The man pictured above is “The Green Man” and is not “The Green Man”. Thousands of people in the Pittsburgh area have combined two “Green Man” legends into one semi-true story. This tale aims to set the record straight on both stories and I will add my experiences with the Green Man Tunnel (pictured with the road salt stored inside) and Corvette Tunnel (the picture with the one lane road proceeding through the tunnel).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE REAL “GREEN MAN”
Raymond Robinson (1910-1985) will always be the true “Green Man”. The photo I am using of him in this tale was obtained from his Wikipedia page! Robinson’s story is a sad and very fascinating one. Before the age of 10, Robinson was climbing a post connected to a trolley bridge when a trolley came across at the same time. These bridges were not grounded in the early 1900’s, so the line with 22,000 volts attached to it shocked him, melting his eyes and nose off of his face and also causing the loss of one arm. The local newspaper reported on the story, and part of the caption read, “He will die”. The shock also caused his skin to appear green or yellow on parts of his body, hence the ill-fated nickname given to him by the local residents.
I have met two people that have seen Robinson with their own eyes. They, like many other people over the years, came across him while he was walking alongside Pennsylvania state route 351 in the dark near the town of Koppel. Koppel is about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh near the Ohio border. Robinson walked at night to avoid attention and since he was blind it didn’t matter if it was light or dark outside. In each encounter the two people I knew saw Robinson talking to teenage or college age boys who provided a few cigarettes to him during his nightly walk (Robinson was known to accept a few beers as well). Not all of the people that Robinson met were as nice, but he continued walking that patch of road well into the 1970’s.
GREEN MAN TUNNEL & CORVETTE TUNNEL
On the south end of Piney Fork Road in South Park, Pennsylvania sit two old tunnels that are side-by-side and run underneath a railroad line. Green Man Tunnel is an old coal car tunnel that sits a few feet above Piney Fork Road. Corvette Tunnel has one lane for car traffic and the other half allows Piney Fork Creek to flow through the tunnel and into nearby Peters Creek. These two tunnels are 10 miles south of Pittsburgh. I have heard stories about ghost trains at this site in relation to both tunnels, but the only line that runs full size trains is the line ABOVE BOTH TUNNELS. Before South Park Township used Green Man Tunnel for road salt storage, I walked around inside of it and there was no way a locomotive could fit inside that thing.
There have been many different ghost stories concerning this site, but there is no historical information that identifies a real tragedy taking place at the bottom of Piney Fork Road. One common detail with many Green Man Tunnel ghost stories is the presence of what appears to be a man with a slight glow to the outline of his body. The glow is usually described as a green color, so when people around the South Hills of Pittsburgh started speaking of the incidents, the name “Green Man” kept coming up in conversations.
The story behind the name for Corvette Tunnel is just poppycock. The usual story I heard over the years is that two Chevrolet Corvettes were speeding down Piney Fork Road to get to the single lane tunnel first. One Corvette made it, one crashed into the creek. Some stories have the wrecked car melting into the walls of the tunnel and the driver never to be seen again. Yeah, really.
The road has many bumps and bends in it and its width can barely accommodate two cars trying to get by one another. Nobody would be able to race at a high rate of speed in that area of South Park. And if there was a true race that happened here years ago, the speed probably never exceeded 30 miles per hour and the cars taking part were actually an AMC Gremlin and a Ford Pinto.
These two tunnels are 50 miles from the area that Raymond Robinson resided. Green Man Tunnel is linked to Robinson because people around Pittsburgh assume that the ghost stories and Ray’s story are about the same topic.
MY FIRST GREEN MAN TUNNEL EXPERIENCE
In my junior year of high school in May of 1993, I decided to cut school with my friend Eric and Eric’s friend John. Eric had an old car and he wanted to drive around since this particular Friday was very nice. Eric and John came up with the idea to visit the inside of Green Man Tunnel. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the stories behind it.
