On this page you will find haunted locations and legends of Franklin 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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Capital University – A site of multiple hauntings, see Capital University below for details.
Jeffrey Mansion – Located on Parkview Avenue near Saint Charles, the beautiful Jeffrey Mansion was built in 1905 by industrialist Robert H. Jeffrey. The mansion and surrounding grounds were donated to the City of Bexley in 1941. Today, the mansion is often rented out as a wedding venue and party house. Legend says Mr. Jeffrey hanged himself in the home. However, records show Mr. Jeffrey passed away in a local hospital at 87-years-old. Despite this fact, witnesses have reported seeing him hanging from a rope in the mansion. Other witnesses have reported seeing him walking around the house, whistling.
Kerns Religious Life Center – Witnesses have reported feeling extreme cold, an instant sense of sadness and difficulty breathing in the basement of the oldest building on campus. Maintenance workers who turn off the light in the tower have reported the light coming back on before they reach the bottom of the staircase.
Science Building – The ghost of a former biology professor is said to roam the halls of the science building. The ghost appears to be in his sixties as he walks through the labs in a white lab coat, carrying a beaker and apothecary bottle. He also puts away various glassware and models used in labs when the students are finished with them. Animals have mysteriously been released from their cages and microscopes have flown across the room, breaking on the walls.
Arena District – Located on the site of the old Ohio Penitentiary, Nationwide Arena and the surrounding district is said to be haunted and/or cursed. Freak accidents have occurred on the site, such as a window washer falling to his death from a platform and a young girl who died after being struck an errant hockey puck. Employees who are in the arena late at night have reported hearing strange sounds and feeling uneasy.
Beck Elementary – Built in 1884 on the site of the old Franklin County Poorhouse, the school and surrounding homes are said to be haunted by the indigents who once lived there. Mysterious footsteps have been heard in the school and in some surrounding homes. In the 1960s, a ball and chain left over from the poorhouse days was unearthed from the school’s parking lot. One home in the area even has cells from the poorhouse in its basement.
Berliner Bike Path – The bike path at Berliner Park is haunted by those who have drowned in the Scioto River adjacent to it over the years. It is also haunted by a six-foot-tall man and the ghost of a murder victim. When you walk along the bike path at night, you can feel someone behind you and no one will be there. Sometimes down by the river you can hear children talking and laughing, and other times you can hear two men talking. When you look to see where the sound is coming from, no one will be there. There are also reports of lights flashing in the woods that only last a few seconds.
Blind Lady Tavern – Formerly called The Jury Room and 1831 Tavern, the building at 22 East Mound Street was built in the 1830s to accommodate travelers in town for court cases. Prior to this, a 40-foot-high Hopewell burial mound was located on the site. It was dismantled in the 1820s by settlers who used it to make bricks for Ohio’s first statehouse. A portion of the building has always served as a tavern. Other portions of the building have also been used as an inn and even a bordello in the 1850s. The building was originally three stories high, but a fire in 1885 took out the top floor. In March 1859, a prostitute named Francis Miller was arrested for murdering a man trying to enter the bordello. The intoxicated man and his two friends were banging on the door, threatening to kick it down in order to enter the establishment. Francis felt she needed to defend herself and shot one of the men dead. Francis was tried for first-degree murder but was convicted of manslaughter and served eleven years in prison. Today, employees at the bar have experienced so much paranormal activity that they keep a log book. A tall shadowy man wearing a white shirt has been seen out of the corner of the eye and there is a general feeling of being watched. Burners on the stove have mysteriously turned on by themselves. Several women have been pushed or otherwise attacked by something unseen.
Briggs High School – Teachers claim to hear strange noises coming from the music room at the school. Apparitions have been seen walking through the halls after hours and witnesses have seen a bright white light. Desks in the classrooms occasionally move without explanation. The ghost of a girl who was killed after being hit by a car is sometimes seen as well.
Briggs Road Baptist Church – Ghostly footsteps can be heard coming from the upstairs and attic at night. (Credits: Mitch)
British Island – Also called Bloody Island, this site was a sandbar located in the middle of the Scioto River, not too far from the site of the Old Ohio Penitentiary. On October 4, 1813, General William Henry Harrison’s troops defeated British forces at the Thames River in Canada. Afterward, the island was used as a prison for British soldiers captured during the battle. A number of British soldiers tried to escape by swimming from the island to shore but were shot to death by American guards as they swam. It is said that the British soldiers’ screams and splashing water can be heard near the former island prison’s location.
Brookwood Church – People in the north chapel sometimes hear a loud banging on the pews if they stay too long and experience brief cold chills. At least one janitor has claimed that doors sometimes open and close by themselves. (Credits: Jerad)
Buckeye Middle School – It is said that a janitor who used to work at the school was decapitated in a motorcycle accident. His headless ghost reportedly haunts the school. Students and teachers have seen shadowy figures in the auditorium and have spotted the ghostly janitor in the hallways.
