There are two sides to every story and two sides to every person. There’s the story you get publicly, with all of its embellishments and inaccuracies, and the story that’s actually true. It’s just like the public persona a person puts out and the private individual with his or her own thoughts and motivations.
Such is the case with Arthur Blood and Lancaster Town Forest. Talk to some people and you’ll hear the story of a kindly old gentleman who donated his private land so his town could have a public, wooded area to explore. Talk to other people and you’ll hear the tale of a murderous psychopath who slashed his way through the local populace after he lost his mind.
Which story is true? Well, we may never know. One thing is clear, though: Blood Town Forest will always be a great place to take a hike!
|Nothing creepy to see here!|
This is a story that’s best to start off at the final result. Camp or hike through Blood Forest and you might just run into a few victims of Arthur, or “Old Man Blood” as he’s come to be known. There are reports of disembodied voices echoing through the night air and if you’re lucky enough to hear them, you might also be treated to soft whispers and blood curdling screams in the forest.
|"Other Hazards" include decapitation, disembowelment, and hanging.|
There are also plenty of people who have claimed to see full on apparitions and poltergeists patrolling the heavily wooded areas. Rocks and sticks will fly through the air and these evil entities will do everything they can to ruin your day. This is said to include tripping hikers and throwing camping equipment all around the woods. It seems that you just can’t let your guard down and have a peaceful day in nature without some tortured soul causing you drama.
Location, Location, Location
Of course you have to actually find the place before you can deal with the spooks. It’s located right off of Brockelman Road in Lancaster. The entrance is difficult to find if you don’t know where you’re going and maybe that’s by design. You can’t have a murder spree in the forest if you can’t find a place to park first!
|At least there are no damn parking meters.|
Blood Forest itself was donated to the town of Lancaster in 1946 by the titular Arthur W. Blood. It was added to land that the town already owned to create the Arthur W. Blood Town Forest. Yet another parcel from the opposite side of Brockelman Road was added later on and the whole thing was renamed Town Forest, or at least that’s what they want you to think!
Lots and Lots of Murder
Details are tough to come by when it comes to the actual reasons for all of those apparitions and poltergeists being there in the first place. The legend goes that Arthur Blood lost his mind and started preying on anyone who dared to venture into his donated woods. He would stalk them, attack them, and murder them with an axe, or some equally horrifying death implement. Then he’d hang these lifeless corpses from the trees throughout the woods. Just think Jason Voorhees and add an artistic streak for the hangings.
|Nothing wrong with gussying the place up, honestly.|
These murders persisted until well after Arthur’s time on this plain of existence. Old Man Blood passed away in 1951, but the final murder happened in the 70’s.
An innocent, young couple parked for the night to camp in the wilderness. They’d never make it very far and were both found murdered by their car in the coming days. Arthur himself would have been in his 90s and well past his prime killin’ years at this point. These two unfortunates simply stand as one more bloody atrocity in a forest ripe with them.
The Burden of Proof
All of this makes for great folklore. You get a mentally unstable hermit, you get the scary woods, and you even get the ghosts. The problem comes when you try to confirm any of these stories: there’s simply none of it to be had. There are no records of bodies being found swinging from trees. There are no files on a crazy Arthur Blood being investigated or committed to an asylum. There aren’t even any police files on a deceased couple found in the 1970s.
Sure, there was a lot going on in that decade, what with the bell bottoms and disco music, but two people found murdered by their car would have at least made the papers. That’s especially true if that murder happens in a supposedly haunted forest.
|Certainly looks haunted from here.|
In all of the stories about the forest, it’s never mentioned that Arthur was also married to Sarah Blood the whole time he was slicing and dicing up the population. She also ended up outliving him by seven years. Even if she couldn’t bring up the fact that she was married to the world’s worst Christmas tree decorator while he was alive, nothing would have stopped her from coming forward after his demise.
It all comes together to give a story that’s much more based in fantasy than in reality. It’s next to impossible to know that a place called Blood Forest exists without coming up with a creepy explanation and new tales about ghosts in the area persist to this day.
|Look at that font! The forest is just asking for it!|
Fan Fiction and legend
Look into the history of Town Forest and you’re going to come across a lot of, well, basically fan fiction about it. These are stories that have been passed down and reiterated so much that the strands of actual truth behind them have long since disappeared.
Take WorcesterTalk.com, for example. There’s a 2004 message board topic with locals claiming everything from Indian burial grounds in the forest to creepy mansions and executions. The main legend behind it has the murders perpetrated in the 1800s by “some man.” That’s quite a departure from Old Man Blood in the 1950’s, but the stories persist and will be forever reinvented with every generation of new story tellers.
|There are also stories about witchcraft... I'm onto you, flyer!|
Coincidentally, there’s a fan fiction about what pushed Arthur over the edge and into the killing fields on Medium from 2016 that’s a really fun read and worth a look!
Finding the Truth
So who’s to be believed in all this? You can probably take the word of Tim Castner, who serves on the Town Forest Committee for Lancaster and had something to say about it in 2017:
“The forest was first established in the late 1940s, when a local farmer by the name of Arthur Blood donated land to the town… The fact that it’s called Blood Town Forest has inspired a significant number of internet postings, none of which have a shred of evidence to them… The most prominent was that Arthur Blood was some kind of crazy guy who slaughtered people and hung them up in the trees. This is particularly sad in light of the fact that this is a guy whose family had been farmers in town for over a hundred years and volunteered and gave all sorts of things back to the community.”
That’s pretty much all there is to it. Someone liked his community enough to donate his own land to it and then a bunch of people made up stories. So, go hiking, go for a nature walk, or just go and breathe in the fresh air without the fear of disembowelment.
You might just want to make sure you’re not too close to any low hanging limbs, though. You know, just to be safe.
|Oh, shit, RUN!!!!!|
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