Paranormal Travels, Athens, Ohio

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 27th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

Visit the Campus Ghosts at Ohio University or Tour One of the Many Haunted Cemeteries.

Dark Shadows, Mysteries and Ghosts Lurking in the Appalachian Mountains

Some mysteries go back as far as the beginning of time and attempting to figure them out can be mind boggling, intriguing, entertaining, and if we are lucky, we can learn something from or about them along the way. The unexplained covers a broad range of unusual events that occur all over the world, and ghosts definitely fall into the category of mystery since they arouse curiosity to the living, are puzzling in nature, and in many cases, unsettling to those that are affected by them. In this case the people living in and around Athens, Ohio are today residing in what is considered one of the top haunted locations in America and it falls on the list as one of Ohio's most haunted cities. Athens is nestled away in the breath taking Appalachian Mountains where it was quickly discovered as a paranormal hot spot due to so many unexplained paranormal circumstances. Every year the community is visited by ghost hunters, historians and those interested in the mysteries of the world.

Founded in 1804, the Ohio University located in the city center of Athens is considered by many paranormal experts to be on the growing list as one of the most haunted campuses in America and for good reason. It is situated directly in the middle of a pentagram that is defined by five separate cemeteries that when connected by drawing a line, form a perfect circle. According to legend the symbolic five-pointed star has long been associated as being mystical and magical even though it is many things to many different people. The five cemeteries that make up Athen's pentagram include Simms, Zion, Hanning, Higgins, and Cuckler although there are several other haunted cemeteries found dotted along the pentagram line as well as in nearby towns.

The former Ridges Mental Health Institution, also known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum offers one of the most bizarre stories that have over time become a legend, and it just happens to be a part of the infamous pentagram set up and conveniently located next door to the university. This once peaceful retreat for the mentally and criminally insane quickly got out of hand when the overcrowded institution became known for the inhumane treatment to the sickly residents who lived there in the late 1800's. Regular ice water immersions to out of control patients, electroshock treatments and lobotomies became regular practices and the patients would often hide when possible simply out of a fear of the unknown.

One of the regular patients, known to all as Marge was either playing hide and go seek or attempting to escape the asylum. Unfortunately Margaret Schilling's remains were later discovered in the attic after she had apparently starved to death. The unbelievable state of her body being permanently etched into the floorboards is mind boggling, leaving eye witnesses perplexed as to why her form remains forever a part of the structure. Photographers have managed to clearly capture on film the imprint of her hair and clothes along with the outline of her remains on the old floor of the building which leads all to believe that her spirit is still very much a part of this very haunted site.

The most reportedly haunted building on the Athens campus is hands down the Wilson Hall where paranormal experiences, creepy noises and bone chilling sounds are a normal part of any school day, making it the creepiest location on campus. The room has long since been considered uninhabitable by the school because of the morbid events that occurred inside when a female student died violently while attempting to contact the dead through occult practices. Another issue with Wilson Hall is that it is believed to be built over an Indian cemetery lending to the theory that it is conductive to psychic because of the layout of peaks and valleys.

Athens county records exhibit a detailed spread sheet showing that the dorm was built over one of the many sacred Native American burial mounds. The fourth floor of Wilson Hall has the power to stand your arm hair up simply from the sight of floating apparitions that share the halls with the many passerby's that travel them on a daily basis. Nearby Washington Hall has also been noted as having ghosts; in fact there is a whole team of them. It is rumored that a girl's basketball team died in a collision during a return trip home from basketball camp late one evening. Giggling female ghosts can be heard throughout the walkway and the sounds of basketballs being dribbled fills the halls with an eerie vibration that leaves no doubt in one's mind as to what is occurring. Female apparitions have been caught on camera in the arch that connects Washington and Read Hall.

The cemeteries surrounding the city are listed as having some of the most extreme hot spots for paranormal activity. One of the creepiest and deeply active graveyards is the Hanning cemetery because it is home to a host of restless spirits including a male ghost that has been seen wearing an old ratty robe. When he appears he is often accompanied by dizzying screams and disembodied sounds that are nothing short of bone chilling. According to the local folklore there has been a few productive séances conducted at the cemetery including one dating back to 1969 that provided strong evidence of ghosts when the padlocked gate of the cemetery unlocked and opened on its own during the proceedings.

