Ghosts of Ohio

Ghosts of Ohio Newsletter - February 2008

Volume 5 / Issue 3

OK, we’re a two months into 2008. How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? At The Ghosts of Ohio, our resolution to continue providing our clients with the best possible service keeps rolling right along. This past month, we rolled out several new pieces of equipment, including our Vernier LabQuest, which we’ll have more about later in the newsletter. We’ve even modified our evidence review procedures and have started taking a closer look at how we can improve our historical research division.

But that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten about you, our devoted readers and fans. As you’ll see shortly, in addition to the impending kickoff of our Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio contest, we’re working on yet another contest where you can get some Ghost Hunters swag. We’ve even added a new feature to the newsletter and it’s making its premiere in this issue: Ghost Tour Reviews. One of the members of The Ghosts of Ohio, Wendy, has stepped forward and graciously offered to let you in on the inside scoop on all the ghost tours she’s been going on for the last few years. 

Finally, in addition to our new ghost tour review, this issue features an old section that we've brought back from the dead: Ohio Ghost Stories. We'd like to thank all of you who sent us e-mails letting us know how much you enjoyed reading the ghost stories and that you wanted it back. Well, we listened!

All in all, 2008 continues to look like its going to be a banner year for The Ghosts of Ohio. We can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but there’s a lot of other cool and creepy stuff lurking in the months ahead.  Stay tuned!

James A. Willis

We were finally able to test our new computer-based interface program, Vernier LabQuest, on an investigation and it passed with flying colors. We were able to monitor changes in electrical fields and temperature, both ambient and fixed location, in real-time. The fact that the program was able to take readings every .5 seconds was simply amazing and we could see even the slightest fluctuation as it was happening. There were a few minor glitches which Mark is currently having conversations with Vernier about, but other than that, we couldn’t be happier. We also decided to add a 120-foot Super Booster USB extender so we can place the probes where they need to go and still be able to monitor things from our self-proclaimed Command Center.

We are also in the process of testing out a new DVD recorder with our handheld infrared video cameras. Our handhelds are digital video cameras, which meant they needed digital-8 tapes. In case you haven’t noticed, these tapes are getting harder and harder to find. Since we only ever use brand new, unopened tapes for investigations, it can get pretty expensive, too. By feeding our cameras into a DVD recorder, we not only get a more cost-effective solution, but it also alleviates the need to pass out video cameras after the investigation so people can review the evidence. We simply hand them some DVDs that can be popped into any DVD player.

Speaking of evidence review, The Ghosts of Ohio recently restructured the way we go about reviewing audio, video, and photographs collected during an investigation. In the past, we divided and conquered with several team members taking materials home to analyze it alone and then we would come together as a group afterwards to review any potential evidence. Now, we simply set aside a day and we come together as one and review everything all at once. Last investigation, we had to review over 40 hours of video alone, so it helps to have someone there beside you to take over for a bit when you’re eyes are starting to glaze over from staring at a video screen.

Recently, we’ve had several e-mails from our fans get lost in cyberspace. This is due to the fact that they replied to the address that sent them the newsletter. We want to get each and every note you send us, so please don’t reply to the newsletter; it’s nothing more than an automated system that will banish your e-mail to the depths of the Web until we manage to stumble across it. 

We are in the process of scheduling our spring cleanups for both Resor Road, our adopted section of roadway in Fairfield, Ohio, and our adopted section in Green Lawn Cemetery, Section 50. If you are interested in helping The Ghosts of Ohio with a future cleanup at either location, please contact us at

We are still working out some of the details, but we've confirmed the date and venue for our first-ever Spend the Night with The Ghosts of Ohio. On June 21st, 2008, The Ghosts of Ohio will be conducting a private all-night investigation at the Mansfield Reformatory. Want to come along? All you need to do is subscribe to The Ghosts of Ohio newsletter and be one of the lucky names we randomly draw and you're in! More information will be coming soon in a special e-mail to all of our newsletter subscribers, so keep an eye on your inbox. In the meantime, we'll keep scouting out some potential future locations, including the infamous Waverly Sanitarium!

And if for some reason you don't have your own subscription, what are you waiting for?

