Ghosts of Ohio

Ghosts of Ohio Newsletter - December 2007

Volume 5 / Issue 2

Happy New Year!
Depending on when we managed to get this out to you, you’re either getting ready to put your champagne on ice or else throw the empty bottle in the recycling bin. Either way, on behalf of everyone here at The Ghosts of Ohio organization, we want to wish you all a happy and safe 2008.

It seems hard to believe that yet another ghostly year has slipped by, but it has. Through all the ups and downs, the one thing that The Ghosts of Ohio has made sure remains consistent is our commitment to our friends and clients. That’s why we spent our November and December monthly meetings discussing what happened to us in 2007 and how we can continue to improve in 2008.

We want to be sure that regardless of whether you’re looking for advice on ghost-hunting equipment or just a good, old-fashioned scary story, you look to The Ghosts of Ohio. Just as important, we want to continue to create a safe, professional haven for individuals and families out there who think there’s something unexplained going on in their homes and feel they have nowhere to turn. Whether you in need of help or a fan, we realize that you have many other options, yet you choose The Ghosts of Ohio. For that, we are incredibly honored.

James A. Willis

At The Ghosts of Ohio, we realize that in the field of paranormal research, you simply can’t stop learning. There are always new trends, equipment, and—let’s face it—controversies that we all need to stay up to date on. In order to do that, The Ghosts of Ohio reference library continues to grow by leaps and bounds and now contains well over 500 volumes of ghost-related books. In addition, we now have over 300 articles from Ohio newspapers reporting on ghosts, unexplained phenomena, and just plain weird things from the past 120 years!

We have also invested in several pieces of new equipment. The one that we are most excited about is our Vernier LabQuest, a computer-based interface program that will allow us, through the use of external probes, to track temperature and EMF changes in real time. We will be incorporating this into our investigations beginning in January 2008. We’ll keep you posted as to how it works out.

Finally, we went ahead and purchased one of the infamous K-II meters to get to the bottom of the controversy once and for all. For those of you unfamiliar with the K-II, it made its controversial premiere on an episode of Ghost Hunters when researcher Chris Fleming brought it along on an investigation. Similar to an ELF (think EMF with lights), Fleming stated that ghosts were able to communicate directly with humans by flashing the lights in response to yes-or-no questions. So, does it work?  For The Ghosts of Ohio, the jury is still out. But rest assured, we’ll get Darrin to do a Tools of the Trade article on it in a future edition of our newsletter once we’ve rested our case! 

At the beginning of December, The Ghosts of Ohio spent several hours at Green Lawn Cemetery cleaning up our adopted section, Section 50. During that time, members of the Columbus and Cincinnati divisions filled more than twenty lawn bags with leaves, weeds, and other debris. On December 15th, members of the Columbus division braved the inclement weather and participated in the Wreaths Across America program, placing holiday wreaths on the graves of veterans buried in Green Lawn’s Veteran Section.

If you are interested in helping The Ghosts of Ohio with a future cleanup at Green Lawn Cemetery, please contact us at

In addition to our ongoing community projects, The Ghosts of Ohio gave to several other charities this holiday season.

  • Toys For Tots—The Ghosts of Ohio sponsored their own mini toy drive. Toys were donated by Ghosts of Ohio members and their family and friends. At our annual Merry Scary Christmas party, all the toys were placed under our tree and then collected for distribution by local Marines.
  • Ronald McDonald—A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Ghosts of Ohio merchandise was donated to the Central Ohio Ronald McDonald House. With the money we donated, we were able to sponsor a family for one night. If you purchased any Ghosts of Ohio merchandise during our Restless Spirits Tour this past fall, know that your money went to a good cause. For more information about Ronald McDonald House, please visit
  • Project READ—As the keynote speaker of the 2006 GRIMMY Awards, The Ghosts of Ohio’s founder and director, James A. Willis, related a tale about his joy over receiving books instead of toys for Christmas as a child. That story became the basis for Dayton-based Project READ to create a special charity to ensure that no child goes without books at Christmas. In addition to James lending his name to this worthy cause, The Ghosts of Ohio also donated funds so that several children received two books each at Christmas.

