Athens County Hauntings & Legends

On this page you will find haunted locations and legends of Athens County. Many of these are genuine and documented haunts, but others may be legend or hearsay. Remember, we do not condone trespassing. Always seek permission before entering private property. If you know of a haunting or legend not listed for this county, please submit them through our Haunting Submission Form.

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 Athens 

Hanning Cemetery – Hanning Cemetery is one of the cemeteries that allegedly form a pentagram when drawing a line between them. The cemetery is said to be haunted by the ghost of Ohio University student David Tischman, who was killed in a car accident in 1970.

Hope Drive Apartments – Witnesses have seen a clown-like person running into the wooded area and have heard a circus siren. Residents have been locked out of their apartments and have heard mysterious tapping sounds that seemed to communicate with them.

Mount Nebo – The Koons family once lived in this area and were said to be able to communicate with the dead. Many strange things occurred in their home and many townspeople accused them of being Satanists. Today it is said that Mount Nebo is still plagued by paranormal activity left over from the Koons’ days of talking to the dead.

Ohio University – Site of multiple hauntings. See Ohio University below for details.

Simms Cemetery – Simms Cemetery is reportedly one of the most haunted sites in the United States. The cemetery is said to move, making it difficult to find. It is located far away from the nearest road on a desolate and beaten path. Many people have tried to find the cemetery to no avail and those who have found it get lost when they try to return. The name of the cemetery comes from Judge John Simms, who is buried there. He was the judge and executioner in the area and would hang the guilty from a tree in the cemetery. It is said that rope burns can still be seen on the tree. Simms himself haunts the area, telling trespassers to, “Get out!” People have reported seeing ghostly bodies hanging from the trees late at night. The cemetery is also at the top of a group of cemeteries that form a pentagram when connected together on a map.

Stroud’s Run – A ghostly buffalo has been seen drinking from the stream at Stroud’s Run. The buffalo, later named Stroud, was the last wild buffalo in the area. A law was passed that stated no one could kill Stroud, but some members of either the British or French army killed the buffalo anyway. Locals murdered those responsible while they were sleeping at their camp. One local took the buffalo’s skull, hid the army’s money in it and buried it nearby. The skull nor the buried treasure have ever been found.

The Ridges – Formerly the Athens Lunatic Asylum, The Ridges closed as a state mental institution in 1993. It is said to be haunted by many of the former patients and some staff. A ghost named Mary is said to walk the halls late at night, as do many other former patients. Witnesses have reported seeing darting shadows and seeing people standing behind them in mirrors only to turn and see no one there. One story in particular is very chilling. On December 1, 1978, female patient Margaret Schilling went missing from one of the active wards. Staff searched for Margaret but were unable to find her. It wasn’t until January 12, 1979 that a maintenance worker was moving some boxes and found her body in Ward N 20. The ward had been used for patients with infectious diseases and had not been used for years, so no one thought to look there. By the time they found the Margaret, she had been dead for weeks. She had removed her clothing, stacked them neatly in a corner and laid down on the cold concrete floor to die. The official report indicated that Margaret died of heart failure. When her body was removed, a stain outlining the places her body touched the floor was left behind. The stain was believed to have been created by sunlight shining in through the windows, causing a chemical reaction between the body and the concrete during decomposition. No amount of scrubbing was able to remove the stain and it remains etched into the concrete floor to this day. Related: OES Visit, OES Investigation

West State Street Cemetery – This entire cemetery is believed to be haunted by many of the souls whose bodies are buried there. A large angel statue near the entrance of the cemetery is said to move and frequently sheds tears. The angel was placed in remembrance of the unknown soldiers buried in the cemetery.

US Route 50 – Three eyewitnesses observed an enormous UFO while traveling in their van along US Route 50 just outside of Athens in 1983. The three claimed to have been energized for hours after the sighting.

 Coolville 

Bethel Cemetery – It is believed that Bethel Cemetery is haunted by Civil War soldiers. It is also strange to note that most of the graves face south, which isn’t a normal layout for a cemetery. Many of the graves are sunken. The cemetery is always cold, even during hot summer days. (Credits: Jennifer Lance)

 Millfield 

Old Millfield Inn – Built in 1811, this now abandoned inn is haunted by two ghosts. One is said to be the ghost of a slave named Luther who died there of an infected wound when the building was part of the Underground Railroad. Since his death, his spirit has been seen floating about the home, dragging his damaged leg. The other ghost of the inn is a bootlegger named Sam. He was killed in a drunken state when his illegal still exploded. Witnesses have reported drunken laughter coming from the inn.

Old Millfield Mine – This mine was the scene of a series of explosions in the early 1900s. A cemetery that had been opened only a week earlier in Chauncey was filled in one day because of the explosions. It is said that if you stand in the right place on the disaster’s anniversary, you can feel the ground shake followed by muffled sounds of hoofbeats. Screams can also be heard before spectral fire catches up to the souls, then everything becomes silent.

