MyHometown Ohio – 10/18/2006

Haunted History

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Recent media stories have profiled the dramatic rise of Halloween as America’s second-best “decorating holiday” with a full 67% of consumers buying some form of spooky decoration – $4.86 billion worth, according to the National Retail Federation.

Ohioans certainly get into the holiday “spirit” each October, and across the state older houses and buildings with interesting pasts open their doors to greet visitors. Whether you believe in such things or not, the stories can be fascinating – and local historical societies and building owners can take in needed operational income.

At least two haunted Buckeye buildings open to the public this Halloween season:

In Mansfield, the Ohio State Reformatory, home of the world’s largest free-standing steel cell block, welcomes thousands of visitors to the “Haunted Prison Experience.” The Reformatory has served as a movie set for well-known films such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Air Force One.” It sits just north of US 30 near downtown Mansfield, and is one of the largest castle-like structures in the world.

On October 27 and 28, the amazing Prospect Place north of Zanesville will host three sets of haunted tours of the 29-room mansion. The house has a documented association with Ohio’s Underground Railroad, and when constructed in 1856 it featured several innovations, including a pressurized central water system and the first flush toilets in Muskingum County.

If you prefer to visit spooky places from the comfort of your own home or office, a virtual visit may be in order. The website of the Ohio Exploration Society, for instance, includes links to virtual visits of dozens of Ohio’s older and abandoned structures, including homes, commercial buildings, factories and more — such over four pages of photos of the Mast Castle in Springfield. And, if you have the urge, the site features a geographical index to “hauntings and legends of Ohio.”

Thanks to the staff at MyHometown Ohio for including the Ohio Exploration Society in their article about Ohio’s huanted locations.