Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dunlop Hollow, Charleston

Dunlop Hollow is a small, gravel trail/road off the main road running through Kanawha State Forest, coming from the Loudendale entrance.  To get to this site, follow the signs towards Campsites 3-5 (not Campsite 35 as listed elsewhere), until you see the Dunlop Hollow sign on your right.  Dunlop Hollow itself is gated off to vehicle traffic, and a large creek actually runs through the middle of the road.  However, a small footbridge leads across the creek and into a small camping and picnic area at the mouth of the hollow.

Several years ago, several witnesses were in this area on June 17, when they saw a frightening apparition.   Standing near the large boulder which sits on the side of the road was the apparition of a black woman, wearing all white.  Local legend states that the woman, possibly a former school teacher, was hanged, or more accurately, lynched, at a nearby tree for crimes lost to history.

There are many gnarled old trees in the immediate camp area, so its unclear which is possibly this "Hanging Tree," but its possible the tree in question is the one pictured above on the right.  I visited the site around 5:30pm on July 15, and found the area peaceful, albeit it slightly creepy.  As I pulled into the parking area, I noticed another vehicle already parked there, with no one around.  Presumably, the owner was taking advantage of the lovely nature trails that snake through the Kanawha State Forest.

However, not wanting to "interrupt" someone up to uh...something else, I exercised a bit of caution while exploring the site, and snapping some pictures.  With keys and cellphone handy, I crossed the footbridge to get a better view of the boulder in question.  My phone, which had full service when I got out of the car, dropped to no bars as soon as I crossed the stream.  Standing directly in front of the men's restroom shack, I noticed a VERY pungent odor. I quickly snapped some pics, and got out of there.

I wouldn't recommend anyone going to this site alone, as it is fairly well concealed and private from the main road.  If you do visit, please respect all posted Kanawha State Forest laws, and take advantage of the great hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing ponds!

Photo property of Theresa Racer

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