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Moonville, revisited
Posted: Wintermute @ Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:00 am

Moonville, Ohio, is one of those places I could visit repeatedly and never get bored. My first visit here was on a Geocaching trip, where I retrieved both the tunnel and the cemetery caches. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have any photos from that trip, but my wife, Kim, along with a good friend, Jon, both got some great pictures on our latest trip on September 7, 2013. This entry is a bit of an update to the previous Moonville entry, and contains information from the defunct Geocities page as well as other sources, listed below.


HISTORY OF MOONVILLE

In the late 1850’s the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad (M&C RAILROAD) was constantly striving to the west to reach the Cincinnati Area. The owner at the time was looking for ways to keep himself out of debt, so he made a deal with a man by the name of Samuel Coe. He allowed the M&C RAILROAD to be built through his property, he did this so he could use the train to haul out coal and clay that was on his property. As the railroad was constructed Coe began opening mines on his property, and soon people came to the area searching for work. This is how the small town of MOONVILLE began.1

Deep in the backwoods of Vinton County stands the Moonville Tunnel, a relic from an era long gone. The town it is named for was born when the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad was built through the coal- and iron-rich woods of southeastern Ohio in 1856. At its peak in the 1870s, the town boasted a population of more than 100–almost exclusively miners and their families. There was a row of houses along the railroad tracks, a sawmill just down Raccoon Creek, a general store, and a saloon. In its early days the residents of Moonville worked in the Hope Furnace nearby, but later on they turned almost exclusively to mining coal underground. The coal was then used in the many iron furnaces in the vicinity, usually the one at Hope, where weapons and artillery for the Union Army were made during the Civil War. 2


THE GHOST STORIES!!

There are at least two major ghost stories related to the Moonville tunnel:

The ghost of the Moonville Tunnel is one of those legends that’s based on historical fact but has been distorted by telling and retelling over the years. The major story is that someone–an engineer, a conductor, a brakeman, a signalman?–was crushed under the wheels of the train that used to go through the place. Apart from that basic fact, things get hazy. Was he drunk? Was he stationed in Moonville or was he a brakeman on the train? Was he an eight-foot-tall black guy named Rastus Dexter? Some sources say he was playing cards with other guys. It’s been said that he was a conductor murdered by a vengeful engineer who asked him to inspect underneath the train and then started it up. One source even said that he was trying to get the train to stop because Moonville was in the grip of a plague and was running low on supplies. His death was the end of Moonville. This seems a little too romantic, especially since the actual newspaper article from the McArthur Democrat on March 31, 1859 tells a much more mundane story: “A brakesman on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad fell from the cars near Cincinnati Furnace, on last Tuesday March 29, 1859 and was fatally injured, when the wheels passing over and grinding to a shapeless mass the greater part of one of his legs. He was taken on the train to Hamden and Doctors Wolf and Rannells sent for to perform amputation, but the prostration of the vital energies was too great to attempt it. The man is probably dead ere this. The accident resulted from a too free use of liquor.” 2

The other story is reportedly about a woman:

As for stories about the woman, there are documented cases where a woman was killed about a mile from the tunnel while walking the tracks in 1886. and though this ghost story is not as popular as the headless ghost from the tunnel, a park ranger did say that people have talked of a ghost that resembled a woman in a blue’ish night gown wandering around the area of the tracks.1

Other witnesses have claimed they have heard screams coming from inside the tunnel and around the area of the train tracks. many of the railroad engineers back in the early 20’s reported stories of seeing the ghost waving his lantern and then disappearing.1


THE MOONVILLE CEMETERY

I know in the past I have read reports of the cemetery being haunted as well, but I currently cannot find any of those sources. But just because I cannot find any stories does not mean it wasn’t an interesting place to visit.

One cool thing was that, upon bumping into my friend Jon and telling him we were going here, he stated that he had family that was purportedly buried there. We found a surviving headstone for the Stilwells, and, upon research, he discovered that William Stilwell was his great, great, great grandfather.

Another interesting thing we discovered were coins placed on some of the headstones. One had a penny, another had a quarter. I had never seen this before, and Jon postulated that it may have something to do with Charon, the ferryman of Hades according to Greek mythology. According to legend, he required payment of one coin to ferry a loved one’s soul across the River Styx, which separated the living from the dead.

Another reason for coins on headstones is military tradition, which dates back to Roman times. In the US, a penny means that you knew the person, while a nickel means that you trained with them. A dime means that they were a friend in the another platoon within the same company. A quarter means that they were in the same outfit, or you were with them when they died.

