Lancaster Eagle-Gazette – 1/27/2014

Group will look for paranormal activity at Miller building

Written by Jeff Barron, The Eagle-Gazette Staff
Jan. 27, 2014

LANCASTER – Throughout its life, the Clarence E. Miller building has been haunted by fleas, mold and dead birds, among other things. But do ghosts also haunt the building at 1587 Granville Pike?

Members of the Ohio Exploration Society might find out, as the Fairfield County commissioners are going to let them examine the building. County Executive Director Carri Brown said the visit will probably occur in the next month or two on a Saturday, though an exact date has not been set.

Jason Robinson founded the Pickerington society in 2000. He said there are about 20 members whose mission is to photograph and document historical buildings in Ohio for the society’s website at www.ohioexploration.com.

“We’re a group that enjoys history and historical locations,” Robinson said. “We preserve sites by photographing them. If anything happens to an abandoned building, whether it’s torn down or destroyed by fire, lots of places are not documented and we lose them to history.”

The county health department in November vacated the building at 1587 Granville Pike and moved to the Colonnade Medical Group, 1550 Sheridan Drive. The county is considering its options with the Miller building, including tearing it down. Robinson said it’s important to get into the building now before it is demolished or renovated so its original state can be documented.

Society members also look for paranormal activity while visiting sites and will be alert for it at the Miller building.

Robinson said the five members who will examine the building will take along digital voice recorders and review it later for voices they did not hear while at the building. He said that, in some cases, voices of spirits cannot be heard in real time, which is the reason for reviewing the audio later.

However, Robinson said paranormal activity is not the primary reason for the visit and that he has not seen a ghost in the 14 years of the society.

“I wouldn’t be afraid if I saw one,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t scream and run away. I’d probably scream and run toward it, yelling: ‘Finally.’”

He said he has driven past the buildings several times and that his wife has a relative buried in the cemetery behind the building. Robinson said the upcoming visit will probably take a couple of hours. Visits where the search for paranormal activity is the primary focus take longer, he added.

No one knows whether the society will find evidence of paranormal activity. But health department administrative assistant Kathie Whitlock said some unexplained things happened in the building. For example, she said, one night while working on the third floor, she heard a sound like someone moving boxes in the attic. Whitlock said she would not stay by herself after dark in the Miller building after that incident.

County facilities manager Dennis Keller has been in contact with the exploration society for a while. He said that, for liability reasons, he wants to know how many people will go into the Miller building and what they will do in it.

“There’s quite a few details to work out,” Keller said. “We can’t just turn a bunch of people loose in the building because someone may get hurt.”

He said group members will sign liability waivers but that the documents might not absolve the county of all liability.

From text under a photo in the article: Rod Baker, a Fairfield County Facilities Department employee, stands next to a barred door on the third floor of the Clarence E. Miller Building Thursday in Lacnaster. The room the door is for was used as a cell in one of the building’s previous iterations. Baker said he and other county workers have had unexplained and possibly supernatural experiences in the building for years.

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Thanks to Jeff Barron for interviewing and featuring the Ohio Exploration Society in his article about the OES’ visit to the Clarence E. Miller building.