The Witch of the Wissahickon

In the woods near the Wissahickon Creek, just a bit north of Walnut Lane, stands a statue of a man in plain Quaker garb who looks out over the valley.  Inscribed upon that statue is the word “Toleration.”  The rock on which this statue stands, Mom Rinker’s Rock has a curious history, and figured slightly in the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War.

Stories say that, during that battle, Colonial spies received information about British troop movements from a woman known as Molly “Mom” Rinker.  This is nothing so unusual except that other stories, unconnected with the Revolution, tell of a witch name Mom Rinkle who haunted, as it were, those same parts.

I’m both sad and happy to say that I could find little information concerning Mom Rinkle/Rinker save that she drank dew from acorn-cups and could put the evil eye on neighbors; sad because there’s little historical information to inform my writing and happy because, more so than usual, I have permission to make things up wholesale.

I’m always happy to find local legends, especially old ones, and this one lends itself well to future stories.  It also gives me a reason, as if I needed one, to go up along the Wissahickon.  I hope I’m not the only Philly local inspired to do so.


About Hilary B. Bisenieks

Hilary B. Bisenieks (Biss-en-yex) n. 1. An author of fact, fancy, and opinion based out of Oakland, CA. 2. A graduate of the Creative Writing program at Warren Wilson college and Mary Robinette Kowal's Short Story Workshop. 3. A man unable to be trusted to update basic biographical information with any regularity. View all posts by Hilary B. Bisenieks

2 responses to “The Witch of the Wissahickon

  • Karen

    The Witches of Wissohickon were actually a religious cult escaping Europe and Catholic intolerance. They came to the Colonies very early in our history and helped many. The Indians, the colonists, children lost or abandoned, the starving. They prayed for long periods in the cave that is, or was, on the site. They are very
    interesting people and this was all available on the computer until
    so many research portals were purchased or closed.

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