The Legend Of The Green Man: Raymond Robinson Had No Face, Friends
Have you heard the one about Green Man? You know, the guy without a face who walks the highway at night? Supposedly, he fell into a vat of acid, but some people say that he removed his own face. He could also be a fisherman who was struck by lightning or a young boy who was electrocuted by downed power lines, depending on who you ask. People call him Green Man or Charlie No Face, but this urban legend got its start in real life. The real Green Man, Raymond Robinson, wasn't green at all, but his face had been burned off in a childhood accident. He lived his life as best he could while taking walks through western Pennsylvania. Throughout his life, he attracted the attention of locals and tourists who wanted to see the legend in real life.
Robinson's face was burned off as a boy
Born on October 29, 1910 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Robinson was just a regular boy for the first nine years of his life. He played with his friends and found fun in the fields and streams behind his parents' home. On June 18, 1919, however, all of that would change.
On that day, Robinson and his friends decided to play at the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler, and New Castle Railway Co. bridge spanning Wallace Run. The bridge carried massive amounts of electricity, and it was nowhere for kids to play. Tragically but predictably, Robinson was injured by an electrical line while climbing a pole. He survived despite his grim prognosis, but his face was completely destroyed, and he went through the rest of his life without eyes, a nose, or a right arm. Many people would fold under this kind of pain, but Robinson refused to let his injuries force him into solitude.
He kept busy during his day-to-day life
Robinson didn't spend his life lamenting his physical impairment. Instead, he hung out with his family in Koppel, Pennsylvania while weaving doormats, wallets, and belts as a way to make some extra cash. At times, he wore a prosthetic nose and a big pair of glasses, but he was just as comfortable bare-faced, and his loved ones had long become accustomed to his appearance. His nephew said:
He never discussed his injuries or his problems at all. 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.
For fun, Robinson listened to the radio during the day and walked along State Route 351 with a walking stick for hours at a time.
Locals were obsessed with seeing him
When locals found out that a guy without a face was walking up and down the Koppel-New Galilee Road in the middle of the night, they did everything they could to get a peek. People regularly gathered to see Robinson on his walks, but more often than not, he avoided contact with strangers. For the most part, people just wanted to ask him questions, but you know what they say about bad apples. Some people offered him rides only to drop him off in foreign areas, straight-up hit him with their cars, and even physically beat him. Still, he never stopped going on his walks. His family worried about him, but they couldn't stop him. The way he saw it, he'd already been robbed of so much in his life, and he wasn't about to be robbed of his beloved walks.
More often than not, people were nice to him
His refusal to hide may have left him vulnerable to the worst humanity had to offer, but it also allowed Robinson to connect with plenty of nice, normal people who were just curious about his injuries. In the '60s, the area's youthful residents often brought cigarettes and beer to share with Robinson while they chatted with him about the weather and local happenings. Most of these friends insist that his face never came up. Jim Nardone spoke to the Times Online about his friendship with Robinson:
I guess like everybody else, somebody had a friend who knew a friend who knew about this individual who roamed the road at night out there. We'd be sitting around the State Soda Grill or someplace like that, and somebody would say 'Let's go out and see that guy.' You'd just roll down the window and talk to him as he stood outside of the car.
Green Man is said to haunt Pennsylvania
Even though Robinson was, by all accounts, a really nice guy, the urban legend around Green Man and Charlie No Face grew throughout the area. According to those who believe the urban legend, the ghostly No Face walks the Koppel-New Galilee Road in Big Beaver, or he can be found in a railroad tunnel in South Park, an industrial area near Pittsburgh. People in Pennsylvania still believe that he's either a ghost or some lurid creature who grew up in squalor after his face was melted off. Locals still go on late-night adventures to see Charlie No Face, driving down the same highway that Robinson walked in search of a ghoul that never was.
Robinson passed away in 1985, but his legend lives on
According to his doctors, Robinson should have died when he was just a boy. Even with a melted face and missing extremities, however, he survived long past any expectations and lived as good a life as any of us can expect. He gave up his walks as he got older and moved into Friendship Ridge, a nursing home in Brighton Township where he was cared for by his family, but locals still reported that they saw him walking and waiting for someone to stop. The Charlie No Face sightings have continued after Robinson’s death on June 11, 1985, one week before the 66th anniversary of the accident that changed his life forever.
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