In the 1905 edition of the Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society, local historian Samuel Sener wrote about various Lancaster County superstitions. One story involved an older man who died along Fishing Creek inside what is now Lancaster Conservancy’s Fishing Creek Nature Preserve.
Here’s what Sener wrote:
“Prawl’s Hollow,” a lonely place in Drurnore township, this county, is haunted by . . . old Lupin, who broke his neck on Fishing Creek, can still be seen there of nights.
It was not until recently when I can across a post by Michelle Shaub in the Conowingo Lake History-Historical Photos & Discussion Facebook group that I was able to get more detail about Old Lupin. Here’s what she wrote:
About 50 years ago, when I was a child, I befriended a lady, Mrs. G, who weekended at a cabin near the mill at Fishing Creek. It was once her grandparents’ home and where her mother grew up. Mrs. G would tell her “grands” and me stories and history about the hollow. Mrs. G learned the story from her mother or grandmother.
Old Lupin was a man of color who lived here in the hollow. He was a friendly fellow whose whistles and songs could be heard long before his arrival. He made his living doing odd jobs and occasionally selling fish.
Fishing was his passion, and Old Lupin could be found in the hollow most nights. Passersby were always greeted heartily by the tuneful angler.
Early one morning, the Tinker, with his metalwares clanging to the motion of his horse-drawn wagon, found Old Lupin half-kneeling near the creek, his torso leaning forward and his neck nearly severed by a sharp jagged outcropping of schist/gneiss that is common in the hollow.
Old Lupin had lost his footing. The slide marks down the steep embankment told the story. The Tinker resumed his journey west to the mill (likely modern-day Drumore Mill), where he relayed the gruesome details of Old Lupin’s demise.
The miller and a hired hand went to retrieve Old Lupin from the hollow. When they arrived at the scene, there was Old Lupin just as the Tinker had said except for one thing…wild animals had taken off with his head. After looking around with no luck, they loaded his headless body and took it to his kin.
It is said that occasionally at night, you can hear an unknown man singing hymns. The sound faintly trailing through the hollow as Old Lupin looks for his head.