Raymond Robinson: Terrifying Story of The Man With No Face
When 8-year-old Raymond Robinson went to play on the Wallace Run bridge with his friends, he had no idea that his life was going to change forever. A tragic accident left him with a face that looked as if it had been melted with a blow-torch, according to one of the crueler newspapers of the day and a legacy as western Pennsylvania’s Charlie No Face.
In 1918, Raymond Robinson was a normal little boy. One day, he and his friends decided to go play on the Wallace Run bridge, which supported two different trolley lines in the area. Just the year before, there had been a fatal electrical accident that took the life of another young boy, but Robinson and his friends were bold and decided to take the risk.
Robinson was dared to find out how many birds were in a certain nest, and he climbed up on one of the bridge’s girders. In doing so, he was so badly electrocuted that the local Beaver Falls’ newspaper stated that he was on the verge of death.
Robinson didn’t die, however, and over the next few months, began to recover. Though he regained use of his body, his face remained disfigured. His eyes were gone, as was his nose, and subsequent surgeries to heal these areas left him with a puffy, melted look.
After his injuries healed, he returned home to his family. By all accounts, Robinson, known as Uncle Ray to his nieces and nephews, was deeply loved and cared for. He took part in the family business, stitching leather wallets and weaving rubber mats. Many family members remembered him as kind and patient, always willing to talk with a child or to help out with a family project.
His appearance was shocking however, and after a few attempts to go into town, he remained at his family’s house for the most part. His appearance was such that it could cause a panic.
However, that did not mean that he didn’t want to roam, and so he walked along the road between Koppel and New Galilee at night, a habit that his mother and step-father detested. Though Robinson would walk very carefully along the road, and though he would hide if he heard cars coming, his midnight wanderings became a local curiosity.
It is not known who came up with the name Charlie No Face, but the unkind nickname stuck, and the local legends began to grow up around him.
Some of the legends stated that he had been struck by lightning, and was actually the ghost of a man who had died from that electrifying fate. Others stated that the electrocution had given him a green cast to his skin, which granted him the nickname ‘Green Man’ as well.
He was a bogeyman, a monster that wandered around the western Pennsylvania woods, and locals would drive along the roads on warm nights looking for him. His reputation grew to the point where a carnival promoter came looking for him, to see if Robinson wanted to work for the side-show.
He told a friend that the people who drove by were frequently unkind to him, even if they would stop and pick him up. Sometimes, a group would take him to a bar, where he would drink and become ill. More than once, he was hit by a car, and on one occasion, his family found him in the morning in a ditch, unconscious.
When a generation of young men went off to fight in Vietnam, they took thoughts of Charlie No Face with them. A local woman who wrote letters to men overseas noted that several of them asked about Robinson’s welfare, and some of them had pictures of him with them as well.
During the last years of his life, Robinson was taken to a care home, and his wanderings stopped. It still didn’t stop generations of teenagers from cruising along the road, looking for his familiar face, and it did not stop local parents from using him as a bogeyman to scare their children into good behavior.
Robinson died in 1985, but the legend of Charlie No Face, boogeyman, monster and ghost, is one that lives on in the Pennsylvania woods.