Buckeye Steel – Most recently known as Columbus Steel Castings, the former Buckeye Steel complex on Columbus’ south side was said to be very haunted. There were many tragic accidents and deaths over the years. Equipment and cranes started and stopped on their own. Workers experienced cold chills while standing next to a furnace. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing people wearing clothing from the 1930s-40s. Others reported seeing a man climb up and down a water tower, only to disappear. NOTE: Sadly, the entire complex was demolished in the summer of 2018 for future development. Related: Contribution
Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery – On the former grounds of one of the largest Civil War camps for the Union, Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery contains the bodies of about 2,260 Confederate soldiers who died at the camp’s prison. However, the most well-known ghost of Camp Chase is not one of the men who died there, but a Lady in Gray. Believed to be Louisiana Briggs, the Lady in Gray sympathized with the South and in the dark of the night, would place flowers on the graves of the dead soldiers. She has continued to do this in death. Fresh flowers mysteriously appear quite frequently at the tombstone of Pvt. Benjamin F. Allen of the 50th Tennessee Infantry. Witnesses have reported seeing a young woman crying, walking among the tombstones with her head down. Once during a Civil War reenactment, an eerie weeping was heard and a cool gust of wind blew through the cemetery, knocking over tents and other items. Some re-enactors camping at the cemetery have reported seeing ghostly Confederate soldiers in their ranks. Related: OES Visit, Contribution
Central Ohio Fire Museum – Located in old Engine House Number 16 at 260 Fourth Street, the building served as a firehouse between 1908 and 1981. The snorting of ghostly horses once stabled there to pull fire equipment can occasionally be heard. The ghost of Captain George Noah Dukeman (Captain D) is said to haunt the firehouse as well. In life, the captain would obsessively check the equipment. He continued his checks from the other side. Another ghost wearing an old firefighting uniform has been seen standing in the bell tower.
Children’s Hospital – The hospital has a few rooms that are supposedly haunted. Some nurses won’t go into certain corridors alone at night. The park, Livingston Park, next door to the hospital is haunted as well. A ghostly woman known as “The Pink Lady” floats around the park and through the trees late at night. Kids in the hospital have reported seeing her from their windows. The park was once a cemetery established in 1839. Some Confederate troops had even been buried there during the Civil War. Most of the graves were relocated to Green Lawn Cemetery.
Columbus Department of Health – Originally the Columbus School for the Blind and later the headquarters for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, this old building at 240 Parsons Avenue is reportedly haunted. Convict labor was used to build the place and it is said that five or six inmates died during its construction due to the lack of safety protocols. The building was completed in 1873 and originally had towers, but they are no longer there. The sound of loud footsteps walking the halls, slamming doors and loud sounds like a large pipe falling on a cement floor were heard when no one else was around. Ghostly voices and apparition sightings take place on the upper floors and in front of the building. One security guard reported seeing a little boy out of the corner of his eye while patrolling the boys’ dormitory, the northern brick building and changed the way he did his rounds because of this. Another guard was seated at his desk when a figure appeared at the end of the hall and waved before going out the door. Not knowing who the person was, and it being 3:00 AM, he ran to the door and looked out over the yard and no one was there. (Credits: Grover Manning II)
Columbus State Community College – Ghosts are believed to haunt this relatively new college, likely because the school is built directly on top of the old Catholic graveyard. The spirits harass workers and police officers on the campus at night. Some janitors have quit their jobs because of the haunting activity. Some security and police personnel refuse to patrol certain places alone.
Darbyhurst Road – The corner of Darbyhurst Road and Beacon Hill Road is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man who died in a vehicle accident there. (Credits: Kenny)
Deer Lake Way – The ghostly screams of a man who was beaten to death by a friend can be heard at times near a residence on Deer Lake Way. (Credits: Jeff)
Doctor’s North Hospital – This former hospital, now a nursing home, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a nurse who died there. During busy shifts, she returns to give a helping hand. She frequents the room where she died, which often gets cold with no reason. A nurse was stabbed on the third floor in the 1970s, but it isn’t known if this is related. A doctor hanged himself in the fourth floor operating room. A young child named Timmy has been seen on the north end of the hospital, on the second through fourth floors. The sound of a hospital bed moving can be heard on in the north wing of the third floor and there is a general uneasy feeling on the fourth floor. Cages slam shut in the basement and elevator doors open and close on their own.
Doctor’s West Hospital – The diagnostic radiology department is haunted by a former x-ray technician or radiologist who was very fond of their job. Many of the employees have seen this person numerous times over the years, mostly during the day shift. The figure looks like a very tall slender man walking back and forth between x-ray rooms. He isn’t harmful what-so-ever, but just checking up on things. (Credits: Rachel Ailing)
The Elevator – Originally called Bott Brothers Buffet and Billiards, and later known as The Clock, the restaurant’s primary feature had always been the large clock in front of the building. For years it was stopped at 10:05 before being replaced. The clock’s stoppage was linked to a cold February night in 1909. Colonel Randolph Pritchard was an infamous womanizer who frequented the saloon. On that stormy night, Pritchard was called out to the street by a woman and was stabbed. Pritchard stumbled into the bar and died, bleeding on the mosaic floor. The only thing that remained of his killer was her barefoot footprints in the snow. The clock outside the saloon stopped at 10:05, the exact moment of the colonel’s death. Prichard’s ghost now roams the restaurant and is seen every now and then. The woman who murdered him is said to haunt the building as well, as it is believed that she froze to death in the coldness of the night. It is also said that barefoot footprints mysteriously appear in fresh snow when no one has yet walked that path. Some have even claimed to see the footprints appear before their eyes. Related: OES Visit
Franklin County Courthouse Annex – This large building on South High Street is said to be the home of many spirits. The ghost of a man who died after falling down an elevator shaft during construction likes to play with the elevator, sometimes getting them stuck. Another ghost who frequents the Board of Elections office fills the room with a lilac scent. Footsteps and mysterious laughing can be heard after hours.
