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Territory Struggle

July 2000

There was a story I once was told as a camper at a daycamp. Each season the oldest group is entitled to a "sleepover night" amongst the campus grounds. Well, during this night I learned a little more about the campus then I had wished and this so called "sleepover night" consisted of zero sleep!

The story takes place in the early 1900's in a city called Merion located in PA. The camp ground is used as a grade school during the year and as a day camp in the summer. The story began by explaining that the two headmasters of this campus are long deceased, and their names are Dietrich and Weatherhill. Around the camp, these names refer to what were once large estates located at either end of campus. However to campers they refer to them as the playgrounds and arts and crafts rooms that each building possesses.

Apparently the two families Dietrich and Weatherhill made settlement on this land in the early 1900's. The land was once owned by a man named Lapsey Latches, who met his fate aboard the Titanic. Ironically the campus lies on Latches Lane. Ultimately the land was granted to the two families of the future headmasters: both Dietrich and Weatherhill. Apparently, the two families became very bitter about territorial disputes. The estates shared a good amount of ground and it was desired by both families. As the story is told, upon the fields of the campus, (which are used by campers for sports) many battles and wars were fought over the land that was shared between the estates. Eventually the settlement was resolved. . . for now.

Generations later, a child of the Dietrich family had remembered the story from his grandfather about the blood that had been shed over this land. The families still remained neighbors. . . not quite friends . . . . but acquaintances.

The grandchild of the Dietrich family was asked to go hunting with the grandchild of the Weatherhill estate. They had each grown by now and had children of their own. However the Dietrich family still held a grudge over what they felt was an unequal settlement of land. Each of the two men were big game hunters and it was nothing out of the ordinary for neighbors to go hunting. However during the course of the hunting trip. The Dietrich man had "accidently" fired his rifle into Weatherhill's hand separating it from his arm. He began screaming in rage. For both self defense reasons and to carryout his revenge, Dietrich blasted his rifle into Weatherhill's chest. He had sustained two gunshot wounds and was dead instantly. When Dietrich returned home he cried about the "accident" and ultimately he was forgiven.

Very strangely two months later Dietrich had disappeared from his estate and was never found again.

On that very night after a "wise" older counselor had told this story, I expected a cheesy sort of ghost or something. However, the story tells that Weatherhill still roams his estate grounds at night. . . seen in his hunting gear holding his arm that had been wounded. He cries and chants, "MY HAND!!! I'VE LOST MY HAND!"

Later that night, just before heading off to attempt to catch some Zzzz.., I saw what I believe to this day was a ghost. A shadow was lurking from the Weatherhill parking lot. . . long after the campus was chained-up and locked. The man chanted nothing. But he wore a hunting type of coat and was holding his wrist, this was during the early hours of the morning. Perhaps the cat had the ghost of Weatherhill's tongue!!! Or maybe others have heard his cries. . . "MY HAND!!! I'VE LOST MY HAND!!!"

To my knowledge these tales are facts. The estates and families are authentic and the mystery continues. . . .

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