Are you still not sure you want to sign up for our free newsletter? Then how about this: The Ghosts of Ohio is currently working with the promotional department of Pilgrim Films on a contest for the upcoming fourth season of Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel March 5th. To celebrate, The Ghosts of Ohio will be randomly selecting 10 subscribers to our newsletter and sending them their very own official Ghost Hunters' t-shirt! There is one small catch, though. If you win, we want a picture of you proudly displaying your shirt so we can post it on our site. That way, everyone can see the benefits of subscribing to our newsletter.

We'll be putting up a special contest page on our website in the next day or so with all of the specifics. If you're already a newsletter subscriber, all you need to do is sit back and cross your fingers. If you haven't subscribed yet, what are you waiting for?

Need a spooky friend? If you have a MySpace account, swing by and add The Ghosts of Ohio to your friends list:

The Ghosts of Ohio is continuing to schedule investigations for 2008. If you or someone you know is experiencing something unexplained in a 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

Over the last 7 years, I have made it a habit to check out any available ghost tour at my travel destinations and have probably taken over 20 such tours. With this section, we’ll be focusing on the different ghost walks and tours that are available to the traveler, and I’ll be letting you know about my personal experiences with them.

Before we get started, I should probably discuss our rating system. To come up with this rating system, I looked at things specific to ghost tours. For example, having a really good, knowledgeable tour guide is going to get high marks, while having one who does not know anything about the area is not. I also took into account such things as walking distance and how interesting the stories were. And since The Ghosts of Ohio (GOO) is giving the ratings, I changed them from ghosties to GOOsties! When all was said and done, we had the following rating system:

5 GOOsties—Tops in tours!
4 GOOsties—Just a few steps short of perfection
3 GOOsties—Good tour, but you are going to be walking a lot
2 GOOsties—Good tour, bad guide
1 GOOstie—I fell asleep standing up
0 GOOsties—This was a ghost tour?

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go on a ghost tour! Since this is our inaugural article, we’re going to start with the state of Ohio and focus on two tours presented by Sherri Brake-Recco, at

Canal Fulton Ghost Walk
Dressed in cape and carrying a lantern, Sherri led us around the central downtown area, stopping at several locations to tell us stories about the ghosts that inhabited the buildings, along with some history of what the town was like at that time. She also provided us with information on what current occupants or workers in those buildings were experiencing. Sherri does a wonderful job of painting a historical scene for you, taking you back to various murders and accidents that resulted in the apparent hauntings.

The next part of the tour focused on the outskirts of town. At the canal, we first heard about the crazed canal digger who threw acid on his co-workers. Then Sherri related the story of the ghostly Native Americans said to still walk the Indian Path along the canal. Next up was the old pioneer cemetery, where we were free to wander around for about 15 minutes, check out the gravestones, and try to pick up on anything with our own senses.

We finished the walk at the Warehouse on the Canal.  All in all, I feel it was pretty evenly paced and we didn’t find ourselves having to hurry. There was, however, some up-and-down hill walking when we went to the cemetery, which could be a strain on some people.

As a side note, after the tour I asked Sherri for recommendations on dining in a local ‘haunted restaurant’. She suggested the Sisters Century House, which backs onto the canal.  I and a fellow investigator went back a couple weeks later for lunch. We didn’t pick up on anything ‘ghostly’, but the meal was very good, and the colonial atmosphere and canal view were wonderful.

Zoar Village
The next time we met Sherri was for her Zoar Dinner and Ghost Hunt. This event was different in that it wasn’t a lantern walking tour. Instead, the tour began with Sherri giving a presentation inside the Zoar Hotel about the history of the buildings we were going to be allowed to investigate later in the evening; Number One House, an abandoned supply cabin, and the Zoar Hotel itself. Sherri even had ELF detectors and dowsing rods on hand if anyone on the tour wished to use them.

After the presentation, Sherri led the group down to the Number One House for hot appetizers and dessert. After eating, we were free to hunt in any of the three buildings that were open to us for the evening. Our first stop was the old Zoar Hotel, which is undergoing extensive renovations and is not open to the public. My friend and I spent about an hour there doing work with EVPs, an infrared camcorder, EMF detectors, and even some dowsing rods that we borrowed from Sherri.

