The Swamp Road Chronicles®


I would like to share with you a story that I firmly believe to be absolutely true.  For 25 years I lived near the village of Kirkersville, Ohio, which is located not far from Swamp Road.


I would often drive into Kirkersville to “My Little Market”, a little grocery store and carryout.  Many days there was an old man who sat outside of the store on a gray, weathered wooden bench, he was always pleasant and greeted everyone who entered the store; everyone knew him as “Otis”.


Sometimes, I would sit on the bench in the sun for a while with Otis and exchange comments about the weather and other small talk.  One day in church someone told me about an encounter they’d had with “Swamp Road Sally”, the little girl ghost that has been seen walking on Swamp Road late at night by hundreds of people .  I happened to go to “My Little Market” the next day and there was Otis sitting on the bench in the sun.  I sat with him for a while and, eventually, I asked him if he believed in “Swamp Road Sally”.  His face took on a very earnest look, and peering around to assure our privacy, he told me about his “run in with “Sally””.


He said it was in the middle of September 1948, his wife of 12 years had died from a “Fever” and he was heartbroken and beside himself with grief.  He couldn’t eat or sleep, he said, and he found his only relief by walking the dark, deserted country lanes around Kirkersville. He’d walk ‘til well into the wee hours of the morning until he was weary enough to be able to sleep for a couple of hours.


He said that he really didn’t take much notice of his surrounding, his mind was too full of his memories of his wife.  He just “walked and mourned, walked and mourned”, as he put it.


One night about 3 in the morning, as well as he could tell, he was roused from his thoughts to find himself in the middle of the deepest, darkest, loneliest part of Swamp Road, very near the remnants of the old “Blackstone place”.


What had caught his attention, he said, was the sight of a girl whom he “figured” to be about 15 years of age, walking toward him through the fog, about 100 feet ahead on Swamp Road. 


Like most of us who have seen a ghost, he thought, at first, that it was a real child and he was puzzled and concerned that she would be out on this “God forsaken” road at such a time of the night.


He said she looked as if she was dressed in a white “nightdress” and was all muddy and appeared “wet”; as he drew nearer to her he could see her eyes.  He said her eyes were “lifeless” and he instinctively knew that something was wrong. He stopped about 20 feet from her and she stopped too; she stared at him and she, “Looked like she was trying to decide something”.


After a moment, she turned and began to walk back from where she had come.  Otis began to walk after her, wondering, “what she was up to”.  After going about 30 yards, she turned to her right and walked over to the edge of the road, all of the while looking at Otis. He said that she smiled at him and reached her right hand up to him as if to invite him to come to her and take her hand.  Otis said he just stood there, frozen.  After several long moments, her smile turned to a look of “lonesomeness” and she turned and walked into the swampland, and out of Otis’ view.


Otis said a cold chill “like from the grave” came over him and he ran to the end of Swamp Road as fast as his legs would carry him.


Otis looked me in the eye and said, “I often wonder, what she was trying to lead me to; would I have joined her in her muddy grave, to ease her lonesomeness forever, or, was she taking me to join my beloved wife?  Sometimes, I wish I had gone with her.”


Otis said he never saw “Sally” again, because he never walked on Swamp Road again.


If you knew Otis as well as I did, or, more importantly, if you had seen his eyes and listened to his voice that sunny afternoon, you, too, would have no doubt, whatsoever, of the absolute truth of his story.


Otis has gone on to join his beloved wife in the Hereafter; and in respect for him  I attest that I have striven to tell his story to the very best of my ability and recollection.


As told to Webmaster on 7-7-06 by Amos Rodebaugh in Pataskala, Ohio


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