The Phantom of Five Locks

The water filled canal along Five Locks Road – note the green heron in the foreground

Having spent the majority of the morning bouncing around Berks County, I took a moment from my journey to visit the grave of Adeline Baver, whose unsolved murder has become a part of regional lore. After I stopped to pay my respects to the young murder victim, I headed northward toward my next stop. Note: More about the murder of Adaline Baver can be found here: The Baver Murder.

I navigated the narrow backroads into Centerport and then to the collection of houses known as Berne. Turning onto Fisher Dam Road, I crossed over the Schuylkill River and immediately turned left at Five Locks Road.

I stopped at the boat launch area, carefully walked down the boat ramp and took some pictures of the river, before returning back to the vehicle.

“So what are we hunting for?” my father asked as I paused before turning onto Five Locks Road.

“There’s an old lock ahead that is supposed to be haunted.”

“Another ghost?” my father asked as the majority of this visit was about the legends and lore of the region.

“Kind of,” I replied.

“How do you have ‘kind of’ a ghost?” he questioned

“Legend states that a young girl haunts the lock. According to legend, a young girl drowned in one of the locks in the early 1800s. Supposedly, she was playing hide and seek with some friends, when she fell into the lock and drowned.

“However, everything is word of mouth. As far as I am aware, there has never been anything uncovered to verify this actually happened.

“Many believe this is the lock that she drowned in, but again, it is word of mouth.”

“So why are you visiting it if you don’t believe the story?” my father asked.

“Just because I don’t have proof of it happening, doesn’t mean something isn’t haunting the area.” Over the years I have had a number of emails asking if I had ever visited Five Locks Road to investigate the paranormal claims that are connected to this stretch of road.

“If you ever want a truly scary experience, check out Five Locks Road. I swear I saw the ghost of a young girl walking along the road,” wrote Stacy G.

“I used to hang out on Five Locks Road. One evening a group of us saw a glowing ball of light hovering over the lock,” Gary M. shared.

“Are you familiar with the girl who haunts Five Locks north of Reading?” Fran R. asked. “She fell into the canal and drowned. If you drive along the road there you can see her wandering in the woods surrounding the canal looking for her playmates. I’ve never seen her, but I’ve friends who have. If you’re in the area, you need to check it out.”

“So what you’re telling us is to be on the look out for anything strange?” my mother asked after I finished telling them a couple stories.

“There’s a cat,” my mother pointed at the large, black housecat sitting along the edge of the road a short distance away. “Is that strange?”

“Maybe,” I replied. The cat did not seem phased by the vehicle and glancing into the rearview mirror, it was still sitting there after we passed.

We had gone a short distance when my father asked “Is that it?” On our right was an algae-covered body of water.

“I believe so,” I replied. I was already past the small pull-off alongside the water-filled lock, so I traveled the length of the road, before returning and pulling off of the road.

“There go a bunch of ducks,” my mother pointed out.

“What’s that along the edge of the water?” my father asked as he pointed to a spot just beyond the brush.

“It looks like a green heron,” I replied. We sat watching as the bird positioned itself over the algae-covered waters, watching and waiting for its prey.

I took some pictures before deciding to give up our search as the sky darkened; it appeared we were in for a storm. I carefully pulled out onto the road and headed back toward Berne.

“Your cat is still there,” my mother observed.

I slowed down to get a better look. It remained motionless as I stopped the vehicle next to it. I lowered my window to get a better look and it remained frozen. I called out to it a couple times, hoping to see the animal make some sort of movement.

“I wonder if it’s hurt?” I spoke as I undid my seatbelt. The moment I opened the door, the cat came to life. It jumped into the air, spun around before hitting the ground and disappeared into the grass. “That was interesting,” I spoke as I closed my door.

“That was your phantom, and it just disappeared,” my father teased from the backseat. “And you didn’t even think to get a picture of it, did you?”

He was right – it never crossed my mind.

With that thought in mind, we left Five Locks Road, with its legends and lore, behind us as the rain began to fall.

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