We arrived around 8:30 a.m., and the temperature was around 55 F. It was a nice sunny morning and there was no wind. We entered Green Man Tunnel and it was clear that many people used it as a party spot. There was graffiti all over the inside and outside of the tunnel, empty beer cans and cigarette butts were strewn all over the ground, old tree branches and stumps were used as seats and a fire pit was closer to the entrance. About halfway back the tunnel, huge wooden boards sealed off the other end of the tunnel. The other half was filled in with dirt and rocks.
After we looked around inside for about fifteen minutes, the three of us took the thirty step walk back down to Piney Fork Road to check out Corvette tunnel. John hopped down closer to the creek side of the tunnel to see if there were any fish in the water. Eric and I checked out the graffiti in this tunnel as well and we were shouting to hear our voices echo through the tunnel. John was annoyed because he felt we were scaring the fish out of the tunnel portion of the creek. The echo was pretty loud! Only a few cars came through Corvette Tunnel while we were there, and we didn’t experience any paranormal activity. We left the area right before 10 a.m.
MY SECOND (AND LAST) GREEN MAN TUNNEL EXPERIENCE
My high school girlfriend “Peach” wanted to check out the tunnels one Friday evening in April of 1994. Peach’s friend Deanna came with us, and we arrived at sunset. It was warm for April that day, around 72 F, overcast and no wind.
On the way I informed the girls about the current use of Green Man Tunnel, so when we got there we decided just to check out the inside of Corvette Tunnel. We didn’t know who was in Green Man, so just in case we would encounter trouble we stayed on the main road.
Peach and I were holding hands when we decided to start walking toward Corvette Tunnel. Deanna was about twenty steps behind us because she decided to throw her small purse back in my car. Right when Peach and I hit the threshold of the tunnel, four paranormal characteristics occurred at the exact same time.
The temperature dropped at least twenty degrees when we entered. I remembered the first time I was in Corvette and it wasn’t that cold, and that day it was around 55 F. We heard a loud guttural moan from a male voice that echoed throughout the tunnel. That moan was much louder than anything that Eric and I produced while we shouted in there. A light wind blew in different directions inside of Corvette and there was a pulsating glowing white aura that was all around the inside of the tunnel. No definite shape, but very visible.
And then within ten seconds, everything went back to normal. I turned to Peach, and all she said was,”I think we better go.”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Deanna, who was just about to enter the tunnel, heard our brief conversation and was wondering why we wanted to go. She didn’t hear or see anything! Deanna was fifteen steps from the entrance. When Eric and I were shouting in Corvette the previous year, the neighbors up the road could probably hear us shouting! She thought we were trying to scare her, and we insisted we were not. Peach was the first to bring up the details of our incident.
“Did you hear that Larry?”
“Yeah, what did you hear?”
“A moan. It sounded like a man.”
“Yes! It was so loud! Did you get ice cold when we entered?”
“YES!!! I thought that was me being scared! It happened the moment we walked in!”
“I know! Did you see the misty white lights swirling around?”
“YES!!! I can’t believe that just happened!”
Deanna thought our little joke was going too far and she wasn’t buying any parts of our story. She thought we made up the story just so we could scare her and leave before it got really dark. But it was true.
MY TALE COMPARED TO OTHER STORIES ON GREEN MAN TUNNEL & CORVETTE TUNNEL
Most of the ghost stories that are found on the Internet about these tunnels reference Green Man Tunnel, but after my experience all those years ago I can’t help but wonder if most of those stories involved Corvette Tunnel. Before the ghostly encounter that Peach and I had there, I never heard someone share details of a similar event, and to this day it seems our haunting was a unique story that doesn’t come close to previous documented accounts. I interpreted the haunting as the ghost’s way of saying, “Get out of here”, and I will respect that command by never returning to that stretch of Piney Fork Road.
I know Raymond Robinson did not scare Peach and I that night in 1994. I just wish the rest of the Pittsburgh region was aware of this fact. So “The Green Man” does exist in South Park, but he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page or a Twitter account. Not yet anyway.