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A Tale of Love and Murder in Egypt Valley

Photos by Dylan McKenzie
The gravestone of Louiza Catherine Fox in Salem Cemetery. Fox was murdered by her lover, Thomas Carr, who was charged with her death and became the first man hanged in Belmont County.

This stone marks where Louiza Fox was murdered, about a mile away from her grave in Salem Cemetery. The marker is on Starkey Road, and many visitors have left coins or other tokens at the site.

HENDRYSBURG — For some local residents, the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is a peaceful place to hike, fish or hunt while getting closer to nature and relaxing. Others, however, are drawn to the area by local folklore of hauntings and paranormal activity.

The area is in the southeastern part of Ohio, in Belmont and Guernsey counties. The Egypt Valley Wildlife area consists mostly of reclaimed strip mining land, and is a popular area for outdoor enthusiasts in the surrounding areas. Piedmont Lake runs through the middle of the area, providing ample opportunity for fishermen and boaters. But many people flock to the region to investigate the many rumors that the Egypt Valley area is home to ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.

One of the most popular and common legends of the area is that of Louiza Catherine Fox and her fiance, Thomas Carr. Fox was a 13-year-old servant who was being courted by the older Carr, a local coal miner. Although they originally approved of the two marrying, Fox’s parents eventually broke off the engagement, uneasy about both Carr’s age difference and his past reputation of violence. When Carr learned of this, he was enraged, and determined to get revenge.

On Jan. 21, 1869, Carr waited for Fox behind a fence on her route home from work. When his ex-fiance approached, Carr spoke to her, kissed her one last time and proceeded to brutally murder her by slitting her throat with a razor and stabbing her multiple times before fleeing the scene.

Fox’s younger brother Willy saw the grisly act from a distance, and soon a group of armed and angry citizens were hot on Carr’s trail. The next morning, Carr attempted to kill himself by slashing his own throat and attempting to shoot himself with a borrowed gun. He failed, and was arrested soon after.

Carr was charged with his crime and was imprisoned for a year before his execution took place. In that time, he confessed to murdering 13 other people, but many believe he was exaggerating his deeds. For the time, his was quite a high profile case, with his confession being published and distributed to the public. Carr was executed on March 24, 1870, the first person of record to be legally hanged in Belmont County, Ohio.

Soon after, residents began to report strange events coming from the area.

The ghost of a young girl was reported to be seen around the grave marker of Fox, crying or lingering at the site. The ghost also has been spotted at the site of the murder, about a mile away from her final resting place. These sighting have led witnesses to believe that the girl is none other than the restless spirit of Fox, unable to move on from her brutal murder.

Witnesses also have said they’ve seen the ghost of Carr walking the area, despite being buried on the grounds of the Belmont County Courthouse in St. Clairsville, miles from where his ghost has been reported roaming.

The spirits of Carr and Fox aren’t the only paranormal phenomena to have been reported from the cemetery. Witnesses have reported various creepy figures haunting the area. One legend that persists is of a truck driver who was in an accident while driving near the cemetery one night. One of his arms was severed in the crash, and is said to haunt the cemetery now, using its fingers to drag itself around the gravestones. Others have reported seeing sinister canine figures, as well as a mysterious “phantom house” that appears in the graveyard and vanishes upon being approached.

Fox’s grave rests in Salem Cemetery, a small cemetery on Salem Ridge Road. The cemetery is quiet, remote and peaceful, isolated from the outside world by the surrounding wildlife area. Fox’s graveside is covered with coins and other small tokens, perhaps left as offerings to the restless spirit of the area.

The site where her brutal murder took place is about a mile away on Starkey Road, and is marked with a small stone, the grass mowed and maintained. This memorial is also covered in tokens left to Fox.

With the sun shining down and the wind gently blowing, it’s hard to believe such a peaceful spot was the site of such a vicious and violent act, so traumatic that the figures involved are said to still haunt the area.

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