You are here

Ghost at Blevins Farmstead; Excerpt From 'Haunted Hikes'

Author : Andrea Lankford
Published : 2006-04-01

It's Halloween, so how about a spooky story? Andrea Lankford, author of the book 'Haunted Hikes: Spine-Tingling Tales and Trails from North America's National Parks', has given us permission to re-post a story from her book. Andrea qualifies herself as a skeptic, but to read about her own spooky encounter at a Civil War battlefield site, check out this story. ~Jeremy

BIG SOUTH FORK: A man of constant sorrow

We have to thank the Eminent Domain for many of the places we now enjoy as national parks. However, whenever the federal government takes land from people unwilling to give it up, whenever the government forces people to leave their homes, hearts are bound to be broken, and some spirits may never recover.

For more than 50 years, Oscar Blevins lived in a cabin, a simple long structure built in 1870, and farmed the grassy fields near Bandy Creek. In 1975, the government condemned Blevins’ property to include it into the newly established Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Thirteen years later, in 1988, Oscar Blevins died. An acquaintance of Mr. Blevins told ranger Howard Duncan that poor ole’ Oscar had "grieved himself to death over the loss of his farm."

After Mr. Blevins passed away, park staff began to notice unusual things at the Blevins Farmstead. According to NPS cultural historian Tom Des Jean, more than one ranger reported getting the "willies" while at Oscar’s farm. One hot summer evening, a ranger was unsaddling a horse inside the corral behind the barn when his hair stood up on end. Someone was watching him. The ranger looked behind him. Just outside the barn stood an old fellow wearing bib overalls and a black slouch hat. The ranger hailed the man in the overalls and continued to unsaddle his horse. Then he carried the saddle to the barn so that he could chat with the elderly park visitor when he was done. But in the time it took the ranger to set the saddle down and come out of the barn, the old man had vanished.

The old man with the slouch hat appeared again sometime in the early 1990's. Early one morning, the Bandy Creek wrangler went to Oscar’s farm to pick up a horse and load it into a trailer. As the wrangler led the horse out of the barn, the horse stopped at the barn door and reared back. This behavior was out of character for this normally docile mare. Coaxing the horse with encouraging words, the wrangler pulled on the halter, but the mare absolutely refused to cross the threshold of the barn door. Suddenly the wrangler’s scalp began to prickle. Feeling a presence, the wrangler looked over his shoulder. Standing not more than 30 feet from the doorway of the Blevins cabin was an old man wearing bib overalls and a slouch hat.

"She won’t come out will she?" the old man said, sending chills down the wrangler’s spine and causing the mare to fight the lead. Returning his attention to the horse, the wrangler grappled with the desperate animal. As soon as he got the mare under control, the wrangler looked around for the old man, but he was nowhere to be found.

He never claimed to have seen a ghost, but the wrangler told rangers the experience had rattled him. Ranger Howard Duncan described the wrangler, who is now a Special Agent with the DEA, as "a fellow who does not frighten easily."

Want more? Check out this audio interview I did with Andrea back in April. Also, the book has it's own website, found here -


Update: My latest source says that Oscar Blevins never wore overalls. So, depending on your beliefs, the rangers are seeing an image that represents the image concocted by their own guilty conscience or it implies that someone other than Oscar is haunting the Blevins homested. Perhaps, it is Uncle Jake Blevins as seen is the photograph at

Things that make you go hmmmmm?

Bravo for shining the spotlight on the Big South Fork! There are many interesting tales to be told from up on the Plateau - just take a look at the different names of rivers...No Business Creek, Troublesome Creek, Parched Corn Creek, Bandy Creek (shortened from "abandoned")....the list goes on.

Haunted Hiker - there's multiple Blevins farms in the Bandy Creek area, so it could be that both the Ocscar Blevins Place and Jake's Place are haunted, although Jake's Place as been (over)used as a backcountry campsite, so I doubt there's any spooks there. As to if Oscar wore overalls, I don't know, but I'm sure Mr. Duncan does - he's a veritable encyclopedia of Big South Fork lore.

"Good Planets are Hard to Find"
President, CHS SPEAK (CHS Students Promoting Environmental Action & Knowledge)
Founder and President, CHS Campus Greens

jr ranger, my people are from that area. And I agree with you, Big South Fork is a gorgeous sleeper of a park that deserves much more than 15 minutes of fame. But then that leaves more room for us while visiting, doesn't it?

I spoke with Howard during my research, and I want to hear more BSF stories. I'll be in touch!

That's a neat story cause Oscar was my great uncle I just remember meeting him a few times.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide