Thursday, October 3, 2013

The White Lady of Wopsy Mountain

This story has been a popular legend throughout the Allegheny Mountains since the mid-1800s. It is about a White Lady ghost that is seen in the Wopsononock Mountain area or as the locals in Altoona, Pennsylvania affectionately call it, Wopsy Mountain. 

This ghost is seen along a very steep road that descends from the top of this mountain.

There are several versions of this story *, the following is often told. A newly married woman was traveling with her new husband and baby in a horse-drawn carriage on this mountain when their buggy hit an icy patch along a snow-laden steep road. Just as they approached a deadly curve called Devil’s Elbow their carriage careened off the road and crashed down a ravine. 

The baby was thrown from the carriage, and as the vehicle hit bottom, her husband was killed instantly. She was knocked unconscious. When she came round, she found her husband’s body. She went in search of her baby but couldn’t find it. Devastated she wandered into the woods and was never seen alive again. 

In the years since many witnesses have claimed to see her ghost.

People traveling down this very steep road state they see her at the bottom near Devil’s Elbow. But as they approach she just vanishes into thin air. She is seen walking along or standing on the side of this road. Sometimes she is seen holding a candle or lantern. 

She is described as wearing a long flowing white gown. Some feel she haunts the area because she still searches for her baby.

Several who have spotted her in this isolated area have offered her a ride. She accepts their offer, but once she entered their vehicles, she was reticent and smiled a lot. They all agree that she is beautiful. 

A couple of witnesses were shocked to see that when they looked in their rear view mirror, they didn’t see her reflection but when they turned to face her, she was still sitting in their back seat.

One group of students saw her as they traveled through this mountain area. They didn’t at first know they had seen a ghost. It was a cold spring night, and they were anxious to get to their college friend’s home. 

They were all startled to see a woman standing alone who appeared to be wearing a wedding gown on the side of the road up ahead. As they drew abreast of this figure, they saw the detail on her dress, but none of them could make out her features. One witness later stated that there was a ‘blur” were her face should have been. 

They passed by but curious about what they had actually seen they turned their car around and went back. They found no trace of the woman. 

When they arrived at their destination, they heard the story of the White Lady from their friend. It was at this point they realized they had seen her ghost.

Two friends also saw her ghost while out hunting on the mountain thirty years ago. It was a fall evening as they scouted in the woods for a place to hunt. When suddenly their jeep headlights picked up her form. Knowing the legend of her ghost, the driver immediately backed the jeep around and quickly headed down the road. But the ghostly figure easily kept up with them. 

After they had gone a short distance, the ghost just disappeared. But further down the road, this figure appeared in front of the men again standing in the middle of the street. Afraid, the driver decided to plow right through her but as they approached she once more just vanished. This story is well-known in Lakemont and Altoona.

* Another version states she is the traditional jilted bride. In this story, she waits and waits, but her groom never shows up. She then is told that her lover ran away with another girl from the village. It is noted she pined for her beloved until the day she died. It is said she returns to exact revenge on the living for her lost love. She supposedly targets "couples" that drive through the mountain. 

Many of the accidents that occur at Devil's Elbow and at the mountains other dangerous curves are blamed on her ghost. Witnesses have seen her ghost at Wopsy's summit lookout as well. 

A side note: when talking to the people who live in the area I found it best not to mention this story as a legend, most people I spoke to firmly believe this mountain is haunted.


jackherman said...

This happened to me some 40 yrs. ago. It happened twice a couple yrs. apart at the same spot. It was left side of the road within 1/4 mile approaching the top of the Mountain, both times at night. She was exactly as described but at a distance as we headed up, she was walking down. Once in a light fog.

My story starts like this: At night driving up the Mountain I see this woman in White (everything about her image was a transparent white), I say to my wife "Did you see that ?", she discounts the situation by not responding. I ask again, but she puts it off. We arrive at our destination in Coalport some 20 minutes later. I start the subject again with her and her parents & family, only to find out that there is this Legend and she thought I was playing into the story. I grew up in southern California and was new to the area and new nothing of the Legend.

Today I am still investigating the phenomenon that some people cannot see what others can in this situation. I find a comparison that those who have seen UFO's can also see apparitions. I have seen many UFO's, and a few apparitions mostly after the fact not knowing what had taken place at the time. I will leave it at this: I had three (4) vivid encounters on the ship QUEEN MARY in Los Angeles on a visit there, all taking place within an hour or so.......JDH

Unknown said... sound a lot like me as I also can see and communicate with the dead and have also had many UFO experiences...including a close encounter of the fourth kind...missing time. Very disturbing I might add. I'll take spirits any day of the week. Where I live in Australia a child was run over by a car at a local supermarket parking lot. I have seen her two or three times but she is not visible to other people, a situation she delights in.