Reder Road

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Local lore about Reder Road tells of Elizabeth Wilson, a hitchhiking ghost who drowned in a swamp when her car went off the road. Her ghost waits at the roadside for a ride to her former house, but she disappears from cars at Ross Cemetery, where she was buried in 1955. Other legends say this was a hot place to dump Mafia kills in the 1930s, and a popular suicide place in the 1980s and 1990s. Folks say the area is haunted by apparitions, voices and eerie lights.

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Geographic Information

Reder Road
Griffith , IN
United States

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41.5114182, -87.40686040000003
Lake County, Indiana
Nearest Towns:
Griffith, IN (1.5 mi.)
Schererville, IN (3.3 mi.)
Highland, IN (3.7 mi.)
Merrillville, IN (4.3 mi.)
Saint John, IN (5.4 mi.)
Dyer, IN (6.1 mi.)
Gary, IN (6.5 mi.)
Munster, IN (6.6 mi.)
Crown Point, IN (6.9 mi.)
Lynwood, IL (6.9 mi.)


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Comments (20)

  1. Back in the late 80’s I took several dares to walk this road at night I completed the task without any surprises I call BS on this…. In fact I have walked in the day, night Halloween made about a dozen trips. I NEVER seen or heard anything…

  2. My x-husband lived in Griffith and his mom and dad born near not just Griffith but resided in the town. All know their it’s true about the young girl others say otherwise but it’s true because my x even showed me were unlike what the map says tho its not really showing the real spot where she died. Because the original Reder Rd. is we’re it forks off kinda like it’s bared off with 2 polls like a gate but it’s behide their were she died. Because back in the 50’s and earlier the normal road people drive on wasn’t made till after she died in 1955. Because on that newer road don’t got a pond but that old one does and it’s also has her parents house if you go far enough back their you’ll find it.

    • I have been down reder road many times. The church used to be by the Griffith entrance on the right hand side. The road was originally a service road for the reeder family who owned the land what a farm. They drove down the road with farming equipment. I have seen Elizabeth and she is sweet. The road didn’t scare me too much

  3. Back in or around 1970, I was offered a 5 dollar bet from my so called friends, about 10 of them( we were all on bikes) . to take my bike and ride down Reder Road to the end, where they all said they would meet me. It was night, clear sky, I can see the moon. I rode my bike as fast as I could and my chain fell off right before I got to the railroad tracks. I remember how quiet everything was. eery
    feeling. I got the chain back on and booked as fast as I could to the end only to find nobody waiting for me. I didn’t see anything weird but the the lack of noise was deafening. I rode back down main street back to Highland where I once again met up with my friends, I received the 5 dollars.

  4. I lived in Griffith for several years before moving back to Indiana. During my years there I frequently walked the famous Reeder Road. As a writer I decided to research the road itself, especially the legend of “Elizabeth Wilson.” In my findings I discovered that no such person has ever existed at least not one that died tragically in a car accident.
    There was no police report for the crash, birth announcement or funeral announcement. No clippings from the paper specifying what happened in the crash. The few Elizabeth Wilsons I died discover were old women now or had passed on or moved away before the crash allegedly happened. In my opinion, this is just another urban legend however; the truth pf what occurred in the road is far more terrifying.
    People, especially teens, sitting on the tracks or passing out intoxicated on them and dying from being hit by the trains. Unfortunately for the parents it took time to find all of the parts.
    Rape was another horrible crime that had occurred often on the road due to it being secluded and eerily dark at night.
    Lastly, the mafia. On August fourth 1973 three young boys brought a burlap sack into the police station. They said they had been walking through the marshes around the road when they discovered the sack. They believed that someone must have lost it when they were hunting. The smell made them open the bag to reveal several severed hands. The boys took the bag to the police who then turned it over to Chicago p.d. Nothing could be done; the police most likely assumed that whoever had been the owner of the severed limbs probably wouldn’t be making a police report.
    The mafia had been using the whole area, not just where the road is located but, the woods surrounding it, as a dumping ground for their victims. It made sense in a way because they believed Chicago police would have no reason to drive so far out of their jurisdiction. An unknown female was discovered on the road itself in the late 1960’s. She had been strangled and left in the ditch. Her identity is still unknown.
    Like I said, I believe the truth to be a little for fearsome than any legend that generations of kids have come up with. But hey, that’s just me.

