Showing posts with label Ohio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ohio. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Johnny Morehouse and His Dog

Many claim that Woodlawn Cemetery * in Dayton, Ohio is haunted. The most popular story is about the ghosts of a five year old boy and his dog.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Like many ghost stories about young children this one is more charming than scary.

In the mid 1800s residents of Dayton used a series of man-made canals to transport goods and people.

Miami and Erie Canal
The Morehouse family lived in the back of their shoe-repair shop in downtown Dayton. Behind this shop ran the Miami and Erie canal. In August of 1860, the Morehouse’s youngest son Johnny was playing near the canal with his dog. The young boy lost his balance and fell into the water.

His dog jumped in after him. He was able to pull his master out of the water but it was too late—Johnny had drowned.

The Morehouse family buried Johnny at Woodlawn Cemetery. Within days of his funeral people began to see an unusual sight. Johnny’s dog was lying on his grave and would not leave.

As the days passed people worried this dog would starve to death so they began to bring him food. Because of this dog’s faithful vigil a new headstone was carved for Johnny’s grave. It has “Johnny Morehouse” inscribed on the front and “Sweet Slumber” inscribed on one side.

It depicts a large dog enfolding Johnny tenderly. Today, this gravesite is the most visited in the cemetery. People leave offerings of coins, stuffed animals, various toys and food—in fond remembrance of this child and his devoted companion.

Offerings in remembrance.

For three months in 2008 a rumor was spread that the gravestone was vandalized. These stories were false. The head on the statue of the dog did disappear –the reason for this was with age it had fallen off. It was repaired and placed back on the statue.

Over the years, witnesses have claimed to see the ghosts of Johnny and his dog throughout the cemetery. They are seen running and playing together.

Many have heard the sounds of Johnny’s laughter as his dog barks.

Most interesting are the reports that people have seen what appears to be the statue of the dog breathing. Some have put their hands directly under the dog’s stone nostrils and felt these breaths.

*  Woodlawn is the 5th oldest garden cemetery in the U.S. Orville and Wilbur Wright are buried here as well as Erma Bombeck.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ohio’s Engine House No. 16

Engine No. 16
This fire station located on North Fourth Street first opened in 1908 in downtown Columbus, Ohio. At first, a horse drawn wagon was used then later a more modern fire engine.

While in use, Engine No. 16 was a favorite gathering place for all the area firemen. It was used for 70 plus years. When it closed in 1981 its rich past made it an ideal place for a museum about Columbus’ firefighting history.

Today the Central Ohio Fire Museum is a favorite destination for Columbus’ school children. They learn about firefighting and fire safety.

Central Ohio Fire Museum
One item that is not talked about is the firehouses’ resident ghost.

Most of the museum staff believes that a beloved ghost haunts Engine No. 16.

This ghost is Capt. George Dukeman—known more affectionately by his men as Captain D. He supervised the firehouse for many years. It is said he loved it so much he rarely went home.

He was known to make nightly rounds checking on his men and making sure everything was in its proper place in the firehouse.

No one in recent years has seen Captain D’s ghost but his presence is often felt. It is believed that he returns often to “check on everything.”

Doors open and close on their own—they often close one after another as if someone is walking through the house.

Lights that are left on are found turned off and even stranger if someone forgets to turn on a light within seconds that light turns on without assistance.

It appears a children’s display at the back of the museum is one of Captain D’s favorite spots. This display shows the dangers of fire. Cloth flames spring to life at the touch of a button.

These flames turn on inexplicably several times each day.

Another ghost that haunts the building is a horse. In the area that once housed the stations’ stable snorting and other strange sounds are often heard.

Engine House No. 16 is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Terrifying Tales: Myrtle Hill Murderer

It is said this evil woman crawls out of her grave in search of her next victim.

Myrtle Hill Cemetery
Myrtle Hill Cemetery is located in Liverpool Township, Medina County, Ohio. An alarming legend surrounds this cemetery. It includes a haunting and an insane woman who reaches up and grabs people if they dare to stand near her grave.

This well-known legend supposedly began in the 1920s. A middle-aged wife and mother found herself living in a nightmare. Both her husband and her 3 sons were abusive toward her.

With no support and nowhere to turn it is said this wife and mother slowly went mad. Lost in her own world she began to plot how to kill her family.

