Raymond Robinson: The Legend of the Green Man

Raymond Robinson Was an American who after suffering an accident with an electric line lost much of his face. N Was born on October 29, 1910 in Monaca, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and died June 11, 1985 in Brighton Township, Pennsylvania.

Probably the life of this man would have passed in total anonymity had it not been for an accident that he suffered when he was nine years old while playing with his friends in Morado Brigde, outside Beaver Falls, the electric line of a trolley hit him leaving him severely injured. Although he survived the prognosis of the doctors who attended him at Providence Hospital, Robinson was severely disfigured, he lost both eyes, his nose and one of his arms.

Raymond robinson

According to some reports of the time, the same line would have electrocuted another child days ago. However, there are several versions of the facts; The two most popular suggest, on the one hand, that a cable fell from the lines striking Raymond in the face, and on the other, that the child climbed the lines challenged by his friends to take eggs from a nest, and that he Accidentally touched the wires passing 22,000 volts through his body.

According to Ken Summers, urban historian and author of the book"Queer Hauntings,"this case is one of the most influential on popular culture in this region of the United States. United, proof of this are the imaginary that were built around the life of Robinson, who some called"The Green Man"and other"Charlie No-Face"(1).

Why The Green Man?

There are two opposing hypotheses that explain the alias"The Green Man"that accompanied Raymond Robinson throughout his life. The first suggests that his skin was pale greenish, presumably affected by the accident, the second, which Robinson always wore green and his skin so pale, reflected the color of the clothes. The nickname Charlie No-Face does not need explanations.

This is not, however, the only case in which popular culture shows an interest in a chromatic peculiarity of the skin. In fact, there is a legend of medieval British folklore that in the small town of Woolpit in Suffolk they lived during the reign of King Stephen, two greenish-skinned brothers who spoke an unintelligible language.

This case was documented for the first time in History rerum Anglicarum Of William of Newburgh in 1189, and later in Chronicum Anglicanum of Ralph of Coggeshall in 1220. William Camden also mentions the incident in his book Britannia of 1586, like Francis Godwin in the novel The Man in the Moone in 1638. The most contemporary record of the two British green children dates back to 1935 in Herbert Read's The Green Child. By this time, Raymond had suffered his accident on the other side of the Atlantic.

The Legend of Robinson in the 21st Century

Although Robinson died in a shelter for the elderly in 1985, the legend of the green man has been updated and propagated also in the 21st century.

According to David Gerrick's"Ohio's Ghostly Greats", there are reported sightings of a new green man in Ohio. According to local folklore, it is a drunk who surreptitiously entered an electrical substation in an isolated area of ​​the county of Geauga, and was electrocuted by a transformer, although he survived his skin turned green. This new case could suggest evidence of a correlation between electrocution and the greenish color of the skin of Charlie No-Face (2).

Ken Summers argues that the popularity of this urban legend is largely explained by the large number of sightings and photographs that exist. According to his research, the only time Raymond Robinson left the house where he lived most of his life was during the night, during which he took long walks in which he occasionally encountered local residents or tourists.

In fact, a small tunnel relatively close to the residence of Robinson is nowadays a place of pilgrimage for the curious and the fans to the urban legends. The Piney Fork Tunnel was built in 1924 and was originally part of the Peters Creek branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad that served as a link between coal mines dispersed by the state and the city. Today this site, officially abandoned since 1962, is part of an informal circuit called Zombie Land, in Hillsville Pennsylvania, which groups urban legends of all kinds (3).

The Effects of Robinson's Story

Although originally the story of Charlie No-Face was systematically used by parents throughout Pennsylvania to keep their children at home, it had the opposite effect.

Hundreds of teenagers during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s sneaked out of the house just in order to meet The Green Man.

Some of these encounters are documented photographically. According to its protagonists, Robinson was a very kind and calm man who had no problem to pose in front of the camera, to smoke some cigarettes, to drink a beer and then to follow its way.

The peak of popularity of the case came in the 1960s, when a crowd of tourists caused major bottlenecks in the road that Robinson used to use for his night walks. State Route 351, between the small towns of Koppel and New Galilee, hosted wave after wave of curious who wanted to be photographed with Charlie No-Face. The impact of this phenomenon was very strong in an eminently rural population, which according to the most recent censuses does not exceed 800 inhabitants per village (4).