  5. I went to this location and taken over 125 photos. only one captures face of a female within the tree line. photo attached was taken with my sony experia aTL. No filters, no flash. this is genuine.

  6. i live like 5 mins from here, in high school me and my friends loved to go ghost hunting, we often went here, but never seen anything unfortunaly. we walked it during the day and at night, even though we never saw anything, even though we wanted to, it was still a rush to do it.

    • I’ve never had a problem going into this area. It’s just an old street, so it doesn’t seem that there is anyone to contact. If anything, I would try contacting the Town of Griffith, IN. The road is very overgrown, unmaintained.

      While exploring there as a teenager, I would come across a large area of old toys and dolls. Along the ground is spray painted “PIGS” and arrows (going towards Griffith from Merrillville, Oak Ridge Prairie on the left).

  7. the road is actually spelled Reder Rd and the entire first half is being turned into a bike path. my fiance and i went n we felt like we were being watched.

  8. Why does small map say “austin road”? Nonsense, it’s the abandoned Reder Road, closed since 1979. Was a connecting route back to early 1900’s but never street lamps obviously, in 1970’s people were making out back there and dumping stuff, garbage. There should be records of skeletal remains found there in the 60’s which would have been chicago outfit dumping ground from 30’s. There was a murder there or body dumped, this was stated by a lake county cop before in blog that since disappeared. The communities kept it quiet not to alarm citizens. This would have been 70’s. Also story of couple making out in their car and someone jumping on roof. Whole Elizabeth Wilson story supposedly grave is just north in Ross Cemetery Calumet Township however no such headstone exists. 41.52818, -87.38436 are coordinates to that location. In the early 1980’s a fellow grade school classmate stated there were animal body parts found on that abandoned road. And here come the usual occultists and nuts out there. I’ve also read in another blog post that since disappeared there was an indian burial ground way back in the marshes, with the water as a barrier to the interred. Quite possible as lots of indian activity including the Kankakee river area “everglades of the north” research that, destroyed by gov’t for farmland, dissolved a lake as well on rt. 41 that is now Lake Village. Lots of b.s. story about some church. Where? Unless this was way back in early 1800’s where’s foundation? Back in mid-80’s went deep back there with family on trails of Oak Ridge Prairie, some hillbilly people 4 wheeling drinking back there. Ended up on the abandoned road, very overgrown, now it’s less so, the park uses as access road now to caretaker’s house, barn at the end. Otherwise very quiet out there, some gurgling and noises, sounds like underground spring.

    • I know this is a year old but I believe the church was at the Merrillville end of Reder Rd, also… I’m not sure of what you are talking about reaching the road from Oak Ridge Prairie? You would have to cross the active CN RR tracks from the prairie and I don’t know anything about a “caretaker’s house”…. That is a County owned park, I have lived in Griffith my whole life, and my friend has worked the guard shack at the park forever and nobody that works at the park lives near it….

      • Yes there is a caretakers home for the park. And yes the road is connected to the park. Actually from south colfax the bike trail connects with reder road about a third of a mile south where it used to cross the old tracks. That portion of old reder road is paved and is the bike trail. It crosses the active CN tracks into Oak Ridge Prarie and takes you right to the parking lot. The old part of the road continues east past the CN tracks and is actually used as a service road for county parks vehicles and connects to Hendricks rd. I believe the caretakers house is at that end near Hendricks. And as farvas an abandoned church, there is no record of a church anywhere near reder road but there is a very small foundation of simple building not far off of reder road. Very hard to find nowadays but it couldnt of been much more than a shed or outbuilding.

  9. In 1999 my uncle was driving home from working midnights and he seen a woman in a wedding dress on the side of the road. He stopped to give her a ride. She got in the back seat and before he could turn around to ask her where she needed to go SHE WAS GONE that fast. Then we started hearing real stories from people who had simular encounters with her. This is true about elizabeth.. she is wondering lost soul

  10. Richard (DICK) White. I was born the year of 1930 and at that time there was only three little houses and a small general store located on the road to Deep River and Broadway coming out of Gary. Indiana. I was born in the middle house of the three and all three small houses are still there.

  11. i had gone there’s a few weeks ago and kept hearing krinkling with nothing on site. my stepdad had said he saw something run towards us thru the woods. when we got in the car i had left with two bruises on each side on the base of my neck as if i was tried to be grabbed weird.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.