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Toledo Haunts

Toledo

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.

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My adorable paranormal/history seeking assistant

Cemeteries:

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.

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Ravine Cemetery, Sylvania, Ohio

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.

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Joy Cemetery in Ottawa Hills, OH

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.

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Wolfinger Cemetery Toledo, OH

Locations:

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.

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Gibb’s Road Bridge in Sylvania, OH

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.

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The shores of Toledo, OH

Buildings:

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.

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Nazareth Hall Grand Rapids, OH

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.

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The Chadwick (Linck) Inn of Maumee, OH

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.

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The Wolcott House Maumee, OH

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.

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Collingwood Arts Center Toledo, OH

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.

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Jefferson Junior High Toledo, OH

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.

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Lucas co. Public Library Toledo, OH

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.

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Toledo, OH YWCA

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.

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The Columbian House Waterville, OH

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.

~Nick


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The Dark Lights

DLights2

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!

Dlightsprint


Cleveland Haunts

Cleveland Haunts

 

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 my home – Cleveland. I also wanted to include my youngest daughter who is having social anxiety issues. Knowledge has always been fear’s panacea, and I hoped if I could help her be unafraid of what most people are afraid of then it would be easier to lessen her fears of the everyday. “You aren’t afraid of ghosts, so why be afraid of people?”

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.

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My little ghost hunter watches for a Woman in White at Coe Lake in Berea where she is said to haunt the shores and graves of the nearby Adams Street Cemetery.

Cemeteries:

Lake View Cemetery, the unarguably historic cemetery on the East Side off Euclid Ave, is the final resting place of such worthy wights as President James A. Garfield, Jeptha Wade, John D. Rockefeller and more. Witnesses have reported lights coming from Garfield’s monument where no lights are supposed to be. One legend claims that on certain nights the spirits of Garfield and Rockefeller utilize Lake View’s many ornate tombstones to play an elaborate game of chess.

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James A. Garfield’s Monument at Lake View Cemetery

The plethora of Gothic and religious statuary at Lake View have led to the creation of countless urban legends, of which there are too many to retell here. If a particular monument catches your eye, I encourage you to do some further research and see which legends speak to you.

Chestnut Grove Cemetery located in Olmsted Falls is the home of Witch’s Hill. Legend has it that the townsfolk burned a witch in their cemetery and refused to place a memorial for her. Instead they fenced off the area with old used millstones to keep her spirit separate from the sanctified grounds. Witnesses claim to have seen odd lights around the grounds. Plus ill fortune and bad luck are supposed to come to any who approach or touch the final resting place of the witch.

Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Valley City is home to the Witch’s Ball (or globe). The Stoskopf marker is said to be cold to the touch in the summer and hot to the touch in winter. The legends surrounding this grave marker are elaborate and dissimilar in all regards as to the association of this gravestone and witchcraft, but if you speak with local youths they will all tell you about a friend of a friend who touched it on a dare and a horrible fate befell them.

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The Witch’s Ball in Myrtle Hill Cemetery

Haunted Houses, Castles, and Skyscrapers

The Franklin Castle is said to be the home of many haunts. Witnesses claim unaccountable floating lights and faces, echoing footfalls, and overheard conversations when no one else was supposedly in the house.

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Cleveland’s Franklin Castle

The Drury Mansion, stories of phantom footsteps, and random opening and closing windows began when the Ohio Parole Authority took over management of the property in the 70’s.

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The Drury Mansion

Grays Armory on Prospect and Bolivar is home to a phantom piano player, echoing footsteps, the random aroma of pipe smoke, and many more.

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Grays Armory

Saint Peter’s Church in North Ridgeville is home to echoing footfalls up and down the aisles of the sanctuary.

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St. Peter’s in North Ridgeville

Johnny Mango’s in Ohio City … Despite being ‘cleared’ by the real life physic that the television show “Ghost Whisperer” was based upon – Mary Ann Winkowski, stories continue among staff and patrons that the eatery is haunted. Especially the women’s restroom.

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Johnny Mango’s in Ohio City

The Burrell Homestead in the Lorain County Metro Parks is home to witnessed faces and lights at the windows when no one was supposedly inside the historic building.

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The Burrell Homestead

Squire’s Castle in the Cleveland Metro Parks has been the location of many unaccounted for lights and apparitions. The figure of a woman with a lighted candle has been said to appear in people’s photographs when nobody was there when the picture was taken.

 

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Squire’s Castle

Kohler Hall at Baldwin-Wallace is said to have many wild and at times violent, spirits that haunt the halls of this one time dormitory. Legends claim it was once an insane asylum at one point with a connecting tunnel to the nearby chapel.

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Kohler Hall at Baldwin-Wallace University

The Terminal Tower. Cleveland’s iconic landmark is full of stories from the staff relating randomly flushing toilets and running sinks, phantom footsteps, hostile energies, cold spots, rough phantom coughing and laughing. Plus full fledged apparitions of a man smoking a cigar.

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Terminal Tower in Cleveland

Places and Spaces:

 

The USS Cod is supposedly haunted by a lone crewman who was once left behind. He supposedly looks over the sub and follows people around when they are on board.

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The USS Cod

Within the confines of the Rocky River Reservation is the remnants of Puritas Springs Park. Witnesses have claimed to hear the screaming of passengers that crashed in an accident on the Cyclone roller coaster.

 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to many legends and spooks such as Hell Town (an undisclosed and quite difficult to find place) that was supposedly swallowed up by the park. The much easier to find Everett Road Bridge on the other hand has witnesses claiming to have repeatedly heard pleading, disembodied voices imploring for help.

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Everett Road Bridge

Those are the places we visited this autumn ’14. My little ghost hunter 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 Cleveland’s ghosts.

 


Exclusive Middle Grade Short Story

Goblin Stones

Click on the cover to read this NickShamhart.com exclusive short story.


Why Books Will Always Be Superior to Movies

April 26, 2014

Despite trends and statistics, books will always be superior to film. There is an exercise I like people to try whenever I speak at a creative writing class or an author panel. Give it a try.

There is a man standing in the doorway. He has his arms crossed and the wooden frame supports the bulk of his weight where his shoulder rests.  Long swimmer’s limbs suggest he could easily add on muscle, but the mischievous glint in his eye hints that there are more important things to occupy his time than lifting weights. A few days stubble and hair that seems perpetually in need of cutting are slovenly attributes he uses to his advantage.  A smirk travels up one side of his face, crinkling and bunching at the corner of his eye. He chuckles, and shaking his head, walks away.

All right, you have this man firmly pictured in your mind, correct? One paragraph of description that makes him wholly unique to you – the reader. Your experiences, attention, and memory make him distinct. Perhaps your man had a scar? Blue eyes? Was he black or white? All of those details were filled in by your imagination.

Now. Lets take that paragraph and make it into a movie. Are you ready for the Hollywood screenplay?

Brad Pitt stands in a doorway.

There may be minor alterations, but for the most part you are all picturing the same thing. If it were on the screen you would all be seeing the exact same thing down to the same shirt, shoes, jeans, face, build, and every little detail that can be spoon-fed to your mind.

Everyone born with the sense of sight can watch a movie. Reading is a skill we are taught. Since skill is required, a book will always be superior to a movie.

~Nick Shamhart


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