While Western Ohio is home to cities like Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo, its prairies and farm fields more closely resemble Indiana and Illinois than the hillier and more wooded eastern half of the state. As the 7th most populous state with the 7th largest economy in the U.S., Ohio rivals Illinois for the top spot among Midwestern states. The Buckeye State is known for its public libraries and universities, and for being a bell weather for presidential elections. As we at Mysterious Heartland can attest, however, Ohio is also known for a number of infamous haunted places. Which will prove to be the most haunted of them all?
10. Preble County Courthouse
Located in southwestern Ohio, off Interstate 70 west of Dayton, the Preble County Courthouse sits at the corner of East Main and South Barron streets in downtown Eaton. The original courthouse was built in 1851, but in 1918 a new neoclassical style building was erected in its place. No one is sure of the origin of the ghostly activity, but for years employees have reported strange encounters. Disembodied voices carry down the hallway, and the sound of boots have been heard walking past the fourth floor jail (which is currently closed). Employees have also reported doors and blinds rattling on their own. “You can see them moving and you can hear rattling like a child play with blinds – not just a little bit – but just actually like if they were running their fingers up and down the blinds or moving them back and forth,” Lori Rea told Court News Ohio.
9. Stivers School for the Arts
Established in 1908, Stivers School for the Arts is located on East 5th Street and is the only public school in the Dayton City School District that has been designated as a grade 7-12 school. It is home to over 900 students, with a focus on fine arts. According to legend, one room is haunted by the ghost of Miss Keller, a former schoolteacher whose body was found in the basement pool clutching a broken pointer in one hand and a locket in the other. There were rumors that she had been romantically involved with one of her students, but he disappeared before police could ask any questions. Years after the incident, the school drained the pool and built over it, intending to use the empty space for storage. A trap door was built into the floor of one particular classroom. To this day, that room will become chilly, objects will disappear, and the television and closet light will randomly turn on. According to A.S. Mott, author of Haunted Schools (2003), Miss Keller’s ghost has been seen once, by Ms. Burns’ class. The phantom could not speak, as a result of water pouring from her mouth.
8. Woodville Road
For many years, motorists traveling down Woodville Road about 15 miles southeast of Toledo encountered a strange glowing light near a bridge over the Portage River. There are two stories for the appearance of this light, both equally tragic. According to one tale, a soldier returned from the First World War to discover his fiancé was cheating on him with another man. The two had a heated argument and he took off on his motorcycle. The road was dark and he spun out, dying near the Portage River Bridge. It is the headlight from his motorcycle that pierces the darkness to this day. An alternative tale tells of a young boy who was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The driver stopped and flashed his lights three times to try to determine whether the boy was still alive. Meanwhile, the boy’s father ran onto the road carrying a lantern, but he was too late. To this day, if you stop your car on this stretch of Woodville Road and flash your headlights three times, a bright light will emerge from the woods and chase you.
7. Amber Rose Restaurant
Located in a residential neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio where Bickmore Avenue dead ends into Valley Street, the Amber Rose Restaurant is famous for its European cuisine. It offers an eclectic menu of German, Lithuanian, Italian, Russian, Polish, and Hungarian food, and its bar is made of imported Turkish marble. A Polish immigrant named Sigmund Ksiezopolski built this building in 1910 to house his family business—a general store and deli. His family lived above the store. His youngest daughter, Genevive, or “Chickee,” never married and helped run the business until it closed in the 1980s. In 1989, a woman named Elinor Sluzas purchased the building and opened a restaurant, despite a devastating fire that almost derailed her plans. According to past and present employees, Chickee was not happy with the changes. Her ghost has been blamed for pulling dishes, glasses, and jars off shelves and slamming doors. Blue balls of light have also been seen on the second floor.
6. Ye Olde Trail Tavern
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Located along the main drag in tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, the Ye Olde Trail Tavern is allegedly haunted by the “Blue Lady,” who is not shy about making her presence known. The tavern has a long history and occupies the oldest home in Yellow Springs. Fances Martin Hafner built the original structure in 1827 from trees growing on the property. The floors are thick, dark wood and a stone fireplace sits along the wall. Several female ghosts might haunt the tavern, but the most famous has come to be known as the “Blue Lady.” She appears to be in her 30s, with light colored hair tied in a bun, wearing a long blue and white dress. She has been known to express her displeasure whenever anyone fails to take her seriously. Once, after the owner pretended to be the ghost and jumped out of a bathroom stall to scare her friends, she found all the cases of food in the refrigerator inexplicably frozen solid. Others have seen the ghost of a woman with long, black hair. No one can explain the origin of this strange activity.