Fort Hayes – Now an alternative school for the Columbus City Schools, Fort Hayes was once a very active military post. Its most well-known ghost is a soldier who was killed by an overheated cannon that was being fired in 1865 for Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train when it passed through Columbus. The soldier’s commander supposedly knew the cannon would overheat and wanted him to die because the soldier was in love with his daughter. Another ghost that haunts the fort appears in a World War II uniform, often near the drill hall. One eyewitness who was wandering around on the top floor of the shot tower heard a loud boom. He turned around to look down and saw a soldier in old clothes run across the floor with a rifle. He went downstairs to see what was happening and nothing was there. He asked a fellow student about it and only received odd looks. Some students report that they cannot go to the top floor of the shot tower due to sheer fear of what may be lurking there. Soldiers have been seen eating at the old mess hall on foggy mornings and fading out of sight in the field across from the building. The old hospital building is said to be haunted by many spirits. Witnesses have reported hearing cries of the dying and injured, and have seen ghostly figures wearing old nurse and military uniforms. Lockers open and close when the halls are empty in the school’s newer buildings. Students report the feeling as if they are being followed while walking down the hallways and footsteps are often heard on the stairwells at odd times.
Georgian Heights Alternative Elementary School – The woods behind the school are said to be haunted by the ghost of a boy named Nick. He was supposedly a former student of the school who died in 1965 from brain cancer. Children at the school sometimes see his apparition at the edge of the woods. Students have also reported seeing a ghostly girl in the restroom next to the library who asks for help. Some have even reported being scratched by something unseen. Room 21 and the library are said to be haunted as well. (Credits: David)
Glen Echo Park – This ravine park near Clintonville is said to be haunted by various spirits. Ghostly figures have been seen in the creek and mysterious footsteps follow those who walk the trails. The spirit of a gothic girl is said to hang out near a bridge at the center of the park. The ghost of a homeless man who froze to death in the tunnel that carries the creek beneath Indianola Avenue haunts the tunnel. A few other ghosts are said to haunt the park as well. Related: OES Visit
Greater Columbus Antique Mall – This large antique mall near the corner of Greenlawn Avenue and High Street is said to be very haunted. Witnesses have seen the ghosts of a man with a handlebar mustache who wears a brown suit, a woman in a lovely yellow dress, and the form of a man wearing a black cape. Most of the employees and the owners have experienced many ghostly occurrences. The security system trips for no apparent reason and has picked up crashing sounds when nothing has fallen. Children can be heard near the top of the stairs and the voices of some old ladies can sometimes be heard near a bench. Odd smells plague some of the rooms, most of the time it is the smell of freshly prepared Italian food. While the building was originally built as a private residence, it served as two different funeral homes, an Italian restaurant, and an Elks Lodge before its current use as an antique shop. Related: OES Investigation
Green Lawn Abbey – Entirely separate from nearby Green Lawn Cemetery, the Green Lawn Abbey is said to be haunted by the spirits of those entombed there. Howard Thurston, known as “Thurston the Magician,” was a good friend of Houdini and is said to haunt the abbey, along with the ghostly figure of a woman. Related: OES Visit
Green Lawn Cemetery – This cemetery, the second largest in Ohio, is the site of multiple hauntings. The main mausoleum and Hayden Mausoleum are haunted, as are many of the grave sites themselves. People who have walked through the cemetery after dark report seeing shadowy figures walking around the cemetery, only to find no one else around when investigated. Related: OES Visit
IBM – Many people have experienced the feeling of being watched at the IBM office on Fisher Road. Some people have even reported seeing an apparition. Shadows moving from the corner of your eye when no one else is around has been commonly reported as well. (Credits: Chad and Ryann)
Kelton House – The ghosts of Mr. Kelton’s wife, Louisa Kelton, and his granddaughter, Grace Bird Kelton, are said to haunt the house. They have occasionally been seen by visitors and caretakers.
Lazarus Building – The former Lazarus Department Store downtown, now home to offices and condos, is said to be haunted by founder Simon Lazarus himself. His ghost can sometimes be seen in the first-floor windows at night. Two other ghosts are believed to roam the building, but we do not know any specifics.
Leafy Dale Apartments – Former residents have reported unexplained electrical phenomenon and an oppressive atmosphere. Some residents could not sleep well at night due to the feeling of always being watched. An old newspaper article claims the building had once been a hangout for prohibition mobsters. The apartment building was closed and undergoing renovations in 2013.
Lincoln Lodge Retirement Residence – The lower floor of the home is said to be haunted by the spirit of a girl, who is often seen late at night. The upper floor is supposedly haunted by an elderly gentleman who is often heard talking. (Credits: Tammy Chandler)
The Lofts – This former warehouse-turned-hotel was built in 1882. Since opening as a hotel, there has been a lot of paranormal activity. Guests and security guards have witnessed the ghostly figure of a white-haired woman wearing a Victorian dress roaming the halls. A blonde woman appears entering the elevator around 4:00 AM, but mysteriously fades away when the doors begin to close. Clocks in the hotel change time without explanation and employees have heard murmuring voices.
Maple Drive House – Residents have reported seeing dark shadowy figures in a home along Maple Drive. Heavy footsteps are frequently heard in the upstairs area when no one is upstairs. Neighbors say the former homeowner committed suicide in the detached garage. Related: Contribution
Marion-Franklin High School – There is supposedly a tunnel that connects the high school to a nearby middle school. It is said that back in the 1950s/60s, some students found their way into the tunnel. One of them fell into a service fan and was cut to death. The spirit of the student is supposed to walk the halls of the school. Students have been to the supposed entrance to the tunnel, which is now blocked by a metal fence with a chain and padlock. There is a mirror located in the hallway near the science wing. Students and teachers have reported seeing someone walking up behind them in the mirror and upon turning to see who it is, there is no one there. Male students have reported seeing shadows darting around in the guy’s locker room.
Maurine Drive – This road is believed to have been part of a runway at one time and is haunted by pilots who used it. In particular, the ghost of an old man haunts the backyards of some of the homes.
Max & Erma’s Restaurant – The original Max & Erma’s Restaurant in German Village is said to be haunted by a woman who died there when the building was a general store. She can sometimes be seen in the restaurant and the upstairs floors.
