Ghosts of Ohio

Ghosts of Ohio Newsletter - October 2007

Volume 5 / Issue 1

Happy Halloween!
Even though our Halloween issue marks yet another anniversary for The Ghosts of Ohio newsletter, I always end up feeling a certain sadness when I’m putting it together, because it means we’re putting yet another Halloween in the books. This Halloween season, however, was one of the most fulfilling The Ghosts of Ohio has had to date. Not only did we get to meet with more than 1,000 of you while on our Restless Spirits Tour, but a large number of you who came out ended up signing up for our newsletter, which means you’re now officially part of our ghostly family. Welcome!

Another great thing about this Halloween season was that a lot of people who were starting up ghost groups came out to meet us. It was great to have the opportunity to chat with all of you, and to hear that so many of you admire the work that The Ghosts of Ohio does is something we don’t take lightly. We consider it an honor and we are dedicated to making sure we continue to make you proud of us for the remainder of 2007 and beyond.

James A. Willis

Those of you who haven’t visited our website in a while, might want to take a peek, because we recently launched a brand-new site. Much more than a couple of tweaks, the new site contains more than 60 ghost stories, and more detailed information about the work The Ghosts of Ohio does, both with investigations as well as with our community outreach programs. So swing by and let us know what you think!

As of this writing, we still have a few stops left on our Restless Spirits Tour, which has been taking us all across the state of Ohio. So far, we have met more than 1,250 people and have made some new friends along the way. It was great meeting all of you, especially those of you who took the time to share your personal experiences with us.

If you didn’t get a chance to come and meet us this time, no worries. We’ve already started scheduling appearances for 2008, including some in early spring. So keep an eye on our website or our Myspace calendar to see when The Ghosts of Ohio will be coming to your town!

If you’re reading this, that means you are on our newsletter mailing list. Good for you! That means that beginning in 2008, you are 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 of ours 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!

No one can have too many ghostly friends. 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

Are you dreading fighting the holiday mall crowds? This year, The Ghosts of Ohio Online Store has everything you need to keep all the ghost lovers on your list happy. Best of all, you can do all your shopping from the warmth of your own home.

All proceeds help support The Ghosts of Ohio organization.

Danielewski, Mark. House of Leaves. New York: Random House, 2000. Trade paperback. $19.95.

Run. Don’t walk. Run. If you have not already read it, run out and beg, borrow, or buy House of Leaves.

Those who have read the first several of my reviews for this newsletter know that, though fair (I hope), I am not someone who bestows praise lightly. I love to be entertained, and that extends to occasional mindless entertainment. But I also enjoy being challenged; I love to have my mind warped by a finely wrought puzzle, whether mechanical, philosophical, artistic, or literary. I am not talking about simple mysteries (though I love those) or formalist gimmickry (cute, at best). I am talking about head-scratching, pencil-in-hand, tongue-between-teeth, up-all-night-on-a-case-of-Red Bull kinds of puzzles. Puzzles without ready solutions. Infinite games.

House of Leaves, the 2000 debut novel by Mark Z. Danielewski, is such a puzzle. The easiest, most mundane thing I can say about this novel is that it is a haunted-house story. It is the story of Will Navidson, Karen Green, and their two children, Chad and Daisy, and the house on Ash Tree Lane into which they all move in 1990. Navidson is a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist, and has finagled some meaty grants for the purpose of filming the process of his own family moving into the place and making a home for themselves. The house is therefore wired, Big Brother-style, with Hi8 camcorders and 16mm and Super-8 film cameras. These cameras capture the central events of the story, which…well, is kind of like Clive Barker-meets-Extreme Home Makeover. That’s not actually fair; there is very little gore in Danielewski’s novel. One of the triumphs of the book is the way that the author is able to convey the horror of what is happening (which basically, if inexplicably, involves the radical elasticity of time and space) without resorting to blood and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

If this novel was simply a dramatization of the Navidson’s documentary film, then it would deserve the comparisons to The Blair Witch Project that so frequently nip at its heels. House of Leaves is considerably more than that. The novel is actually three texts (although two predominate) haunted by a film. The reader never “sees” The Navidson Record, the documentary made inside the house, because the film does not exist; it is the ghost that haunts this book.

The core of the novel is a mad collection of documents and notes written by a man named Zampanó. This text, also called The Navidson Record and typeset in Times New Roman, is his attempt to explicate the documentary film and the events surrounding its making.
The second text within the novel is the footnoted editorial commentary on Zampanó’s monograph by an apprentice tattoo artist named Johnny Truant. Truant comes into possession of the text by way of a friend who lives in the same apartment building in which Zampanó dies. Truant is so fascinated by the text that he begins to edit it into a single document; the original is a mass of thousands of different pages, scraps, matchbooks, napkins, all jammed into a trunk—hardly a ‘book’. All of Truant’s footnotes are printed in Courier.

Finally, there are rare and scattered footnotes (in Bookman font) by the unnamed Editors of the combined Zampanó-Truant manuscript. In addition to all this, there are color plates essential to deciphering the narrative, three-color typesetting (black, red, and blue), and flights of page-formatting fancy so dizzying that you will be spinning the open book around in your hands and fetching a mirror in an attempt to read this amazing novel. (I offer these next points merely as warnings and in no way as criticism.)

If you are looking for a book to share with your family, I would pass on this one, unless your family includes no children and is full of readers who love to have their books twist them in knots. Though Zampanó’s quasi-scholarly text is relatively family-friendly for a gothic tale, Johnny Truant’s footnotes can get downright pornographic in spots. House of Leaves resists closure and easy answers, and that resistance is something that many readers have been trained to see as bad or lazy writing. I don’t think the novel suffers from either of these things. I don’t claim to have the whole novel figured out; that is, if House of Leaves is a puzzle, then I have not yet solved it. And yet, my suspicion is that this kind of uncertainty is part of Danielewski’s point. Readers who are up to the challenge would do well to remind themselves that some of the best ghost stories in the English language are the ones without clear answers.

Is the novel scary? Yes, I think so. Is it easy to read? No, decidedly it is not easy to read. However, it will repay those who are up to the challenge of exploring the house on Ash Tree Lane.

Skulls RatingHouse of Leaves – 5 skulls!

Do you have an interest in ghosts and the paranormal? Would you like to join The Ghosts of Ohio on an investigation? Here's your chance: simply follow the link below, complete the online application, print it out, and mail it to us. It's that simple!

Thinking about visiting someplace spooky this holiday season (other than your relatives’)? 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**--it can be 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 web site and future editions of our newsletter. 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)
Ellis Bike Path Bridge (Zanesville/Muskingum County)
Gibbs Bridge (Sylvania/Lucas County)
Lockbourne Hell House (Lockbourne/Franklin County)

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© 2008 The Ghosts of Ohio