One day drawing water from the family well a plan came into her frenzied mind. She would poison the well. That evening at supper her husband and sons drinking this water, dropped dead.

Since the water was now poisoned she dragged each of the four men’s bodies to the well, she hoisted them over the edge and dropped them down into the tainted water.

When her neighbors questioned where her family was she told them that they were away helping a relative. But when she could not provide any specifics these people became suspicious.

Their suspicions were confirmed when a foul smell was noticed by the family well. The mad woman was arrested and put on trial.

Her defense brought in several neighbors to testify that her family abused her cruelly. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in an insane asylum.

Years later when she died her body was returned to her old home and buried in the Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

It wasn’t long before rumors were spread. It was said this murderous woman could climb out of her grave and claim new victims. It was said she was a witch. The locals now frightened paid to have a large ball-shaped stone placed over her grave.

This was to keep her buried and people away from her grave.

This marker actually does not mark a grave but
instead marks the Stoskopf family plot.
But their efforts to keep people away just attracted more thrill-seekers. This is when something odd was noticed about this round stone.

During the winter months people reported this stone was very hot to the touch. And during the summer months the stone was ice cold. The locals felt this stone was also warning people to stay away.

Beginning in the 1940s people also stated they saw a ghostly woman walking around the Myrtle Hill Cemetery—rumors spread this was the insane murderer.

The above is just a legend but it is based upon the following true story.

In 1925, 45-year old Martha Wise –whose family lived near the Myrtle Hill Cemetery—prepared New Year’s dinner for her family. She included an extra helping of arsenic for everyone.

She had previously murdered her first husband, Albert Wise and her mother, Sophie Hasel. At her trial Martha admitted to poisoning several of her children--they survived--but her aunt and uncle died.

She stated the devil told her to do it.

Wise was placed in a reformatory on a first-degree murder charge. But later this charge was reduced to second-degree murder. She was granted parole in 1962 at the age of 74. She died in 1971 at the age of 83.

Two of her victims were buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. Some believe the ghost that is seen wandering the cemetery is actually Sophie Hasel—Wise’s mother.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Gray Lady of Camp Chase

Camp Chase Cemetery
This small two-acre cemetery located in Columbus Ohio contains the graves of 2269 Confederate soldiers. The men buried here did not die in battle but instead where imprisoned at Camp Chase during the Civil War.

Camp Chase was originally used to train Union volunteers with a few political and military prisoners kept on the site. With the onset of the war and Union battle victories Confederate officers began to be taken as prisoners of war.

Camp Chase, run by volunteers in 1862, at first was a lenient prison. Confederate officers could mail letters and receive gifts of food and money. The officers were even allowed to walk the streets of Columbus.

However, this changed when the federal government took over the management of the camp. All officer privileges were now eliminated—visitors and mail were banned.

The prison.
The living standards at the camp declined as more and more Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on the site. The men who were now both officers and enlisted men slept two to a bed and were provided little protection from the elements.

By 1863, there were 8,000 prisoners held at the camp, twice the number it was designed for. Many lived in tents.

The men weakened by the cold and the meager rations provided began to succumb to diseases. In February of 1964 alone, over 400 men contracted smallpox and died.

At this point Camp Chase Cemetery was established.

Photo taken of cemetery before 1902
At the end of the war, the buildings at the camp were torn down. Some of the wood from these structures was used to make markers for the dead. Soon all that remained at the site was a stone wall, the rotting wood markers and the bodies.

By 1896, the first memorial service honoring the dead was held at the site. This came about mostly through the efforts of a former Union officer, William H. Knauss--who wanted to foster the spirit of reconciliation-- he had been left for dead at Fredericksburg.

2007 Memorial Service
Hilltop Historical Society
Over the years, these memorial services have attracted thousands of visitors. These tributes are held annually in June.

In June of 1902, the state of Ohio placed a granite memorial arch—built with funds given by the public. In 1906, Congress replaced the cemetery’s wooden markers with marble tombstones.

During the annual memorial services The United Daughters of the Confederacy pay tribute by placing flowers on the graves.

Arch placed in 1902.
But two graves at Camp Chase are given special attention at various other times of the year—with flowers placed on their tombstones. This would not be considered unusual but for the fact it is a ghost that does this.

No one knows for certain the identity of this spirit—called the Gray Lady. Some sources state her last name was Briggs.