The final reason is related to a family feud between the Black Donnellys and another family. According to legend, the Donnelly’s would grant a wish for anyone that leaves a penny on the grave of a Donnelly family member killed in the massacre by the other family. That superstition has since expanded to state that you can leave a penny on the headstone of a family member to either grant you a wish, or to watch over you and bring you good luck.


FERGUSON CEMETERY

Our first stop on this trip was actually Ferguson Cemetery. We were looking for Moonville Cemetery when we came across a sign at the side of the road that simply said Cemetery with an arrow. I didn’t recall having to hike to get to the Moonville Cemetery the last time we were here, but we decided that maybe there was an alternate way to get there. We parked off the side of the road and hiked what little was left of the trail to the cemetery. There were only a couple of small grave markers still there. If it hadn’t been for the sign, we probably would have walked right past the cemetery.


DIRECTIONS TO MOONVILLE1

If you are like me and you would like to see Moonville for yourself, here is how to get there..

Rt. 33 runs east and west from Columbus to Athens Ohio..
Nelsonville is a small town just west of Athens, it also is home to my old school Hocking College..
If you drive through Nelsonville you will see a road called Rt. 278
there will be signs pointing to LAKE HOPE STATE PARK.. stay on 278 and follow it past
Lake Hope, The first road on your left will be called WHEELABOUT ROAD.. turn onto this road and stay on it, it will turn into a gravel path, and just keep following it into the woods
and you will eventually come to a one lane bridge, immediately after the bridge, the old train tracks path will actually cross the road, park your car and get out and follow the tracks to the LEFT,, you will come to the creek, cross the creek, and the tunnel is about 100 yards up.. To find the cemetery stay on the gravel path and go past the tracks, about (20 yards) you will see another gravel road to the RIGHT,, it curves around and takes you to the cemetery…


1 from http://www.geocities.com/richemt911/, which was mentioned in the earlier Moonville post. Unfortunately, Geocities is long gone, but the Wayback Machine saves us again.

2 from Forgotten Ohio.

There are plenty of other great sites out there with information on Moonville and its ghost(s). A great deal of information is provided here, specifically the section titled Tragic History.

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Time to revisit some stories? Entries wanted!
Posted: Wintermute @ Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:00 am

Now that James A. Sheets’ old Ghosts of Ohio site from Greenapple has been imported, I would like to solicit entries from my readers. You can email entries to me at [email protected], use the Discussion Board, use the Contact page, or fill out the form below. Please let me know if you’d like to remain anonymous, or if you’d like to become a regular author on the site. Also, while name and email address are not required, they would be appreciated, even if you wish your entry to remain anonymous. This way we can discuss the potential entries and I can gather more information, if needed, before posting them.

In the meantime, I think it might be time to revisit some of the entries already posted, as there are plenty of other sources of information to fill in some details that might have been missed on the original entries. Tomorrow, I’ll begin by revisiting Moonville. It’s such a beautiful area, and one which is easy to visit yourself.

Again, please submit your entries via one of the methods listed above, or use this form:

Edit to add: In the meantime, after tomorrow’s post, posting frequency will likely slow down a bit. My primary goal was to capture all the stories James A. Sheets had on his old site, and that has now been accomplished.

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The Legend Of Tinkers Hollow
Posted: Wintermute @ Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:00 am

As told by William Hughes.

One of the most popular topics on the Ghost Of Ohio discussion board is Ashtabula County’s Tinkers Hollow. Every time Sylvester Tinker hears how he killed his wife and hid her in the corn field, I’m sure he wishes he were a ghost. But guess what? Not true! It’s all nothing but an urban legend. Although the Tinker family were ingenious inventors in the iron field, they were by no means killers!

Silas Tinker came to Conneaut, Ohio in 1806 along with his sons, William, Julias, and Sylvester. They invented a process for making some of the strongest iron in Ohio history. They also manufactured tools, saws, stoves, and the first horse drawn mowing machine. Sylvester built the first foundry in Conneaut in 1833, then updated it in 1835 to work with cast iron. It is years after the brothers left town that the true haunting begins.

It seems that an old hermit took to living in the old ruins of the abandoned foundry. As the story goes, he was struck by lightning and lived through the experience, although one of his legs was badly injured. This forced him to drag his one leg behind him as he walked about. After many year the old hermit just seemed to have vanished and was seen no more, but people all claimed that if you sat under the Tinker Hollow Bridge long enough you would hear him returning home, with his donkey dragging his leg behind him. At one point the legend became so popular that Conneaut News Herald reporter Pat Williams camped under the bridge. For two nights he and the two other men he had brought along as witnesses saw nothing. The following weekend Pat and his companions returned to the bridge on a foggy, rainy night. Shortly after midnight the men heard the sound of someone making their way across the bridge. It sounded like the steps of man leading a horse with the man dragging his leg as he walked. The three men rushed to the top of the bridge with their cameras in hand to record the event, but all they saw was the rain soaked delapadated old bridge. What ever had made the sounds had vanished into thin air.