If you’re reading this, that means you are on our newsletter mailing list. Good for you! It also means that beginning in just a few short months, you will be eligible to take part in our new program, Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio. We will be renting out some of the most haunted locations in Ohio (and beyond!), and we’re planning on taking a few lucky friends along to help out. If you’re on our newsletter mailing list, you have a chance to come with us. More information to come soon, so keep an eye on our website!

Start your new year off with a new friend: The Ghosts of Ohio! If you have a MySpace account, swing by and add us to your friends list:

The Ghosts of Ohio has begun scheduling investigations for 2008. If you or someone you know is experiencing something unexplained in their home or place of business, contact us at or visit our website to fill out an investigation request. All investigations are offered free of charge, and confidentiality and discretion are assured.

Not sure if you want or need an investigation? The Ghosts of Ohio now offers consultations. Let us sit down with you to discuss your current situation and what help we may be able to offer. For more information, please visit

Didn’t get everything you wanted this holiday season? Still looking for something unique and perhaps a bit spooky? If so, just head on over to The Ghosts of Ohio’ Online Store and stock up on ghostly attire and more! All proceeds help support The Ghosts of Ohio organization.

Analog and Digital Audio Recorders 
In our attempt to collect recordings of ghost voices, commonly referred to as electronic voice phenomenon or EVPs, The Ghosts of Ohio uses both analog (tape) and digital recorders. Both are effective but you have to use them properly in order to collect any possible evidence that can be considered valid.

Analog Recorders
While considered old-fashioned by many ghost groups, analog tape recorders were once a staple of any ghost hunter’s kit. Since ghosts are believed to be able to affect electromagnetic fields, it was thought they could interact with the magnetic heads of an analog tape recorder, thereby imprinting their voices on them. Even after the advent of digital, non-tape voice recorders, some ghost groups still preferred the analog recorders since using a tape provided a hard copy which could be catalogued and archived. But while the analog tapes provided a nice archive, they also proved a bit of a hindrance since tapes could not be re-used for fear of an old recording “bleeding through” if it was not erased completely, to create something that sounded ghostly, but was not.

As far as The Ghosts of Ohio organization is concerned, we are always conducting experiments to see which recorders give us the best results under various circumstances. For that reason, we still use analog recorders on our investigations. Our advice to you would be that if you choose to use an analog recorder, make sure to always use a good quality tape such as CrO2 or “chrome” tapes, which work with all analog recorders. You can also invest in a recorder that will use "metal" tapes which are the highest quality you can get. The better tapes you use, the better sound quality your recording will be, and that will make a big difference when you go back to review your recordings. Also, always be sure to bring a good supply of tapes with you to the investigation since you can never be sure how many you will need during the course of the investigation.

Digital Recorders
Today, most ghost groups prefer to use digital voice recorders. Unlike traditional tape recorders, digital voice recorders simply record the sound and digitally imprint it to a file in much the same way voice mail works. Since digital voice recorders are more readily available today and don’t use traditional tapes, they are more cost effective in the long run. In addition, there is a wide selection of audio computer programs such as Audacity that enable people do edit their EVPs in order to better analyze them.

When it comes to digital recorders, The Ghosts of Ohio doesn’t feel that there are any specific models or brands that are better than any others. What we encourage people to do is to buy a simple, cheaper model and try it out to see what other bells and whistles you would like to add. Some of the things to consider are how many hours you can record as well as the ability to move files to internal files on the voice recorder. This feature comes in handy since you can record at one location during an investigation (for example, the living room) and when you are ready to move to another location, you can simply move that entire recording to its own file. Then, when you move to another room and start recording, you can essentially create a whole new file. This makes it easier when you’re going back and wading through all the data you’ve recorded during the entire investigation.

