I was visiting the Fishing Creek Cemetery in search of a baseball player who rests among the stones. The small rural cemetery was one of the last places I would have thought to look for a famous athlete in, but in the shadows of the trees surrounding the cemetery, I discovered Don Hoak’s resting place. Note: More about Don Hoak can be found here: Don Hoak.
I finished playing my respects before I decided to examine the inscriptions on other tombstones within the small, sacred plot of land. I had read a number of them before one caught my attention. I knew I had encountered the name Amandon Baker before, but at the moment I could not place where I knew the name.
With the connection not immediately popping into my mind, I took a couple pictures of his stone before waking back to the vehicle where my parents waited.
“Who did you find?” mom asked as I sat down.
“Amandon Baker,” I replied. “The name sounds familiar, but I don’t know offhand where I know the name from.”
“He was the first adult burial in the cemetery,” mom announced a couple seconds later as she looked up from her phone.
“I’m not sure that’s why his name is familiar,” I laughed.
“Oh, this is interesting,” mom spoke as she scrolled through her phone. “Here’s an article that states he haunts the cemetery. His ghost was seen carrying his boots.”
“Wait a second,” I spoke excitedly. “His ghost is seen carrying his boots over his shoulder?”
“That’s what it says,” mom answered.
“I didn’t realize he was buried here,” I replied as the pieces of the story fell into place.
The story of Amandon Baker was recorded in the writings of Robert Lyman, who wrote down many of the strange events that happened in the region of north-central Pennsylvania known as The Black Forest. It is only through his writings the stories of this remote region have been saved from disappearing into history.
Amandon Baker was born January 20, 1832 in Andover, New York, the only child to Daniel and Amanda Baker, who died during childbirth. His father would remarry three months later Abigail – Amanda’s sister – and the couple would have seventeen children plus raise Amandon.
The November 13, 1889 edition of The Potter Enterprise (Coudersport) reports the death of Amandon Baker. When he passed on November 9, 1889, the community was rightfully upset about it. Amandon had been sick since serving during the US Civil War and had been in Buffalo for treatment just days before his death. When he returned to Potter County, he was in a “almost unconscious condition and unable to walk.” Due to a miscommunication, nobody was there to take him from the train to his home, so the railroad officials removed him from the train and left him lying on the platform at the Pomeroy Bridge Station. Had not a passer-by heard his groans, he would have perished that night. He lingered for almost a week before death came for him. Note: The Potter Enterprise called the train station where Amandon was abandoned the Pomeroy Bridge Station, but I have not found a station by that name. I believe it was another name for the station located at Roulette.
Amandon was buried in the Fishing Creek Cemetery, where he became the first adult buried in the sacred grounds. It was soon after his burial that Willis Tauscher told of a strange sighting near the cemetery. Tauscher’s walk home took him past the cemetery and its newly dug grave.
One night while walking home, Tauscher noticed a man suddenly appear on the road ahead of him. The figure appeared solid, because Tauscher believed it was another person walking along the road, but Tauscher noticed something odd about the man – he walked with his boots slung over his shoulder. Tauscher called out for the man to wait, but the figure did not respond or even act like he heard Tauscher’s voice.
The strange figure continued walking ahead of Tauscher, until they came to the Fishing Creek Cemetery. The strange figure entered the cemetery and walked over to the freshly dug grave and vanished.
It was at this point Tauscher realized the figure was the ghost of his friend Amandon Baker. This was the first sighting of the ghost and for a period of time after, Amandon’s ghost was spotted by numerous people who passed by the cemetery.
The question of why he carried his boots is answered by Lyman who suggests that while Amandon was in the US Civil War, he would take of his boots and carry them as a means to preserve them longer.
The biggest question I have about Amandon’s ghost is: why didn’t his ghost haunt the Pomeroy Bridge Station, where he was left sick and defenseless by the railroad employees? As far as I can tell his ghost was spotted only near the cemetery and nowhere else.
“Do we know the direction the guy was walking when he saw the ghost?” my father asked.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “It just says he was walking past the cemetery.”
“Maybe you should drive on up the hollow and turn around. The ghost may be walking down the hollow rather than the way we came.” For a moment I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or not, but it wouldn’t hurt driving a short distance up the hollow, turn around and then drive back.
As we ventured the short distance, we kept scanning the road ahead for any signs of Amandon. With the road’s condition getting worse, I finally turned the vehicle around and headed back down the hollow, driving slowly past the cemetery one last time. I did not see Amandon standing at his grave, but did see a small American flag flapping in the wind, marking the grave of the Civil War veteran.