Research for this story done by Linda Siders, Fred Siders, and William Hughes.

Resource information provided by, The Ashtabula Historical Society, the Conneaut News Herald. The North Eastern Ohio Ghost Research Team (NEOGRT) would like to give a special thank you to the the wonderful staff of the Conneaut Public Library, who opened their doors for us to access the histories on Tinker Hollow.

Anyone wishing to reach NEOGRT may do so at the following e-mail addresses:

[email protected]

[email protected]


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

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The Ashtabula Train Wreck
Posted: Wintermute @ Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:00 am

Submitted by William Hughes

This was a Christmas time disaster that took place in Ashtabula Ohio on the old Lake Shore Line.

It was a cold snowy day as the Pacific Express rolled in Ashtabula. The temperature was frigid and visibility was zero. Nothing could prepare the passengers for what was about to happen on December 29th, 1876. The time was 7:30 PM as the engineer brought the train across the Ashtabula Bridge. As the engine made it across the bridge, the engineer heard a loud crack and the bridge began to shake. He throttled the engine to full and it shot ahead jumping off the tracks and separating it from the rest of the train. The trailing cars plunged off of the bridge 100 feet to the freezing river below. The train cars made of fragile wood splintered as the crashed on top of each other. What made matters worse was as it was winter the passenger cars had their pot belly stoves running for heat. The red hot coals spilled onto the wooden wreckage igniting the the smashed cars. Within moments the entire wreck was engulfed in a colossal inferno.

Over 85 people perished in the flaming wreck that night. Many were so badly burnt they could not be recognized. To make matter worse many of the passengers had signed for their tickets by simply making an X. This made identification impossible. The railways records indicated that there were anywhere from 180 to 250 souls on board, but the grim facts were, 85 dead, 24 of who were identified. As Ohio watched in shock, the dead were taken to Chestnut Grove Cemetery for burial. A monument has been erected there. Its inscription reads:

TO THE UNRECOGNIZED DEAD OF THE ASHTABULA BRIDGE
DISASTER-WHOSE REMAINS ARE BURIED HERE

The grave site as well as the location of the crash on the bridge are believed to be haunted to this day.

Myself and members of my NEOGRT Team have been to both sites. There we have detected Cold Spots, EVP, and a general feeling of uneasiness at both sites.


William and his group are still in the process of investigating this site. They plan on visiting it again as soon as the weather breaks. The investigation is going to be an overnight stay at the crash site. Any wishing to join them in this venture can do so by contacting William or one of his team at:

NE.OH.GHOST RESEARCH TEAM.
William: [email protected]
Linda & Fred: [email protected]


Credits
NEOGRT (William, Micky, Fred, Linda, Stacy, Chris, and Michell)
Story by William Hughes
Research Materials: Henderson Memorial Library, Train Wreck by, Robert C. Reed. Ships And Men Of The Great Lakes by, Dwight Boyer.

I would personally like to thank Micky and NEOGRT for believing in me to make this research dream come true.

William Hughes


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

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The Legend Of Mary Jane
Posted: Wintermute @ Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:00 am

Name withheld by request.

There is an old cemetery in Richland county just south of Mansfield that is said to be haunted by the spirit of Mary Jane. The cemetery is in an old forest back in the middle of no where, and has one giant tree in the middle of it . The tree in the cemetery is a pine tree, and it is the only pine tree in that whole area of the forest. It is said to have grown right through Mary Jane’s grave. The tree is said be one of three or four like it in the country, and the only places they are found is supposedly the resting places of witches. As legend has it, any one who disturbs the tree or the grave itself will die. There is a story told of three young men who urinated on the tree while one stayed behind in the car. Later in a terrible car accident on the way home the three that urinated on the tree died, but the one that didn’t walked away from the accident basically unharmed.


This one is pretty straight forward. It also sounds strangely familiar to the Dark Angel tale, or least the part about despoiling the grave resulting in a tragic ending for the wrong doers. Tales like this one could be based more urban legend than fact. Once again the name Mary has been attached to this haunting. Mary seems a very popular name for ghost sin the Buckeye state, along with Cry Baby Bridges. If anyone has more information on this one or a picture of the sight, I would love to have it. I can be contacted at [email protected][Editor’s note: That email is long defunct. Email me at [email protected] instead of the original author.]


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on on James A Sheets’ site.

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The Waynesville House
Posted: Wintermute @ Wed Oct 9, 2013 8:00 am

Name withheld by request.