 Nelsonville 

Airplane Hollow – In the 1950s-60s, a small airplane transporting a man, his wife and child crashed in a hollow just north of Nelsonville. The plane was not found for a few weeks. The man and his wife died on impact, but the baby lived only to starve to death. If you park your car near the woods where the crash occurred, it is said you can hear the baby crying.

Doctor’s Hospital – Also known as Saint Mary’s Hospital, nuns who used to work there are said to haunt the place. The nuns used to march every night, making sure that all the patient’s doors were closed before performing their ritual. It is said that the nuns continued to march in death, usually right before a patient dies. One nun in particular haunts the hospital. Many patients and other nuns saw her completing her rounds after her death. When she died, roses filled her room as she loved roses and grew them in the hospital garden. Now in the administration office, which used to be her room, one can occasionally smell the scent of roses.

 New Marshfield 

Haines Cemetery – Haines Cemetery is one of region’s cemeteries that supposedly forms a pentagram when connected by a line on a map. The cemetery is said to be haunted by a Civil War veteran who went crazy and murdered his entire family.

 Ohio University 

Alpha Omicron Pi House – Once the Zeta Tau Delta House, and later the Sigma Nu House, it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad when it was used as a private residence. During that time some townspeople discovered the home was a stop on the railroad and stormed the house, killing the one slave they found hiding there. The slave’s name was Nicodemus. He is now said to haunt the house frequently. There was an uptick in activity for some reason between 1972 and 1973.

Brown House – Donated to Ohio University by long time resident Millie Brown, she enjoyed watching the town’s children play outside her window in life. In death, her ghost can sometimes be seen peering out of the window watching passersby. Ghostly sounds of her pool can sometimes be heard as well, even though the pool is no longer there.

Bush Hall – The spirit that haunts this all-girl dormitory turns water faucets on and off and likes to mess around with the lights. The marble sounds as described in the Jefferson Hall haunting below also plague Bush Hall, along with the sound of dripping water.

College Green – The buildings on the West Green are said to be haunted because they were built on top of an Indian burial ground. The river that once ran through the area can sometimes be heard and the chants of Indians can be heard occasionally. The West Green is also said to be haunted by a headless buffalo named Stroud (from Stroud’s Run haunting above). Stroud was killed and beheaded, his skull was used to hide a treasure.

Convocation Center – More commonly referred to as the Convo, this building is home to OU’s basketball team and used as a dormitory. The Convo is said to be haunted by quite a few ghosts, one of which was a RA who was killed by her boyfriend. She is said to still walk the halls, making sure that students are safe. Another one of the ghosts here is a student who died while sleeping. She embraces any student who sleeps on the bed where she died. The ghost of another room likes to throw things out of the closet and opens and closes the closet door frequently.

Crawford Hall – Crawford Hall is said to be haunted by the spirit of a student named Laura who fell to her death from a fourth-story window in the 1990s during Easter. Soon after her death, lights began to flicker and doors would slam and open. This was especially true on the first floor. A RA was awakened one night by the shadowy image of a girl at his door. She said, “I’m sorry I’ve woken you,” then closed the door. When the RA went out into the hall, no one was there. He later learned that outside his room was the spot where Laura had hit the sidewalk. Students have also reported having trouble playing the Bob Marley tune “Laura” in the building.

Cutler Hall – The sole ghost of this hall, in use since 1816, resides in the bell tower. Not many other reports come from this building, which is surprising given its age.

Delta Tau Delta House – Strange poltergeist activity was rumored to plague the house when some of the fraternity brothers stole a tombstone from Simms Cemetery and kept it there as a souvenir. Once the tombstone was returned to the cemetery, the activity ceased.

Jefferson Hall – While students were exploring the attic in 1996, they discovered a woman in 1950s-style clothing sitting at a desk in an unused room. They tried to talk to her but realized she was transparent and floating above the ground. The students took off only to return a few minutes later with their RA to find the door locked and no one inside. Many strange things began to occur after this sighting. Toilets flush by themselves, lights turn on and off, and the sound of hundreds of marbles hitting the floor above you can be heard. One witness saw the toilet paper unroll itself in the stall next to her only to then unroll by itself in her stall.

Shivey Hall – A female resident of the hall was said to have a strong attraction to Hanning Cemetery back in the 1970s. She was assumed to be a former witch being called back to her roots at the cemetery, where occult activity would often take place.

Washington Hall – This hall is said to be haunted by an entire basketball team of ghosts. It is said that after a high school girls basketball team visited the university, they were all killed in a bus accident. They seemed to enjoy their time at OU so much that they all decided to take up residence in the hall after their death.

Wilson Hall – This building is at the center of a supposed pentagram that is formed by connecting five cemeteries in the region and is said to be one of the most haunted buildings on campus. Located on the West Green, not only is it believed to have been built on top of the Indian burial grounds, it was also built atop an old cemetery. Most of the paranormal activity here is centered around the fourth floor, where students have reported seeing apparitions, hearing voices, mysterious slamming doors and flying objects. There are other reports throughout the building of cold spots and banging noises. Reports also say that the face of a demon sometimes shows up in the wood grain of a dorm room door where a girl, believed to be possessed, killed herself.