She is seen putting fresh flowers on the graves of Benjamin Allen as well as the grave of an unknown soldier.

Several local and regional paranormal groups have investigated Camp Chase Cemetery—but the Gray Lady has eluded their efforts.

Frederick “Freddy” Jones is one of the many who attend the memorial service on a regular basis. He travels to Ohio in June from his pizza business in Houston, Texas.

He believes in the Gray Lady for as a boy growing up in Columbus he saw her.

At the age of 14 he and several other boys were invited to a sleepover, just a few blocks from Camp Chase.

He and the rest of the group had heard stories about the Gray Lady. Late that night they snuck out and rode their bikes to the cemetery. The gate was locked so they climbed over the fence.

Freddy remembers that the tombstones glowed in the dark and that he got an eerie feeling as the group searched for Benjamin Allen’s grave. When they found it there were no flowers on it.

Disappointed and sleepy the group moved to leave but they stopped when they heard what sounded like someone crying inside the cemetery—it was loud choking sobs.

They spotted a figure shrouded in the darkness, moving through the tombstones. It was a female and she carried a bouquet of flowers.

Freddy remembers that every inch of her body was covered in clothes—with a high collar and long pleated skirts. She drew close enough that he saw glistening tears on her cheeks.

He watched as she floated instead of walked and was surprised he felt no fear. She then floated right through two trees.

She bent down at one grave and was mouthing words the boys could not hear—it appeared she was praying.

She placed the bouquet on top of the tombstone and then turned and floated back the way she had come. She passed right through the iron fence that surrounded the cemetery and faded away.

None of the boys have ever forgotten this amazing sight. Their friendship was cemented that night because they shared this experience.

Freddy specifically states he will never forget the wrenching sounds of the Gray Lady’s sobs.

The group always attends the annual Camp Chase memorial services.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Jilted Bride Bridge

Beaver Creek
In the early 1800s near what is now East Liverpool, Ohio was the small canal town of Sprucevale.

A young woman, Esther Hale lived near Sprucevale alongside Beaver Creek.

He friends knew her as a happy well-adjusted young lady. But her fate would not be a happy one.

Newly engaged to a local boy, Esther was ecstatic. She became more and more impatient as her wedding day drew near.

When the day finally arrived it is said Esther got up before dawn and put her wedding dress on. She stood in front of a mirror admiring her reflection.

As the time for the ceremony arrived Esther was concerned for there was no sign of her fiancé who had promised to accompany her to the community church.

She marched outside and stood on a small bridge that crossed Beaver Creek in hopes of seeing her beloved arrive. But the hours passed and he did not appear.

Bridge today

Dejected, Esther stood on the small bridge well after the sunlight had faded and the darkness of night enveloped her.

It slowly dawned on her that she had been “left at the altar.” She returned to her home and drew the curtains.

Several days later a group of friends concerned they had not seen her, arrived at her home. The knocked on her door but received no response.

They peered through one curtain and were shocked to see Esther sitting amidst wedding decorations still wearing her wedding gown.

They knocked on the door once more and pleaded with her to let them in, she assured them she was all right but she refused to open the door.

From then on Esther remained removed from society. Neighbors saw her in her garden or more often standing on the small bridge looking off into the distance.

Whenever she was seen she was still wearing her wedding dress, which was now stained and tattered.

Several months after her ruined wedding day the area was hit by a series of bad snowstorms. When the locals were finally able to dig out several mentioned that Esther had not been seen in quite awhile.

A small group made their way to her home only to discover a horrible sight. Esther Hale’s decaying body was sitting quietly in a chair. She was still wearing her rotting wedding gown.

Almost immediately after Esther was buried locals began to report a strange sight on the small bridge near Esther’s home.

People stated as they crossed this bridge Esther’s ghost still wearing her wedding dress, would reach out to them from the side of the road.

As the years passed, witnesses stated this strange sight was seen especially on August 12th the day that was supposed to be Esther’s wedding day.

Many accounts stated that her ghost would lunge at passing carriages on the bridge trying to claw her way into their vehicles.

These sightings persisted even after it was cars and not carriages that crossed this small bridge.

With time the story of this haunting included a warning that witnesses to Esther’s ghost should never let her touch them. For if this were allowed she would become young again but the person she touched would suddenly grow old and die.

So people to this day that cross this bridge are told they better beware.