When we think of ghost stories we think of bumps in the night, voices, shifting objects and light flickers.
When I think of ghost stories, I think of Ohio University.
OU is the oldest University in Ohio, and is home to several terrifying legends. Athens, Ohio houses The Ridges (a formerly bonkers insane asylum where they practiced the art form of "Ice Pick" lobotomies EEK), five cemeteries that form a perfect pentagram around the center of campus, and Wilson Hall (a haunted classroom building that used to be a dormitory. Many students heard the screams of a student who committed suicide there in the 1970's).
The paranormal activity touches every person that attends OU. It doesn't matter if you're a teacher or student. Somehow, the ghost stories become real.
I turned over and forgot about it, because it was probably the person above me.
Then, I remembered I lived on the 4th floor.
[Here I am in my haunted room, Freshman year of college]
People on the other side of the floor heard furniture moving around...things being knocked over, screaming from inside my now empty room.Chester wasn't happy that I had left.
A few days passed and I hadn't heard from my ghost friend. I guess he didn't want to make the trek across the floor to visit me. And that was a good thing. Sophomore year I was in the building next to Ewing...Wray Hall. Herman returned, moving things, flickering lights and stomping violently on the ceiling. I remember yelling "Chester STOP!" and he would.
He wasn't exactly friendly, but didn't hurt me any either.
Though my personal ghost story might not scare you, these legends from OU's campus definitely will.
Let's start with The Ridges. I mentioned that it was a mental hospital, insane asylum not unlike what you saw in the second season of American Horror Story.
Some of the Ridges campus is used as a Kennedy Center for Art, but most of it lies abandoned. Though the grounds are lush and green there is something wicked in the air. You have to drive up a steep-ass hill to get to The Ridges. It sits atop an appalachian giant overlooking the busy Ohio University campus. You can see it from almost anywhere. It's a hulking structure, mostly post-victorian with bars all over the windows. As soon as you set foot anywhere near it, you can feel the haunting presence of its ghosts. Trust me. After the great mental health collapse of the early 1900's The Ridges turned into a nightmarish place where patients were treated with electro-shock therapy, ice baths and ice-pick lobotomies (you know, that thing that happens to McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). Essentially they jammed an ice pick through your eye socket and into your brain to "alleviate pressure" and make you a "normal" person. It ended up killing lots of people and leaving the ones that survived totally brain dead.
Several freaky things happened at The Ridges before its doors were shut forever.
a patient named Margaret Schilling vanished.
A stain was left on the floor of her room. And after countless bleachings and cleaning attempts the stain would re-appear. The Journal of Forensic Sciences studied the stain and revealed that it was indeed the result of human decomposition. Margaret was left there for 5 weeks. And every time someone tried to remove the mark, it came back, furthering the proof that she was haunting the grounds of the place she was left to die in.
My senior year of college I shot a short film with some Film studies graduate students in this cemetery.
[A tour of the TB ward at The Ridges.] The Tuburculosis Ward at The Ridges is by far the scariest part. This was where the most violent and disturbed people would be quarantined. Most of the They ended up tearing it down my Sophomore year of high school due to a number of things, but I think it's because it was too haunted to be kept standing. There was lead based paint everywhere, broken windows and people kept breaking into it and hurting themselves. It's like Pet Sematary up in there...if you go in, you're cursed forever.
[The staff of Brick Beats Magazine at OU in front of the TB ward, hey...I'm in the middle!] So of course, I went there. Being the idiot that I've always been, I was intrigued by the antique structure and the haunted, terrifying lore attached to it. I took some of my friends, who were all working for this music magazine I had become the co-Editor-In-Chief of freshman year. We took some pictures for an issue up there. And man...just looking up at that building...the memory of it gives me the chills. This was shortly before it was torn down. On the way up, one of our cars got stuck, we ended up hearing a lot of screeching and rattling and yes...there were open windows covering us in paranormal fear.
I never went back.
The most haunted point on campus is Wilson hallSee that star in the middle? That's West Green, a major spot for dormitories and a hub for kids on campus.
Room 428 of Wilson hall is the most haunted place in all of Athens.the girl died violently in the room, smearing her own blood on the walls. Apparently all of the dark spirits in room 428
Athens, Ohio was voted the 13th most haunted place in the world.
I haven't thought about these legends, these hauntings that occured at my alma matter in a while. And with Halloween coming up it's no surprise that they're on my mind.