Raymond "Ray" Robinson (29 October 1910 – 11 June 1985) was a severely disfigured man whose years of nighttime walks made him into a figure of urban legend in western Pennsylvania. Robinson was so badly injured in a childhood electrical accident that he could not go out in public without fear of creating a public panic, so he went for long walks after dark. Local residents who would drive his road in hopes of meeting him called him The Green Man or Charlie No-Face, and they passed on tales about him to their children and grandchildren. Teenagers raised on these tales are sometimes surprised to discover that the mythic boogeyman was a real man, well liked by his neighbors and his family.
Robinson was eight years old when he was injured by an electrical line on the Morado Bridge, outside of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The bridge carried a trolley, and had electrical lines of both 1,200 volts and 22,000 volts which had killed another boy less than a year earlier. Immediately following this electrical shock, Robinson was not expected to survive. He lived, but he was badly scarred and lost his eyes and nose, one ear, and one arm.
Robinson spent his days at home with relatives, making doormats, wallets and belts to sell.Because of his appearance, he rarely ventured out during the day. However, at night, he went for long walks on a quiet stretch of State Route 351, feeling his way along with a walking stick and his feet. Groups of Ellwood City citizens regularly gathered to search for him walking along the highway. Robinson usually hid from his curious neighbors, but would sometimes exchange a short conversation or a photograph for beer or cigarettes. Some were friendly, others cruel, but none of his encounters deterred Robinson from his nightly walks. He was more than once struck by cars. Robinson stopped his long walks during the last years of his life, and retired to the Beaver County Geriatric Center, where he died in 1985.
Robinson became a local myth in the Pittsburgh area, and his real story was obscured by urban legend. In the stories, he was the Green Man, an employee of a power company who was, in some versions of the story, hit by a downed power line and in other versions, struck by lightning, after which he died or hid in an abandoned house. To the disfigurement Robinson suffered in reality, legend added an open hole in one cheek and glowing green skin.
The mythical Green Man, or his ghost, has been reported to haunt a variety of rail tunnels in western Pennsylvania, where travelers are warned that he will be attracted to cars which stop and extinguish their lights, after which the disfigured spirit will touch their cars, using the electricity he carries in his own body to disable their cars' electrical systems and trap them in the tunnel.
Through several generations, Robinson's story has been passed on so many times that his name and his real history have been overshadowed by the ghost story which grew out of them.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Pleased To Meet You
Posted by M. Christian