Day 186: Ozark Ghost Tales: The Spectral Horseman



From Vance Randolph’s “Ozark Magic and Folklore”:

“A spectral horseman has been reported occasionally for many years at a certain point on what is now Highway 13, in Polk county, Missouri, not far from Bolivar. A little knoll about a hundred yards east of the highway is called Dead Man’s Hill, and there is an old story about a horse thief who was shot to death here and buried on top of the knoll. A rude headstone may still be seen, but there is no inscription, since the man was a stranger. Flowers were found on this grave at intervals for many years, so it was believed that the thief’s identity was known to somebody who lived nearby, but who did not reveal the secret. Men who have seen the ghostly rider have remarked particularly his neat homespun garments, dyed brown with butternut juice, his cowhide boots, and the two big Colt revolvers swinging at his side. There is nothing in this to identify the ghost, however, since many figures similarly attired rode the Missouri trails in the early days.”

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