Editor’s Note: The following article was printed in 1963 in The Carroll News. Though it has been more than 50 years, ‘The Coon Ridge Ghost” is still a source of conversation and wonder in Carroll County. Many people have asked us over the years to revisit the topic. And while ‘friends’ of the Coon Ridge Ghost have been mostly unwillingly to talk on record, we did recently run across the original 1963 article and wanted to share it with our readers.
Carroll County is making headlines throughout the area. Area daily newspapers, area television and radio stations have carried stories containing many words, but no newspaper until this issue of The Carroll News has carried a picture. There is plenty of excitement in the county these days. Not since the famous shooting has the county received such wide publicity.
It seems the county has a ghost. The Carroll News first learned of a ghost being seen in the Coon Ridge section several weeks ago. Since the first reports, a staff photographer started spending many hours in the area, checking out the reports and always having a camera close at hand, cocked and ready to fire. Since the ghost makes its appearance at night, all the reporting work has been after hours.
“The Haunt” as the ghost has been tagged by local residents, appears along Route 819, a state secondary road.
Some radio stations and newspapers have identified the ghost as boys playing pranks. To date, nothing has been proven one way or the other. The area where the ghost has been appearing has almost become a tourist attraction.
A resident of the area, Cecil Horton, stated that he saw The Haunt, and had never seen anything like it before in his life. He noted that it seemed to skip along the ground, never stopping for fences or any other obstacles, but rather just going through them.
Larry Cochran reported the Coon Ridge Ghost started appearing some two or three weeks ago and that on one occasion, he had been scared by the thing.
Friday evening, some 800 people from throughout the area crowded into the Coon Ridge section where the ghost had been appearing. Around 10 p.m., the thing reportedly zoomed out of the darkness then suddenly disappeared, as in to thin air. Some 100 people reported seeing the Haunt Friday night. A few were brave enough to give chase but soon found that this was to no avail. Chasers followed the path of the ghost and countered a briar patch where the ghost had vanished just moments before. Several people reported suffering scratches and bruises as a result of the chase. One of those among “the slightly injured” was a Carroll News reporter.
Radio station WHHV disc jockey Don Tucker has reported seeing the ghost on two different occasions. The ghost has been given widespread publicity on Tucker’s regular program.
Parents in the Coon Ridge area have been seeing to it lately that their children and home before dark.
“The children aren’t too hard to convince that they should be home,” one mother of three commented.
Edsel Shupe said that the thing seemed to be feeding off of alfalfa in a field across from his home. He said that one night, his son was terrified by something he had seen from his bedroom window. The picture of the ghost taken by the CN photographer seemed to fit the description given by Shupe’s son.
Throughout the day Saturday and into Sunday night, curious people were at Coon Ridge hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost.
Residents of the Coon Ridge area have estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people have passed through the section hoping to catch a glimpse of “The Great White Thing of Coon Ridge.”
The Ghost has been appearing mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, although he has been spotted throughout the week. The last report of seeing the ghost came Monday when Shupe said he saw the thing down the road from his home in the same alfalfa field where he had been sighted before.
At press time, the identity of the Great White Thing of Coon Ridge remains a mystery. Carroll County folks this week are taking to the ridge either Friday or Saturday night in hopes of seeing the thing.
Not only is the ghost the topic of conversation, but many jokes are being started concerning the nature of the thing…what it is and where it came from. Local law enforcement officers say they have their hands full in clearing traffic on roads in the Coon Ridge section. One local officer said, “I don’t know what it is and care less, but I wish the people wouldn’t park on the road if they want to go ‘ghost seeing.’”
Editor’s Note: Route 819 is now Old Coonridge Parkway.