McKinley Avenue – The ghost of a man who was struck and killed by a car on this road supposedly haunts it. The man was on his way home from work, wearing a pair of bib overalls with a red rag in one of the rear pockets when the accident happened. According to the story, his ghost walks on either side of the road from the ‘curves’ near the junkyards to Shrum Mound. One witness went back to look for the ghostly man whenever he saw him, but to his disbelief, the man had vanished. The witness sometimes noticed a temperature change in the area and an eerie patchy fog whenever he investigated.
Memorial Hall – Formerly the COSI building on Broad Street in downtown Columbus, it is said to be haunted by a custodian who roams the halls. It is also said that sometime in the 1920s, a little girl died in the basement of the building. Her ghost now roams the halls, rides elevators, and changes the times on clocks.
Mooney’s Mansion – Mooney’s Mansion sits high on the ridge off of Walhalla Road (see below). It is said that a husband killed his wife in the house sometime during the 1950s. A variant of this story states that the man murdered his wife and daughter with an ax, and may have even committed suicide. Yet another variation says he hanged the bodies from the Calumet Street bridge. In any case, it is said that a blue light can sometimes be seen floating around inside the house through the windows. Reports say that if you go under the bridge on Walhalla Road at night, you can see the reflection of the wife and daughter in the water to the right of the road. We are unable to find any reports of a murder on the property through public records and newspapers, but we have been contacted by folks who lived in the area during the time period stated above and they do not recall any murders occurring on the property. The mansion did sit vacant for a time, so maybe that led to the legends surrounding the home. After all, who doesn’t like an abandoned creepy-looking house? Related: OES Visit
Mount Carmel Hospital East – The pharmacy of this hospital is haunted by a man with light reddish hair, wearing a lab coat, looking down at a piece of paper he is carrying. Many of the pharmacists who have worked in the pharmacy have seen him, but no one knows who he is. Related: Contribution
North Market – Built atop the old North Cemetery, the North Market is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those whose bodies were not recovered. Among those who are said to haunt the building is John Kerr, one of the founders of Columbus. Bodies and caskets are dug up from beneath the street and parking lot whenever construction takes place in the area.
Ohio Penitentiary – The old pen itself, now the location of the Arena District and Nationwide Arena, was haunted by many spirits. The cafeteria of the old pen was particularly haunted. It was the place where the hangings of twenty-eight men took place before it was transformed into the cafeteria. Even though there were broken windows to let in outside noise, the pen was always dead silent upon entering the building. Reports of weird noises and extreme coldness took place in the electroshock therapy room. The room where the electric chair was used to execute 315 men and women was also said to be haunted. It is said that the ghosts of some of the 322 inmates who died there in a huge 1930 fire roamed around, looking for their way out of the inferno. Related: Contribution
Ohio State University – A site of multiple hauntings. See Ohio State University below.
Ohio Theater – The theater is said to be haunted by a stagehand who died during a performance there in the mid-1950s.
Ohio Dominican University – Once a women-only Catholic university, the old resident hall is supposed to be haunted by a nun. She is a motherly spirit who turns off appliances left on and extinguishes cigarettes in the building. She was a Mother Superior at the college before it went co-ed when it was called Saint Mary’s of the Springs. The nun died, along with others, in a fire at the old convent. Sansbury Hall was built on the site of the site of the convent. The only time she became violent in death is when the school started accepting male students. She reportedly slammed doors for a period of days. Residents of Sansbury Hall, who refer to her as “Mother Sans” say that she may have died in a fire that consumed part of the hall itself. It was rumored that the third-floor hallway was never repaired, but that is untrue. The art buildings and Fitzpatrick Hall are also said to be haunted. (Credits: Katherine Gallaher)
Old Governor’s Mansion – The former Governor’s Mansion is said to be haunted by the ghost of a black woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes. She even spoke to an employee once, saying that she was happy the place was being renovated. Strange smells, almost like burning hair, have been described and pictures have been known to jump off the walls.
Old Municipal Light Plant – It is said that a man fell and died not long after the light plant was built. Whenever employees would experience strange sightings or hear a strange sound, they blamed it on “AC Howard.” There have since been several other deaths in the old building.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet – Originally a J.C. Penny department store and later a Big Bear grocery store, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet at Great Southern Shopping Center is known to be haunted. Ghostly footsteps can be heard when the store is closed and doors open and close themselves. Apparitions of a man and woman dressed in 1940s attire have been seen by employees. The back stock room and the upstairs break room are where the bulk of the activity takes place. Some employees have even reported hearing their names called, only to turn around to see no one there.
Palace Theater – Magician Harry Blackstone Jr. performed at the theater after its restoration in the 1970s. He organized a séance in the lobby to try to contact one of his father’s friends but ended up getting the ghost of a man who was murdered in the theater. Participants of the séance described it as extremely frightening. One participant, in particular, described spots of heavy, dark air on the second floor.
Park View Lakes Drive – It is said that a young girl was murdered in the backyard of a home on this road. If you stand in a certain spot between 9:30-10:30 PM, her ghost will push you out of the yard and onto the sidewalk. (Credits: Mark)
Portman Park – Witnesses have reported hearing a little girl laughing at the park when no one else is around. Uneasy feelings were reported at the abandoned farmhouse across from the park and one person who entered the house says there appeared to be blood stains on the wall near the upstairs. The house has since been demolished. Residents of nearby Abbie Lakes Apartments have heard a deep moan when laying in bed at night and have captured orbs and the apparition of a Civil War soldier in photos.
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church – The Lavender Lady, whose presence is known by her fragrance, has been described by members of the church.
