Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially one that derives from an urban legend. The tale of Reder Road, located in Griffith, Indiana, is one that has captivated the area for decades, but there is said to be some truth to the paranormal activity that occurs down the old, abandoned road that keeps people coming back.
The Urban Legend:
Elizabeth Wilson was a teenage girl who was said to have lived in, or around Griffith when she was killed in a car accident in the year 1955. When the accident occurred, Elizabeth was thrown from the car and landed in a nearby swamp where she is said to have drowned.
Following her death, her apparition would appear on the side of Reder Road, particularly when a young man was driving by alone. Several stories state the men would stop and offer the young lady a ride. They had a lengthy conversation, though oftentimes her answers were short or evasive, puzzling the driver along the way. When the car would pass Ross Cemetery, Elizabeth's apparition would disappear.
This story is very similar to another hitchhiking ghost story which takes place not too far away on Archer Avenue in Chicago. That story, the famous Resurrection Mary, which you can read about here, has quite a few similarities, to the Reder Road story which makes me think this particular tale might be a copycat. However, I have been to Reder Road and I can tell you that something is going on there, I just doubt it is Elizabeth, especially considering I have never found Elizabeth buried in Ross Cemetery.
Another urban legend associated with Reder Road revolves around a turn of the 20th-century church. A pastor was said to have gone mad, locked everyone inside, and burned the place to the ground. People have claimed to hear the screams of the victims and even seen a mirage of sorts, of a church on fire. Again, I am not sure of the validity of this story, but it is creepy none the less.
While I highly doubt the Elizabeth story, I do not doubt there is something paranormal going on over where Reder Road used to be. Being close to where the mob operated, it is often thought that the dead-end road was used as a body dumping site, which was pretty common in the Chicago suburbs (which Griffith is part of) during the 1930s.
Years later, after the road was blocked off, people would go there to do drugs and, sadly, sometimes commit suicide. Multiple deaths were reported there during this time.
The reports of ghostly activity on Reder Road are pretty widespread. Apparitions, disembodied voices, cold spots, mysterious mists, fogs, orbs, footsteps with no sources, and even feelings of being touched or pushed have been reported.
I have been here a few times, though it's been years now, but there is certainly something going on there, I'm just not sure what. If I were to describe the energy of the place, I would say it is heavy and a bit dark.
If you happen to visit Reder Road, be wary of your surroundings, abide by the rules and signs posted, and NEVER go alone!
Photo by: Deliris