May 16, 2011

The Midnighters: Green Man

For over thirty years, Jerry worked as a police officer in Pittsburgh. In his time on the force, Jerry had seen some bad things, some worse things, and some downright evil things. Cleaning up when people got mad or got crazy was part of the job, but there were other things that Jerry saw, things that most people never see, things that prowl the night, things that refuse to die.

I interviewed Jerry several times in 2002. The following incident is just one of the many stories Jerry shared in hours of audio recordings. I have transcribed them just as they were told to me by Jerry.

“There’s this spot in Pittsburgh, it’s called Panther Hollow, OK? Nice place. They got a nice lake and some trails – it’s like a park or something. Anyway, it’s in this valley right in the middle of town, right? And there’s a bridge that goes over it and, I’m telling ya, it’s a long, long way down.


“So, this one night, this was in ‘64, Frank and me – that’s my partner Frank – Frank and me, we’re cruising Squirrel Hill and we get a call about an accident on the Panther Hollow Bridge. It’s just after midnight, I guess, and there ain’t any traffic so Frank and me, we’re the first car to get there.

“There was an accident all right. Big truck hanging over the side of the bridge, looks like it’s gonna fall any minute, right? And it’s this big green army truck like I haven’t seen since I was in the service. Well, Frank and I know this ain’t going to be pretty.

“We come up on the truck and it’s wedged into the guardrail tight. It’s leaking green goop all over the place – oil or something, I thought – and the back is open and looks like a lot of equipment and gadgets back there but no people. The cab, it’s empty, too and the door’s hanging wide open, so I’m thinking the soldier that was driving, maybe he went over the side.

“I says to Frank, ‘We gotta go down there and look for this guy,’ and Frank is already on his way down the steps. It’s a long way down so I don’t think anybody’s gonna survive, right? But you never know and we gotta help him.

“We get down there in the Hollow and it’s pitch black and quiet as hell, just some damn bugs chirping away. We make our way over so we’re right under the bridge, right where our guy should be, but there’s nothing there.

“Frank and me, we’re calling out, shining our flashlights around, but we don’t see nobody or nothing, and I’m thinking this guy did some sort of swan dive or whatnot and maybe landed a ways away. So, we start looking further out, widening our search, they would say these days.

“We look for a bit and then Frank calls me over and points at the grass. There’s this thick, gooey green stuff, right, just like what we seen up at the truck, but this is a trail, it’s smeared in the grass and some of it goes toward the bridge and some toward the lake, so we’re thinking he went toward the lake.

“I figure this guy must be hurt something bad, falling all that way, and now he’s out here in the dark dragging himself, not knowing he’s heading right for the lake. Now he might end up drowning before we find him.

“Sure enough, the trail of green goo goes right up to the edge of the lake and we don’t find him. Frank and me, we’re real shook up about this guy – he’s probably at the bottom of the lake – but we figure we better head back up topside there. I can already hear people and see lights up on the bridge, hospital guys and a tow truck, I figure.

“Just as Frank and I are about to leave, we hear a little splash and there’s a little wave on the lake – a ripple – and Frank and I are trying to see what it is, but our flashlights ain’t strong enough. Then we hear another splash and more waves. It sounds closer now.

“The lake is kinda a brownish-gray at night and our flashlights don’t show nothing under the water, but we’re looking anyway and then we see a big patch of green stuff, whatchacallit, algae or something, right?

“So this stuff is floating around and I can see that the waves are coming from it, like something’s in it making these waves and splashes. Frank and me, we watch this thing move around for awhile and we can hear the people up on the bridge shouting to each other and whatnot. I didn’t think at the time, but there were way more people up there then there ought to be for this kind of thing.

“Anyway, this green spot is just moving around and it’s weird, like it’s a plant and it’s alive, but this was like alive, you know, like it was an animal, and then it made this noise.

“A little hole opened up on the top of it and some bubbles came out. It started making noise, gurgling and gargling kinda noises. Frank and me are just dumbstruck, just watching this thing and then it starts to stand up.

“The top starts to bulge, right, and pinch and it gets taller and bigger and the hole is up near the top and then it kinda twists like it was turning to face us. This thing is maybe just ten yards out, and we can see it growing right in front of us and then these two bulges on the top open up and they’re eyes and they’re staring at us and I realize that the hole is a mouth.

“So, this is real weird now, right? This thing has a head on it and it’s not done yet. It gets taller, and it’s shaped like a person. Its got shoulders now and these ropey arms that are like vines and there are even some leaves on it, like it’s made outta all kinds of different plants and stuff.

“It’s staring at us and we’re staring at it and Frank kinda breaks the ice and says, ‘We can help you’ and the thing blows some bubbles and gurgles at us. I draw my weapon and I say, ‘You ate that soldier, you sonuvabitch!’ and Frank grabs my arm and he says, ‘I think that is the soldier, ya dummy.’

“I don’t know why Frank thinks so, but he’s my partner, right? The plant thing, it starts to sink again back into the lake. Maybe I scared it off. Behind us we hear people coming up, and Frank and me, we’re a little surprised that there’s a whole platoon of soldiers behind us with their rifles pointed right at our heads.

“By that time the thing in the lake was gone and we get marched back up to the bridge while these soldiers are all over the place down in the Hollow. There’s a whole mess of army trucks and jeeps and soldiers everywhere.

“We get taken over to the wrecked truck, right? Bunch of army guys running around cleaning up the green goo, but there’s this one guy who’s wearing a dark suit, smoking a cigarette, and since everybody else is wearing a uniform, you know that this is the guy in charge of things, right?

“This guy, he doesn’t even look at us but starts asking what we saw and what we were doing down in the Hollow. We tell him what happened but, of course, Frank and me, we don’t mention our new friend in the lake, right?

“This goes on for awhile and then Frank asks the guy what agency he’s with and he says he’s FBI but, of course, Frank and me were both in the service and we know the army don’t take orders from the FBI so we know that ain’t right. He has us escorted off the bridge and we see that’s where the ambulance and some other squad cars are. They weren’t allowed in so everybody’s trying to watch from the sidelines.

“The whole thing got covered up after that, just like they did with that B-52 that went into the Mon River in the 50s. We never found out exactly what happened, like who and what was in that truck? But what always bugged me about it later was, since Frank and me, we were the first ones on the scene, who called in the accident?

“Now you know, of course, that wasn’t the last time we ran into our phony FBI friend. He started popping up, like he was coming after us, for awhile after that. And it wasn’t the last time we ran into our green friend in the Hollow. I’ll tell ya that story another time, or you can always go down there yourself ‘cause I betcha that green bastard is still there to this day.”


Read more stories of the Midnighters here.

5 comments:

  1. Being a big fan of the "Green Man" story/legend - thank you....great story. Really kept my attention and just loved it.

    Cheers!

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  2. That was a chilling and amazing story!!!

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  3. Glad to hear we could thrill and chill our readers! Thanks for the comments.

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  4. What an enthralling story! I loved it! Gave me goosebumps.....

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  5. Goosebumps are good to give, Jeanne. Thanks for reading!

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