5. Fudge Road Bridge
Fudge Road is a narrow, suffocating stretch of gravel that winds its way through rural Preble County. A steel bridge sits over Aukerman Creek, just north of the intersection of Enterprise and Fudge roads. While easy to discount as just another of Ohio’s many crybaby bridges, other things lurk in the surrounding woods that make Fudge Road Bridge really stand out. According to legend, a young mother discarded her unwanted newborn infant off the bridge. In another version of the tale, the woman’s child was stillborn, or died shortly after childbirth. Distraught, she hung herself from the bridge. Today, motorists crossing Fudge Road Bridge will hear the cries of an infant if they park their car and say “mama” three times. Stranger still, a large beast is said to lurk in the nearby woods. Troll-like, it is believed to find shelter under the bridge and growl as you pass by.
4. Fort Meigs State Memorial
Overlooking the Maumee River, Fort Meigs State Memorial is accessed off West Indiana Avenue, just west of downtown Perrysburg in northwestern Ohio. It served American forces during the War of 1812, when British forces and their American Indian allies laid siege to the fort. During the siege, approximately 866 men under the command of Colonel William Dudley crossed the river in an attempted surprise attack on the Native Americans under the command of Tecumseh. Dudley’s men fell victim to an ambush in the woods, and only 150 made it back to the fort. Adding to the area’s macabre history, Fort Meigs itself was constructed atop an ancient Indian burial ground. In 1813, Captain Daniel Cushing described digging up piles of human skulls while helping erect the fort. Today, Bunkhouse No. 3 seems particularly haunted. Visitors and volunteers have seen flashing lights and heard the sound of muskets discharging. Elsewhere in the fort, eyewitnesses have caught a glimpse of phantom soldiers or heard the sound of military equipment rattling.
3. Chateau Laroche
Also known as the Loveland Castle, Chateau Laroche was built beginning in 1929 by a Boy Scout troop leader and medievalist named Harry D. Andrews. Andrews had served in southwestern France during the First World War and was inspired by the castles he saw there. A labor of love, he painstakingly added to the structure with his own hands over the course of several decades, using stones from the Little Miami River and cement bricks molded using milk cartons. He named it Chateau Laroche, which means “Rock Castle” in French. He died of injuries sustained in an accident involving fire in 1981, and left his castle to his Boy Scout troop, the Knights of the Golden Trail. Strangely, the Loveland Castle quickly attracted ghosts, even when Andrews was living there. He reportedly heard footsteps in the hallways at night, saw shadows move, and heard someone knocking on the door—always when he was alone. One winter, he opened the door expecting to see footprints in the newly fallen snow, but it was undisturbed. An egg-shaped ghost with glowing eyes reportedly inhabited a willow tree next to the castle. Since his death, volunteers have heard the bathroom door slam shut on its own.
2. Cincinnati Art Museum
The Cincinnati Art Museum sits on a hill overlooking Eden Park at 953 Eden Park Drive, in eastern Cincinnati, Ohio. It is easily accessed off Gilbert Avenue (State Highway 22). Founded in 1881, the museum contains more than just an impressive collection of art. An Egyptian mummy lies in a glass case in the first floor antiquities display. Security guards report seeing a misty figure rising from the case. In the second floor chapel, part of a display from medieval Spain, another security guard reportedly witnessed a tall, cloaked monk standing beneath the Moorish arch. The figure rose in the air before it disappeared. Other guards have heard the echo of footsteps long after all the visitors have left for the night, and have seen a dark mist rising from the black plaster effigy of artist Elizabeth Boott Duveneck.
1. National Museum of the United States Airforce
The National Museum of the United States Airforce is located at 1100 Spaatz Street, off Springfield Street and Woodman Drive, at the eastern edge of Dayton, Ohio. First opened to the public in 1954, it is officially part of Wright-Patterson Airforce Base. It has been at its current location since 1971, where it has steadily grown to include a collection of more than 360 aircraft and missiles, including Bockscar, the B-29 superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945. According to John B. Kachuba, author of Ghosthunting Ohio, the museum is haunted by ghosts of the past. The spirits of pilots, airmen, and their victims are believed to linger near the machines where they spend their last moments. According to Chris Woodyard, author of Haunted Ohio II, the POW exhibit is one of the worst spots in the museum, eliciting feelings of sickness and dread. The lost crew of the Lady Be Good, a B-24 that crashed in the Libyan desert during WW2, has been spotted roaming the halls and exhibits.