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The Twelve Ghosts of Christmas: Ohio Ghost Stories for the Ghost Hunter on Your List

UPublish story by Louise Cantrell

Ghostly tales for the kiddies' holiday stockings.

The Victorian Christmas was traditionally a time when people gathered by the fireside and told ghost stories. Who could forget A Christmas Carol with its ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future? Today ghost hunting is more popular than ever. Here are some selections for the Ohio ghost hunters on your list: the ghosts for Christmas presents.

1) The Face in the Window: Haunting Ohio Tales, a new collection from Haunted Ohio series author Chris Woodyard, is a scrapbook of Victorian hauntings and horrors. These chilling tales include sightings of spook lights, hell-bound trains, cemetery wraiths, a prophetic cat named “Death,” headless ghosts, the Women in Black, and fire-starter poltergeists, all unearthed from 19th-century sources. A treasure-trove of long-lost stories. The sequel The Headless Horror: Strange and Ghostly Ohio Tales, will be available in January 2013.

2) Cleveland Ghosts: Nights of the Working Dead in the Modern Midwest, Charles Cassady, Jr. A comprehensive look at the many haunted places and ghosts of Cleveland including Franklin Castle, Squires Castle, Grays Armory, Erie Street Cemetery and the very haunted theatres of Playhouse Square. You’ll find ghosts at local hotels and restaurants as well as Geauga Lake Amusement Park and sections on the Melonhead and Gore Orphanage legends.

3) Ghosts of Cincinnati: The Dark Side of the Queen City, Written by the owners of Ghosts of the Queen City Tours, Teri Casper and Dan Smith. You’ll meet Captain Mary Greene of the steamboat Delta Queen, the Lady in Green who roams Carew Tower, artists Lizzie and Frank Duveneck who reunite at the art museum, the World War II soldier searching for a way home from Union Terminal, the many ghosts of Music Hall, as well as much more.

4) Ghosts of Ohio's Lincoln Highway, Bruce Carlson. The Lincoln Highway, the first coast-to-coast highway runs 240 miles in Ohio from East Liverpool through Van Wert to the Indiana border. Tells of the horrific ghost of a two-headed child in Upper Sandusky, ghostly horses at Wooster, a phantom ballplayer at Crestline, a ghostly rooster near Mansfield, a jilted Massillon man who, after death, finally got the engagement ring back from his faithless fiancée. Stories from Van Wert, East Liverpool, Delphos, Ashland/Nankin, Beaverdam, Canton.

5) Guide to Ohio University Ghosts & Legends, by Craig Tremblay, combines folklore and real history to relate the many legends of Athens and Ohio University including the Moonville Tunnel, Simms Cemetery, and the notorious Athens Lunatic Asylum, (The Ridges) where a patient’s body decomposed on the floor, leaving behind a stain that cannot be removed.

6) Haunted History of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Landmarks Foundation ghost tour guide Nellie Kampmann takes you on a well-researched historical journey to meet the ghosts who haunt the Ohio capital. Public sites covered include the Franklin County Poor House, Kelton House Museum and Garden, the Snowden-Gray House, Harrison House Bed & Breakfast, The Ohio State University, the Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre, and Kampmann Costume Company. This is one of a series of books on Ohio ghosts from History Press, including Haunted Marietta, Ghosts of Historic Delaware, Haunted Miami Valley, Haunted Marion, and more.

7) The Haunted History of the Ohio State Reformatory, Sherri Brake, While the book focuses on the macabre history of Ohio’s most popular haunted attraction, there are also chapters of anecdotes by volunteers at the Reformatory and people who have toured the prison on the ghost tours, impressions by sensitives and mediums and ghost hunters, and theories about why the ghosts haunt.

8) Haunted Akron, Ohio, Jeri Holland, Ken Summers, 2011 In this ghostly tour through Akron’s haunted and sometimes brutal past, paranormal specialist and historian Jeri Holland digs into the ghost tales and local legends like Akron’s Civic Theatre, the Ghost Blimp, phantom trains at River Styx, and canal ghosts that are as much Akron’s history as its industrial heritage.

9) Headless Brides and Devil Dogs, Exploring Southern Ohio’s Haunted Roads and Bridges, David Alan Scott An exceptionally thoughtful, well-researched, and well-written book on Ohio’s road ghosts. Starting with Dead Man’s Curve in Clermont County, the state’s number one spot for deadly auto accidents, Scott moves on to Native American sites, parks, Tiny Town, Hangman’s Hollow, the Oxford ghost motorcycle, Spooky Hollow Road, The Screaming Bridge, and The Highway to Heaven. Includes directions to public sites and cautions about visiting.

10) For the children’s stockings: Spooky Ohio: 13 Traditional Tales, selected and retold by Chris Woodyard. Written for grades 4-7 or for storytelling. A headless horseman, the vengeful ghost of a jilted bride, the Devil disguised as a black dog, and a sad little girl ghost are only a few of these traditional folktales designed to be read by the fire. Chilling black-and-white illustrations by Ohio artist Jessica Wiesel.

11) Ghosthunting Ohio, and Ghosthunting Ohio: On the Road Again, by John Kachuba. While visiting haunted sites and interviewing witnesses, Kachuba amiably tries dowsing for ghosts, visits with psychics and spirit mediums, and finds orbs in his photos. A refreshing book from a curious yet skeptical “regular Joe.” In the sequel, the author alternates longer stories with intriguing “spotlights” on one of many Ohio ghost hunting groups and tours, or locations by theme like hotels or universities. He also writes about “Legendary Ghosts” to highlight the difference between folklore and a modern investigation of a current haunting.

12) Ghost Stories of Ohio, Edrick Thay, A great compendium of haunts from all over the state: legendary tales to interviews with eyewitnesses, including the horrific Ashtabula Bridge railway disaster, spirits of the Mansfield Reformatory, Mothman, Serpent Mound, the deadly history of Franklin Castle, Athens’ haunted cemeteries, the friendly ghosts of the Buxton Inn.

All books mentioned here are available through

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