During this time of year we seek to find thrills and chills from amateur kids getting paid to jump out of dark corners at the local commercial haunted house. Trust me, I find it a great way to get the adrenaline pumping and trigger that fight or flight response, but this year I’ve graduated to seeking more authentic ways to get the other worldly experience. I’ve discovered that in Ohio, there are some genuine ghostly places to visit.
Even with prominent figures buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, like mogul, John D. Rockefeller, prohibition enforcer, Eliot Ness and Cleveland’s first African-American mayor, Carl B. Stokes, there still is a fair share of ghostly mystery swirling around the busy cemetery. The irony is that it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Ohio with over 285 majestic acres serving as the final resting place for so many Clevelanders. However, in President James A. Garfield’s monument, his ghost has been reported to still be roaming around. Witnesses have reported seeing eerie lights inside it as well.
In Ripley, Ohio even the ghost of a dog can be haunting. Many visitors have stated seeing one at the house of abolitionist, James Rankin. The Rankin House was at one time a stop for escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. The ghost of a dog, apparently killed along with his master when a gambling game went awry, has been witnessed there. Strange voices have also been heard at the top of the stairway slaves used after crossing over the Ohio River behind the Rankin house.
Before I knew that the Franklin Castle in Cleveland was haunted, I remember driving by it and thinking to myself, “this place is scary.” Naturally, my instincts were correct. This place has such deep, dark history of murders and tragedy. The house has been known to be cursed with a number of deaths that have occurred there, the most well known story is one of a young girl who was hanged. Her ghost still roams the corridors.
The Ridges in Athens has such a sweet and pleasant name now, but when it was once known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, it was not always a pleasant place to be. It was the site of such outdated medical practices like lobotomies and shock therapy and while maybe there hasn’t been a recanting of real ghost sightings, one has to agree that it is a scary site!
Finally, who can forget seeing television and films most notable narrator, Morgan Freeman, giving us the skinny on the new inmate in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption? That movie filmed, at the Mansfield Reformatory, didn’t even begin to depict the horrors that lurked there. Strange voices have been heard near where the superintendent once resided. Now the place has been turned into a tourist attraction where people come to get a glimpse of the many ghosts who are still locked inside.
When it comes to getting scared this Halloween season, I’m going to leave it up to the professionals…the real ghosts, but whatever way you choose to get your fright-delight, Ohio has many options. What are some of your scary places to visit?