Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Abram Simons

When Abram Simons told people he was going to open up an inn, few believed that it would be successful. However, it wasn't long before those people were eating those words. But stories began circulating that Simons was not exactly playing fair with regards to his perspective customers. There were even rumors that Simons would wait until the sun went down and then order his slaves to dump buckets of water all over the dirt road in front of his inn. Simons was hoping the passing stagecoaches would become stuck in the mud and the riders would then be forced to spend the night at his inn.

Over the next few years, gambling became more and more frequent at the inn. Simons even went so far as to build a horse track behind his inn. Simons took great pride in raising and racing his own horses, his favorite being a speedy black horse called Babylon. Having such a fast horse, and a racetrack conveniently located in his own back yard, presented Simons with yet another opportunity to separate customers from their money.

Simons’ wife was a deeply religious woman and regularly attended mass at nearby Smyrna Church. Simons never chose to attend, instead choosing to drop her off at the door and then picking her up afterwards.

One morning, as Simons prepared to pick his wife up in front of the church, he was stopped by the pastor (some versions of the story say it was a traveling preacher). Regardless of who it was, their message was clear: change your ways, Abram Simons, or the devil may take you.

Simons was incredibly shaken at the foreboding warning he had been given. By all accounts, he started cleaning up his act. The slaves stopped watering down the road, the gambling at the inn became less and less frequent, and even the horse racing stopped... almost.

Locals say that it became a common sight to see Abram Simons riding atop Babylon and racing down the dirt road in front of the church at the speed of light. Simons would also race Babylon faster and faster around the old racetrack behind the inn. When asked why he was pushing his horse so hard, Simons would reply to the effect that "if the devil comes for me, I want a chance to outrun him."

Simons also put specific instructions in his will. They specified that Simons wished to be buried on top of the hill overlooking his inn. He also wanted the gravesite enclosed by a large stone wall with a gate in front, some say so that he could look out over his land.

But perhaps the strangest request Simons made in his will was that he be buried standing up with his shotgun at his side; if the devil did decide to come for him, Abram Simons wanted to be ready.

Upon his death, his wishes were followed to the letter.

There is no way of telling whether or not the devil ever chose to come calling on Abram Simons. Locals, however, say that Simons has not stopped preparing for that day. For on certain nights, it is said that you can hear the sounds of a horse racing down the old dirt road, spurred on by an invisible rider. The same sounds are heard in the woods where the inn once stood. And within those same woods, sitting atop a small hill, is a stone enclosure that houses a single, solitary grave. And inside that grave stands the body of a man still watching and waiting for his meeting with the devil.

© The Ghosts of Ohio