By Ohio.org Staff
Posted On: Oct 15, 2021
Ohio is the perfect place to find some spooky fun this fall. Explore these haunted or just plain odd attractions, including everything from paranormal hot spots to creepy tunnels and even haunted parks.
Moonville Tunnel in McArthur
This abandoned stretch of railway leading to an old coal mining town attracts paranormal enthusiasts hoping for a glimpse the unfortunate souls killed by trains over the years. You might also see train lights or find images of Frank Lawhead* on your camera. Those hoping for these ghostly encounters can trek nearby trails, some of which are along portions of the old railroad line.
*According to legend, in 1880 Frank Lawhead was in his train when another train coming caused a head-on collision.
Licking County Jail in Newark
This historic spot has offered ghost hunts and historic tours of the building. See if you can hear any disembodied voices calling out. It might be one of the three sheriffs or 19 inmates who met untimely demises at the jail.
The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield
One of Ohio’s most haunted treasures is tucked away in Mansfield. The Ohio State Reformatory once served as a state prison where it housed more than 150,000 inmates throughout its time. The prison is famous for being the backdrop setting for the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.” Throughout October, you can also check out their haunted experience with Escape from Blood Prison.
South Bass Island Lighthouse in Put-in-Bay
A favorite Ohio vacation spot has its fair share of eeriness and mystery. Reports of creepy footsteps, slamming doors and unexplained noises coming from the lighthouse may have come from a century-old mystery. During the smallpox epidemic, the story of Samuel Anderson’s death was ruled a suicide after falling, jumping – or being pushed – off a cliff by the lighthouse. While the lighthouse is currently closed, you can walk the grounds.
The Ridges at Ohio University in Athens
On the hill overlooking Ohio University sits The Ridges. Several of the buildings are under renovation or have been finished, like the Kennedy Museum of Art. But the site was originally the Athens Asylum for the Insane. You’ll get an eerie feeling just walking around. For more spooky encounters, check out several nature trails in the area — like the one that leads you to the Ridges Cemetery.
Molly Stark Park in Louisville
On this 35 acre park sits the former Molly Stark Sanatorium, which opened in 1929 to treat tuberculosis sufferers. And tales of the grounds being haunted by former patients still continue today. From time to time, Stark County Park District will host tours, but you can also hike trails and enjoy a picnic there. Or check out one of its garden, like the Celebration Garden.
Spring House Gazebo at Eden Park in Cincinnati
One of Cincinnati’s most popular spots, Eden Park has beautiful grounds that’ll make you feel like you’re in another world. While strolling along the walking paths and footbridges, see if you can spot the otherworldly apparition of Imogene Remus, whose ghost reportedly haunts the Spring House Gazebo near Mirror Lake.
Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas
Home to the late Pulitzer prize winning author, Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm and its “Big House” is said to be haunted, with visitors experiencing unexplained noises, mysterious smells, ghostly apparitions and the feeling of cats brushing up against their legs. Shake off the scaries by trying some the hiking trails in Malabar Farm State Park, or settle down at one of their picnic spots and tell a ghost story or two.
Photo credit: Ghost Adventures, Facebook
Franklin Castle in Cleveland
Perhaps one of Ohio’s most notorious buildings, Franklin Castle is a landmark for its haunted history. People report flickering lights, sounds of crying babies and even the ghostly image of a woman in black. While the building isn’t open to the public (it’s home to the operations and shipping department of Norton Records), you can walk along the sidewalk with a fall brew from nearby Rising Star Coffee and try to catch a glimpse of its spooky occupants.