This happened in the mid -Sixties I believe, and it happened to our family. We moved to a rural stately farmhouse in Waynesville, Ohio. The house was built around the Civil War days, and had been added onto, but any way I was about 11 yrs old, the house had many rooms, attics etc. and about 3 fireplaces.. upstairs next to my bedroom was a playroom, a very large room with side attics on both sides of the room. The only way into the playroom was through my bedroom, which I shared with my sister. I would close the playroom door, because frankly the room gave me the creeps, even though it was decorated very nicely, but every time that I would enter the bedroom the play room door would be wide open. On many a night we would wake up and the door would be wide open. We started blocking the playroom door, like I said no one wanted to go in there.

My father said we were making it up, until one evening, actually the middle of the night I woke up to a heavy and constricting feeling. I remember screaming, as the heavy oak door from the playroom was on top of my sister and I. Well my parents just could not believe how that door (taken from its hinges) made its way on top of us. From then on other things started to happen, noises came from the attic surrounding the playroom. Sometimes it sounded like a small child crying very softly and at that point we started to sleep downstairs. When my father opened the little doors that had been bolted shut to the side attics, he found a few toys and a couple of broken dolls, but more interesting was an old passageway that lead down into a false chimney of some sort. It was a very odd house , oddly built inside, doors everywhere, some sealed and so on.

One night while sleeping downstairs, I thought that I heard piano music, we had no piano. We never seemed to get a good nights rest. My mother kept seeing what she said was someone playing with a flashlight. We finally moved into town (Waynesville). The kids we met there did not think that what we told them was at all unusual, everyone had a ghostly experience in Waynesville. After living there a couple of years we moved to a much less Ghostly town.

The author also had a different encounter when he was younger in Hillsboro, Ohio that is worth mentioning. Here it is in his own words.


Maybe ghosts or spirits haunt certain people, or maybe certain people attract spirits, but I have had my share of it. This is my first ghostly experience. It happened when I was around nine yrs. old. We were living temporarily in my mothers childhood home, it was really old and very damp and creaky. It had originally been an old Hotel in the late 1800’s in Hillsboro, Ohio. The house needed to be torn down, but like I said it was just temporary, my grandmother had moved many years before and no one had lived there for some time. There were a number of rooms we kids could have slept in but we decided to double up. The upstairs bedrooms were so dark and there were mice in the attic, so right from the start I heard noises at night like some one banging on the wall next to me. My father said it was from a tree, but I looked the next day and there was no tree was near the house. Every night I would anticipate a noise of some kind, I took to sleeping with the pillow over my head.

Then one night I heard my name called I sat up and looked around, but my sister was asleep and I could hear my parents snoring in the next room. Several nights later, same thing happened, I heard my name called, and no one was there. I fell back on my pillow closed my eyes. I got that strange feeling like someone was watching me, so I opened my eyes. To my dismay standing right over my face and above me was the meanest looking old woman with gray scraggly hair. Her face had a green cast to it, and she appeared to be very angry at me. I swear she said get out, but this was coming from inside my head. No one but me saw her. I let out a big scream and ran into my parents bedroom. My father was very annoyed and told me that I was dreaming.

The next day my mother said describe this old lady, so I did. After a few moments she said that she used to see this old woman when she was very little, and in the same part of the house. She always thought that it had just been a bad dream, but I knew I was not dreaming!


The author of this tale may be correct in that some people seem to natural magnets to hauntings, ghosts, etc. Another view is that they are what provides energy for such phenomena to manifest physically. Both tales are chilling, but the face of an old haggard woman glaring down at you in bed gets my vote for the one I would rather not have happen to me. Also, how many of you have heard someone wisper your name in the night?


This post, including commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

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Two Tales From Clermont County
Posted: Wintermute @ Tue Oct 8, 2013 8:00 am

Submitted by Daniel Cope

In Clermont County, Ohio on SR 125 just West of the Village of Bethel, there is a small,unnamed, cemetery. The stones date back two centuries. There is a short dilapidated wooden and wire fence encircling the cemetery with a wooden frame for a gate at the entrance. The gate has long since rotted away. This is low lying flat river land and constantly very windy, but when you approach one particular grave marker the wind inside the cemetery stops, even though it continues to wail outside. The marker reads;

STRANGER, AS YOU ARE NOW
ONCE WAS I.
AS I AM NOW,
SOON YOU WILL BE.
SO PREPARE YOURSELF AND FOLLOW ME.

I have experienced this phenomenon personally on numerous occasions. It has happened each and every time. (Not me, but Daniel Cope.)


