Investigation Team: Dave Miller
Investigation Date: October 2017
Urban Legends……Can’t live without them. But there is usually an element of truth to folklore and legends. HF of Moraine told this story to me in early October. His mother said that back in the l930’s there was a woman who lived alone in a house in the woods up on Pinnacle Hill. Locals said she was a witch! One night a few days before Halloween locals burnt her house down with her inside. It is said that as she was dying that she yelled and placed a curse on the locals. Fast forward to the 1980’s. HF, his wife and a neighbor couple were outside in the backyard on the week before Halloween. They looked up across the Interstate 75 and the river and saw a red glowing “fire” up on Pinnacle Hill. They drove up to investigate. This was before Main Street so they had to take Vance Road. The wives stayed in the car. The two men advanced. Ahead in the woods they saw a red glowing area, not sure exactly what it was. As they neared a clearing they heard a woman’s voice cackle. The two men took off running and high tailed out of there. HF claims it was the old witch that his mom had told him about years before.
Later that day I met with GP whose parents owned the land where Deer Meadow Park is today and the land north of it. His playground as a kid in the late 1930’s was the Pinnacles. He said he remembers a house in the Pinnacles wooded area east and south of his parents property. A real mean husband and wife lived there. When GP and his friend went on their property to pick berries they were threatened with a shotgun to leave. A mean couple but not a witch.
I spoke to DR of Moraine. His father tells the story of a single old woman who lived in a cabin on the Pinnacles. She owned a half dozen dogs as pets. As the story goes, the reclusive old lady died in her house. After a few days the dogs became hungry. You can guess what happened next. Eventually, the dogs broke out of the house and ran as a wild pack through the area for years.
INVESTIGATION: I reviewed 1938 and 1949 aerial maps of the Pinnacle Hill area to look for houses in the wooded area. The new subdivision construction is removing much of the forest on Pinnacle Hill. I hiked a couple miles of trails on Pinnacle Hill on October 14. I came upon the remains of a house near the area described. I found a few old bottles (see photo) and items from the kitchen. Was this her house?
Is this an urban legend molded from the above three local tales or is the witch tale true? Next Halloween on October 30 or 31 drive by Pinnacle Hill and look for a glowing fire (and I don’t mean the methane gas flares from the landfill) or the sound of a woman laughing. You be the investigator and tell me what you find. (Contact me if any of you readers have any Pinnacle Hill tales similar to this story).