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The Hack is an alleged paranormal figure thought to have existed since before Europeans began colonizing what is now the United States of America. It's been sighted numerous times in the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton Metropolitan Area and surrounding areas. Some who claim the Hack is real in local areas believe he is a demon from Hell. Others believe it is a ghostly creature that wanders the surrounding Appalachian forests in the Tri-State area and in surrounding counties.
The Hack is said to wear a dark cloak. No features of a face have ever been visible in photographs, reports of sightings and artist renditions. People who claim to have seen the Hack say it hovers above the ground, has arms that span the average human arm length. So far, very few official photographs of the creature exist, but there are many artists renditions of what the Hack looks like.
The Hack's appearance has been noted to be similar to that of the Dementors from the Harry Potter film series. A few locals have claimed that the Hack preys on hunters and people who live in moderate to heavily wooded areas. Some incidents involving the Hack have left gruesome crime scenes, and believers in the Hack say that you can tell when the Hack has been involved in a crime scene if the area and surrounding trees, buildings, and/or vehicles will have a mysterious, faint red glow.
The first account describing the Hack's appearance comes from an old journal found in a house in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The article dates back to June 5th, 1887.
- "Upon arriving home from Timbering, I seen a dark figure standing out yonder about a mile or so from where I was standing. The figure wore a big black hood, and seemed to be looking at something out yonder from him. I kept walking home, not wanting to be out before it got completely dark as it was just getting to be dark out. I thought it was rather odd the figure kept standing in that same spot. As I got closer to the figure, I began to fancy that it was floating. Immediately it struck me that this was no man, but a specter. Something else about it gave me chills, and then I knew it was evil. I made a detour through a shortcut I knew that led to the river. When I got home I prayed to the Lord, asking to never encounter the thing again."
The Hack has been described to wander around the forests of the Appalachian mountains and has sometimes been sighted in the Metropolitan cities of KY, OH, and WV. Locals have reported that the Hack roams and arbitrarily finds victims. Certain accounts report that when the Hack finds a victim, it will stalk him/her until said victim begins to go insane. When the victim becomes so crazy that he/she hallucinates, the Hack will enter the victim's body and begin to slowly feed off of the victim. While feeding on the victim, the Hack will possess the victim's body and commit a gruesome crime, typically a murder. Most incidents have left the victim of the murder incredibly mutilated and the corpse of the Hack's victim pale, due to a major loss of blood.
Most accounts say victims of the Hack become increasingly paranoid each time it appears and become so much so that they begin to get physically sick. Accounts about some who had been victimized by the Hack reported symptoms of vomiting, chronic stomach pain, headaches, rhinorrhea, and in more severe cases, labored breathing, coughing, and wheezing.
Over the course of time, there have been famous recorded incidents in the KY-OH-WV area that have appeared. These accounts are from Native Americans, to Colonial times and onward.
Shawnee Native Americans have myths about "Inhote", a dark cloaked figure who killed elders of the tribe. Inhote was said to be a curse thrust upon the people by the deity, Shaawaki. They did stomp dances and a ritual of burning corn to keep Inhote away.
The Poet's Journal
The Poet's Journal is a famous account of a traveler passing through Catlettsburg in the early 1810's. The journal was left behind by the traveler in the Catlett inn. In the journal, the traveler describes the Hack in great detail, but there's this chilling excerpt that continues to disturb readers to this very day.
- "The nightmare is here. It's coming for me. The terror is near. It's staring through me. No hope. Nothing can save me now. It's at my window watching me. I look around to see horrible, grotesque faces surrounding me! They're yelling at me. We're going to kill you. WE'RE GOING TO KILL YOU. But they won't have me. The horror at my window drags me to hell."
Ashland Tragedy of 1881
The Ashland Tragedy is the name given to the violent murder of three teenagers, Robert and Fannie Gibbons and Emma Thomas. The murderers were George Ellis, William Neal, and Ellis Craft. A few locals of the Ashland area claim the three men were possessed by the Hack, but weren't killed by it for an unknown reason. This story, however has been debunked by many people since.
The Burnaugh Incident was a sighting of the Hack that occurred in 2010, when a teenager took a picture of the Hack on his smartphone. Later there was a police report of an attempted murder in Burnaugh where the would-be murderer died of a heart attack before killing a woman. When the smartphone picture surfaced online, it generated controversy and raised interest in the Hack once more. The picture was later deleted from the internet and all traces of it have been removed.
Pictures of the Hack
There are only a few known photographs of the Hack, but there have been some artist renditions of what the Hack looks like.