In 1924, a railroad tunnel was built named the Piney Fork Tunnel to service the coal mines of western Pennsylvania. By 1962, it had been abandoned, which is when it became known as the Green Man Tunnel.
The dare was for teenagers to drive into the tunnel with their headlights turned off, and call out to the Green Man who would appear out of the darkness. He was horribly disfigured due to an electrical accident, which also caused his skin to glow green. If he touched the car it would stall out.
This is but one of the legends of the Green Man, who it turns out was a real person.
In the 1950s, for those growing up in western Pennsylvania most had heard of the monstrous creature known as the Green Man.
The reasons given for his strange color was that he was electrocuted, struck by lightning or suffered an extreme industrial accident.
He was said to haunt the country lanes of South Park, North Hills or Washington, Pennsylvania.
According to Mike Diehl an Allegheny County parks superintendent, stories circulated for decades about the strange man. His assistant who graduated in 1968, from a local high school said she heard about the Green Man from her older brothers. According to them, "You had to be aware of him along South Park's Snowden Road -- a twisty, woodsy, unlit stretch popular for necking and other pubescent tricks and treats. The legend goes that he roams that hollow late at night and chases the parkers and the loafers." She went herself to the area several times when she was a teenager, but never saw him. Some of her friends did though.
Jo Pelesky, a South Park historian who grew up in that area in the 1930s, said as far back as the 1940s stories were circulating about the strange figure wandering around.
Pat Temple, saw, talked and photographed the Green Man in the 1950s, when he lived on the outskirts of Beaver County, in the mill town of Koppel.
He describes his encounter back to 1956, when he was 16, and his friends, Ray Griffin, Guy Muto and Jim Walsh decided to go find the Green Man. The four teenagers headed out in Pat's 1951 Ford towards Koppel.
As soon as we started up the road, Ray announced that is the road the Green Man always walked on. There was a long silence and I could feel the goosebumps and when we finally did say something, we seemed to be whispering.
They drove passed him, and then turn around, despite being terrified that he turned out to be real.
That summer, Pat Temple returned, sometimes with those same friends to talk to the Green Man. The word got out and traffic jams occurred because passerby were stopping to speak to him. Eventually Temple was able to take a picture of him.
Temple came to learn that the Green Man was a nice person who as a boy had a terrible accident where he was shocked, which is why his face was disfigured and one arm was missing.
In 1957, Pat Temple joined the Air Force and when he returned in '61 he tried to find Ray, but never saw him again.
A former newspaper photographer, Pete Pavlovic did a story about the Green Man for a local newspaper. His real name was Raymond Robinson and he died of natural causes in 1985.
Frank Pelegrine who in 1940, delivered groceries to the Robinson family dropped his boxes and ran the first time he saw Raymond.
Eventually all who came to know him better, overlooked his appearance and realized he would not hurt anyone.
Others who saw him regularly on the road at night would give him a pack of Lucky Strikes, and on a occasion some liquor to drink.
Source - Old Post Gazette
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer