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Who ya gonna read? Chilling Halloween Books for Ohio Ghostbusters

UPublish story by Louise Cantrell

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Thrills and chills in these books on Ohio ghosts.

It’s the time of year to pull out a scary book of Ohio ghost stories. Here are some shivery Halloween reading suggestions.

• The Haunted Ohio series, volumes 1-5 ($12.95), and Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio ($16.95) all by Chris Woodyard.

The faceless hitchhiker, the headless motorcyclist of Elmore, the tragic Ceely Rose, a skeletal driver on Rt. 40, ghostly nuns at Collingwood Arts Center, the spirits at the USAF Museum--the series covers over 500 stories and all 88 Ohio counties. See www.hauntedohiobooks.com for fact sheets, indexes, stories, and counties covered in each book.

• The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, James Willis $24.95

Willis, founder of The Ghosts of Ohio and co-author of Weird Ohio, brings us a book packed full of the ghosts—historic and legendary--of Ohio. He writes, “I wanted to include the [stories] that I hoped might give you a chill or two.”

And he has! This collection is an excellent compendium of Ohio’s ghostlore, a record of the stories that have thrilled us from the 19th century through the internet age. All the classics are here: The Elmore Rider, Johnson’s Island, Brownella Cottage, Moonville Tunnel, Franklin Castle, witches’ graves, the Buxton Inn, Punderson Manor, Gore Orphanage, Athens, Rogues’ Hollow and much much more. This is the perfect book for the ghostly legend-tripper and storyteller alike.

• Cleveland Ghosts: Nights of the Working Dead in the Modern Midwest, Charles Cassady, Jr. $14.99

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.

• 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. $19.99

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.

• Guide to Ohio University Ghosts & Legends, by Craig Tremblay, $17.95, 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.

Haunted History of Columbus, Ohio, Nellie Kampmann, $19.99. The author, a Columbus Landmarks Foundation ghost tour guide 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.

• The Haunted History of the Ohio State Reformatory, Sherri Brake, $17.99.

The macabre history of Ohio’s most popular haunted attraction, including 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.

• Haunted Akron, Ohio, Jeri Holland, Ken Summers, 2011, $19.99 In this ghostly tour through Akron’s haunted and sometimes brutal past, the authors dig into ghost tales and local legends like Akron’s Civic Theatre, the Ghost Blimp, phantom trains at River Styx, and canal ghosts.

• For the children’s Halloween party: Spooky Ohio: 13 Traditional Tales, selected and retold by Chris Woodyard, $9.95. 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.

• Ghosthunting Ohio, and Ghosthunting Ohio: On the Road Again, by John Kachuba $15.95 each. 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 Ohio ghost hunting groups and tours, or locations by theme like hotels or universities.

• The Face in the Window: Haunting Ohio Tales, Chris Woodyard, $16.95. This new collection from Haunted Ohio series author Chris Woodyard, is a scrapbook of Victorian hauntings and horrors. These chilling tales collected from antique newspapers 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 ($16.95) contains stories of ghostly women in white, haunted objects, jail-bound spooks, and a chapter on the paranormal history of Pearl Bryan.

Find these books at your local bookstore or library, draw a hay bale up to the bonfire, and--happy hauntings!


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