Haunted Lancaster: The midnight ride of the Engleside Phantom Buggy

Here’s a forgotten Lancaster ghost story from nearly 100 years. Following the Conestoga River as you leave Lancaster City to the south is New Danville Pike. Today, the road is a busy artery into the city. It is home to residential developments, Lancaster Wasterwater Operation, and a self-storage center. However, during the 1800s, like most of Lancaster, it was a very different place—quieter and much darker at night.

On the road to New Danville between South Queen Street and Hoover Road, there stands a wall of exposed rock from when the pike was constructed.

Lancaster lore, nearly forgotten today, says that as the 1800s neared a close, a man drove his horse and buggy there and at the stroke of midnight committed suicide there. In the decades before the automobile became popular, residents along the creek road knew the story well but not for what happened that fateful night. They knew the tale because of what happened next.

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1899 map showing the nightly route of the phantom buggy.

People who walked along New Danville Pike late at night would whisper in hushed tones how, at the sound of an approaching buggy, they would move to the side of the road. Except the carriage would never pass them. When the person turned to check on the carriage’s location, the horse, buggy, and rider simply disappeared.

The spirit is believed to be the man who committed suicide that dark, sad night. Now his ghost is forever doomed to repeat the trip to his final destination. In a time before automobiles, the possibility of bumping into the phantom buggy on New Danville Pike was enough to get most people who lived nearby home well before midnight.

Where to find it

The ghost carriage is said to travel along New Danville Pike between present-day South Queen Street (starting at the site of the former Engleside Inn) and just north of Hoover Road (ending at the site of Levan’s Mill). The haunted stretch of road (highlighted below in red) is approximately 1.3 miles long.

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Route the phantom buggy travels nightly.

What to do

Starting from Queen Street, walk south along New Danville Pike starting around 11:40 pm. The psychic manifestation is more likely to appear on nights when there is less traffic.

What happens

As the midnight hour nears, listen for the approaching sound of a horse and buggy. If you turn to look at it, the horse, carriage, and driver will vanish.

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More Haunted Lancaster

If you have a ghost story you want to share as part of Haunted Lancaster, comment below or email me.

Warning: New Danville Pike as it leaves Lancaster City is a busy stretch of road with few street lights and no sidewalk. There are serious inherent risks when traveling along the edge of a busy road in the middle of the night. Doing so can be extremely dangerous and is not advised. Travel with caution, or it might be your spirit haunting New Danville Pike in the future.

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