As told by Chris Woodyard in Haunted Ohio II [affiliate link], and the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.
Ghosts of children to me can often be the most disturbing apparitions of all. Children are suppose to be things of delight ,and merriment, not trapped in some sort of limbo.
The following tale takes place at Amanda Clearcreek Schools in Fairfield County. It seems that a school counselor named Jim Flaningan had just finished his last day of work at the school, and had stayed after to finish up some unfinished paperwork. After an hour or so of work, Jim elected to go and exercise in the gym. After a short walk to the gym he arrived, and began to jog around the room. He had only been jogging a few minutes, or so when he noticed a boy of about fifteen years of age standing on the stage watching him.
Jim waved at the boy, and called hello to him as he continued to jog about the room. The boy never responded, but just continued to watch the man as he ran around the gym area. Several more times the counselor ran around the room, and each time the strange boy was there watching him from the stage. In the fading light of the day, Jim could see him clearly as he came around for another pass. The boy was standing near the stage curtain smiling. The clothes he was wearing, and hair cut which he had appeared to be very out of date. His blue jean bibs being the kind that buttoned diagonally across the shoulder, and a page boy style of hair cut.
Jim knew just about every kid in the school, but could not recall ever seeing this one. He increased the speed of his run, and made for the stage. The boy seeing his rapid approach, turned and walked behind the curtain. Jim reached the curtain seconds later to find that the boy had vanished. He checked, and found the back door to the stage locked and secured. By now the light in the gym was growing dim in the fading daylight, so Jim turned on all of the gym and stage lights. He then conducted a search of the area, which revealed nothing. Disturbed he called the assistant principal, and the local county sheriff.
Together they conducted a search of the school top to bottom which revealed no intruder of any kind. They also found no sign of forced entry into the structure. Soon the school’s janitor joined the men in their search. Jim commented that he thought that the boy might have been bare footed since he heard no footsteps from behind the stage curtain when the boy had fled. The school’s janitor who had been talking quite a bit suddenly clamed up, and never left the counselor’s side from that point on. He was asked if he ever had seen anything strange when he was in the school at night by himself. The janitor replied that he had not, and appeared to be very disturbed.
Jim later on had the chance to query the janitor’s son about his father’s work. He was told that the janitor never liked working in the school late after hours. It seems he always felt like someone, or something was watching him in the empty school building.
Jim still works in the educational system, but not in Fairfield County. Other faculty members have stated that the story is based on a real break in that occurred, and has evolved into a ghost story. I for one doubt this, as I really don’t think it would have been a wise career move on Mr. Flaningan’s part, to bring in the local law enforcement to check out a local fairy tale.
Amanda Clearcreek School is located in Amanda just off of U.S. 22 to the west of Lancaster, Ohio. I must once again point out that it is a crime to be on school grounds after normal hours without the consent of the school.
This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.