The Civil Life of Raymond Robinson

It is surprising that in spite of the notoriety that the case had and the technological advances that arose after the first world war, Raymond Robinson never used a copper mask like those developed by Anna Coleman Ladd in Europe to take care of the French soldiers who returned mutilated of The trenches (5).

In fact, by the time Little Raymond suffered the accident, this technology was widespread in the United States and Europe, and helped a good number of French soldiers to return to civilian life despite the physical deformity that caused them The war (6).

According to testimonies collected at the time, Robinson never complained about his condition, nor did he show interest in changing it. In fact, although most of his life was a solitary person, most versions claim that he never had negative encounters with the community to which his family belonged, although during his youth his presence scared children in the neighborhood , It was very rare to see him away from home during the day.

Life was never easy for him. His father died when he was only seven years old and his mother remarried to his late husband's brother. Only two years after losing his father, he suffered the accident that disfigured him forever, and although he spent the rest of his life with relatives who were always very sympathetic to his situation, he must have learned how to make wallets and belts for a living .

As he grew up, Raymond earned a lot of very vicious nicknames like"The Zombie,"and even accused him of terrorizing neighborhood children, some reports even suggest that he was once beaten by a group of curious teenagers.

Possibly if Raymond had been born eighty years later, he would have run with better luck. The rate of such accidents was so high in the early twentieth century in the United States that the industry adopted much more efficient electric transmission standards and safety protocols that demanded that urban trains run at lower voltages and Transmission were buried.

Recent studies in India, where some cables transmitting between 2.4 kV and 33 kV are not located underground, and even close to the roofs of some houses, have demonstrated the vulnerability of the child population. Children often touch the wires accidentally by playing with sticks, cricket bats or umbrellas, but now the mortality rate is lower for this type of accidents, in developing countries the infections caused by burns proved to be lethal (7) .

Just to have an idea of ​​what Robinson suffered during the accident and its subsequent recovery, it is important to consider that the resistance of the living tissue changes according to the flow of current. In principle the skin offers an insulating barrier that protects the internal tissues, once the current touches the skin, the amperage rises slowly, followed by a sudden climb. As soon as the skin breaks due to heat, the resistance of the tissues to the current, with the exception of bone, is insignificant, the electric flow stops only when carbonization breaks the circuit (8).

Last years

The last years in the life of Raymond Robinson passed quietly in a nursing home. Although most of his life was spent in a house west of Koppel with his mother Lulu and some family members, as the years went by and his family group was dwindling, as well as his health, Robinson was transferred to the Geriatric Center Beaver County (now called Friendship Ridge Nursing Name).

It was there that Raymond died on June 11, 1985 at the age of 74. His body was buried in the Grandview Cemetery in Beaver Falls, relatively close to the same bridge where he suffered that terrible accident that marked his life.

Although popular culture has made the Raymond Robinson case little more than a legend that parents use to scare their children, even adding picturesque details such as supposed supernatural (electric) powers with the ability to break down the engine of any vehicle, The story of Charlie No-Face is of a more tragic than frightening nature.

If sightings are still reported in Pennsylvania and Ohio, it is because the human imagination is capable of producing more wonderful creatures than all the accidents of history together.


  1. Summers, K. (2016). The Green Man: The Pennsylvania Legend of Charlie No-Face. [Online] Week In Weird.
  2. Gerrick, D. (1975). Ohio's ghostly greats. 1st ed. Lorain, OH: Dayton Lab.
  3. Daily Scene.com. (2016). Investigator Uncovers Photos of Legendary"Faceless Ghost"That Haunts Abandoned Tunnel - Daily Scene.com.
  4. Bureau, U. (2016). Search Results. Census.gov.
  5. Rare Historical Photos. (2016). Anna Coleman Ladd making masks worn by French soldiers with mutilated faces, 1918.
  6. Youtube. (2016). Anna Coleman Ladd's Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris.
  7. Mathangi Ramakrishnan, K., Babu, M., Mathivanan, Ramachandran, B., Balasubramanian, S., & Raghuram, K. (2013). High-voltage electrical burn injuries in teenage children: case studies with similarities (an indian perspective). Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters, 26 (3), 121-125.
  8. Emedicine.medscape.com. (2016). Electrical Burn Injuries: Overview, Physics of Electricity, Low-Voltage Electric Burns.

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..