Originally published Oct. 2011.

The leaves have started to change colors, and are beginning to fall from the trees.  People are carving pumpkins, and placing them on their doorsteps, and others are placing spooky decorations outside. Halloween is just around the corner.

What better way to celebrate Halloween than to go out and find a scary urban legend?  Just outside of my local community, there is a legend, that legend being Miller’s Church Road.

In Leitersburg, Maryland, there once stood a church named Miller’s Church.  It was built in the 1930’s and was an establishment for Catholic worship.  Shortly thereafter, the warmth of God dissipated and was replaced by the dark practices of Satanism; including alleged sacrifices of young girls inside the church.  A few years later, the church burnt down of unknown reasons.

Years later, once the rubble of the charred church was removed, there remained just a parking lot, and a vast Oak Tree.  A younger couple parked on the church grounds one night, and not long afterwards when they were ready to leave, the car would not start.  Courageously, the boyfriend warned his girlfriend to stay in the car with the doors locked while he searched for help.  Upon the boyfriend’s return to his car, he found the vehicle deserted, but with the doors still locked.  He quickly searched his surroundings, having his quest end shortly; hanging from the lone standing Oak Tree was his girlfriend.

Legend has it that if you park in front of the once-forgotten church you can still see a figure hanging from the tree on crisp autumn nights.  Many even rumor that once they see the apparition, there is a phantom hearse that chases them off of the property.  Be it urban legend or not, many have tested this myth, and swear it happened.

Eager to test this legend, my friend and I departed to Leitersburg, Maryland one night in hopes of confronting the apparition.  It was a crisp night, just after a rainfall from the night before, and the grass was still damp.  I parked my Jeep out in front of the Oak Tree, with the high-beams turned on, searching for anything unnatural with my friend.  Shortly after, my friend heard some rustling in the distance.

“Dude, did you hear that?”  My friend whispered.

“I can’t hear anything whenever you are talking,”  I replied, “let’s get out and see what it was.”

Nervously, we both hopped out of the Jeep, leaving the engine running.  We walked to the bottom of the Oak Tree, and stared off into the distance with our ears perked.  The rock music from the vehicle could still be heard faintly, but it was a silent night.  We anxiously stared at the Oak Tree, awaiting the paranormal.

“This sucks man, nothing is going to happen.  This is just a dumb legend.”  My friend commented.

Both of us heard an engine fire up in the distance.  It was an unusual noise, unlike something we’d heard before.  We heard a screech of the tires peeling across the gravel coming towards the church in a very fast pace.

“You… You don’t think that’s the hearse, do you?”  My friend shakily said in a frantic tone.

We rushed to the Jeep, and quickly put on our seat belts, lying rubber in the church parking lot.  As I drove down the gravel road, a jet-black vehicle rushed behind us, tailgating us the entire way along the single-lane road.  There was no moon out that night, and it was pitch black all around.  All that I could see was the road in front of me as both of us were frantically looking out the windows to see if it was that legendary “phantom” hearse.

The mysterious vehicle behind me was becoming dangerously close to my Jeep.  We were off of the church property, and were almost off of Miller’s Church Road entirely, when we heard a bone-chilling cackle come from the car behind us, as the driver slammed on the breaks and turned off the headlights, disappearing in the night behind me.

To this day, I remember that night vividly.  My friend swears that it was the phantom hearse that had chased us off of Miller’s Church Road, but I am still unsure; as I could not get a good look on the maker of the car.  Many spectators and ghost-chasers swear to see the apparition in the tree and then being chased off of the property by a phantom vehicle; whereas some say that the legend is nothing but a myth made up by teenagers and locals to keep them off of their property.  Others also say that the owner of the hearse that drives at night is owned by a nearby neighbor of the church to scare off the unwanted.

That is the beauty of the paranormal, though, no one ever knows for sure.  Whether you believe or not, is up to you.  I am still a skeptic of the paranormal, but the decision to go back to Miller’s Church has been entirely made up for me, and I know that I will never travel that road again.