Indiana Tree Holding Massive Rock Has Fallen Last month, it was discovered that the oak tree holding up a 400-pound boulder in Indiana's Yellowwood Forest had fallen down. To this day, no one knows how the boulder came to be 40 feet up in the tree. Melissa Block talks with Debbie Dunbar, of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Indiana.
NPR logo

Indiana Tree Holding Massive Rock Has Fallen

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5574004/5574005" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Indiana Tree Holding Massive Rock Has Fallen

Indiana Tree Holding Massive Rock Has Fallen

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5574004/5574005" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block with two mysteries from the State of Indiana.

First, Gobbler's Rock. It's in Brown County, about 50 miles south of Indianapolis. Eight years ago, a turkey hunter in Yellowwood State Forest happened to look up into an oak tree and he saw a gigantic boulder wedged 40 feet up in the branches. Since then it's become something of a local legend. Debbie Dunbar of the Brown County Convention and Visitor's Bureau was showing a travel writer around last month and she thought he'd like to see Gobbler's Rock.

Ms. DEBBIE DUNBAR (Brown County Convention and Visitor's Bureau): We had just left the sock factory tour, where they make socks in Brown County, so we headed out to the rock. And you have to park your car and you have to walk. It's quite a ways to find this rock, because it is inside the forest. And when we finally got there - I had the GPS, so we knew we were in the location, but for the life of us we could not find, we were looking up and could not find the rock. And I was getting frustrated and I'm sure he was beginning to wonder why has she drug me out here for? So after some 15 minutes of determination, we discovered the rock was down, on the ground.

BLOCK: Not just the rock, the whole tree.

Ms. DUNBAR: The whole tree. The whole tree. And actually what amazed me was the rock was still embedded in the tree.

BLOCK: Now this is a big tree and a big rock.

Ms. DUNBAR: It's a huge, huge tree, and we found it and took many pictures of it and kind of eulogized it a little bit.

BLOCK: Now I've seen some pictures of this when the tree was still vertical and it looks like that rock is just made to fit in that tree. It looks like that's exactly where it should be.

Ms. DUNBAR: Exactly. And it's 400 pounds. I mean, we tried to lift it and you just don't lift it. It is an extremely heavy, heavy rock and because it's so high up, that's the legend, how did it get there?

BLOCK: What are some of the theories about that?

Ms. DUNBAR: Well, some of the theories are it lodged itself in there when the tree was very small and as the tree grew, you know, the rock kind of grew up into the tree but those theories have kind of had pins poked at it because a small tree couldn't hold that big a rock.

BLOCK: Yeah.

Ms. DUNBAR: Another theory is tornados. It kind of landed in there due to some windstorms coming through. And then there's theories that a UFO came and dropped it. And then, you know, people climbing trees and putting it up there. But the weight of the rock itself would make that almost impossible.

BLOCK: Well, it must be sort of nice to have something that nobody can answer.

Ms. DUNBAR: I think that's what is so intriguing about it. You never really come up with the answer. So it's one of those movies that you don't want - everybody has their own ending to it.

BLOCK: Debbie Dunbar, thanks very much.

Ms. DUNBAR: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's Debbie Dunbar of the Brown County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Our second Indiana mystery comes from the crime blotter of the town of Greencastle. That's about 60 miles northwest of Brown County. Randall Jones, owner of Headley Hardware in Greencastle, was the one who called the police to report it.

Mr. RANDALL JONES (Resident, Greencastle, Indiana): It was the very first thing on Tuesday morning when I noticed that our sign made no sense to anyone because there were no Rs.

BLOCK: What did the sign say without the Rs?

Mr. JONES: Oh, for goodness sakes. Something about relief from the heat with air conditioners and dehumidifiers. So it was kind of hard to determine what it actually said -

BLOCK: Yeah. A lot of Rs in there.

Mr. JONES: Yes, and we had to then - I drove to the bank and noticed that the local ServiceMaster cleaning guy, his was missing Rs. And then one of the younger people went down to Burger King for breakfast and hey, by God, their Rs are missing, too. And so I just thought well, I'm going to call the police.

BLOCK: Well, what did the police say when you called to report the missing Rs?

Mr. JONES: Well, they were concerned, of course. All good police forces would be. We don't have a lot of heavy crime here. They decided that they would look into it and, of course, look for the Rs and the Rs are kind of hard to find because they're very thin. The Rs could hide anywhere.

BLOCK: Well, the mystery has now been solved.

Mr. JONES: Yes, it has been.

BLOCK: The Rs have been found.

Mr. JONES: Yes, I actually took an R today when I was told by Detective Cipel(ph), who's a good friend, that the Rs were back and that the Rs were all spread out on tables at the local constabulary, and that I would be required to bring one of my Rs in so that I could identify my Rs. And if my R matched up with those Rs, I might take those Rs back.

BLOCK: So this is like an R lineup.

Mr. JONES: I think so. Yeah. They were the only Rs that matched and I was able to succeed in getting my Rs back.

BLOCK: That's Randall Jones, owner of Headley Hardware in Greencastle, Indiana. He says the perpetrators of the crime were teenagers. One of their mothers returned the stolen Rs overnight.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.