With the approach of Halloween, Samhain (FYI pronounced SOW-in), All Saints’ Day, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and so on with the end of the year/death/harvest cyclic and symbolic motif humanity has struggled with since we crawled down from the trees, my mind turns to legends and stories of the supernatural. This year I wanted to take a closer look at the ghost stories around – Toledo, Ohio.
My, some would say obsession, with the concept of infinity necessitates that I emphasize that I am neither debunking nor substantiating these legends and stories. I will approach them with the all but forgotten art of unbiased journalism. I will give you some of the who, what, when, and where if applicable, but the why is yours to invent and decide upon. True to modern journalistic form though, I will also omit much of the substantial history behind these locations (it would only bore most readers and ruin the fun of the season in some cases). Believer or non-believer, the following are buildings and cemeteries steeped in histories that are worth knowing about. Plus, if you’re nearby stop and take a picture or two as we did. You never know what, or who, may appear in the photo.
Ravine Cemetery is located on Ravine Road, between Harroun Road and Main Street, in Sylvania, Ohio. The burying-grounds were established in 1883, and are still active. Sections of Ravine Cemetery also boarder St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery. The grounds are supposedly haunted by a woman with long, dark hair who typically wears a white dress. The reason for her presence is that she’d had three husbands and she died at a young enough age that her parents were forced to bury her. They did not know which husband to bury her alongside so her spirit wanders the acreage looking for the correct one.
Benjamin Joy Cemetery (sometimes shortened to Joy Cemetery) on Brittany road in Ottawa Hills, OH. It was founded in 1853 and is still used by the parishioners of the adjacent St. Michael’s Church. There is said to be a one-legged sailor, a lake boat captain to be specific, that wanders the grounds looking for his missing leg. There are contradictory stories as to whether he is looking for his peg leg, or the missing real one.
Wolfinger Cemetery on Wolfinger Road within Secor Park, between US-20 (Central Avenue) and Bancroft Street was established in 1835, and it is still active. There are graves for two parents and their three children along the cemetery’s wood line, etched in marble that they all died within days of each other. Over the years several ghostly children have been seen playing around the graves as well as the sounds of phantom giggling and cold spots around the grave sites.
Gibb’s Road Bridge is located in Richfield Township between Sylvania and Berkey. Stories say the bridge is haunted by the victims of a deadly auto accident that occurred on, or nearby, the bridge. The phantom sounds of a collision and high-pitched laughter that could almost be a scream are said to be heard at night. People have also reported being chased off the bridge after dark by ghostly shadows and shapes.
The rocky shores of Point Place and Bay View are reportedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who is searching for her lot love. She typically appears at dusk in a long white gown and bare feet, stumbling along the rocks weeping and waiting for her beloved to return; of which is said that he was a sailor whom departed but never returned.
The Nazareth Hall on W River road in Grand Rapids, OH was built in 1927 as a Catholic boarding school for boys. Throughout its history mysterious noises have been heard and strange shadows seen. A haunting figure in the shape of a nun is said to float down the halls moaning and groaning at night. The bathrooms are also said to be haunted as faucets have turned on by themselves and odd noises occur without explanation. The hall is now open for banquets, wedding, and parties.
The Chadwick (Now Linck) Inn of Maumee, OH was built in 1837 as an inn slash general store, post office, and feed store. In the 1930’s, it was converted to a brothel. Recently renovated it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who can be seen hanging from the rafters with a noose around her neck. Another ghostly female is known as the Lilac Lady because she walks around the restaurant spreading the smell of fresh lilacs. There is an additional ghost that supposedly smells like body odor and sweaty horse. The inn is also said to be haunted by the original builder Levi Barbee, who loves to drink Jack Daniels.
The Wolcott House of Maumee, OH was built along the Maumee River in 1830. It is now open to the public as a museum that displays what pioneer life was like. Ghostly hands are said to have touched visitors and workers on the shoulder or back. A mysterious figure can supposedly be seen from the corner of the eye, but if you turn to face it the apparition will disappear. Phantom footsteps are also commonly heard inside the house.
The Collingwood Arts Center of Toledo, Ohio is a complex of several buildings that includes a former convent and college built in the 1870’s. It supposedly has several ghosts inhabiting its rooms, stairways, attic, and auditorium. In the auditorium, a nun can be seen walking down the aisle from the balcony to a certain seat in the theater. Witnesses say they feel a very negative and angry vibe when in her presence. Friendlier spirits are said to haunt the attic, sewing and chattering away. The west hallway in the apartment building is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a jilted bride who committed suicide after being left at the alter. One male ghost is said to haunt one of the rooms in the basement dressed in all black. People claim him he made them feel scared. That he was somehow evil and angry.
Jefferson Junior High School in Toledo has had claims that the sounds of a bell tolling can be heard in the middle of the night, but the bell was removed from the belfry years ago. The ghost of a janitor known as Oscar is said to watch every school play from the auditorium balcony. There is a seat reserved for him because he becomes angry whenever someone else sits in his seat and will cause something to go wrong with the play being performed.
The main branch of the Lucas County Public Library in Toledo is said to be haunted by a female ghost. She walks around, haunting the third floor, which is closed to the public, especially after hours. Footsteps that sound like high heels on linoleum have been heard as well as cold spots felt by staff members, and one patron claims to have been shushed in the rare books room when he read a passage aloud.
At Toledo’s YWCA a little boy reportedly fell from the third floor window in the late 1990’s and died. I could not find an article to prove this claim; I apologize. Witnesses have reported seeing the apparition of a little boy wandering around on the third floor. Others have claimed to hear an unexplained knocking sound on the third floor windows.
The Columbian House Restaurant in Waterville, OH was built in 1828. People often report, or complain, about feeling cold spots throughout the house and on the grounds. Phantom fiddle playing is often heard coming from the ballroom. A murder victim is said to haunt the second floor room and adjacent hallway where she died. There is a mischievous ghost named Jenny who often moves furniture in the upstairs attic, pinches people, and plays jokes on the staff.
My little ghost hunter/history seeker and I did not experience anything out of the ordinary, but we did see some beautiful scenery. Perhaps if you are in the area, and you decide to swing by one of these haunts you will have better luck, or poorer luck depending on your perspective, and come face to face with one of Toledo’s ghosts.
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Plus don’t forget to add The Dark Lights to your Goodreads!
The Dark Lights
Have you ever walked past a window and seen something out of the corner of your eye that you knew couldn’t be there, but you go back to check and it’s gone?
What if it wasn’t gone?
What if it was still there?
What if you could walk out your door and interact with it?
And what if you couldn’t go back?
This is the story of Erik. He is a young man who did just that. He walked through a doorway into another world and now he cannot return home. Every door he walks through could be the one that leads him back home, but the years he has spent searching have not yielded that result. Compounding matters are the Dark Lights, creatures more akin to gods than sentient man, that chase Erik as a result of his trespassing into other worlds.
Follow Erik along on his travels, and allow his spastic wit to keep you company while he compares the cosmos to pop culture, falls in love, examines the concepts of fear, desire, anger, compassion, courage, and the entire gamut of the human experience.
Open a door onto another world, and run!
I like games, don’t you? It’s fun to set the world aside and focus on a set of definitive rights and wrongs for a short time.
I can’t imagine being defined by a game though. What sort of personalized Hell must that be? What’s it like to be little more than a child and you show such skill at a game that everyone around you used that game to define you before you had the wherewithal to define yourself? The game is your identity, with its solid rights and wrongs that the world outside of games doesn’t often adhere to. What must it be like for the man that now stands in the same place that that boy once did? Basketball. A game. A fun game by all accounts. But, synonymous with an identity? Is that a legacy, or is it a mythology?
It has taken me years to like LeBron James. I don’t know him personally and that was a big part of it, of course. We may both be from the greater Cleveland area, but our social circles are quite different. My earlier distaste for him was as a celebrity, as a media icon. All that is my fault because I never looked at it from the hellish brutality his psyche has been subject to. I doubt he realizes it. How could he? He was shaped by a culture into a statue, a hero, a Hercules of a game before he knew what was happening to him… but lately I’ve seen it in interviews – that childlike fear and innocence that you do not see in people with solid identities. People who know their value is in more than a game.
That same Peter Pan innocence of self has actually converted me to a LeBron James fan. The Cavaliers had a wonderful season in ’15, and I’m interested to see what happens next year. But if some of you out there do travel in the same circles as LeBron? Help him find out that he is more than basketball, more than a game, a symbol and statue. Every person deserves a chance to find out who they are on their own without other people telling them.
~Nick Shamhart 6/17/15
No matter your nationality, ethnicity, education, culture, age, or gender there is one thing we should all be able to agree on that my country does well – pass the buck and avoid responsibility.
That is what the entire Common Core hubbub is all about. Pushing blame onto someone else (in this case the educational system).
What do I mean?
It’s a distraction from the giant lazy elephant sitting in the middle of the room playing Candy Crush and texting its besties.
The issue is entitlement and lassitude, of which the schools in America have zilch in the way of control over. Americans don’t want to learn. They want to be Entertained! Give us reality TV until our eyes bleed. We want generic pop music that has no substance. We want sex on tap! Give us pretty lights that dazzle the senses in 3D so we don’t have to go to the trouble of experiencing real life! That mindset rolls over into the next generation, and as that classic public service announcement once said, “I learned it from watching you! Okay?”
On the average Americans don’t read. Americans use their libraries as cyber cafes and DVD rental stores. Americans don’t visit their museums. (Sure some of you do, so don’t be offended. You’re part of the solution, not the problem.)
But…. the American culture refuses to acknowledge this lassitude and entitlement beyond a head shake, because in the short term entertainment is great for the economy. Not to mention easy. Who wants to think after a hard day of sitting in a cubicle, peddling massive amounts of fried foods, passing medications and wiping flabby geriatric butts, or any other vocation? Americans have this twisted cultural psyche where they equate thinking with work. No fun! Who wants to think? Like whatever!
Parents want the schools to change the students because they don’t want to change themselves. I’m a taxpayer. I pay your salary! It’s your fault my kids are dumb and don’t do well on tests! It’s the schools causing the problem in America!
Which is quite funny, because they themselves are products of that same educational system that is supposedly failing these children.
I’m a product of the old system, and without tooting my horn I’m not exactly what anyone would consider intellectually stunted. So, did the old system fail me? Hardly.
Education is a two way street. If it’s all the purview of the establishment then it’s indoctrination, not learning. Indoctrination is also great in the short term. It boosts spreadsheet numbers, makes for awesome PowerPoints, and assuages some of the bitterness over our extreme taxation.
But both entertainment and indoctrination are destructive in the long run because they breed stagnation. The number one culprit of extinction in all its forms – stagnation.
If the grown up world of America as a whole doesn’t want to think, then why should its children?
Don’t pass the buck. Scapegoats only increase the problem.
I’m not going to speculate on the plethora of allegations against Mr. Cosby. That is not the point I want to focus on. I’ve never met Bill and so I do not feel I am qualified to judge his character. I want to talk about how this is an example of what happens when a culture allows a business, in this case entertainment, to hold so much value and influence.
For generations Bill Cosby has been synonymous with wholesome family entertainment from his earliest stand-up comedy to his many sitcoms, cartoons, and movies. Each routine and TV show illustrated the point in life where Bill was when it was performed – bachelorhood on through retirement. So, it stood to reason that Bill would have some entertaining material about getting old and falling apart. It’s that last stage of life and family isn’t it?
Well, that was the plan.
There was even a heated bidding war to sign Bill for this last hurrah project, because if done right it could have been a money machine. We all know Bill isn’t shy about pimping out the sponsorship. He’ll drink a Coke. He’ll peddle that pudding. It doesn’t matter. Bill will push it. Who has expendable income right now? In a twist of cultural irony it is mostly the retirees. The exact viewing demographic that would have been the shows target audience. Imagine the revenue from prescription drug ads alone!
Well, NBC finally won the bidding war and there was some sort of Netflix contingent or something (entertainment law and contracts are beyond asinine, don’t get me started). Things were set. There was going to be more Cosby to watch in the future.
Remember that money for one network means loss for the others. It’s not about sore losers. It’s about millions of dollars. Less than a calendar year after these deals were struck the allegations began. I’m not saying they’re false. I’m not saying they’re lies. But I would like to know why the convenient time frame? Some of these cases are over thirty years old! Doesn’t that strike you as odd? We have been in full blown Dirty Laundry mode when it comes to news since way before O.J. so why now?
Entertainment is a business folks. It’s not about wholesomeness. It’s not about wisdom, knowledge, learning, or furthering humanity. It is about making money off of consumers. Selling you shit you don’t need. End of story. Guilty or not. I can guarantee you that if Bill had gone quietly into retirement. If he hadn’t tried to toss his hat back into a ring where television is changing so dramatically with more and more people dropping cable service – that none of this would be in the news. Not one story of misconduct. He would have remained wholesome and innocent in the public eye forever and ever.
No. This is the Cosby Effect. This is my point. Greed will destroy everything you’ve built.