Charlie No-Face (The Green Man) urban legend

The Green Man (Charlie No-Face)

RP: When I was growing up near Philly there was a story about a guy named Charlie No-Face. He lived in a tunnel in Western Pennsylvania, and people called him the Green Man, or Charlie No-Face, because he had a green cast to his skin and the fact that his facial features seemed melted together. Nobody I knew ever saw him but the most common theories were that he had been an electrician who had had an accident, or had been struck by lightning, or had acid splashed onto his skin.

TK: Where was the tunnel?

RP: It was supposedly in South Park Township, near Pittsburgh. I never went but I think I saw pictures of him at some point. Really creepy.

INFORMANT: The informant is a man who grew up in Pennsylvania and had a childhood full of ghost stories and legends, due partially to the rich amount of folklore in that area of the East Coast and also growing up with several siblings who entertained each other by reading and passing on stories.

ANALYSIS: Charlie No-Face actually has a basis in reality. Ray Robinson was eight years old in 1919, living in Morado, Pennsylvania. On a dare, he climbed a power line near the Harmony Line trolley to see if there were any eggs in a bird’s nest his friends had spotted. He was electrocuted and disfigured, made blind by the accident, but survived. He spent the rest of his life living in the same area and would go out at night for exercise so he could avoid people, but once his story became legend, people began driving out to the road just to meet with him. He originally would hide when these people showed up, but sometimes would come out and share cigarettes and beer with them in exchange for pictures or a story. As the years passed and the story spread, it became more and more exaggerated, and though Ray died in 1985, the legend of the Green Man still lives on in Western Pennsylvania. This intriguing story shows the nature of how an urban legend can develop from the seed of reality, how an injured man looking for solitude and quiet can become the center of a speculative frenzy.