As told by George H. Lamb (Eagle Gazette 1950)
Additional information from Chris Woodyard's Haunted Ohio IV [affiliate link]
Just to the west of Lancaster lies Alan's Knob, a wood covered hill that rises above the surrounding countryside. This serene area just off State Route 22 is now part of the Schallenbarger Nature Preserve. Hikers can climb the steep dirt trails up to the very top of the hill, passing through some wonderful sandstone cliffs on the way to the summit. But this quiet peaceful spot was not always viewed this way in the not so recent past.
It seems an old fellow took a liking to the area and built a crude structure on the western side of the hill near what is now Beck's Knob Road. He would then spend a great deal of his free time up on the summit viewing the surrounding countryside, and reading scriptures from his worn Bible. Later as he was getting on in years he became depressed and frustrated with life. So over a period of the next few days he dug himself a grave up on top of the summit of his beloved hill. He then sat down and composed a note, asking that who ever found his remains to please give them a proper burial in the grave he had provided. He then placed the barrel of his old flintlock to his chest and ended his days on this earth, or so it was thought.
Shortly there after the spirit of the old man began to haunt the road to the north of the hill that ran from the Crumley Community to Lancaster. It was said the figure of the sad and lonely man could always be seen slowly walking east on what is now Crumley Road toward the bridge which spans Hunters Run.
The ghosts activities were harmless until one Sunday evening when a gentleman who had finished visiting a lady friend in the Crumley community was returning home. Not knowing of the ghost that haunted the lane, he happily upon encountering the old man walking along the road, stopped and offered him a ride. The apparition jumped up into the seat beside the unsuspecting man. The horses reared and plunged down the darkened lane at breakneck speed. The man was filled with terror when the ghost reached over and gripped his arm with an icy hand. He then lashed out at his tormentor and struck the grinning specter repeatedly with his whip, but the whip just simply past through the grinning ghost that only tightened its grip. Sobbing and pleading the man implored the spirit to release him, and depart. His unwelcome passenger refused to even reply or loosen it's grip. Then just before the horses and wagon crossed the bridge over Hunters Run the ghost vanished.
It was commonly believed in those day that spirits could not cross streams or moving bodies of water. For years afterwards some of the locals could still point out the spot on the summit where the old mans remains lay, but the location has now been forgotten. On dark nights the old man is suppose to still walk Crumely Road always moving from west to east towards the bridge at Hunter's Run. It is also said that a ghostly light can be seen moving about the summit of Alan's Knob during the night. It suppose to be the restless spirit of the old hermit going about his business carrying a lantern.
Alan's Knob viewed from the east on the bridge on Crumley Road.
Alan's Knob is the hill pictured on the right.
Beck's Knob Road which leads to Alan's Knob. The hill is on the left and shrouded in fog.
The country lane that the old man haunts would be the section of Crumley Road which runs east and west between Beck's Knob Road and State Route 22 just about a mile west past the Lancaster City limits. The area is still quite lovely to look at with Alan's and Beck's Knobs straddling Crumley Road. That is it is lovely in the day time. At night its a different story as I drive this stretch of road after the sun goes down frequently going to and from Columbus, Ohio. I haven't seen the old man's ghost, although the road at night looks like one you might expect to run into a ghostly hitchhiker. The true danger at night here is woodland spirits. Of course I mean DEER!
*Chris Woodyard in Haunted Ohio IV has mistakenly placed Beck's Knob in the Scallenbarger Nature Preserve, which actually lies north of Alan's Knob at the intersection of Beck's Knob and Crumely Roads.
This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.