Sunday, January 27, 2013

Judge John Reddick Cheats The Devil (Beaver County, PA)

In Beaver County, PA, there is the grave of Judge John Reddick. One of the first men to be voted as a judge for the state of Pennsylvania, he was smart, quick witted, and loved racing horses. There is a mystery surrounding him as well as a LEGEND to go with it. It would seem that at his death in 1830, the judge had some rather strange instructions for his burial. He was originally from Virginia, but when he got older he moved to Pennsylvania. He love both states greatly, so his request has his grave half in Virginia (now West Virginia) and half in Pennsylvania. Supposedly there is a door on each end of his above-ground tomb. That is where the mystery comes in. Why would he request such a thing?  There is a story about it.
The Judge was a betting man and loved racing horses. He owned his own ranch stocked with race horses in fact. According to LEGEND, one day the judge was appproached by the Devil himself, who proceeded to offer him a wager. He told the judge that he wanted to race him. The Devil would use an old nag, while the judge could choose any horse in his stable. If the Judge won, he could have whatever he wanted. But if the Deviil won, he would get the Judge's Soul. Looking at the old nag, the Judge quickly took the bet. He chose a fine white stallion from his stable for the race, convinced he would win.
Not thinking about the fact that he was dealing with the Devil, the race commenced. However, every time the Judge would try to pass the old nag, the nag would breath fire out its nose, scaring the stallion, who then refused to pass. And of course the Judge lost. The Devil told him he would be back at the end of the Judge's natural life to collect his Soul. To outwit the Devil, the Judge determined to have his grave in two different states, along with two doors on his tomb. In that way, what ever way the Devil approached his tomb, he could escape on the other side. His tomb still exists to this day, though it is on private property. I think it is an awesome legend!
The grave is now on private property, surrounded by a fence. According to the locals in the area, there are no doors on the tomb.  It sits quietly in someone's back yard.  After the Civil War ended, the border lines changed between PA and what would become West Virginia. The Judges grave now sits a full ten feet into Pennsylvania.
 The pics are from the Pittsburgh Press, 1953.

No comments: