Richland County Hauntings & Legends

On this page you will find haunted locations and legends of Richland 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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Bellville Opera House – In the history of the building, it has been a meeting house, a jail, Masonic temple, and a school. The third floor is occupied by a theater. The ghost is that of a man who didn’t want the theater incorporated into the building. He often shows himself when there are no activities taking place.

Deadman’s Run – This small creek is named for a man who appears from time to time on the bridge that spans it. The man had worked for a local judge and was killed in a flood.


Bissman Building – This warehouse built in 1866 is reportedly haunted by many spirits. A young girl called Ruthie, a woman wearing a white dress called Annabella, and a shadowy figure known as the watchman are among those who haunt the building. Witnesses have also reported hearing voices and growls, being touched by something unseen, and encountering cold spots. It is believed a murder occurred in the building as well as a decapitation. (Credits: Ellis Byrd)

Ceely Rose House – In 1896, Ceely Rose murdered her entire family with rat poison for her true love, who later left her. She has been seen in the house and haunts it. The house sits on the property of Malabar Farm (see below) and is occupied by a State Park Ranger.

Crybaby Bridge – This is said to be where Mary Jane (Bloody Mary) killed her infant son. Rumor is if you go there the night of the murder, which is conveniently Halloween night, you can hear the cries of a baby.

Lucas Cemetery – Also known as Mary Jane’s Cemetery, this is where “Bloody Mary” is said to be buried. She was supposedly burned at the stake in the 1800s for suspicion of witchcraft. The tree she was buried under still stands with her name carved in it. It is said that if you go there on the night she was buried, the tree will bleed. A noticeable drop in temperature, about 20°, is common near the three and where the house once stood.

Malabar Farm – Many strange activities take place at the farm’s Big House, where Pulitzer prize winner Louis Bromfield once lived. Lights turn on and off by themselves, the large piano in the foyer has played by itself, and some people report uneasy feelings. Guests sometimes ask if the place is haunted after seeing figures darting around out of the corner of their eye. Related: OES Visit, OES/COPS Investigation

Mansfield Memorial Museum – Built in 1889, the museum was once known as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building. It included the Richland County library and a theater. Its owner, Edward Wilkinson, died in 1918 of arsenic poisoning. Some believed that he was murdered while other believe his death was the result of inhaling arsenic used in tin work (he was a tinsmith). His ghost reportedly haunts the museum, sighted as a shadowy figure and making mysterious noises.

Oak Hill Cottage – Built in 1847 for John Robinson, it was sold in 1864 to the Jones family of Johannes and Frances. They would go on to die in the home and now haunt the building. It has such a dark atmosphere that certain people refuse to enter. It is now home to the Richland County Historical Society.

Ohio State Reformatory – This old prison is the home to many, many souls. Reports of seeing apparitions and feeling definite cold spots are common. Mysterious voices and footsteps are often heard. In the room where the warden’s wife was accidentally shot in the head and killed, some have reported feeling light-headed and not being alone. Numerous paranormal television shows have visited the prison due to its paranormal activity. Related: OES Visit

Pleasant Valley Cemetery – This is the cemetery where Ceely Rose’s parents and brother are buried (Rebecca, David and Walter Rose). Many strange sightings of orbs and energy vortexes are reported here.

Reformatory Road – Phoebe Wise, a hermit, haunts the road leading up to the prison. It is said that she stood over six feet tall and that she almost ended up in the reformatory herself. Phoebe shot and killed a man named Jacob Kastanowitz, who was in love with her and stalked her. Phoebe met her maker when some local bandits decided to rob her place. Phoebe’s father had sold the land used to build the prison, so the robbers thought she must have a fortune stashed somewhere in the house. They broke in, torturing and eventually killing Phoebe. The thieves-turned-murderers stole $350, a diamond ring and a watch. They were caught almost immediately because they bragged about what they had done at a local bar. Phoebe’s ghost can be seen today walking along Reformatory Road, heading toward State Route 545, dressed in colorful clothing.

Renaissance Theater – This theater is said to be haunted. Cold spots are often felt, even when it’s warm.


Mohican State Park – Known as the ugliest man who ever lived, Tom Lyons is said to haunt the park. He was an Indian who wore a necklace made of 99 tongues of white men. He vowed to get the 100th tongue before he died, but he was killed on the stagecoach road and thrown into Killbuck Swamp before he accomplished his goal. His ghost now roams the park with an ax, looking for his last tongue.


Quarry and Manufacturing Plant – This old factory was once used to make cement blocks and rods for railroad construction. It has been closed down for many years. In the 1940s, a chain on a large iron kettle broke, sending the molten metal onto five workers. All five died a slow, painful death on the factory floor, immersed in iron. It is said the spirits of those five unfortunate workers will speak to you about the final moments of their lives if you visit on certain nights.


Stitches In Time – This antique and vintage clothing store that was built in 1871 is said to be haunted by a man and a woman. Both are said to be in period dress.


Crybaby Bridge – Supposedly if you stand quietly on the bridge at night, you can hear a baby crying. It is said that an Amish family was killed there.

Green Eyes Cemetery – Local legend says this rural cemetery is located at the site of the former St. Paul’s Psychiatric Hospital, which was supposedly burned down by a group of vandals. It is said that if you go near the cemetery, a huge dog will chase you and green eyes will appear at the gravesite. The dog disappears when you get closer to the cemetery, as do the eyes, but then you hear the sound of people screaming in horror.

Sugar Shack – The wooded area at the s-curve on Shelby Ganges is where maple trees were once tapped to make syrup. It is said that if you go into the woods at night, you can still see the 1800s-era shack. If you return during the day, the only thing standing is the foundation. Legend says that the shack was the site of a bloody massacre years ago and that three people went into the woods one night and never returned.

Vernon Junction – It is said that in 1912, an escaped mental patient was drawn in by the lights of the power plant, hoping he could find a place to stay and hide out for the night. A young mother and her two children were making their way into town when the caught the eye if the crazy old man, nicknamed Gruesome Gus. One of the children started to scream after the family noticed the ragged old man, which enraged Gus. Gus chased down, captured and strangled the woman in front of her young children. After her corpse collapsed to the ground, the whistles of a train were heard in the background. Gus chased the children up onto the nearby railroad tracks where the oncoming train struck and killed them. Gus was never seen again. Reports say that if you visit the area around the power plant, you can hear the woman’s ghostly voice cry out to her children to “RUN!” If you get closer to the tracks while a train is passing, you can hear the faint laughter of Gus, and the tortured cries of the children. (Credits: Kena)


Superior Street – During calm, clear nights, people have reported seeing a young man and a small girl dart across the road and into the fields just past the cemetery. The young man appears to be wearing Amish-style clothing and the girl is wearing a white dress with some sort of floral print. Witnesses driving down the road have slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting the two apparitions. Some people have stated that if you sit there with your car windows down at night, you can hear whispering from an unknown source.