While growing up in Walkerton I heard my share of urban legends. I'm certain that many of us have learned our own. This is one Halloween story that will frighten your minds! Here is another of several to be included for Walkerton Page readers before Halloween.
The Legend Of Pepsi Man
After my family moved from Roosevelt Rd. to Spruce Rd. We were placed in a new environment on the northeastern edge of Walkerton. The Nickel Plate Railroad tracks were only a quarter mile from our home rather than 200 ft. The Pine Creek flows under the Spruce Rd., teen party bridge, where kids once drove to drink beer and kiss girls. The young teens called it "Pissers Bridge" because boys would pee from the rail after their debauchery with the girls and beer consumption.
They would walk to the underside of the road truss and even swim in the creek. Directly, adjacent is the railroad bridge. Many of the teens from John Glenn would walk on it and dare each other to cross the steel sides and spray pain graffiti on it. The jocks that went on the train bridge would monkey underneath it and either straddle across the underside, or hang from it to impress girlfriends, and then jump into Pine Creek! I am not sure if I saw girls jump from that bridge. I did see them straddle the steel sides and spray paint.
I really got a lot of warnings about walking near that area from the older kids of my generation. They said they didn't want me to tattle on them for seeing them drinking beer, listening to loud music in their cars, and smoking pot. Or for the vandalism. They especially, didn't want me to know about any skinny dipping under the Spruce Rd. bridge! For the life of me I kept my secrets!
One mystery that really got to me was the legend of "Pepsi Man." I understand he walked to Welco's from the train tracks and bought Pepsi there. He also, got the name from the T-shirt he wore that read "Pepsi, Choice of A Generation." Was he really a twin brother searching for the spirit of his long lost brother on the other side?
One legend I heard was that his twin brother and, he were playing on the Nickel Plate tracks between the wooden trestle and the Spruce Rd. bridge when they were young boys. That the one brother got his boot caught on the railroad tie and got hit by a train?
Another story is uncorroborated. It was that he was in a station wagon with his Mom and brother and that their car stalled at the crossing. That a train hit their car and only Pepsi Man survived the horrible tragedy. I hope none of this is true. Well. When I grew up on Spruce Rd. I remember at least 3 train versus car accidents at that crossing right next to the "Pissers Bridge."
I do not wish any loss or tragedies on anyone. Another tale I heard was that a school bus got stalled on those tracks at the Spruce Rd. crossing. That the school bus doors got jammed and they couldn't get out in enough time from the speeding train? The teens told me that only Pepsi Man survived that tragedy too. And that he walked the train tracks to visit the spirits of his lost school friends and his twin brother that got killed? Not sure about references to this either?
The best version I know about Pepsi Man is that he walked to the railroad bridge over Pine Creek at Spruce Rd. and lit a candle to commemorate his brother killed in Vietnam. That he would visit his brother's spirit there and drink a Pepsi in honor of him and then toss the glass bottle into the creek.
The ritual allowed him to crossover into the Spirit World to visit his brother in person, and that is why he disappeared at the other end of the train bridge? Where did he go? Some of the teens told me they watched him disappear into the foggy mist over Pine Creek and that he could actually trespass between the two Worlds? Is it true? How many people actually witnessed him vanish?
*Joe Spinsky provided photos from 1963 crash