hedger's Ghost has been a long-told tale in Calhoun County, dating back to the alleged murder of a peddler in the late 1800s, his body thrown into the Little Kanawha River.
Most every person born in the the lower river area of Calhoun-Wirt has heard the tale from their grandparents. In more recent times, younger folks have reported efforts at contacting the spirit.
Nearly all accounts say Hedger can be called into action by calling out his name three times, some say on full-moon nights and others say on Thursday.
Former Fairfax Farm resident (1943-1960s) Charles McCoy said "Let there be no doubt the people believed in Hedger's Ghost. His presence was something to consider along the river on dark nights."
Ronald Rose, a former resident of Munday, gave an interesting account of the ghost:
What I know about Hedger came from Lawrence Lanham who once lived in the heart of Hedger Country. Lawrence owned the Industry Store during a part of my young life. I was raised in the first house up from Leading Creek, just outside Hedger Country.
Hedger Country runs from where the Munday Road leaves the river at Industry and heads toward Munday (now called Owens Road), down the river to the foot of Feather Bed Hill, about four miles, where it joins the Straight Creek Road. In the middle of this area is Devil's Run, from whence the apparition sprung.
In the late 1800s, logs were rafted and tied up to be floated down the river to Parkersburg. Lawrence told me a "drummer" was robbed, killed and thrown in the river. He evidently floated up when they moved the raft.
After that, blood curdling screams were heard in this area on either Wednesday or Thursday nights (I can't remember which one). If you answered the scream, Hedger's next scream would be closer.
The deal was that if you answered three times (or some accounts if you called his name three times), Hedger had you.
Lawrence told me his brother, who was enjoying some liquid bravery, answered once and the scream was immediately closer. He answered again and it was in the chip yard. His brother ran into the house and crawled under the bed. No more screams were answered.
Lawrence told me somebody did answer Hedger three times. He told me his name, but I've forgotten it. Hedger took the fellow across the river (never got wet), up on Sixteen along about Schoolhouse Cave and told him who killed him (Hedger).
The ghost then returned him back across the river. Hedger told the fellow he could not repeat this name or he would die. This fellow tried to speak this name and almost choked to death, so he took the name to the grave.
All of this was told to me with seriousness and I know personally that Lawrence Lanham was as honest as Abe Lincoln.
I heard my grandfather tell some stories to other adults in all seriousness about seeing things in this area. I never knew Grandpa to lie. My Dad night hunted this area and he said he never saw or heard anything he couldn't explain.
I fished the area a lot in the daylight only. One time my uncle and I stayed too late and it was dark when we had to walk out. When we started we were not far from Devil's Run near the Belt Cemetery. We saw what we thought was a man (up close). It was very dark and we could still see the man.
There was a huge mud hole at least a foot deep all the way across the dirt road. The people who lived in the area had made a path around the big oak tree to avoid the mud hole.
There was no other way possible except around the tree or through the mud hole. As we approached the mud hole, we saw a person come up on the opposite side at the same time about ten feet from us.
We stopped and waited for him to come around the tree.
We went on around the tree and nobody was there waiting and nobody went through the mud hole, absolutely no where else to go. I looked at my uncle and asked, "Did you see that?" and he answered, "Yes." Nothing else was said. We were just puzzled, not scared at that time.
We continued down the hill and crossed Straight Creek at the old Ace Monroe place. I guess we started thinking and we began to pick up speed - the further we went the faster we ran.
I was carrying several catfish, but by the time we got to Industry, I had only two. I don't believe in ghosts but we both saw the same thing at the same time, just a mystery.
This Hedger Country is something else, especially at night.
- Jo Moellendick version: There is a farm down Munday Road that sits beside the Little Kanawha River. There was a murder that took place along the river bank several years ago. The legend says that if you call out the name of Hedger three times on the evening of a full moon you will find yourself on the other side of the river when morning breaks.
You will hear the water splashing as the ghost gets closer to your side of the river. That's when you have to make a choice to either run or stay. Just walking to the river during the full moon is a bit unsettling.
- Anonymous wrote: I was part of a small group who went to 'Hedger Hollow' on Halloween night
about three years ago and attempted to conjure him by saying, "Hedger,
Hedger, Hedger." We were quite disappointed that Hedger was a no show.
- Betty McCoy Kerby, who lived nearby on the Fairfax farm, said: My granddad Thomas Douglas Ewing lived on the Fairfax Farm in the early 1900s. He said he and another man heard Hedger's blood curdling screams, and one time encountered the ghost, making promises to him.
- Donna Steigleder wrote: If you go to a certain spot and call the name three times, you will wake up on the other side of the river. I remember when I was a senior in high school, I think Neil Blankenship was the one who took us and told the story. It was great fun. Five or six of us went to a building in the Munday area. It was foggy night, scary, spooky night when we were on the hunt of Hedger.
I remember one of the girls thought she felt a bench move under her hands and she came out screaming. Thanks for the memories.
- Anonymous wrote: We went down to the river, a spooky area without a ghost, and started to conjure up Hedger by calling his name. We got out one "Hedger," choked up and got so scared we ran back to the road.