Schiller Park – A headless ghost has been spotted by several eyewitnesses near the statue of the park’s namesake. Some believe the spirit may be that of a man who committed suicide in the park in the late 1800s as that is when the sightings began to occur.
Schmidt’s Sausage Haus – Located in German Village, the restaurant is said to be haunted by its original owner, J. Fred Schmidt. Employees have reported hearing footsteps on the second floor and some have even seen the ghost of Mr. Schmidt himself.
Schwarz Castle – This house was built in the mid-1800s by Frederick William Schwarz, a successful German businessman. He had been known in life to sunbathe nude atop the tower. He continues his routine in death as his unclothed ghost can sometimes be seen climbing the ladder to the top of the tower. The castle also has five levels of basement, one of which is where a man hanged himself. In a second floor apartment, two brothers were arguing about which one was too drunk to drive and one brother stabbed the other. It is said that you can still hear them quarreling in the building.
Seneca Hotel – Now renovated as condos, the basement of the Seneca is haunted, where witnesses have heard the sounds of a child crying.
Spaghetti Warehouse – This popular Italian restaurant near downtown is home to unexplainable events. Mysterious activities are reported in the kitchen and dark, shadowy figures are seen in the dining area at night after the building has been closed.
Starling Middle School – The feeling of a ghostly presence sometimes follows people going up and down the stairs. A white ball of light is sometimes seen in the windows. (Credits: Kyle)
Statehouse – The Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus is said to be haunted by the ghost of Tom Bateman, a Senate clerk who was apparently so concerned with keeping things in order that he continues to do so in death. His ghost supposedly goes down the steps and out the east doors each day at 5:00 PM. The presence of this ghost generates cold spots and flickering lights. The building may also be haunted by the ghost of President Abraham Lincoln. During a Civil War re-enactment, several of the re-enactors heard violin music coming from the Senate chamber. Upon investigation, they witnessed a woman dressed in an 1800s dress dancing with a tall gentleman dressed in a dark suit and stovepipe hat, resembling Abraham Lincoln. They danced for a few seconds more before totally vanishing before the witnesses’ eyes. After speaking with a state patrolman later in the evening, the re-enactors learned that it is believed that Abraham Lincoln did indeed stop at the State House during his campaign your and danced with a woman he befriended while in town. Related: Contribution (Credits: Dana P. Morrow)
State Library – The preservation room and the rear cafeteria are said to be haunted. Voices have been heard there and employees have reported feeling ghostly hands.
Stewart Elementary School – the school is supposedly haunted by a child who died after falling from the large winding staircase in front of the building. In classrooms, the blinds would fly up for no reason and there was always a feeling of general uneasiness.
Studio 35 – One of the last remaining independent movie theaters in Columbus is haunted by a man in 1930s clothing. He is seen walking past the concession stand or along the screen. Some witnesses have reported seeing him in the front rows, watching the movie only to mysteriously disappear by the end of the film. A closet discovered by the owner of the theater contained albums full of photos of dead children.
Thurber House – The Thurber House is haunted by a man who, after pacing around the kitchen and running up the stairs, shot and killed himself. This story was made famous by author James Thurber, who lived in the house during his childhood. The book he wrote about his story was titled The Night the Ghost Got In.
Underneath Columbus – The extensive system of tunnels and drains under downtown Columbus are said to be haunted by a ghost that appears in all black, wearing a hood. The ghost has reportedly spooked employees at Columbus businesses whose basements open to the tunnels.
Walhalla Road – Walhalla Road is one of the most unusual roads in Columbus. There are a few legends that surround this road. One is Mooney’s Mansion, where a man reportedly murdered his family (see Mooney’s Mansion above). Reports say that if you go under the Calumet Street bridge at night, you can see the reflection of the murder victim(s) in the water to the right of the road. Also said to haunt the area around the bridge is the ghost of an OSU student who supposedly hanged herself from the bridge years ago. Her figure can sometimes be seen swinging from the bridge. And yet a more mysterious story is that of a woman’s statue (supposedly of Mrs. Mooney) somewhere on the ridge that bleeds in places where she was axed to death. THere have also been many reports of phantom dogs and ghostly vehicles chasing people away who stop along the road.
Walnut Knolls – Legend says this apartment building served as a mental hospital in the 1940s-50s, however, records indicate the building wasn’t erected until the late 1960s. The building was reportedly haunted by several specters. A decapitated woman was said to roam the third floor and footsteps from the beyond could be heard coming from the blocked-off attic. Witnesses would see lights on in vacant apartments. Ghostly children who supposedly drowned in the now-filled pool were sometimes seen or heard. One ghost in specific, known only as George, liked to throw shampoo bottles at the residents. It was believed George was a former patient of the supposed hospital. The apartment building was demolished in 2013. Construction began on the site for Madison Township’s third fire station in 2017.
Waterbeds ‘N’ Stuff – The Waterbeds ‘N’ Stuff store at the Columbus Square Shopping Center is haunted by a ghost that employees call “Maytag Man,” due to him being dressed in a blue uniform and octagon-shaped hat. He has been seen throughout the day, not harmful or sad. One employee heard a man asking in a deep raspy voice, “Who are you?” as she was preparing to open the store. She looked around for someone only to realize the doors were still locked and the manager was in the stockroom. “Maytag Man” also seemed to have a habit of burning out light bulbs and moving things around. Employees believe he may roam the entire shopping center as he sometimes shows himself for weeks and then not come around again for a few months. “Maytag Man” is always a welcomed guest at the store.