External Microphones
Whether you choose to use an analog or a digital recorder (or both), eventually you’re going to want to look into purchasing an external microphone. Most analog and digital recorders come with their own built-in microphones, so you don’t necessarily need an external microphone, but they can be very useful in capturing audio evidence. The big thing to keep in mind is that depending on what type of external microphone you choose, your results can vary greatly.

There are two major types of microphones that The Ghosts of Ohio uses on investigations: unidirectional microphones and omnidirectional microphones. Basically, unidirectional microphones only pick up sounds from directly in front of them while omnidirectional microphones pick up sounds from all sides. If you are unsure as to which type of microphone you have, just look at the head. Unidirectionals are flat at the end, while the omnidirectionals, since they are taking in sound from all sides, are rounded at the end.

The main reason The Ghosts of Ohio uses both unidirectional and omnidirectional microphones is because different situations call for different microphones. For example, placing a unidirectional microphone in the middle of a room facing a door is only going to pick up audio coming from the space between the microphone and the door. However, placing an omnidirectional microphone in the same place will pick up audio coming from anywhere within the room. Always consider where you are going to place your microphones prior to the investigation so that when you arrive, you don’t realize you need different equipment.

Placing Recorders During An Investigation
The most important things about using these devices are placing them properly and being aware of when you or others are around them. Nothing is more frustrating than listening to a potential EVP and discovering that you can’t hear it clearly because the microphone was pointed in the wrong direction. With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • If you are unsure as to where exactly the strange noises being reported are coming from in a specific room, try placing an omnidirectional microphone on a recorder in the center of the room. This will allow you to pick up sounds coming from anywhere in the room.
  • If you only have omnidirectional microphones, place them in the corners of a room pointing into the center of the room. This will allow you to still pick up all the sound coming from a room.
  • Always remember to state the date and time clearly at the beginning of each recording, along with the names of any and all investigators who are in the room or who could possibly be picked up by the recorder. Likewise, anytime someone walks near the recorder, they should state their name loudly and clearly to avoid confusion.
  • Always be sure that you have an ample supply of batteries on hand. Some recorders come with power cords and adapters, but you should always have batteries as a backup since you never know where you’re going to have to set up the recorders.

Final Thoughts
As with all the equipment that The Ghosts of Ohio uses, we have to always be aware of how we are setting it up, where it is while it is being used, and who will be around it during its use. If we cannot account for all of this when we are reviewing the recordings, then anything we may believe we have caught as evidence could be considered invalid. It is harder to go back to a location and redo EVP work than it is to go back and redo anything else because it's harder to recreate conditions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that EVP evidence is very controversial. Skeptics will always question how you captured the “evidence” and offer various theories as to how it could have been faked or have a rational explanation. For this reason alone, it is imperative that you not only know the equipment you are using, but also how to use it.

Dimension Films. 2002. Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Andrew Rona, and Bob & Harvey Weinstein. Directed by David Twohy. Written by Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, and David Twohy. Starring Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, and Zach Galifianakis. Cinematography by Ian Wilson. Edited by Martin Hunter. Music by Graeme Revell and Tim Simonec.

I thought I would continue my run of recommending films and books you ought to watch and read before I dipped back into murky and horrifying pits filled with hideous things that should not be named (or watched, or read). To those of you who come to this section of the newsletter seeking the slaughterhouse, I say, just you wait.

This time around, I want to consider one of the most difficult of stories to do well: the genre hybrid. By genre hybrid, I do not simply mean in this case a horror film that has elements of some other genre (e.g., comedy). What I mean is the careful blending of two
or more genres in such a way that both genres are fully represented in the movie. Alien (1979) is a good example of a film that is both science-fiction and horror; you can enjoy it as a first-rate example of either genre. The brilliant episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More, With Feeling" (Season 6, Episode 8), is a singular example of the horror-musical blend. These stories work on both levels, as opposed to the sometimes off-the-cuff identifications made of other films. For instance, Star Wars (1977) is not a western that takes place in space, as so many have claimed. (It is actually much closer to a World War II combat film.) The trick in the genre-hybrid is to find two or more genres that will complement one another as they enhance the experience for the audience.

