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The Woodbury Ore and Clay Mines

 

The Woodbury Ore and Clay Mines are one of the most renowned abandoned and haunted places in central Pennsylvania.  After parking along the road and hiking back a trail for about 15 minutes, you begin to see what remains of the Woodbury Mining Co.  The first thing you see is along the right side of the trail, which is the picture above.  A backhoe or bulldozer of some sort, this equipment was most likely used for cleaning up dirt and rocks that were displaced from the old mineshafts.  Further back you will encounter another similar-looking piece of equipment on the same side.  Why was all this equipment left back here?  Something must have happened that made workers flee the area, never wanting to return.  Just past the second bulldozer on the right, you get a glimpse of what used to be mineshaft # 119.  Now completely filled with water, the shaft looks like a small pond that has eternal depths.  If you continue on back the trail about 400 more yards, you come to the center of what was the ore mine complex.  This area is marked by large white mounds of clay and granite stones, which lead to a large blue lake on the other side, which was formed from mine # 124 hitting an artesian well and filling not only the mineshaft but also the surrounding lands.  While there are many stories lingering about the history of this area, most of them turn out to be urban legends (rural legends?).  Here is the true story: 

It was the fall of 1940, and another day had just begun at the Woodbury Mining Co.'s ore and clay mines just outside of Royer, Pa.  Workers had exhausted the sources of ore in their first 5 mineshafts - shaft #'s 119-123 (shafts were numbered based on the amount of mines the company had ever made) and began to work 150 feet below the ground in mineshaft # 124 (otherwise known as slope 22, I don't know why) whose innards had never been touched.  As the 5 mine workers hacked away at the precious ore, they knew not that they were slowly puncturing the wall of an underground water supply.  At 4:17 pm on October 3rd, 1940, slope 22 began to rapidly fill with water, trapping workers over 100 feet below the surface of the ground, in a shaft not much bigger than a household hallway.  By 5:00 pm, the water had made its way up over the surface walls of the mine, and began filling the surrounding low-lying areas with a crystal blue water.  As workers around the mine saw this happen, they left hastily, leaving tools, clothes, and 5 of their closest workers behind.  The 5 men's bodies were never recovered, and they supposedly haunt the entire area. 

The entire area in which the Woodbury Mines are located is haunted.  The neighboring Locke Mountain is home to many ghost stories, adding even more fuel to the fire that the old Woodbury Ore and Clay Mines are haunted.  These stories range from people seeing a transparent man walking along the road in overalls to hearing footsteps behind them while sitting in the woods with their lovers.  Also local to the Locke Mountain area (only about 2 miles from the Woodbury mines) is the story of The Giant Specter.  This is a story from the book "Haunted Pennsylvania" by Patty Wilson, and it is, in short, a bigfoot sighting.  Locals swear to the story, and still do not let their children wander the woods around dusk. 

The entire area seems to be very haunted, in my opinion, and it is even more scary around dusk and after dark.  The mineshaft where the men's bodies still remain is still visible, along the left side of the lake....it now appears to be an elongated pond that attaches to the lake.  It is not a place that you should go to camp or anything of the sort, although a lot of people do that because there are fireplaces everywhere.  Overall it is great to explore if you have lots of time.  PS: DO NOT SWIM IN THE LAKE...that is, unless you like swimming with dead bodies. 

 

-Entrance to mine # 119  -A left-behind dozer  -An old dumptruck

--Another dozer  -The lake  -Lake  -Entrance to slope 22

 

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