Fright Night Done Right
The Queen City is ripe with legends and folklore, which makes it a favorite place for those seeking to learn more about reported paranormal activity.
Several groups have devoted their work to the study of paranormal encounters in Ohio and The Ghosts of Ohio is among them. Founded in 1999 by James A. Willis, the Ghosts of Ohio is a, “nationally recognized paranormal-research organization that uses scientific and historic methods to investigate and document reported hauntings in the state of Ohio,” according to the group’s Web site.
Currently, the organization is composed of 30 volunteer members stationed throughout the state of Ohio. The group has posted anecdotes about alleged hauntings in Ohio, including the greater Cincinnati area.
Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati is known for its sphinx statue, several ponds and even waterfalls. It is also home to perhaps one of the strangest legends researched by the Ghosts of Ohio.
According to the story, one of the tombstones in Spring Grove Cemetery bears the bust in the likeness of the gentleman buried below. This is no ordinary bust, however, because as legend states, the man’s eyes were placed in the sockets of the bust. Even more creepy, witnesses say the eyes keep watch over the grave and will follow visitors throughout the cemetery.
There is no safe spot, as the bust will appear as though it is watching you. In some variations of the story, the statue literally comes to life and will turn its entire head. Another story claims the statue will speak to you.
Although often written off as an urban legend, the tale of the Oxford Rapist is well known in the community. Late one night a strange car pulled up in front of a house and began blinking its headlights and honking its horn, according to the story on the Ghosts of Ohio Web site. Inside the house, a young woman was home, all alone and frightened. She called her boyfriend, who jumped on his motorcycle and sped toward the house. It is rumored that he was going so fast that he wiped out at a sharp turn and died instantly.
The legend says that if you go to the young woman’s house and honk your horn and blink your headlights three times each, a phantom motorcyclist will coming speeding toward you before veering off the road and vanishing.
Miami University’s Reid Hall has a haunted past — literally.
On the night of May 9, 1959, an argument between two men broke out in Reid Hall. Reid Hall Resident Assistant Roger Sayles interceded and tried to break up the fight. His attempts failed, however, and one of the men drew a gun, according to the Ghosts of Ohio. The rest is unclear besides the fact that Sayles was fatally shot. His assailant fled to the second floor of nearby Ogden Hall, where he committed suicide with the same gun used to kill Sayles.
Sayles fell against a door, leaving bloody handprints behind, according to the legend. And some say they can see the hand prints today that won’t fade away. Strange noises have been reported to be coming from the site of the incident.
Reid Hall was demolished in late 2007, according to the Ghosts of Ohio.
Head north on I-75 for some Daytonian lore.
It’s unclear who built the stone tower overlooking Dayton’s Community Golf Course and why it was built. However, some say that it was designed to serve as an observation tower. But others believe that it was constructed by a man named John D. Patterson, which explains the tower’s moniker, according to the Ghosts of Ohio.
Perhaps due in part to the tower’s foreboding appearance, over the years more macabre names have been used to refer to it, including Witches’ Tower and even Frankenstein’s Tower. Ghosts are said to haunt the tower, following a tragic accident on the grounds in the 1960s. As the legend goes, a group of teenagers were loitering near the tower when a violent storm put an end to their fun. The teenagers quickly sought shelter in the tower, but they failed to notice the long metal railing.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck a portion of the rail at the top of the tower, according to the legend. Two members of the group were leaning against the railing when the lightning struck. They were electrocuted and died almost instantly.
The teenagers departed from the earth, but their spirits live on, apparently. For weeks afterward, visitors could still see the charred outlines of the teenagers on the tower wall, according to the legend. In the event of a sudden and violent bolt of lightning, the figures supposedly will illuminate and glow as if they have just been struck by lightning. But not for long — as witnesses say they will once again fade into nothingness until the next storm.
Who You Gonna Call?
If paranormal activity has got you down, you might consider calling The Tri-State Ghost Hunters Society.
The Tri-State Ghost Hunters Society is a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to the investigation of anomalies in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The group recently investigated a haunting at the Mason Historical Society.
The society operates through donations to cover equipment and investigation costs. To make a donation, or submit a question, see the group’s Web site.
Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: The McAlpin
Models: (background) Shawnette Vaughn and Budd Stross of The Dent School House
Makeup Artistry on Vaughn: Trina Paul