This is also a personal experience of mine and my parents, brother and sister. My Father purchased a house at #*** Arlington Dr. in the Sumerside Estates in Clermont County. I was 15, my brother 8 and my sister was 5. The trouble with this house began immediately. Our first night there, I kept hearing a baby crying but could find nothing. The next morning my Mother woke me up stating the she heard a baby’s voice calling for it’s mommy. I listed quietly and could distinctly hear the work “MOMMY”. It sounded like a frightened child. We searched all around the house finding nothing. Mom even called the police who also heard the voice but found nothing.

This went on for weeks, any time we cared to listen and at night when the house was quiet, this child’s voice crying for
it’s mommy could be heard “distinctly”. After a few weeks, the voice changed or rather was added to. First the child then an adult woman could be heard sobbing. Again, this continued for several weeks. My parents would invite friends over just to listen to the noises. It was a little eerie but somehow soothing at the same time.

The next change was a man’s voice added to the chorus. First the baby, then the mourning woman the a male voice that seemed to be comforting the woman. Remember that all of this seemed quite benevolent and caused us little concern until after about 9 months of this. Then suddenly the voices changed, you could detect a note of panic in the sounds, we would get up and find the gas on but the pilot lights blown out, windows would break for no apparent reason. On more that one occasion, my Father and I would search around the outside of the house for the prankster who was striking the house with a hammer or other heavy object. We would never find anyone or any sign of anyone or damage. Our front picture window smashed from the inside out with the entire family sitting right there
with no explanation. The overhead garage door on our attached garage opened by it self one night and with a loud crash was torn from it’s railing and dropped to the garage floor. On three occasions, a dark, menacing shadow would appear at the end of the hallway. These occasions were particularly awful for out family dog who eventually was found dead at the end of the hallway where the shadow would appear.

There were many more occurrences but I’ll close for now by telling you that after one horrible night, my Father moved us into a hotel and paid movers to pack our clothes for us. We never went back. To this day, no one stays in this house for more than a few months then it is empty again.


I have omitted the numerals for the address of the Daniel’s former house just in case someone has found a way to tolerate the above described phenomena, or if it has ceased as of now.


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

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The Ghost In The Alley
Posted: Wintermute @ Mon Oct 7, 2013 8:00 am

Submitted by Judith Jasper

When I was growing up on Dewey Avenue, in Lancaster, Ohio there was a legend of the footsteps in the alley beside my house. On many a dark night when the moon was waning it is said that a man walks down the alley from Maud Avenue to Dewey Avenue, though it has long been forgotten why he treads his lonely journey. My father used to tell me this tale, and I have heard it from other people who used to live in the neighborhood.

When I was about ten years old I belonged to a little club made up of the girls who lived on or played with the children in the neighborhood around Maud, Dewey and Mulberry Avenues. One night we decided to see if there was any truth to the tale. The moon was in it’s last quarter and it was dark and spooky when our little gang gathered in Joyce’s garage to wait for the man to walk down the alley. We waited with hearts pounding and a little shiver would escape us with every scraping of a tree limb against the garage windows or any sound we could not immediately identify. To this day I don’t know if it was Joyce’s older brother or perhaps some boys in the neighborhood playing a prank, but somewhere in the murky darkness late that evening we heard the crunch of gravel outside the garage doors in the alleyway. A few of the braver girls peeked out the garage door…the footsteps crunched on the gravel but pale moonlight revealed no one in the alleyway! Needless to say we were quick to run from the garage to the safety of our homes!

There’s a little aside to this tale that makes it very interesting…. one morning I was awakened by the garbage truck grinding away outside my bedroom window, which faced the alley… usually the truck would stop for a few moments, then be on it’s way on down the alley. For some strange reason the truck stayed below my window for some time. I was amazed when a police car pulled up at the edge of the alley and two policemen came over to the parked garbage truck. The men in the truck led the policemen to a spot directly below my bedroom window. There in the alley was a deep rut, worn away over time by the flow of traffic in the alleyway. My father came over to the hole and handed one of the policemen a shovel. What could they be wanting to dig up the alley for, I wondered. Was it a buried treasure? As they dug, I watched and waited. Before long the policeman stopped his digging and bent over looking at something in the hole. He stood aside, and to my amazement, as I looked down in the hole, a human skull and other bones lay in the hole. I shivered, for the skull was very small and most surely a child’s skull! To this day I have learned nothing of the skeleton found in the alley. My father only had a little to say about it. It was definitely human, of a child about my age. The policemen thought the skeleton had been there for quite some years. My father speculated that it was possible that the child had been buried there before our house was built, when the was a meadow there. Our house was over 60 years old then, in 1957 or so, when this happened.

Who was the little child buried in the alley below my window? Was it a little girl or boy? Could it have been the reason why the sound of a man walking up and down the alley was heard some nights? Was he perhaps searching for his lost child? Or was it the murdered pacing up and down the alley, trying to ease his tormented soul?