Watkins Road Bridge – Also known as the Headless Hattie Bridge, the Watkins Road bridge spans Alum Creek in southeast Columbus. The bridge is said to be haunted by a woman who died in a car accident there. According to legend, her head sometimes appears overhead in the trees if you stop of the bridge and honk your horn three times. Another version of the story says a mother was involved in an accident and lost her baby in the icy water beneath the bridge. According to this story, if you stop and flash your headlights 12 times, the ghost of the woman appears and the screams of a baby can be heard. An even earlier story dates back to when the Watkins Road bridge was a covered bridge. A girl and her boyfriend were parked inside when the boyfriend decided to carve their initials into the wood. When he was finished, he was struck and killed by a speeding car. It was said if you went to the bridge at night, the carving would glow and you could hear the girlfriend’s sobs.
West High School – The ghost of a girl who was killed when hit by a car in the 1950s can sometimes be seen wandering the halls or standing next to her old locker. At least two eyewitnesses reported seeing a white figure being chased by a black figure down a staircase, across an eight-foot hallway, and through the wall leading to the ROTC room. (Credits: Danny Johnson)
Westland Mall – Mysterious footsteps can sometimes be heard coming from the center of the mall.
Worley Building – The former Worley Plumbing building located in the Brewery District is haunted by a woman who died in a fire in the part of the building where horses were stabled. She can sometimes be seen late at night.
Little Pennsylvania Cemetery – Also known as Woolyburger Cemetery, this burying ground is located a couple hundred yards north of London-Groveport Road, near Big Darby Creek. The cemetery is said to be haunted and is allegedly a hangout place for the occult. Supposedly, a bigfoot-type of creature lurks around in the cemetery. There is supposed to be a small house back in the woods that is haunted as well. OES members observed a shadowy figure in the cemetery one night, so there could be something to the legends. (Other spellings include Woollyburger, Woolyberger, Wollyburger, and Woolybooger.)
Muirfield Village Golf Club – The Memorial Tournament began in 1976 on this golf course that Jack Nicklaus built on sacred Indian burial grounds. As the legend goes, Chief Leatherlips makes it rain on the tournament almost every year. Twice it has been shortened to 54 holes. One year they moved the tournament ahead one week, but it still rained.
Gahanna Lincoln High School – A ghostly blonde boy wearing a basketball practice uniform has been seen between the gym and theater. According to legend, this was the area where cuts were made after basketball tryouts. When the blonde boy was cut from the team, it is said that he hanged himself from the backboard. After basketball games where the home team loses, when the lights are turned out, a basketball can be heard dribbling and occasionally the backboard on the west end of the gym vibrates as if a score had been made. A little girl is said to haunt the girls’ locker room. She has been spotted wearing a gray dress and has long black hair. Many students and staff members are both terrified and fascinated with the basement of the school. It is said a boy somehow drowned in the pool due to lack of supervision. The pool was shut down and it has been closed for over fifty years. Witnesses have seen the boy standing behind the padlocked gate and a janitor once heard someone splashing and calling for help from the pool. Related: Contribution (Credits: Bailey)
Little Theatre Off Broadway – This small community theatre was built in 1916 by a woman named Mrs. King as a showcase for her blind daughter, Ethel, to play the piano. After Mrs. King sold the theatre in 1927, it switched hands several times until the Little Theatre Off Broadway group bought it in 1968. Since then, paranormal activities such as doors slamming, footsteps, and crashing sounds have taken place. The apparition of a woman has been seen near the tech booth. She is believed to be the ghost of Ethel King. Also spelled Little Theater Off Broadway. Related: OES/COPS Investigation
North Meadows Drive Warehouse – Security guards at a warehouse on North Meadows Drive have reported seeing dark figures on surveillance equipment. When they investigate, no one is found. At least two employees have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a woman wearing a yellow dress vanish before their eyes.
Oakhurst Country Club – Legend says that a bride fell off of the balcony in the clubhouse in the 1960s and employees have seen a woman in a white dress throughout the building since, though only on rare occasions. Employees have heard pots and pans clinging and knocking sounds in the upstairs kitchen late at night. Things will be in different locations the next day. Whenever the furnace or air conditioner kicks on in the utility room, you can hear screaming in the far distance. Members of the golf club have reported seeing apparitions in the locker room. Others have felt as if they were being watched when alone in the locker room or kitchen. Occasionally there is a knock on the front door, but no one is ever there.
American Electric Power Lab – Security guards and cleaning crews have reported seeing the shadowy figure of a man walking very fast around the place. Sometimes the ghost shows himself to the employees. One security guard left in the middle of the night after seeing the shadowy figure walking around the perimeter fence. It had been snowing, and upon inspection, the guard found no footprints. The shadowy figure has also been seen in various rooms inside the buildings. Alarms trip for no apparent reason between 2:00-4:00 AM. One of the workers believes the ghost must be that of a man named Roger, who died in 1984. Roger was said to have loved his job and would probably hang out there from beyond the grave.
Gap Warehouse – Workers at the Gap warehouse in Groveport have reported many strange occurrences. Doors open and close themselves, footsteps can be heard when no one else is around, and there is a feeling of being watched…even when no one else is in the building. Shadowy figures have been seen throughout the warehouse by numerous people. Hearing distinct voices speaking, sometimes asking employees to do things, can be heard when it is quiet. One security guard quit in the middle of the night after witnessing wet footprints appear walking into the lobby. There are just a few samples of the strangeness that occurs there. A cemetery that dated back to 1803 was located on the northeast corner of the property, but it was supposedly relocated a few years before the warehouse was built.
Hamilton Township High School – The ghost of a man who supposedly hanged himself in the rafters while they were constructing the old high school building was said to haunt the school. Teachers claimed to have heard his footsteps in the halls of the building at night when no one else was there. The building was demolished in 2009 and a new building opened just behind where the old school had stood. Apparently, the haunting has continued in the new building. Witnesses claim to have seen the spirit of a woman with brown hair upstairs on the east side of the building and a strange figure watching them in the library. They have also reported the sound of desks moving when no one else is around.