After that we went back to the Number One House. Along the way, we picked up the distinct scent of pipe tobacco, even though there was no one on the street at that time. We tried to trace it, but we lost the scent. We also stopped to investigate a cold spot that is often reported right outside the Number One House. In fact, another investigator and I had noticed it on an earlier lantern walking tour. This time, we tried to pick up something with the temperature gauges, the EMF, and the dowsing rods, but were unsuccessful even though we could feel it with our hands. I still have no idea what could have been causing the cold spot, but I’d like to go back and see if an ambient temperature reader will pick it up.

At the Number One House, we decided to try and do some EVP work. Remembering that the town was settled by German church separatists, and since my friend speaks German, we decided to try doing the EVP work in German to see if we could strike up a ghostly conversation that way.

Our next stop was the cabin that used to function as a supply house of sorts for the villagers. Since the cabin’s attic is supposed to be haunted, we made that our primary focus. The steep staircase, coupled with the low-pitched ceilings and almost total darkness certainly throw your senses off, which might explain some of the strange feelings people report while in the attic.

Our evening ended with a quick walk around town. Sherri offered to give a lantern tour and some members of the group took her up on it. But since I had already been on that tour, I headed back to the Zoar Hotel for some more investigating down in the basement.

All in all, this tour is definitely for the serious hunter. These are the types of tours that can be either really good or really bad depending on the people you are on the tour with. Sometimes people forget that on these tours/hunts, you need to be quiet and mindful of your fellow investigators. Thankfully, we had a great group that night. Also, if you are interested in serious investigating, you might want to bring some of your own equipment along like we did. Otherwise, your equipment will be limited to an ELF and some dowsing rods.

The Bottom Line
Sherri offers a wide range of tours, from walking tours to mini-investigations, so there’s something for every level of ghostly interest. Regardless of which of Sherri’s tours you choose to take, they are all reasonably priced and full of historical information. I personally prefer tours that include both historical facts and ghost stories instead of just the spooky stuff.

The bottom line is that if you’re looking to learn more about Ohio and its ghostly side, I would highly recommend trying out one of her tours.

Canal Fulton Ghost Walk—3 GOOsties

Zoar Village Ghost Tour—5 GOOsties

The Stetson House
Unless you’re a fan of cheap cologne, the word “Stetson” means only one thing: hats. You have John Batterson Stetson to thank for that. Born in Orange, New Jersey on May 5th, 1830, John Batterson Stetson spent his youth working as a hat maker with his dad, Stephen. When he was in his 20s, John Stetson was diagnosed with tuberculosis. As a result, doctors recommended that Stetson should move west to live in a warmer climate. Stetson listened and moved out west, creating a hat which would become known as the Stetson hat along the way. He would eventually move back north and settle in Philadelphia, where he started the Stetson Hat Factory and made it into the largest factory in the world at the time, employing upwards of 4,000 people.

It was his return trip north that, according to legend, brought John Stetson to Waynesville, Ohio, where his sister Louis lived.  Louisa Stetson Larrick had been living in the Stetson House for many years when her brother John came for a visit. One variation of the legend claims that Stetson was sent to live with his sister after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. Historical records don’t seem to support that, though, since John was diagnosed in the 1850s and did not visit his sister for another decade. Either way, it is said that John never fully recovered from the disease and that he inadvertently gave it to his sister. She died inside the house in 1879 at the age of 60 years of age. After her death, other families came to live in the Stetson House, although some people say Louisa never left.

Today, mirrors aren’t welcome inside the Stetson House for some reason. They have been known to move around on their hooks and sometimes come crashing off the walls. Visitors to the house have often reported smelling the aroma of fresh gingerbread, which wouldn’t be that strange except for the fact that the building no longer has a functioning kitchen.

Some people have even seen a short woman with dark hair moving through the house, especially at night. Some say that she matches the description of Louisa Stetson Larrick, although others say the ghost bears a resemblance to Lila Benham, a local school teacher who lived in the building after Louisa’s death. This raises an interesting question: are there two female ghosts inside the Stetson House? If you want to find out for yourself, The Stetson House is now an antiques store called The Stetson Place and is located at 234 South Main Street in Waynesville.

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