Orange County: The Mystery of Moodna Creek
I grew up in New Windsor, N.Y. in the 1960s and ‘70s. The first house that we lived in was just a woods cut-through away from Route 9W by Bowling Time Lanes (something we were never supposed to do, but we did it anyway). I don’t remember if we actually ever ventured to Moodna Creek, but we always knew it existed and that it sometimes smelled awful and that smell would waft up to Route 9W. At least, that’s what everybody said the smell was.
And that was just about all I knew about Moodna Creek. Fast forward 30 or so years to the early 2000s. I didn’t live in New Windsor anymore, but I happened to be coming back to Poughkeepsie from Middletown and we decided to take the long way. So we skipped the highway and took a more scenic route. Somewhere in the Washingtonville area, we came upon a yard sale. The woman running it was very nice, and a bit mystical. She gave my boyfriend and me two glass ornaments and said that one represented his aura and the other was mine. I still have those ornaments because there’s a part of me that believes it’s true. Then she started talking about Moodna Creek. She told us that it was originally called Murderer’s Creek. She said that it earned the name back in the day when a group of settlers were murdered along the banks of the creek. Yikes.
Of course, I went home and did what anybody would do. I checked Wikipedia. According to Wiki, she’s right. At least about the legend, but not necessarily about the truth. Early records do list it as Murderer’s Creek, and even mention the folklore of a massacre. But there is no actual evidence of this fabled mass murder.
You know what? Call me morbid, but I like the old folklore about the settlers getting murdered. It’s gory and scary and perfect for this time of the year. And just like those “aura” ornaments, I told you about, part of me believes it’s true.