From its popular cities to the diverse rural communities, there is a lot to experience in Ohio. With a rich history in folklore and chilling tales from proud locals, there are many spots in Ohio that have a haunted reputation. Whether you want to explore eerie tunnels, lighthouses, mansions, or Lake Erie itself, you won’t be disappointed when you embark on a spooky adventure throughout Ohio.
If you’re planning a visit to the Buckeye State, don’t forget to add the following list of creepy places to your itinerary. Read on to journey through the six most haunted places in Ohio and learn where you can experience the highest paranormal activity in the state.
Moonville Tunnel in McArthur
If you’re looking for a creepy outdoor adventure, the Moonville Tunnel is easily one of the most haunted places in Ohio. The Moonville tunnel is a former mining tunnel from the 1800s. An Ohio railroad company built the long, dark tunnel deep in the forest to make it easier for commuters. As the mining industry declined in the early 1900s, many people abandoned their homes, the town, and the tunnel. As legend has it, the souls of those killed by oncoming trains still remain in the tunnel today.
Many people choose to visit Moonville Tunnel in hopes of meeting spirits like “The Ghost of the Engineer,” an engineer who crashed into an oncoming train and is the first to haunt those who enter the tunnel. Other thrill-seekers have experienced the “Lavender Lady,” a woman hit by an oncoming train while walking along the tunnel. It is common to smell her perfume today when exploring the surrounding woods.
Address: Hope-Moonville Rd, McArthur, OH 45651
The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield
Also known as the Mansfield Reformatory, The Ohio State Reformatory is famous for its history, a touch of Hollywood, and paranormal activity. Built in 1886, the purpose was to rehabilitate inmates through education, religion, and trade over 18 months. By the mid-20th century, the “Reform Model” transitioned to a maximum-security prison, and inmates sued due to extremely poor conditions. Vacant for years, in the 1990s, the restored building was the filming location for the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.
Many visitors experience foreign whispers, a chilling sensation, and the feeling of being watched. Previous inmates also reported shadowy figures and the feeling of hands touching them at night in their cells. Today, the Ohio State Reformatory hosts ghost walks and paranormal programs for the public to experience.
Address: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905
Phone: (419) 522-2644
The Ridges at Ohio University in Athens
Many today know The Ridges at Ohio University as a daycare center, classroom building, and small art museum. However, this building has a rich history with a haunted past. Over 150 years ago, The Ridges was previously known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum. The facility housed many people who struggled with mental illness, including the homeless, Civil War veterans, and elderly adults. Patients experienced rough conditions and overcrowding within the building’s walls, and many endured torturous treatments such as lobotomies and electric shock therapy.
Today, the building is known for consistent paranormal activity. Apparitions, strange voices, and footsteps have been reported by visitors and staff, and many claim witness to the ghost of Margaret Shilling. In 1978, Margaret disappeared from her room only to be found in the top floor ward 42 days later. She died of natural causes, but her nude body left an imprint known as “The Stain” that is still visible today. Many visitors report they see her ghost look out the upper window.
Address: 118 Ridges Cir, Athens, OH 45701
Franklin Castle in Cleveland
Over 125 years ago, The Tiedemann House was built in Cleveland, OH. Known as the Franklin Castle by locals, it is a popular haunted attraction for paranormal enthusiasts. The grand, Victorian-style home belonged to German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann and contains numerous ominous windows and gargoyles. Ironically, Tiedemann’s entire family passed away in the house at an early age, but it was confirmed they died from natural causes. Still, many claim to hear footsteps and voices and experience a presence throughout the home.
While the building has changed ownership over many decades, guests can book a stay overnight and attempt to experience the ghostly encounters for themselves.
Address: 4308 Franklin Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44113
Email: [email protected]
South Bass Island Lighthouse in Put-in-Bay
Put-in-Bay, a small town in Lake Erie, OH, is a popular vacation spot. Located on the island, the South Bass Island Lighthouse is a popular landmark with a dark past. In the late 1800s, a smallpox epidemic took over the island and took many casualties in its wake. A local man named Samuel Anderson was paranoid about contracting the disease. His paranoia drove him mad, and he took his own life due to the surrounding tragedy by jumping from the cliff near the lighthouse into the murky depths.
Visitors can take tours of the lighthouse today, but many claim to hear footsteps, creaking floors, and distinct splashing from the waters below. Many also report the sound of slamming doors coming from the basement.
Address: 2368 Langram Rd, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456
Cincinnati Music Hall
Popular Cincinnati ghost stories stem from the Cincinnati Music Hall. It is a popular destination for paranormal investigators and ghostly enthusiasts to explore. Historically, the structure was built on top of the old potter’s field, a burial place for unidentified people, paupers, and criminals. Experts believe the remains in this field belong to the victims of the explosion of Cincinnati’s Moselle steamboat in 1838 or those who passed in the 1842 Cincinnati Orphan Asylum. Over time, human bones have been removed from the site, and many believe this is the cause behind the ghostly encounters experienced today.
During renovations of Cincinnati Music Hall, a watchman reported many noises throughout his time working. He heard rapping on the ceiling and through the floor as well as loud footsteps that followed him. He even heard the sound of crashing timbers and bodies dragged across the floor. Some also report the apparition of a soldier carrying a musket. During the 1927 excavation, workers discovered gravesites and coffins in the basement below the building.
Today, visitors and staff commonly report eerie noises and sitings throughout the building. Many musicians who stay to work overnight report nighttime noises and an unsettling presence. Some attribute this to the disturbed eternal resting places while others believe it is the ghosts of formal guests attending events at the music hall. Regardless, the Cincinnati Music Hall is an active event venue today, and they offer ghost tours to those willing to attempt the experience for themselves.
Address: 650 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (513) 621-2787
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