In case you hadn’t noticed, Ohio is downright creepy compared to other states. It’s full of spooky, abandoned places nature is reclaiming, haunted destinations that will give you chills and eerie unsolved mysteries. The following places, events and people are just a few of the many reasons why Ohio is the most terrifying, spookiest state.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Ohio State Reformatory (Mansfield)
Formerly known as the Mansfield Reformatory, this historic prison is home to the state's most violent ghosts. Spirits of rioting inmates who often fought each other to the death in overcrowded isolation cells haunt the halls and cells of this former prison.
2. The Ridges (Athens)
What was once the Athens Lunatic Asylum is now owned by Ohio University, but parts of the facility still hold shadows, stains and spirits of former mental patients who often suffered from violent treatments such as lobotomies. The grounds of the former asylum are still home to a few unusual—and extremely eerie—cemeteries. Patients of the former insane asylum were buried on the facility's grounds, and their restless spirits are left to wander to property. Most of the graves are without names, and merely display the number of the former mental patient buried beneath.
3. The campus of Ohio University (Athens)
Ohio University is arguably one of America's most haunted college campuses. Several residence hall rooms and other buildings on campus are said to be haunted.
4. Hotel Lafayette (Marietta)
Ohio's oldest town is bound to host a haunted destination or two. At Hotel Lafayette, guests have reported unexplained oddities for years. Missing items, suitcases turned upside-down and emptied shampoo bottles are just a few of the reported occurrences. The third floor is also supposedly haunted by a former owner of the hotel.
5. Moonville (McArthur)
The abandoned coal mining town of Moonville in southeastern Ohio (Vinton County) was founded in 1856, when the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad ran through the area's woods. One structure of the town that remains today is the Moonville Tunnel; a haunted tunnel where legend has it the ghost of a man who was killed instantly by a train passing through the tunnel wanders along the track bed near the old tunnel at night.
6. The Butcher of Kingsbury Run ("Cleveland Torso Murderer")
Also known as the "Cleveland Torso Murderer," this unidentified serial killer murdered and dismembered at least twelve victims from among the homeless in Cleveland—many of whom remain unidentified to this day. Recent speculation suggests the Butcher may have traveled west and was also the murderer of Elizabeth Short, of the "Black Dahlia Murder Case."
7. Lakeview Cemetery (Cleveland)
This cemetery is home to more than 100,000 graves and occupies 285 acres. Many notable individuals are buried here, including John D. Rockefeller, James A. Garfield and Eliot Ness (who modernized Cleveland's police force but was unable to catch the infamous "Cleveland Torso Murderer.") The Haserot Angel (pictured) is a famous statue in the graveyard for its eerie representation of "The Angel of Death Victorious."
8. The abandoned Lima Tuberculosis Hospital
Hidden behind a small neighborhood on Lima's far west side sits this abandoned TB ward, where the ghosts of patients wander the halls and hospital grounds.
9. The former town of Boston Mills ("Hell Town")
The area known as Hell Town today was once known as Boston Mills, before the town was bought out by the U.S. government to make way for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The once thriving town eventually turned into a ghost town. Today, some people claim that the government actually closed the town after some sort of chemical accident that caused the citizens to mutate—and some people claim to have actually seen disfigured, mutated people still hiding in the area. Legend has it, there is also a decaying church with an upside down cross within the abandoned town that was once (and possibly still) used for satanic worship.
10. Franklin Castle (Cleveland)
Cleveland is home to what is considered to be Ohio's most haunted house, where secret passageways, hidden rooms and ghosts of families who have lived in the historic mansion abound.
11. The Circleville Letter Writer
The small town of Circleville and the people of Pickaway County began to encounter what some might call a real-life-A-from-"Pretty-Little-Liars"-experience in the late 70s when thousands of individuals started receiving personal, mysterious letters about their lives. The letters were written in block style and contained vindictive, violent and vulgar material. One of the letter recipient's husband was murdered, which was believed to be connected to the letters, and the letters continued even after a suspect was placed in prison. The letters continued to arrive in residents' mailboxes—both city officials and average citizens alike— until the late 90s. The writer was never revealed.
12. Beaver Creek State Park
Parts of the Ohio Erie Canal built in the early 1800s can be found throughout this park, and two canal locks in particular are said to be heavily haunted by ghosts of canal workers who died on the job.
13. The abandoned Chippewa Lake Park
Tucked away in Medina County there’s a rusted, long forgotten ferris wheel. What what was once Chippewa Lake Park is now just a few piles of amusement park ruins and the lone ferris wheel. From 1878 to 1978, the amusement park was a popular, thriving destination for family entrainment. Today, remnants of it creepily stand abandoned, rusted and long forgotten. (If you think this abandoned amusement park would have been the perfect location for a horror film, you’re exactly right. In 2008, a cast and crew from Los Angeles filmed “Closed for the Season" here.)
Why else is Ohio the most terrifying, spookiest state? Share you personal experiences and opinions with us in the comments below!