I have posted this one pretty much as it was sent to me. This is one have I have not heard of locally, but it does make for some chilling reading. As always I would love to hear from anyone that has more information on this tale. The location is of course the streets named above in Lancaster, Ohio.


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

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The Headless Motorcyclist Of Elmore, Ohio
Posted: Wintermute @ Fri Oct 4, 2013 3:23 pm

As Told by Chris Woodyard, and countless others
who have e-mailed this particular tale to me.

This has to be one of the most popular tales in the entire state. I have been bombarded by individuals telling or asking about this particular tale. (And the Gore Orphanage in Vermilian, Ohio. Coming soon I promise!) So here it is at last.

I had a friend who would always yell “Speed on Moron, Hells only half full” at motorists passing him by at a high rate of speed. The ghostly rider of Elmore, Ohio has it seems chosen to defy my friends logic, that all speeders that meet their untimely deaths on Ohio’s highways go to Hell. He has in fact chosen to go to neither Heaven or Hell, but instead remain here on Earth with the rest of us mortals.

It seems in life this man answered his country’s call and bravely went off to fight the Germans in Europe in the raging conflict which is known as “The Great War”. This would be World War I for those not familiar with the era. He returned from Europe at the end of the fighting in 1918. Being discharged from his unit he returned home to pick up his life where he left it off like so many others. Of course the first order of business was to rekindle his romance with a lady friend whom he had left behind. Deciding to surprise her, he jumped on his powerful V-twin powered motorcycle that was one of his favorite pastimes before the war. Many hours had been spent riding the backroads of the surrounding country side. Roaring down roads that were as familiar to him as his own backyard, he thought of the warm embrace and slow long kisses that awaited him at the end of his late night ride. He remembered her smell like that of fresh lilacs, her smile, and her beautiful blue eyes that could drain a man of his soul. He thought of the night they had parted and said goodbye, the tears streaming down her face as she promised she would have no other, and would wait for him to return. Friends and relatives had made weak attempts to tell him that people change, but he would hear none of it. She had promised. She would be there waiting, sitting in her rocking chair waiting for his return. They would marry as planed, and he would take her away from the family farm no matter how much her father complained.

Finally the lane leading to the farm house hove into view. He killed the engine of the motorcycle and allowed it to coast to the edge of the gravel lane. He then quietly pushed the motorcycle up the moonlit roadway. Nothing was going to spoil his surprise. As he neared the house he could see her through the window which was in the kitchen. Approaching the door to the kitchen he could see her standing at the table peeling potatoes. Moving with stealth he crept into the kitchen right behind her. Then he wrapped his strong arms around her and pulled her close to him. Instead of the pleasant gasp of surprise, and then warm embrace he envisioned on his night time ride, he was rewarded with a ear splitting scream. She jerked away and turned around to face him. Recognition flooded into her eyes, now the kisses and hugs he desired would come, he had just startled her that was all. With tears streaming down her face she slowly raised her left hand. There on her fourth finger shone the brilliant gleam of a gold wedding band. Staring in disbelief, joy was replaced with rage and anger, he had been betrayed. The blood rushed up to his watering eyes. Twisting away from her still tearing eyes he fled back into the night. His rage built as he found the motorcycle where he had left it in the darkened lane. Furiously he kicked life into the powerful machine. The roar of the engine echoed it’s owners rage. Rocks flew as the clutch engaged the rear tire. With reckless abandon he hurtled the bike down the gravel lane. Reaching the end of the lane he ripped onto the main dirt road and gave the machine full throttle. Tears filled his eyes as rage gave way to pain and anguish, but still he speed on to the waiting bridge ahead. Hitting the bridge the motorcycle bucked and heaved at it’s owners refusal to let off the throttle. Tear blinded and traveling a such a high rate of speed, finally the laws of physics and averages took over, and the motorcycle plunged off the road. The last thing his living eyes beheld was the barbed wire fence closing at break neck speed in the jiggling headlights beam……………..then oblivion.

The legend goes that if you go to the bridge on the anniversary that this poor soul found his death on (March 21st), then blink your lights three time and honk your horn three times, the ghost of the betrayed lover will repeat his deathly ride across the bridge.

