THE MYSTERIES OF OHIO: THE PHANTOM OF ROUTE 40
This is less a post than a request for information. While checking out Wikimapia, Wikipedia's globe-mapping project (slogan: "Let's describe the whole Earth!") I naturally drifted to Englewood, Ohio, the suburb of Dayton I call home. (A side note: I'm currently returning from a trip there and enjoying the free Internet access at the Dayton International Airport.) Naturally, one of the landmarks singled out for description was the Englewood Dam, one of several massive dirt dams built in response to the Dayton floods of 1913. It's a remarkable structure that's also the base for a mile-long stretch of Route 40, the original cross-country highway that's since been more or less supplanted by Interstate 70.
So here's what Wikimapia says about the dam: "The largest dam maintained by the Miami Conservancy district, it was constructed in 1919 and consists of as much earth as the Great Pyramid of Giza." That last bit's news to me, but it makes sense. Then the entry takes a strange turn. "This was the haunt of the Phantom of Route 40 (the National Road) circa 1952." Wha huh? I grew up around there a couple of decades later and never heard anything about any phantom. Seeking out information, I went to Forgotten Ohio, a website maintained by Andrew Henderson, author of Weird Ohio and Forgotten Columbus. I came across a somewhat chilling account of a ghost girl said to haunt the dam, but this didn't sound like my phantom.
A Google search yields this item from the Englewood Independent referencing a Route 40 exhibit has this reference: "Visitors to the society's history tent can enjoy listening to a recording by Jim Colegrove of 'The Phantom of Route 40,' a song that tells the story of the harrowing experiences of truck drivers crossing the Englewood Dam in 1952." Elsewhere, you can find the lyric to the song, but it doesn't shed as much light on the phenomenon as you might expect, apart from referencing a skeletal phantom and a sheriff who dared to challenge him.
So, anyone out there know what this is all about?
Technorati tags: Ohio, ghosts, Phantom Of Route 40, Englewood