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Ghost Rider With Cigarette

June 2003

This is a story I ask my parents, two very discerning, objective, realistic, intelligent people, to tell over and over again. It is of a true, unexplained experience which happened to them and several others with them that night.

When I was small, around 1967, my parents owned a guest ranch in Pennsylvania and took clients out on overnight pack trips on horseback in the Laurel Mountains.

One one such trip, they were taking a familiar route near the Rolling Rock Country Club stables when they heard someone exercising a horse in one of the rings. This was, of course, quite odd because it was rather late at night and there was no outdoor lighting. So, they decided to ride closer to see who it was.

As they came through the trees, they could hear the sound of the hooves pounding on the hardened ground of the ring. The horse was loping around at a steady pace. However, my parents and their guests could not see a rider--or a horse. They could only see the glow of a lit cigarette going around the ring in conjunction with the sounds of the hooves, bobbing up and down in time with the stride just as it would in a rider's mouth as he rode along.

(My parents both assumed, at first, that their eyes were just not discerning the shapes in the darkness. As I said, they are very realistic people who would not even think of something being a paranormal occurrence.) As they rode closer, even more curious now to see who the rider was, they heard the horse pick up speed--and watched the cigarette go up and over the fence!

They heard the horse crash loudly through the trees on the side of the ring furthest from them-- where they had last seen the cigarette. My father, thinking that someone may be hurt, knowing that through those trees lay a steep forested hill that dropped off quite suddenly, spurred his horse in that direction too see if he could help.

However, when he got to the spot the horse should have gone through, there was absolutely nothing disturbed: no broken branches, no hoofprints, nothing. Others in the riding party, including my mother, also searched the area, but never found any trace.

Needless to say, they and their guests were a bit spooked after this, but they continued on their ride and stayed the night in the woods--a good distance from that spot!

When my parents inquired the next day at the Club as to whether there had been any riding accidents the night before, or whether a horse had run off with its rider or anything, the answers were "No."

I've often wondered if there was something in the history of the club that might be a clue as to who this ghostly rider might have been, or if there had been an accident in that ring long ago. I may yet investigate it one of these days...

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