On March 21st, 1968 folklorist Richard Gill went to the site to investigate the legend. He went with a friend and was armed with a host of cameras and tape recorders. Sure enough when they blinked their cars lights and blew the horn, a ghostly light appeared up the lane at the farm house and came down the lane onto the road and disappeared in the middle of the bridge. The two men then tied a string across the bridge. They repeated the required blinks and horn soundings. Once again the ghostly light appeared and made it’s journey down the lane and road to disappear in the middle of the bridge. Investigating they found the string was still intact. For the next run the friend decided to stand in the middle of the bridge. (What a brave soul!) Gill let go with the lights and horn again. The light just as before came down the lane and onto the road to disappear in the same spot on the bridge. Gill waited for a few minutes, but his friend never appeared. He found him in a ditch on the side of the road unconscious and looking like he had been just run over. This would have been enough for me at this point, but these two just had to have one more go at it. This time they parked to the side of the bridge and stayed in the car. Three blinks and three honks latter, here came the light. They began to move down the bridge, the light caught and passed them to disappear in the same spot. The friend wanted to stay and do some more tests, but Gill drove on proclaiming that he was a believer in ghosts. You would think the friend who got mowed down by a ghost on a motorcycle who be the first to announce that he was a believer! (I guess there is just no convincing some people.) The movie film shot showed nothing at all. Still photography turned out some of those familiar glowing blobs that are normally found in ghost pictures. The audio tape had a peculiar buzzing sound on it.

The location of this haunting is of course near Elmore, Ohio in Ottawa County. The bridge where the ghost is suppose appears is across the middle branch of the Portage River east of Elmore. I would strongly suggest not standing in the middle of the bridge!
Ryck Zarick and Joe Thielen have graciously provided not only the photos above [missing] but the follwing links and directions to the bridge.

Here is the address for a topographic map showing the bridge:
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=41.42293333333333&lon=-83.20163333333333
Notice that there are four map scales and three map screen sizes available.

Here is an aerial picture of it (look for dark spot on road and creek at bottom of picture:)
http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp?S=11&T=1&X=790&Y=11470&Z=17&W=0
Zoom out to get a better idea of where it is located.

The GPS coordinates for online maps places the bridge at Latitude 41.4228, Longitude -83.2018. (Online maps use NAD27 Datum, and GPS devices use WGS84 Datum. However these coordinates will place you near the bridge regardless of the GPS Datum setting.)

Here is the most detailed description that I could come up with. This bridge is over Muddy Creek (one of several “Muddy Creeks” in the area) in Ottawa County on the boundary of Washington Township Sections 1 and 2, on Fought Road, one half a mile south of the Ohio Turnpike I-80/90, one mile east of Lindsey Ohio, and six miles southeast of Elmore Ohio.

Joe describes this bridge as being in a valley where fog can obscure the bridge at eye level, making the area very eerie. He said that the pictures do not do it justice.

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

Comments: Comments Off on The Headless Motorcyclist Of Elmore, Ohio

The Headless Motorcyclist Of Elmore, Ohio
Posted: Wintermute @ 8:00 am

As Told by Chris Woodyard, and countless others
who have e-mailed this particular tale to me.

This has to be one of the most popular tales in the entire state. I have been bombarded by individuals telling or asking about this particular tale. (And the Gore Orphanage in Vermilian, Ohio. Coming soon I promise!) So here it is at last.

I had a friend who would always yell “Speed on Moron, Hells only half full” at motorists passing him by at a high rate of speed. The ghostly rider of Elmore, Ohio has it seems chosen to defy my friends logic, that all speeders that meet their untimely deaths on Ohio’s highways go to Hell. He has in fact chosen to go to neither Heaven or Hell, but instead remain here on Earth with the rest of us mortals.

It seems in life this man answered his country’s call and bravely went off to fight the Germans in Europe in the raging conflict which is known as “The Great War”. This would be World War I for those not familiar with the era. He returned from Europe at the end of the fighting in 1918. Being discharged from his unit he returned home to pick up his life where he left it off like so many others. Of course the first order of business was to rekindle his romance with a lady friend whom he had left behind. Deciding to surprise her, he jumped on his powerful V-twin powered motorcycle that was one of his favorite pastimes before the war. Many hours had been spent riding the backroads of the surrounding country side. Roaring down roads that were as familiar to him as his own backyard, he thought of the warm embrace and slow long kisses that awaited him at the end of his late night ride. He remembered her smell like that of fresh lilacs, her smile, and her beautiful blue eyes that could drain a man of his soul. He thought of the night they had parted and said goodbye, the tears streaming down her face as she promised she would have no other, and would wait for him to return. Friends and relatives had made weak attempts to tell him that people change, but he would hear none of it. She had promised. She would be there waiting, sitting in her rocking chair waiting for his return. They would marry as planed, and he would take her away from the family farm no matter how much her father complained.

