As part of a Gaggle of about 8-10 high school boys, one of our favorite activities was to cruise The Struthers Burger Chef and see how many carfulls of Kids we could entice to go see some Spooky Attraction in the area. The Youngstown Area by itself was pretty spooky in the early 70's just by driving through certain neighborhoods.
What I'm talking about are those places often passed down through generations that brought down-right Terror to some SCF (Stone Cold Fox). A girl would be so petrified, she'd cling to you the rest on the night like a piece of Velcro. The problem in my GTO was that damn "Four-On-The-Floor, the gearshift always got in the way. Many of the places were very benign. Our commentary is what made these trips so suspenseful. Shall we say we exaggerated the details a wee bit?
For instance, we would pull into a country cemetery with our lights off. The grave of Elizabeth was a frequent spot to plot our scary scenario. In this cemetery somewhere off Rt. 422 near the Pa. Line, Elizabeth was known to roam, looking to avenge her murder many years ago. Unknown to any of our innocent victims, we'd send a car ahead for some guys to hide and jump out and scare the Beejebbers out of the group as they approached the grave. On one occasion. a girl fainted when we did this and all the boys said they weren't going to do that any more. That pledge lasted about two weeks.
Not far from Elizabeth's Grave on Skyline Drive, near Lowellville was The Eternal Flame. After driving miles along a very desolate, often muddy road, we would stop our cars in a densely wooded area at the bottom of a valley. About 200 yards away in the distance, you could see a very large flame burning in the woods. We would conjure up stories about what the flame was doing burning in the Middle of Nowhere. One guy would say it was the torch of a Headless Horseman searching for his head. Another said it was The Grim Reaper lighting the way for Lost Souls and we would ask if our victim would like to walk back there to check it out. Of course, we never had anyone take us up on it. In reality, The Eternal Flame was surplus natural gas from a pipeline being burned off so the fumes wouldn't collect and explode.
In a cemetery in New Middletown was "The Eyes" that followed you where ever you walked. These large red eyes were nothing more than a ring of big Rhine Stones on a granite ball, on top of a monument. The tales we weaved were similar to the ones about Elizabeth, but nobody caught on. Light reflection passed from one Rhine Stone to another as you walked and it truly did look like red eyes were following you at night. Another great moment for that SCF to snuggle up to you. I always wanted to say in my best Dudley Do Right voice," Don't worry, Nell. I'll save you!"
My favorite Scary Place was The Zombies in near Hillsville, Pa.. Supposedly a colony of people lived in this row of houses along the Mahoning River, that had Water On The Brain. They were called Zombies, Freaks, Light Bulb Heads, Etc. and after years of harassment, they would allegedly come after anyone who bothered their neighborhood. We never saw any of them, even though we'd hang out the car windows and holler insults hoping to get a response. Occasionally, a car would come up behind us and our tales would weave about seeing shotguns or baseball bats sticking out the windows of the car and we had better take off quick. The driver would fly down the road for a few miles finally assuring our victims he has lost them. On a dare one time, a carload of us actually walked up to a house and knocked on the door. A little old lady that, I swear, looked exactly like Grand Ma Ma on the Adams Family opened the door. Complete with black dress, long white bushy hair, and a far away look in her eyes, she shrieked,"Yes, What do YOU want?" Poof! We were gone in a flash, not stopping until we hit The Struthers City Limits! P.S. I checked my shorts when I got home...everything was fine!