Pennsylvania Great Outdoors: Slyhoff’s Grave

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. – The great unknown of life after death has perplexed humankind since the dawn of time, and for many, the fear of the unknown leads to some curious circumstances.

In northern Jefferson County during the late 1860s, a man named Richard Slyhoff died, but not before he left instructions for how he thought he could outsmart Satan himself come Judgment Day.

According to local history, Slyhoff lived an ungodly life of drinking, carousing, and womanizing without adhering to any religion or moral standards. He made no apologies for his behavior during his life, but as he felt the approach of death, he became concerned about the future of his immortal soul.

A large boulder perched on a hillslope near his home caught his attention, and Slyhoff concluded that if he were to be buried just downhill from it, the quakes and rumblings sure to come on Judgment Day would cause the stone to roll upon his final resting place and protect him from the Devil’s grasp.Bills-Hide-A-Way-Cottages-Slyhoffs-Grave-gravestone-and-boulder-Danielle-Taylor a

When Slyhoff died in January 1867, local gravediggers fulfilled his final wish with much difficulty, scraping away at the earth under the rock by hand while lying on their bellies. Finally, they pushed the coffin beneath the rock, covered it with earth, and placed a set of stone markers at the base of the grave and near the edge of the boulder.

As time went on, the enormous stone didn’t roll downhill. It didn’t even stay still. Instead, incredibly, it moved several feet uphill, completely exposing Slyhoff’s grave to the sky, and as time has gone on, it continued to migrate further away. The inexplicable site has become a quirky destination for curiosity seekers, as well as ministers, who use the attraction and the legend as a lesson on the inescapable power of God.

Slyhoff’s grave is located on the property of Bill’s Hide-A-Way Cottages at 2647 Firetower Road in Brookville. To visit, please call first at 814-328-2219 to set up a tour. Admission is $1 per visitor but free for those staying at Hide-A-Way Cottages.

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