Haunted Lancaster: Chickies Rock’s Shadowy Hat Man

Chickies Rock

Located between the boroughs of Columbia and Marietta is Chickies Rock. At over 422 acres, it is the county’s second-largest regional park. Its most notable feature is the massive outcropping of quartzite rock towering 200 feet above the river. The vista offers impressive views of York County, the borough of Marietta, and the farmlands of northwestern Lancaster County.

The view from atop Chickies Rock.

The area once boasted seven iron furnaces, rolling mills, a canal, and a trolley line. Remnants of furnaces, canal walls, and trolley-line grades are still visible today.

The rock and surrounding land seem to possess a certain magnetism. Hundreds of years ago, it attracted Native Americans. The name Chickies Rock comes from the Lenape word Chiquesalunga meaning “place of the crayfish.” There is a nearby stream with the same name. Technically, it is now called Chiques Creek. The name changed from Chickies Creek in 2002.

Today, the park attracts dog walkers, hikers, and picnickers. But it has always attracted mystery. The area is filled with century-plus-old stories of ghosts, monsters, and even a curse. The earliest legends involve the Susquehannocks that once lived in the area.

Looking up from the bottom of Chickies Rock.

Shadowy Hat Man

As recently as 2004, a tall shadowy silhouetted man wearing a fedora-style hat and flowing cape was spotted at Chickies Rock. Shadow people are supernatural shadow-like humanoid figures that, according to believers, are seen flickering on walls and ceilings in the viewer’s peripheral vision. They are often reported moving with quick, jerky movements and quickly disintegrate into walls or mirrors. They are believed to be evil and aggressive in nature.

Similarly, dressed specters exist in Native American lore throughout the country. They seem to be fond of remote areas and usually seen standing atop cliffs and hills, where they act like sentries or guards.

While some believe it is the ghost of Wanunga from a tragic murder-suicide love triangle, others think this Susquehannock apparition is warning people to stay off sacred Native American grounds.

Hikers also report hearing ghostly drumming. No one has ever been able to locate the source of the drumming despite many attempts.

Where to Find It

The summit of Chickies Rock can be reached after an easy .45-mile hike from the Chickies Rock County Park parking lot. Click here for directions.

Adventure Awaits!

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More Haunted Lancaster

Meet Columbia’s Little Bigfoot—the Albatwitch

At Chickies Rock near the ancient Susquehanna River, stories of a 4-foot-tall hairy ape-man fond of apples have existed since Native Americans dominated the region. As recently as 2020, people have seen the hairy beast. Click the link to learn about Columbia’s little bigfoot—the Albatwitch.

The sad tale of Lover’s Leap at Chickies Rock

Native Americans have lived on or around Chickies Rock for thousands of years. The name comes from the Delaware word Chiquesalunga meaning “place of the crayfish.”

As soon as people start living somewhere, death and murder soon follow. The earliest legend at Chickies Rock involves the Susquehannocks and a tragic murder-suicide love triangle. Their ghosts still haunt the base and summit of the 200-foot-tall jagged cliff. Chickies Rock is a place of death even if you don’t believe in ghosts or spectral apparitions. At least 13 people have tumbled off the edge since 1981. Click the link to read the tragic story.

The White Werewolf and the Full Moon Curse of Shock Graveyard

Legend holds that anyone foolish enough to walk seven times around Hans Graf Cemetery under the light of the full moon will perish before sunrise, hunted down by the werewolf who guards the graveyard. While I’m not superstitious or even a “littlestitious,” I don’t make it a habit of walking around cemeteries in the middle of the night. Tread with caution. Click here to read the whole legend and the history of Hans Graf Cemetery.


More Haunted Lancaster

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


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