Hilliard Davidson High School – The distinctive smell of pipe tobacco can sometimes be smelled in the classroom of a former teacher who died suddenly of a heart attack. He was an avid pipe smoker. The auditorium is also said to be haunted. Fergus, the oldest son of the man who once owned the land where the school now stands, wanted to be an actor his entire life. His father did not agree with this and wanted Fergus to inherit the land to farm. After running away to New York and being brought back by detectives his father hired, Fergus knew he’d never make it to the stage and took his own life. Footsteps can be heard on the stage and electronic equipment malfunctions. These ghostly occurrences are credited to Fergus, who many believe finally made it on stage.
Big Lots (Odd Lots) Store – This discount store used to be a Big Bear grocery store. A man supposedly killed himself in the stockroom. Employees have claimed that when closing at night, the doors come open, even when locked, and mysterious footsteps can be heard in the stockroom. There have been reports of cold spots and his ghost has actually run through people. Toys have been known to be thrown from the shelves when opening in the morning.
Pizza Hut – The store manager of the Pizza Hut on Cemetery Road passed away after suffering a heart attack while inside the walk-in freezer. Since then, employees have reported seeing a ghostly man walking around in the back after closing. Items in the restaurant often move on their own and are sometimes thrown.
Roberts Road Haunted House – An unoccupied farmhouse on Roberts Road (Walker Road) is the site of a supposed mass murder years ago. It is said that a man who once lived there snapped one night, killing his wife and children with an ax before hanging himself with a chain at the foot of the main stairway. His ghost is supposed to appear today with a gray beard and whispers cryptic messages to trespassers of his earthly home. Related: Contribution
Lockbourne Cemetery – This old abandoned cemetery is said to be haunted. Strange lights are seen there on occasion and voices can be heard from beyond the grave. Related: OES Visit
Lockbourne Hell House – See Pickaway County for this haunting.
Paul Peters Farm Cemetery – See Pickaway County for this haunting.
Obetz Cemetery – It is said that sightings of ghostly figures occur at the cemetery on a regular basis. The spirit of a woman dressed in 1920s-style clothing has been seen. Groundskeepers have said that a tombstone always fell over until they turned it the opposite direction. A shadowy figure is often seen by motorists on Groveport Road near the railroad underpass, darting out in front of their vehicle. When they swerve to miss hitting the figure, it vanishes.
Ohio State University
Alpha Delta Pi – This sorority house is haunted by the ghost of a girl who killed herself in the building before the sorority moved in. Girls claim to see her walking down hallways, looking out of windows and looking back at them in the reflection of their mirror. The chandeliers mysteriously move and strange sounds are heard.
Alpha Omicron Pi House – Years ago when the house was owned by a different sorority, a sister jumped into Mirror Lake as is the tradition for Ohio State vs Michigan weekend. She was intoxicated and broke her neck. Her sisters took her back to the sorority house and placed her in bed, fearing they would get in trouble for being drunk if they took her to the hospital. She died in the room. Today she is said to open closet doors and move things around in the room. On other rooms, girls have said they have heard the sound of bedsprings, but no one would be sitting or laying in bed. The ghost’s name is believed to be Mary Ellen.
Bricker Hall – Herbert Atkinson, a member of the Board of Trustees, had his ashes placed in the wall of Bricker Hall behind a plaque. Ever since lights have flashed and Herbert himself has been seen drinking punch in the lobby.
Denney Hall – Legend says that years ago a professor murdered a young female student in the northwest elevator of Denney Hall while it was stopped on the fifth floor. The woman bled to death as the professor made his getaway. Now, whenever passengers take the elevator down from the fourth floor, it will sometimes go to the fifth floor instead, often attributed to the ghost of the young woman. NOTE: The OES research team has found no evidence that a murder has ever occurred at Denney Hall.
Drackett Hall – A ghost named Christopher haunts Drackett Hall. He is known to knock things off shelves, turn appliances on and off, and sometimes appears and speaks.
Hayes Hall – One of the oldest buildings on campus, this building originally housed the school’s military department. From 1916 to 1920 it was also used for student housing. During this time a couple of students had stayed out past curfew and could not get back into the building, despite all of their usual tricks. After a few minutes, a bearded man appeared in one of the doorways, identifying himself as the building’s curator, and let the boys inside. Later the two students spotted a portrait hanging in the hall of the man who had let them it. It was former President Rutherford B. Hayes, the building’s namesake, who had been dead for nearly 25 years.
Hopkins Hall – A girl was said to have been stuck in an elevator all night in this art building. She had a mental breakdown and wrote angry messages all over the elevator walls. She was killed in a car accident after she graduated. It is said that people sometimes find cryptic notes or scratching in the elevator.
Kuhn Honors & Scholars Center – The house once served as the university president’s residence from 1926 through the mid-1970s. The ghost of a maid haunts the house. She supposedly lost a child of her own or a child in her care. Staff have heard noises, screams, and moans, and have seen doors open and shut spontaneously. Several paranormal specialists have visited the building and reported paranormal activity on the third floor and near the front door.
Mirror Lake – Mrs. Clark, who swore never to leave Dr. Clark (see Pomerene Hall), died in the 1920s. Her ghost is said to haunt Mirror Lake and is often seen wearing a pink dress. A student who drowned in the lake back in the 1960s is also said to haunt the lake. Occasionally at night, there are sounds of water splashing and a man screaming, but no one is there.
