The Chi Omega Sorority House in Bowling Green State University is believed to be haunted by a pledge from the 1940s or 1950s that was killed by the train on the railroad tracks. Not much is known about this haunting.
The old schoolhouse in Fincastle, Ohio is located off Interstate RT.62. The school closed in the 1960s, and it is now in poor condition. The second floor has collapsed into the first. Lights can be seen coming from the second floor windows and rooms, even despite no one is up there. Years ago, locals would trespass into the school with flashlights and watch as groups of ghost children walked single file through the halls. The spirit of a man with a lantern has been seen walking through the school, followed by a little girl screaming in the background, “No, Daddy, no! Please stop!”.
The old farmhouse on Sherman Church Road in Bolivar, Ohio sits atop a large area of and. Its ominous exterior features broken window panes, and its even more terrifying insides look as if it has abandoned for several decades. The house sits alone on the property.
The University of Dayton was formerly the St. Mary’s School for Boys during the 1850s. Now, apparitions of a priest with students have been sighted at and near the Chapel of Immaculate Conception. The Theta Phi Alpha is said to be haunted by a young man. Several girls who have taken up residence in the home have reported heavy items being moved around, lights turning on and off on their own, and an ominous presence when they are going to bed. They have also said it is extremely cold at night, and that they wake up with less energy than they did before they fell asleep.
The Methodist Church in Crown City, Ohio had its first paranormal occurence during the summer of 1953. Multiple people witnessed a house materialize on the lawn adjacent to the church. The single-story ghost house has had a ten-foot bush in front of it in some accounts. Whenever witnesses approach it, the structure disappears. Oddly, there has never been a house on this location.
The Convent of St. Thomas is haunted by an unidentified nun who has had several reported sightings by several sisters living in the convent. It is said that the nun kneels at the altar rail in front of the tabernacle. The cause of the haunting is unknown due to the lack of her identity, though it is assumed that she is lingering behind because of the convent being home to her.
Brownella Cottage was the home of Ella Brown, the cottage’s namesake and the wife of Bishop William Brown. William was kicked out of the church in 1924 directly after he proclaimed that he did not believe in anything supernatural, particularly God. Ironically, William is one of two ghosts haunting the cottage. Ella has been seen on the stairs and the turret on the second floor. Her apparition appears in a white dress.
The Ohio State Reformatory (also known as OSR and Mansfield Reformatory) is located in Mansfield, Ohio and is noted as one of the most haunted places in the world. Work on the prison began on November 4th, 1886, when the first cornerstone was placed.
The campaign to build the prison had been a long one, running from the end of the Civil War up until 1884, when the state legislature approved the prison’s creation. It was to serve as an intermediate step between the Boys Industrial School in Lancaster and the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus.
In order to purchase thirty acres of land for the prison, the city raised $10,000 to continue building. For $20,000, the state had acquired 150 acres of adjoining land. The chosen site had served as one of two Civil War military camps. The celebration of the prison’s construction was massive, with guests such as former President Rutherford B. Hayes, Senator John Sherman, Governor J.B. Foraker, and General Roeliff Brinkerhoff (who led the prison campaign). November 4th, 1886 was declared “Mansfield’s Greatest Day” because of the building of the Ohio State Reformatory.
Levi T. Scofield, an architect from Cleveland, was hired to design the prison, which would cost about $1.3 million to build. Scofield based his designs after sketches of Old World castles in Germany. It wasn’t until 1896 that the prison was able to accept prisoners, as financial problems caused several construction delays.
On September 17th, 1896, the prison officially opened, and 150 inmates were transferred from the Ohio Penitentiary into the Ohio State Reformatory. The Columbus Evening Press wrote about the event, and described the prisoners as if they were celebrities. Many of the prisoners had even been given cigars.
Being moved from the Penitentiary to the Reformatory via train, crowds watched as the prisoners were unloaded into OSR directly into their cells. However, the prison was still far from being finished, despite being open. The inmates were sent to work on building the sewer system, and they built 25-foot stone walls surrounding the 15 acre complex.
In 1908, the east cell block was completed. Due to the fact it was an intermediate prison, it held young, first-time offenders, as well as a few famous inmates. Some of the convicts would later go on to perform bigger crimes, including one prisoner, Henry Baker, who would go on to pull off the famous Brink’s robbery of 1950.
On November 2nd, 1926, a paroled inmate returned to the Ohio State Reformatory and shot Urban Wilford, a 72-year-old guard, outside of the west gate in an unsuccessful attempt to help a friend escape the prison. Philip Orleck, the gunman, was arrested two months later, and he died in the Ohio Penitentiary’s electric chair a year later.
Six years later on October 2nd, 1932, Frank Hanger, age 48, was beaten with an iron bar to death during an escape attempt made by twelve inmates. In 1935, inmates Merrill Chandler and Chester Probaski were found guilty of the murder, and were killed on the electric chair.
When it first opened, OSR was considered the best prison of its kind. However, it began to gain criticism for its overcrowded conditions from as early as 1933. A research group made up of educators and penologists investigated the prison in the same year, and called it “a disgrace”, particularly taking note on the fact that the reformatory had no rehabilitation for the inmates.
Ohio State Reformatory’s darkest day was July 21st, 1948, when two former inmates kidnapped the prison’s farm superintendent, John Niebel, his wife, and his 20-year-od daughter from their home and murdered them in a cornfield off of Fleming Falls Road.
The two killers, Robert Daniels and John West, got trapped two days later in a roadblock near Van Wert. West died in a shoot-out and Daniels was captured. The Niebel murders were a part of a two-week crime spree that involved West and Daniels killing six people. Daniels confessed to the murders, stating that it was merely an act of revenge. He died in January of the following year via electric chair at the Ohio Penitentiary.
Arthur Lewis Glattke, who was the superintendent from 1935 to 1959, was respected by professionals and inmates alike. He was appointed directly after his work on the Martin Davey political campaign. In order to keep inmate morale high, he played music throughout the cell blocks.
One fateful day in November, 1950, Arthur’s wife, Helen Bauer Glattke, accidentally discharged a handgun while reaching into a jewelry box in the family quarters. Three days later, she died of pneumonia because of the accident. Arthur died in his office on February 10th, 1959 of a heart attack.
One of OSR’s prisoners went on to become a celebrity. Gates Brown from Crestline, Ohio served in the prison from 1958 to 1959 for burglary, but he went on to play for the Detroit Tigers from 1963 to 1975. He earned a reputation as one of baseball’s best pinch-hitters.
Another prisoner was already famous when he was sent to prison. Kevin Mack, who was the star running back for the Cleveland Browns, served a month at the prison during 1989 for drug charges.
Forty years later in the 1970s, a nine-member evaluation team came to study the vocational programs offered at the Ohio penal institutions. They recommended, replacing the OSR with several smaller institutions that would hold no more than 500 inmates.
The prisons deterioration came to a head in 1978, when the Counsel for Human Dignity, which was a coalition of civic and church groups, filed a federal lawsuit on the behalf of 2,200 inmates at the prison. The suit stated that the prisoner’s Constitutional rights were being violated since they were forced to live in inhumane conditions.
In 1983, the lawsuit was resolved, resulting in a consent decree in which the prison officials agreed to improve the conditions while prepping to close the cell blocks by December 31st, 1986. The closing date was extended by the court due to the construction delays of the Mansfield Correctional Institution.
The final years of the OSR somehow attracted movie makers, as only then did movies start using it as a location. Celebrity actors started coming to the prison, such as James Caan, Elliot Gould, