Haunted Journeys

5 of the Most Haunted in Ohio USA: Phantoms of the Buckeye State!
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The phantoms of five of the most haunted places in Ohio are eager to tell their spooky stories. Here are our spine-chilling picks from the Buckeye State!

Ohio State Reformatory

Mansfield, Ohio

 Haunted Ohio State Reformatory

Constructed in 1886, the Ohio State Reformatory was a castle-like prison that was built to reform and spiritually inspire its occupants.  Fully completed in 1919, it had the largest self-supporting steel cell block in the world, with 600 individual cells that were stacked six stories high. From the beginning, the goal was to reform young non-violent offenders by teaching them useful skills and motivating their spirituality.  Unfortunately, Ohio was forced to change this policy due to its growing prison population. It had to bring in more hardened criminals. Needless to say, the Reformatory became overcrowded. Cells that were designed to hold a single man now held three. The focus shifted from reforming to punishing unruly prisoners. The punishments were administered with antiquated and unforgiving torture devices the included "the butterfly," a form of electro-torture, water hoses, a sweatbox for non-white prisoners, and "The Hole" which was a small, barren and solitary confinement cell. Along with the possibility of being tortured, the inmates were also subjected to extreme violence from other inmates, horrific food, rat infestation, and infectious diseases. OSR closed its doors as a prison/reformatory in 1981.

The violence and mistreatments that have occurred here have not silenced the former prisoners and workers here even from the afterlife.  The hauntings are all connected to the many who died in custody or serving with their jobs. Be ready to be unpleasantly moved by the ghosts of OSR. Witnesses have experienced seeing full-body apparitions, shadow figures, slamming cell doors, and disembodied (and sometimes) yelling voices. Disturbingly, some females have reported having been victims of unwanted physical attacks by the male spirits who linger in this place. Many also claim to feel an inexplicable chill while on the prison grounds. Even the road leading to OSR seems to be haunted. There is a local legend that the ghost of a notorious Mansfield hermit and eccentric, Phoebe Wise, lurks the area. OSR's cemetery has also been a spot for much activity, where items seem to move around or are misplaced on their own accord. Be very prepared if you wish to engage in a paranormal experience at OSR. There is a solid mixture of friendly, docile, and very malevolent spirits and (perhaps) nasty elementals!

Discover more about this property by reading the details in our extended listing HERE.      

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The Ridges (Athens Lunatic Asylum)

Athens, Ohio

Haunted Ridges - Athens Lunatic Asylum

The hospital, first called the Athens Lunatic Asylum, officially began operations on January 9, 1874. The asylum provided a wide range of services to a variety of patients that were unfit to be institutionalized together. These included Civil War veterans, children, the elderly, the homeless, rebellious teenagers dropped off by their parents, and violent criminals suffering from various mental and physical disabilities.  Their diagnoses were also very unspecific and conflicting. They ranged from the slightest distress to the severely mentally ill. Most troubling, they were provided various forms of care that would be considered very dangerous today. The asylum was best known for its practice of lobotomy, hydrotherapy, electroshock, use of dangerous restraints, and harmful psychotropic drugs. The Athens Center officially closed in 1993.

It should not come to anyone's surprise how intense the haunts are at the Athens Lunatic Asylum. When the University took over the property, some of the students began to explore the Ridges. This is when many reports of paranormal activity began to surface. This included hearing disembodied screams in the middle of the night, electric anomalies, rattling door handles, and vanishing spectral images. Some of these events occurred in the area where the remains of a murdered patient, Margaret Schilling. were found by a maintenance worker in an abandoned section of the asylum. She had disappeared on December 1, 1978, and found 42 days later. The outline from her decaying body remains permanently imprinted upon the floor where she was found. Her spirit is said to appear staring down from the window of the room where her lifeless body was discovered. Her apparition has been seen attempting to escape the halls of the asylum. Others have seen her wander in various parts of the building at night.

Discover more about this property by reading the details in our extended listing HERE.      

Visit the property.  

