Much is known about the Pennsylvania urban legend known as the Green Man, but much less is known about the real person who was nicknamed Charlie No Face by the locals where he lived.
Raymond T. Robinson was born Oct. 29, 1910, in Beaver County, but little is known about his early years. He was a son of Robert and Louise Robinson, and the family lived on the outskirts of Beaver Falls. Robinson's father died in 1917, when Raymond was 7. His widowed mother married her brother-in-law, who was a widower. Between them, they had at least seven children, including Raymond. Until the spring of 1919, Raymond Robinson was a typical kid. He swam the Beaver River in the summer, hung out with his playmates around the Morado section of Beaver Falls and, like a typical boy, took dares.
On June 18, 1919, he and several friends were heading for a swimming hole on the Beaver River when they came upon the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway Co. bridge spanning Wallace Run. The bridge, which was torn down years ago and has been replaced by a Route 18 highway bridge, had connected Beaver Falls and Big Beaver. The massive wooden structure was an attraction for local youths.
In September 1918, another Beaver Falls boy - Robert Littell, 12 - died from electrical burns he received while playing on the bridge with friends. Harmony trolleys were powered by 1,200 volts DC. The line from Ellwood City to Beaver Falls, which opened in 1914, also featured a main transmission line carrying 22,000 volts AC.
Robinson and his four companions knew about that fatal accident when they ventured onto the span at twilight on June 18, 1919. But a newspaper account the following day reported that the boy had spied a bird's nest high on the bridge structure. Robinson began climbing a "girder" or a box and was horribly burned by high voltage. Robinson hovered between life and death at the former Providence Hospital in Beaver Falls. After a month, he began to improve. Doctors called it a miracle.
He survived, but his face looked as if it had been melted with a blow torch. His eyes were gone. His nose was gone. His lips and ears were terribly disfigured. His left arm was burned off at the elbow. His upper torso was scarred. Robinson wore a prosthetic nose that was connected to a pair of dark glasses. He also received some help from the sparse social services available at the time.
He knew rudimentary Braille and passed his time at home weaving rubber door mats and making leather wallets and belts. He also had a collection of metal puzzles consisting of horseshoes and other hardware that he deftly worked to the amazement of his young nieces and nephews.He loved to listen to the radio. He kept a shortwave in his bedroom and an old Philco on a stand by his favorite easy chair in the living room. He spent hours listening to them.
Most of his time was spent indoors, but he occasionally ventured outdoors to "help" with chores. Robinson liked to push an old-fashioned manual mower across the family lawn. He missed spots, but his relatives never minded going back over them. One of his favorite pastimes was hiking the woods around his home.He carried a stick and guided himself by walking with one foot on the path and the other on the edge of the path. He would later use the same system while walking the Koppel-New Galilee Road: one foot on the pavement and the other on the gravel berm.
Robinson lived in obscurity. Neighbors and other locals knew him, or about him, but they never bothered him. Family members cared for Robinson until the last years few years of his life, when he moved to a nursing home. The family didn't talk much about how he looked, and nobody really thought much about it. Uncle Ray was Uncle Ray, and that was that, the nephew said."He never discussed his injuries or his problems at all," he said. "It was just a reality, and there was nothing he could do about it, so he never spoke about it. He never complained about anything."
bio was taken from the Beaver County Times Newspaper
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