Orton Hall – Being the oldest building on campus, this building is haunted by Edward Orton, OSU’s first president. Reports of seeing his lamp flickering at night in the tower, making chills in the air, and making noises are credited to his ghost. A prehistoric man is also said to haunt the hall and supposedly slams doors, bangs on things and makes weird noises.
Oxley Hall – Poltergeist-like activity, including lights flickering on and off and doors slamming and unlocking at random, were reported at Oxley hall, mostly during the 1930s-40s when the building was used as a women’s only dorm. The activity was so frequent that parents reportedly began forbidding their daughters from living there, so the building was shut down and later renovated, now housing the Department of Linguistics.
Pomerene Hall – A professor named Dr. Clark was depressed about a mining investment and committed suicide. His body was found where Pomerene Hall stands today. His ghost is said to slam doors and does other typical ghostly things. A second ghost known as the “Pink Party Girl” is said to manipulate computers, mostly hanging out in room 213. The ghost who some believe to be Mrs. Clark, has been seen through the window of that room, looking over Mirror Lake.
Starling-Loving Hall – Starling-Loving Hall is one of the older buildings on campus and is part of the OSU medical school. It contains labs, classrooms, and a morgue. Ghosts are seen there frequently and voices can be heard in the hallways.
Thompson Library – The ghost of Olive Branch Jones, who worked in various libraries across the campus for 46 years, has been seem roaming the stacks of the basement where the special volumes she helped collect are stored.
Kropp House – An abandoned home on Kropp Road is haunted by an unknown entity. Batteries drain quickly when inside the home and electronic equipment sometimes fails.
Roundelay Road Residence – The home is known for two spirits, former resident Bernice (Bea) and Nathan, a little boy who was killed by a speeding car in front of the house. Witnesses have reported seeing shadows and feeling unexplainable cold spots in the house. Some have reported feeling dizzy in certain spots. Others have heard voices when no one else was around.
Hannah Ashton Middle School – The school’s namesake, who devoted her life to teaching, is said to haunt the school. Some students have reported seeing a woman dressed in old-fashioned clothing and others have felt coldness on their necks. (Credits: Geary Azbell)
St. Pius X School – The left stall in the men’s restroom is said to become very cold at times. There is also a feeling of being watched quite often.
Chimney Ghost – A ghost of unknown origin was reported to have kicked down citizens’ chimneys in an 1881 newspaper article. There were no further details.
Route 23 Abandoned House – It was said that whoever lived in the house was savagely murdered by something unknown. After two people were found dead there in the 1960s, the house stayed empty until the late 1980s, when it was occupied by a cult. Flashing lights were seen coming from the house two years after and police allegedly found eight decapitated bodies. It was said that if one went to the site there would be eight ghosts carrying on conversations with one another. It was also said that the shadow of a body could be seen in a tree near the house. The home was demolished in 2011 to make way for the re-routed intersection of US 23, SR 317 and SR 665.
Cubbage Road – Along this road, ghosts are said to haunt a small house, a cemetery, and Hoover Dam. There are also said to be mysterious lights seen from across the dam. This has been investigated by The Ghosts of Ohio and no signs of such activity took place.
Hanby Arts Magnet School – This school is said to be haunted by two children in 1940s-style clothing who appear asking about a dance. Apparently, they have spoken to janitors, asking directions to the auditorium so they can make it to their dance.
Longfellow Elementary School – Built in 1931, a woman wearing a long coat and high heels is said to haunt the school, the sound of her heels clicking across the floor. She has occasionally been seen standing at the top of the stairs.
Old Bag of Nails – A ghostly woman wearing a white shirt and long white skirt has been spotted by multiple witnesses on the third floor of the restaurant.
Otterbein Cemetery – Figures are known to pop up and vanish in the cemetery. There is also a house across the street from the cemetery that is haunted by the spirit of a grandmother. She is said to be a friendly ghost.
Red Bank Harbor – Witnesses have reported seeing a black coyote/dog-shaped figure creeping toward them while in the wooded area at night. The figure instantly vanished when a flashlight was shone at it.
Stoner House – Built circa 1852 by George Stoner, the home served as an inn, tavern, and spa by day…and as a hiding place for runaway slaves by night. Many shadow figures have been spotted walking across the second-floor porch area. Numerous EVPs were caught during a tour of the “hidden” room in the basement where runaway slaves hid while making their way to freedom. A woman was seen dressed in 1850s clothing, walking into an upstairs room before vanishing. A white light has been seen coming from the parking lot to the back door, then back out. This was captured in a sequence of photos. (Credits: Brenda Posani)
Holy Spirit Church – The field next to the church was once an airfield. One summer in 1953, an airplane crashed and killed both pilots. It is said that if you go to the field at night, you can sometimes see or hear the ghostly airplane fly by.
The Villas at Eden of Whitehall – Formerly called English Village, this ranch-style duplex is said to be haunted by an unknown ghost or ghosts that like to tap on various objects. Doors slam shut without explanation, belongings go missing only to reappear in odd locations, and the feeling of an unseen person sitting on the edge of the bed have been reported. Related: Contribution
Whitehall-Yearling High School – The high school was supposedly haunted by the spirit of an old band or choir teacher. A strange red glow could sometimes be seen in the auditorium’s balcony. In the backstage area, slamming doors could be heard and there was a general uneasy feeling. The hallway next to the auditorium was particularly haunted. It was said you could hear the sound of a heartbeat when standing in the hallway. Another teacher who had died had a pet bird and it could sometimes be heard chirping. The school was demolished in 2012 and a new building was built on the same site. It is unknown if the hauntings carried over to the new high school. (Credits: Robert Ailing, Teng Maharath, and Amanda)
Worthington Inn – The inn is haunted by the former owner who still performs his closing ritual by walking through the kitchen and dining room, checking the cash register while smoking a cigar.