The Simms Cemetery, located just off of Peach Ridge Road follows the Hanning cemetery in a close second as far as hauntings go and rightfully so. Named after John Simms, it is believed that he is still lurking around the grounds fully dressed in his traditional hooded robe, razor sharp sickle in hand searching for criminals to persecute. The "hanging tree" is located in these spooky grounds and carries a sinister past filled with shockingly evil deaths at the hands of the infamous John Simms who unmercifully watched his frightened victims being condemned to death. The tree was put out of use during the late 1890s, but the sorrowful ghosts that met their demise can often be seen hanging from the tree late at night when the moon casts its eerie light just perfectly onto the hillside where it remains.

The Bethel Cemetery is known for its questionable layout of graves that are puzzling due to their strange direction. It is common knowledge that the majority of cemeteries plan out the graves to face east to west, naturally aligning with the rising sun, but this graveyard has a set of plots that are arranged north to south, with no visible explanation as to why. Old county records offer little explanation and folklore offers a varied degree of possible explanations. Unfortunately it is believed that this mishap may be the cause as to why this graveyard remains so restless with tired ghosts that never appear to quiet down. Orbs and apparitions are regulars at this cemetery as is strange sounds, bad odors, cold temperatures and unexplained feelings of being watched by something not of this world.

The West State Street Cemetery is host to a crying angel that stands memorialized with a downcast face, sad eyes and a wrought iron fence protecting her from harm. The weeping angel watches over the many lost souls, apparitions and misguided ghosts found at this very heavily haunted location. This highly spirited cemetery has graves dating back to 1806 and has been the site of orbs and strange paranormal activity ranging from floating lights to apparitions and disembodied sounds that can never quite be identified. According to the locals and many visitors to the city who have passed by the graveyard, the angel's wings appear to flutter and at times you will witness her crying. This ghostly monument commemorates the unidentified soldiers interred in the cemetery and is known as the "Angel of the Unknown Soldiers".

A few of the Ridges Cemetery are unquestionably haunted, but the most active graveyard of all of the Ridges cemeteries is located at the rear corner of the grounds of the asylum. It is not surprising when you consider the horrible conditions the patients endured while living at the asylum. It is believed that many of the hauntings have been derived from the unique ring of graves that make up the corner of the cemeteries layout, and legend has it that witches use it to the fullest extent for conducting séances. Night fall is the optimal time to visit if you desire to visit with a ghost.

Screams from afar can be heard coming from this highly spirited hill of death, but nothing is ever found when it is investigated other than the obvious. Orbs, apparitions and voices have been picked up through high-tech equipment and ghosts are regular inhabitants at this cemetery, day or night, and have been seen by many unsuspecting visitors. Due to the popularity and widespread news media concerning ghosts and paranormal activity, the city of Athens fell under the radar as being one of the top haunted cities in America and just as fast the haunted city aired on the Fox Family Channel special "Scariest Places on Earth".

Tours of Athens are available through the county convention and tourism center and a featured block party held during the spookiest holiday of the year is a real crowd pleaser. Halloween in Athens is the only place to be when you are a diehard fan of all things spooky. For more information go to:

The Boo Train is a family-oriented Halloween favorite as costumed characters entertain passengers while they become engaged with the scary sounds of the night. The train departs on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. Passengers will enjoy an 1 1/2 train ride.

Cost: Adult $15.00 and Children 3-12 $7.00

Contact: or Call the Depot at 1-800-967-7834


Angel, Appalachian Mountains, Apparition, Athens, Campus, Cemetery, Disembodied Voices, Ghost, Graves, Haunted, Memorialized, Mental Hospital, Ohio, Paranormal, Spirit, Tour, Tours, Train Ride, University, Unknown Soldier

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Sherri, I think this is the scariest article of all and It's in Ohio. A little too close to me! Do you write these articles at night? If so I just don't know how you do it. Great writing!

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author avatar Sherri Granato
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Of course I write them at night, right after I come in from ghost hunting. Lol

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Sherri, you are a braver person than me! All I've got to say is it's a good thing there are people like you to write these paranormal articles because I couldn't do it.

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