Finally the lane leading to the farm house hove into view. He killed the engine of the motorcycle and allowed it to coast to the edge of the gravel lane. He then quietly pushed the motorcycle up the moonlit roadway. Nothing was going to spoil his surprise. As he neared the house he could see her through the window which was in the kitchen. Approaching the door to the kitchen he could see her standing at the table peeling potatoes. Moving with stealth he crept into the kitchen right behind her. Then he wrapped his strong arms around her and pulled her close to him. Instead of the pleasant gasp of surprise, and then warm embrace he envisioned on his night time ride, he was rewarded with a ear splitting scream. She jerked away and turned around to face him. Recognition flooded into her eyes, now the kisses and hugs he desired would come, he had just startled her that was all. With tears streaming down her face she slowly raised her left hand. There on her fourth finger shone the brilliant gleam of a gold wedding band. Staring in disbelief, joy was replaced with rage and anger, he had been betrayed. The blood rushed up to his watering eyes. Twisting away from her still tearing eyes he fled back into the night. His rage built as he found the motorcycle where he had left it in the darkened lane. Furiously he kicked life into the powerful machine. The roar of the engine echoed it’s owners rage. Rocks flew as the clutch engaged the rear tire. With reckless abandon he hurtled the bike down the gravel lane. Reaching the end of the lane he ripped onto the main dirt road and gave the machine full throttle. Tears filled his eyes as rage gave way to pain and anguish, but still he speed on to the waiting bridge ahead. Hitting the bridge the motorcycle bucked and heaved at it’s owners refusal to let off the throttle. Tear blinded and traveling a such a high rate of speed, finally the laws of physics and averages took over, and the motorcycle plunged off the road. The last thing his living eyes beheld was the barbed wire fence closing at break neck speed in the jiggling headlights beam……………..then oblivion.

The legend goes that if you go to the bridge on the anniversary that this poor soul found his death on (March 21st), then blink your lights three time and honk your horn three times, the ghost of the betrayed lover will repeat his deathly ride across the bridge.

On March 21st, 1968 folklorist Richard Gill went to the site to investigate the legend. He went with a friend and was armed with a host of cameras and tape recorders. Sure enough when they blinked their cars lights and blew the horn, a ghostly light appeared up the lane at the farm house and came down the lane onto the road and disappeared in the middle of the bridge. The two men then tied a string across the bridge. They repeated the required blinks and horn soundings. Once again the ghostly light appeared and made it’s journey down the lane and road to disappear in the middle of the bridge. Investigating they found the string was still intact. For the next run the friend decided to stand in the middle of the bridge. (What a brave soul!) Gill let go with the lights and horn again. The light just as before came down the lane and onto the road to disappear in the same spot on the bridge. Gill waited for a few minutes, but his friend never appeared. He found him in a ditch on the side of the road unconscious and looking like he had been just run over. This would have been enough for me at this point, but these two just had to have one more go at it. This time they parked to the side of the bridge and stayed in the car. Three blinks and three honks latter, here came the light. They began to move down the bridge, the light caught and passed them to disappear in the same spot. The friend wanted to stay and do some more tests, but Gill drove on proclaiming that he was a believer in ghosts. You would think the friend who got mowed down by a ghost on a motorcycle who be the first to announce that he was a believer! (I guess there is just no convincing some people.) The movie film shot showed nothing at all. Still photography turned out some of those familiar glowing blobs that are normally found in ghost pictures. The audio tape had a peculiar buzzing sound on it.


The location of this haunting is of course near Elmore, Ohio in Ottawa County. The bridge where the ghost is suppose appears is across the middle branch of the Portage River east of Elmore. I would strongly suggest not standing in the middle of the bridge!

Ryck Zarick and Joe Thielen have graciously provided not only the photos above [missing] but the follwing links and directions to the bridge.

Here is the address for a topographic map showing the bridge:
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=41.42293333333333&lon=-83.20163333333333
Notice that there are four map scales and three map screen sizes available.

Here is an aerial picture of it (look for dark spot on road and creek at bottom of picture:)
http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp?S=11&T=1&X=790&Y=11470&Z=17&W=0
Zoom out to get a better idea of where it is located.

The GPS coordinates for online maps places the bridge at Latitude 41.4228, Longitude -83.2018. (Online maps use NAD27 Datum, and GPS devices use WGS84 Datum. However these coordinates will place you near the bridge regardless of the GPS Datum setting.)

Here is the most detailed description that I could come up with. This bridge is over Muddy Creek (one of several “Muddy Creeks” in the area) in Ottawa County on the boundary of Washington Township Sections 1 and 2, on Fought Road, one half a mile south of the Ohio Turnpike I-80/90, one mile east of Lindsey Ohio, and six miles southeast of Elmore Ohio.

Joe describes this bridge as being in a valley where fog can obscure the bridge at eye level, making the area very eerie. He said that the pictures do not do it justice.


This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

Comments: Comments Off on The Headless Motorcyclist Of Elmore, Ohio

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