Mount Myer in the White Mountains of Somerset, New Hampshire is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers during the summer and fall months. The summit is at 2,800 feet, with a wide variety of trails ranging from easy to strenuous. The Black Pond Trail is considered to be one of the most difficult trails, yet it also a very popular overnight hike as it carries the benefit of connecting to the summit of nearby Jackson Mountain with spectacular views the entire way.
At the end of September, Greg Kinson (24), Jesse Hawke (26), Felicia Mason (21) and Rachel Wilson (23) embarked on the Black Pond trail early on a Friday morning. All four were experienced in the outdoors, and they had packed ample supplies and warm clothing. As is common practice amongst hikers, the group checked in at the trail-head, recording their expected return for Saturday night, yet by Sunday night, they had not checked back in at the ranger station.
“We get a lot of kids that check-in and say where they’re going, but when they get back, they don’t bother to sign back out,” says Henderson State Park Ranger William Oakes (49). “We didn’t really think much of it until Monday afternoon when their parents and roommates and bosses started calling us. These kids were really excited about the hike, everyone knew where they had gone. They not only didn’t check back in with us, they just never came back.”
Monday evening, New Hampshire State Police and local volunteers launched a search party to locate party. Tuesday afternoon, after a search and rescue canine picked up on a scent, authorities were led off of the Black Pond Trail onto an unmarked path which led to a clearing. While no bodies or other evidence was found, a large pool of blood was located in the clearing underneath a large tree.
The circumstances would be scary enough on their own if not for the local legend surrounding Mount Myer. Rumor has it that the mountain is haunted by the spirit of a vengeful witch named Allison Perks who was brutally beaten to death in a clearing outside of her home by a mob in the early 1920’s. Perks had reportedly retreated to the mountain to avoid persecution and to live alone in peace, yet she was still executed for her alleged affiliation with witchcraft.
“Everyone knows the story of the Black Pond Witch” says Holly Ramshorn (37), a local historian. “She cursed the same people that killed her, and vowed to haunt their ancestors until every one of their bloodlines was erased. What’s even weirder about the whole thing is that one of the people who was officially questioned for Allison Perks’ murder, Jacob Hawke is actually the great-grandfather of one of the doomed hikers, Jesse Hawke.