Friday, February 15, 2013

Mysteries at the Indian Echo Caverns

There are many strange mysteries associated with the Indian Echo Caverns, located near Hershey, Pennsylvania. In 1919 a couple of local youths in the area were exploring the cave, when they stumbled upon a mysterious box, decorated with strange designs. The contents inside proved more mysterious. Inside the box the boys discovered random coins from throughout the World, some possibly minted as early as 480 B.C.  Also included was some jewelry, moon rocks, and instructions on making diamonds from lightning. (BTW it doesn't work!)  The young man who discovered this intriguing chest held onto it for many years until he decided to share his discovery with others. Eventually the proprietor of Indian Echo Caverns purchased the abstruse trunk and it is now on display in the gift shop.

If these young men had been exploring the cave a hundred years before they may have encountered quite a surprise if they bumped into William Wilson. Between the years of  1802-1821 William made the caverns his home. After his sister was executed for the murder of her two children, the man began to seclude himself from society. It's believed a pardon was granted from the state to William's sister, but he was unable to deliver it in time to halt the execution.

 From that time on Wilson went into a state of delirium, withdrawing from society and retreated into the caves to spend the last decades of his life.  It's believed he kept an account of his life spent in the cave and the stories have been published in the book "The Pennsylvania Hermit"  Read book here.

The mysterious box the young men discovered is not believed to have been left behind by Mr. Wilson. But some believe William Wilson may have left something else behind...his spirit. In several neighboring counties where Wilson lived previously. his spirit has been seen on horseback galloping to the local jailhouse. His sister Elizabeth is believed to haunt the areas around the cave, though it's believed she was never in the cavern. While clearing trees to make room for a parking lot, several workers claimed to witness a young female spirit wandering nearby. These tales may seem like modern folklore, and perhaps its not the spirit of Elizabeth or William Wilson. But long before either of these tales came about, the Susquehannock Indians who occupied the cave were awfully dreadful of the Rainbow room. Even to this day over a dozen witnesses have spotted the apparition of a Native American man holding a severed head.

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