Haunted Poasttown Elementary School

Middletown, Ohio

Haunted Poasttown Elementary School

Poasttown Elementary School was dedicated in 1937 and ran a dedicated academic service until its closure in 2000. Adding to its history are two train wrecks on the nearby railroad lines (one in 1891 and the other 1910) that led to much devastation and death. Due to the lack of a hospital nearby back then, many of the victims were triaged and treated at Poasttown. This haunted property is not fit for paranormal enthusiasts that cannot withstand the spiritual complexities within its walls.

The air within its collegiate halls often feels heavy. There is a sense of always being watched, and at every turn, every hallway seems to be filled with an energy never previously experienced. You will hear what sounds like desks being drug across a floor above you, yet there is no one there! Footsteps belonging to children followed by whispers and giggles coming from the children that still call this their safe home. Apparitions are part of the expectations here, coming in as all sorts as full and shadow figures. There are black floating masses, white mists, and strange glowing lights floating through the rooms. Once even a gremlin-like creature was found! Wrapping it up, paranormal investigators have obtained the most amazing EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon recordings) and visual evidence that undoubtedly support that this is one very special haunted place.

Discover more about this property by reading the details in our extended listing HERE.      

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Twin City Opera House

McConnelsville, Ohio

Haunted Twin City Opera House

The Opera House was opened in 1892 in a town that has become to be one of the most haunted towns in the country. This majestic building became the city’s community center for the government and its entertainment and cultural center.  Through the years, the Opera House has offered generations of talent that was popular through the times. This included Vaudeville Shows, Silent Films, and later on the new Silver Screen Productions. Most of the ghosts at the Opera House are friendly. One of these is Robert. He often makes his presence known lurking on the catwalk. Robert, at one time, was a stagehand helper. You will know that Robert is around, because the room’s temperature may drop quickly and significantly. His voice has been caught several times within a collection of 5,000 digital recordings! 

There is a dark entity in the theatre. His name is Charlie. No one really understands if he is a demon, an elemental, or just an evil spirit. But there is no question, Charlie does not interact with good intentions. This entity can be found in the dreaded sub-basement (“The Black Hole”), which lies below the basement where the cast and crew would get ready for performances.  Charlie has been known to almost violently, interact with investigators. He has been known to grab folks by the arm, pushing you around the room. He particularly likes to target women, who will encounter scratches or lightheadedness. Apparently, Robert is not fond of Charlie. For that matter, who would be? Robert has communicated that these portals exist within the theatre, one that runs through the catwalk and another that runs through town. Apparently, Robert is in control of these portals. He claims that he can open and close them. This theatre is absolutely a hotbed for the paranormal!

Discover more about this property by reading the details in our extended listing HERE.      

Visit the property

Butler County Historical Society

Hamilton, Ohio

We could not let Ohio go without recognizing Haunted Journey's hometown favorite haunt!  All of Hamilton Ohio sizzles with spirit for many reasons! This property aggravates all of its spectral components into one incredible supernatural delight. 

Haunted Butler County Museum

Constructed in 1862 during the Civil War, the Benninghofen House is an Italianate structure, one of the most prestigious properties in Hamilton, Ohio. Today, the Butler County Historical Society operates out of the historic Benninghofen House. Staff and patrons of the museum have witnessed abundant evidence of paranormal activity. A group visiting in early 2013 reported contacting John Benninghofen's wife and various other residents from the early Hamilton era. One of the more active spirits is the ghost of Wilhelmina Benninghofen, who is said to be there all the time. In the master bedroom, the spirit of James McBride is present. He was the first mayor of the city of Hamilton. The paranormal activity does flare up when folks get too close to his desk. Everyone knows to respect his space.

It is not known how many spirits live within the beautiful home, but it is suspected at least a dozen have made permanent residency there. What is common though, are the "hijackers", which are phantoms that come in for a while and leave. It's almost like when new exhibitions and artifacts are displayed, they will bring new life with them. The phantoms make their presence known with disembodied footsteps, misty apparitions, objects being placed in other formats (or missing) on their own. Voices have been captured on digital recordings. At times, there will be a sudden (and unexplained) cool breeze that grabs the attention of the staff or visitors.

Discover more about this property by reading the details in our extended listing HERE.      

Visit the property.   


More reads...

The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories (Big Book of Ghost Stories) by [James A. Willis]
     Ohio's Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State Paperback – September 30, 2015   Haunted Ohio: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Buckeye State (Haunted Series) Paperback – March 14, 2008


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