We love this time of year because Thurber House is full of people coming and going! We’ve had Young Docents bustling around decorating the house for the holidays, authors with our Evenings with Authors series stop by for a visit (click here to see who will be with us next week!), and soon student writers will be piling in as our Pen and Tell It! children’s writing program kicks off.
And with Halloween right around the corner, another guest has been coming by and making itself known, the Thurber House ghost! From our experiences, the ghost is never there to cause trouble, but just wants to check in on what’s happening. If you haven’t heard the tale of our ghost, here’s how the story goes:
It all began with the night the Ohio Lunatic Asylum burned on November 17, 1868. The Asylum covered several blocks of downtown Columbus, including the area where Thurber House now stands. Seven people died in the fire, and their spirits are said to be many of our ghosts.
The night of James Thurber’s ghostly experience was exactly 47 years after the Ohio Lunatic Asylum burned. According to his story “The Night the Ghost Got In,” Thurber was in the upstairs bathroom washing his face when he heard the heavy footsteps of a man pacing around the dining table downstairs. He thought a burglar had broken in and tiptoed to his brother Robert’s room to wake him. Thurber and his brother approached the head of the stairs just as the footsteps ceased. Suddenly, they heard the footsteps launch up the steps two at a time, coming straight for them! When they glanced down, there was nobody there, though they heard the footsteps rapidly approaching. Thurber’s brother ran to his bedroom, and Thurber ducked into the bathroom and slammed the door at the moment the invisible figure would have reached him.
Since then, house visitors have had their own ghostly encounters from hearing kitchen cabinets rattle, to having books flung at them.
In the spirit of Halloween, we wanted to give you a list of some other well-known haunted places in Ohio:
Mansfield Prison – Mansfield
Built in 1886, the Ohio State Reformatory was designed to humanely rehabilitate first-time offenders, and was initially applauded as a positive step toward prison reform. However, conditions rapidly deteriorated and after 94 years of operation, the prison’s legacy became one of abuse, torture, and murder.
Columbus Children’s Hospital – Columbus
Said to be built over a cemetery, as well as have a ghost named the Pink Lady!
Old Man’s Cave – Hocking Hills
An old man is known to haunt Old Man’s Cave after a shotgun accident. Orbs and temperature changes are unexplainable as you explore the natural world of Hocking Hills.
Warehouse on Canal – Canal Fulton
People have reported seeing the ghost of a little girl around the old elevator shaft. Some have speculated that she died in or around the elevator, perhaps from an accident.
Ohio University – Athens
From fraternities and sororities to old houses and halls, OU is filled some of the most interesting ghost stories in Ohio. In fact, Wilson’s Hall was featured on FOX’s show “The Scariest Places on Earth.”
Beard Cemetery – Dundas
A ghost of a soldier is said to linger the Beard Cemetery. Normally sighted near his grave, he stands surrounded by mysterious lights. Also, watch out for the ghost of a dog who is said to chase visitors away.
The Moonville Tunnel – Moonville
A signalman, who was crushed under the wheels of the train that used to go through the place, now haunts The Moonville Tunnel.
Gore Orphanage – Lorain County
The story says that an orphanage built in Lorain Country burnt to the ground and now when you visit the site at night you can hear the cries of young children and the smell of burning flesh.
Cleveland Agora Theater – Cleveland
A mysterious man in a yellow coat has been seen walking across the stage, as well as on the balcony of the stairs. Marilyn Manson also has storage in this building that no one dares to touch.
Punderson Manor – Geauga County
There are a dozen different ghostly sightings that have been seen at Punderson Manor that stem from stories of fires and drownings.
Have you ever had a ghostly encounter? Share it with us!