Here’s a forgotten Lancaster ghost story from nearly 100 years. Following the Conestoga River south as you leave Lancaster City is New Danville Pike. Today, the road is a busy artery in to 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 took his horse-driven carriage to an area of exposed rocks along New Danville Pike and, at the stroke of midnight, committed suicide there.
In those 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.
People would hear the sound of an approaching buggy, but it would never pass them. When they turned to check on the carriage’s location, the horse, buggy, and rider would disappear.
It would seem the phantom spirit was of the man who had committed suicide that dark, sad night, and now his ghost is forever doomed to repeat that fateful final trip. 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.
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.
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.
More Haunted Lancaster
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.
1864 Map of the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania$21.99 – $25.99