Classic Columbus Ghost Stories: Seven Spooky Destinations Worth a Road Trip

Emily Thompson
1. The Ohio State Reformatory

Columbus has its fair share of haunted houses and the likes, but you don't need to travel far to find plenty of other storied places with ghostly inhabitants.

1) The Ohio StateReformatory in Mansfield

Said to be one of the most haunted places in Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory operated as a halfway point for young, first-time offenders between the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster and the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus from 1910 to 1990. Ghost hunters now flock to the historic site, where more than 200 prisoners died, in addition to the murders of guards and the farm superintendent and his family, and the mysterious death of the warden's wife, Helen Glattke. The reformatory has since served as a setting for several films and music videos, most notably "The Shawshank Redemption."

2) The Ridges in Athens

Formerly the Athens Lunatic Asylum, The Ridges operated as a mental hospital from 1874 to 1993. Reports detail overcrowding and inhumane treatment, and more than 1,930 patients are buried in on-site cemeteries. One of the most infamous deaths is that of Margaret Shilling, whose body is said to have left a stain on the floor after she died from heart failure. Ohio University now owns the site of the hospital's original main building and has repurposed several of the buildings into classrooms and

3) The Buxton Inn in Granville

The ghosts of former owners and innkeepers are rumored to haunt this inn that's been open since 1812. The Buxton Inn also housed Granville's first post office anda stagecoach stop between Columbus and Newark. Another popular tale describes a ghost cat that wanders the halls and occasionally jumps on guests'

4) Majestic Theaterin Chillicothe

The owners of this haunted arts venue claim it's the oldest continuously operating theater in the country. Built in 1853, the theater has hosted the likes of Bob Hope, Laurel & Hardy and Sophie Tucker. In 1918, hundreds of soldiers died from Spanish influenza at nearby Camp Sherman. Local mortuaries were overcrowded, so the theater was used as a morgue. Blood and other bodily fluids were thrown out behind the theater in the alley, hence its nickname, "Blood Alley."

5) Salt Fork State Park in Lore City

Several visitors to the largest state park in Ohio have claimed Bigfoot sightings. The park hosted this year's Ohio Bigfoot Conference in May, drawing Sasquatch enthusiasts from around the country. Many sightings of tall, dark figures in the park were recorded and posted online, including one featured on the "Finding Bigfoot" portion of the Animal Planet website.

6) Kenyon College in Gambier

Students who died at Kenyon College-train and auto accidents and a fire among the causes-are said to haunt several campus buildings. One of the spookiest locations is the south entrance to campus, known as The Gates of Hell. Legend has it if someone walks along the gravel path and between the stone pillars at midnight as the bells at the nearby Church of the Holy Spiritare ringing, he or she will be transported to

7) Farnam Manor in Richfield

Featured on the America's Most Haunted website, Farnam Manor is said to be haunted by former residents. Everett Farnam built this mansion on a 3,200-acre estate for his bride, Emily, in 1834. They raised five children here; two died at a young age-one was ill as a baby, and another drowned in the cistern. The spirits of the two children and past property owners are rumored to linger at the