The 2002 British ghost story, Below, is just such a film. Co-writers Lucas Sussman and Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) chose to set a haunted house film on an American submarine during WWII. All of the elements of a classic haunted-house film are there: an isolated location with a murky past, a small group of people with personal tensions in addition to the stress and fear of the haunting, disembodied voices, apparitions, old manuscripts filled with dread meaning, and a devastating secret at the heart of it all. The masterful stroke is that all of these elements also serve the classic submarine film (think Run Silent, Run Deep, U-571, or Das Boot). If you like your suspense claustrophobic, nothing beats a good WWII submarine flick, and director David Twohy (Pitch Black, Waterworld, G.I. Jane) gets it right.

The story follows the crew of a U.S. Navy submarine in 1943. The sub is hunting a German u-boat in the Atlantic when it is ordered to assist in rescuing survivors from a sinking Allied hospital ship. The sub crew pulls three survivors from the water: a British navigator, a nurse, and the nurse's German patient. The boat's commander soon kills the German, but when crewmen continue to die mysteriously, the crew is forced to confront the fact that the submarine is haunted. But haunted by what or by whom? As the commander continues to hunt the phantom German sub while eluding a destroyer that constantly drops depth charges into the sea around them, the British nurse tries to discover what happened to the submarine's original captain.

The cast is uniformly excellent, delivering compellingly nuanced performances throughout. Perhaps the place where Below truly shines compared to most other haunted-house films or submarine films is the extent to which Twohy uses visuals to tell the story. The ghosts are subtle, briefly glimpsed, and scary. Good films should not rely too much on dialogue to supply exposition, nor should good horror films rely too much on the screams of the characters to alert the audience to what should be creepy or startling or horrifying all by itself.

All of the submarine exterior shots are achieved using CGI; these shots range in quality from seamless to stunning. The quality of the CGI itself is perhaps no better than that used in U-571, but the conception of the shots in Below tends to be far superior aesthetically. Though the interior sets are a little too roomy to be accurate, the film still manages easily to convey the claustrophobia of submarine warfare.

There are many haunted-house films you could have on your movie shelf, though there are far fewer truly excellent ones. Do not miss this one simply because, on the surface (or gliding beneath it!), it looks nothing like a haunted-house movie. Below is not simply a film that you should see as soon as possible; it is a film that you should own, and proudly.

Skulls Rating: 5 skulls! (Count 'em: five!)

Thinking about visiting someplace spooky? Take The Ghosts of Ohio along with you. Here's how:
*Purchase a GOO-exclusive "Investigate This!" T-shirt from our online store.
*Have your picture taken (while wearing the shirt) in front of a haunted landmark** around the corner or around the globe!
*Send it to with the names of everyone in the picture and location information.
*We'll add it to the rogues' gallery on our Fan Page, complete with credits.

**The Ghosts of Ohio organization does not condone or encourage trespassing or the breaking of any laws in order to obtain photographs. We will not post any photographs on our site that appear to have been obtained by such means. In addition, we will not post any photographs of private residences unless you are either the current owner or have obtained written permission from the owner(s).

The Ghosts of Ohio is currently researching these stories for inclusion on our website or future editions of our newsletter. So if you have any information on these allegedly haunted locations, let us know. And if you give us a tip, we'll post a special "thank you" to you when we complete the story and post it. We'll also let you know where and when
the story is going to run so you can be the envy of all your friends!

Beach Grove Cemetery (Corning/Perry County)
Dead Man's Curve/Spook Hollow (Oregonia/Warren County)
Ellis Bike Path Bridge (Zanesville/Muskingum County)
Gibbs Bridge (Sylvania/Lucas County)
Harrison Road (Wakeman/Huron County)
Lockbourne Hell House (Lockbourne/Franklin County)

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© 2008 The Ghosts of Ohio