Abbott’s Tomb

(Orig. Published 6/2002)

This legend was first published on the Forgotten Ohio website.  Located in the old Milan Cemetery in Erie County, the mausoleum is said to be inhabited by the restless ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Abbott.  As the story goes, the Abbott ghosts like their privacy and will run off any intruder who knocks on the crypt’s door.

While this site normally covers Northeast Ohio haunts and cemeteries, this cemetery was too good to resist. 

The tomb was difficult to locate.  The tall marker is part of the Abbott gravesite.  Behind the marker is the tomb, which appears to be buried in the ground. It is actually set into the side of the hill, overlooking a slimy green pond, as can be seen in the background.

Update:  For information about recent structural changes to the tomb, check out the Abbott’s Tomb section of the Stories and Submissions page.

This was the closest above-ground shot we could take of the front entrance of the tomb.

 The descent down the hill to the entrance was treacherous.  There was very little solid ground at the entrance of the tomb, making it difficult for more than one person to stand at the door, much less take a photo of the entire door without falling over the ledge into the pond.

The entrance appears to have been recently bricked-over.  The Abbotts must have had prior visitors, as evidenced by the torn screen.  Apparently, our predecessors could not resist a peek at the goodies inside:

Knock, knock.This brave guinea pig reported that after knocking on the door, frogs from the pond below abruptly started croaking loudly. 

Word of caution:  Night visits to this site are NOT recommended, nor should one attempt to visit the tomb while under the influence. 

NOTE: Be sure to visit Milan Cemetery featured in the Cemeteries Section.  Milan Cemetery is quite remarkable.  It contains many beautiful, historic, and interesting grave sites.   Rare items were found here, including iron-cross grave markers and a “receiving vault.”


10/18/04:  Charles Mosser, webmaster of, kindly shares these amazing photographs of Abbott’s Tomb, and writes:

I’ve recently been reading some history of Milan and it turns out old Ben Abbott was a very famous guy in this area. There is an island named after him and he was a significant landowner in the area. I also read an article that says Ben and his wife are no longer buried in the tomb, but rather his two children. Apparently, when his children died, they buried them at their home.  Later, later when the home was sold, the new owners came across the graves and had the children dug up and re-buried in the tomb, at which time the parents where moved out of the tomb and into a burial grave near the tomb. I’m not sure of the logic behind that but that’s what I read.

 8/13/05:  Gary and his friends play the “knocking game,” and get some unexpected, terrifying results:

I would like to tell you of an encounter I had at the Abbott Mausoleum back in the early 80’s. Two friends of mine and I were sitting around one Saturday night talking about different things and the story of the Abbott Mausoleum came up. The story we heard was that if you knocked on the mausoleum door and looked inside, you would see the ghost of Mr. Abbott rocking in a chair that was supposed to be in the tomb.

We lived in Sandusky at the time and decided to make a trip to the Milan Cemetery. We arrived sometime between midnight and 1:00 AM and after some searching found the tomb.

With flashlights in hand we made our way to the entrance and found it bricked up with a hole in the upper middle area. It appeared that it once had a glass block for viewing, but was broken out. Someone had taken a tree branch and tried to insert it into one of the coffins that had a rust hole near the bottom edge.

Peering in, we saw two coffins on some sort of frame work and between them was what appeared to be a wrought iron chair (but not a rocking chair). I knocked on the bricked up doorway and we peered inside to see what may happen. We saw nothing, but coming from the side or up behind the crypt came the sound of footsteps walking towards us.

As I was peering into the crypt I asked my friends if they heard what I was hearing, but got no response. As I turned to look at my two friends, they were already running towards the car! Needless to say I wasn’t far behind them. We proceeded in leaving without haste.

Since then, I have moved to Milan myself and sometimes take bicycle trips.  On one occasion I revisited the mausoleum. A tornado that passed through Milan some years ago had done some damage to the top portion of the crypt but it is mostly intact.

9/25/02:  A former Milan Cemetery neighbor sheds some interesting (and morbid) background information on what is locally known as “Abbott House,” courtesy of Laurie:

Hi! I was a resident and property owner in Milan for 9 years. The upstairs of my Victorian home overlooked the cemetery. The locals, from way back, called this place the Abbott house. There used to be a roof on top of the tomb, but it was demolished in July, 1998 during a terrible afternoon storm. The Abbott house has some very interesting features, one being the fact that you can look inside via a small window set in concrete brick. Many years before this, there was a wooden door also with a window it. If you are brave enough and have a flashlight, shining it inside directly across from the door is a chair! It appears to be very old and made of cast iron with a rustic twig motif. I wish your brave guinea pig could have used a flashlight. It’s very creepy in there and you are able to see rusted through coffins on shelves on the wall.

Note:  Laurie raises a very good point for all you ghosthunters out there–bring a flashlight! Otherwise, you’ll miss out on some dark goodies.  For the morbidly curious who cannot resist a peek inside the tomb, check out the easter egg on the Abbott’s Tomb page.

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