Swift’s Hollow (aka Gore Orphanage)

(Orig. Published 2002)

In the late 1800’s, there once stood a place in Vermilion called Gore Orphanage.  The orphanage was run by Old Man Gore, who frequently abused and mistreated the children in his care.  Many believe that he killed some children, burying them in and around the orphanage.  One evening, a young boy accidentally set a fire in one of the dorms.  Rather than help the children escape, Old Man Gore abandoned the building, leaving scores of helpless children behind to burn to death.Today, all that remains of the orphanage is the foundation, as well as some sandstone pillars.  The ruins can be found along a trail off Gore Orphanage Road.  

If you wander here at night, you can still hear the crackles of the fire and the terrified screams of the dead children.  Wander further back in the woods towards the river, and you will find the tombstones of the other dead children glowing red like embers.

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Towner’s Woods

(Orig. Published 8/12/2004)

In terms of creepiness, Towner’s Woods is to Portage County what the Cuyahoga Valley Park system is to Summit & Cuyahoga Counties…but on a much smaller scale, of course.  Classifying this park is hard.  Is it really a haunted place, or can it be written off as an urban legend and tossed into the local oddities bin?   Vague tales involving the spirits of a Native American and vengeful pioneer widow, ghost trains, satanic activity, and unexplained phenomena cloak this relatively young park in a shroud of mystery. Continue reading

Mansfield Reformatory


(Orig. Published 8/14/2005)

Built in 1886, the Ohio State Reformatory was designed to humanely rehabilitate first-time offenders, and was initially applauded as a positive step toward prison reform.  However, conditions rapidly deteriorated.  After 94 years of operation, the prison’s legacy became one of abuse, torture, and murder.  Denounced by civil rights activists for its “brutalizing and inhumane conditions,”  the prison eventually shut down in 1990.

Now, within the decaying walls of this abandoned prison, the restless spirits of its prisoners and workers are said to still remain confined. Continue reading

Punderson Manor

(Orig. Published 8/14/2005)

Often times, we come across haunted sites with pretty simple legends told second-hand by persons who did not actually witness the events.  Yet, Punderson Manor is markedly different from the typical Ohio haunts.  First, there appear to be approximately a dozen different sightings associated with this English Tudor mansion located in Geauga County near Newbury.  Yet, in many instances, there are not always clear answers as to the identities of the apparitions.  Second,  many of the hauntings date back 30 years or more, encountered by credible (sometimes skeptic) people who seemingly have no awareness of any prior, eerie history regarding the mansion.  Third, research has turned up some fascinating facts that tend to lend credibility to some accounts, and in other instances only further add to the mystery of this area.

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Republic Ghost Train

(Orig. Published 1/2003)


On the cold, late evening of January 10, 1887, a passenger express train was traveling along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, heading west at sixty miles an hour.  It was due to arrive at the Republic station at 2:00 a.m..  On the same rail line, and from the opposite direction, a slower-moving freight train was leaving Tiffin and heading toward the same destination.  The freight train was supposed to arrive and pull off at the Republic station well before the passenger train would arrive.

Workers on the freight train grossly miscalculated the time and distance between them and the speeding passenger train. Continue reading

South Bass Island Lighthouse

(Orig. Published 7/7/2007)

Put-In-Bay is the favored summer vacation retreat of thousands of Ohioans.  Located on South Bass Island on Lake Erie, it offers quaint restaurants, shops, touristy sites and pubs to those willing to take a 15 minute ferry to its shores. Yet, less than two miles south of this sunny tourist town you will find the site of one Ohio’s most fascinating–and darkest–hauntings. Continue reading

Johnson’s Island

(Orig. Published 6/2002)

Within Johnson’s Island, surrounded by mostly private residential property, lies the Confederate Stockade Cemetery.  It is located near Marblehead Peninsula on Lake Erie near Sandusky.  The entire island served as a prison camp for Civil War Confederate soldiers between 1862 and 1865. Continue reading