Human Hand Found in Lycoming County

The Pine Creek suspension bridge, near English Centre

The following is from the September 6, 1895 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:

A Mystery in Lycoming County-- Part of the Remains of a Corpse Discovered in the Woods

The citizens of Cammel have been living in a state of suppressed excitement since Thursday evening, because of a miraculous yarn told by a young man of 20, who, while coming through the woods from English Centre, came across a ghastly find- a human hand.

The wayfarer lost his way when about two miles from Cammel, which took him into the wildest recesses of the forest.  Evening was fast approaching, and as the young fellow did not fancy the idea of spending the night in so undesirable a place he kept pushing on, trusting more to luck than anything else to bring him to English Centre or some habitation where he might rest free from the dangers which lurk in this region.  

In pushing his way through an opening into a spot less densely grown with shrubbery and trees, the young fellow declares that he found a vest lying on the ground, and fastened to one of the lapels was an emblem of the I.O.O.F.  He removed the trinket, and on looking around discovered a felt hat lying nearby.  After a casual glance of the surroundings the young man started off again, but had hardly gone two paces when he barely missed stepping on a human hand.  

The shock following the horrible discovery rendered him speechless for a brief interval, but with an effort he regained his senses, and without waiting to pursue investigations any further, dashed off as fast as his weary legs would carry him.  Toward nightfall he reached Cammel in an exhausted condition.  At Hostrander's boarding house, where he put up for the night, he related his adventure, designating the spot as best he could, where the ghastly find was located.

The following day a posse of twenty-five citizens, with the young man in the lead, started on a search to investigate what to them looked like a murder.  The place was discovered after a diligent search and protracted hunt, the vest and the outstretched hand were wanted to establish credulity to the story as related by the hero of the adventure.  Despite the evidence which was wanting to give the slightest foundation to the yarn, the young fellow stoutly maintained that he was telling the truth.  There are quite a number of citizens who are disposed to pursue the investigation further, and the probabilities are that another party will be organized this week to make another effort to verify the story of the ghastly find and clear up the mystery.

(view the original newspaper article here)


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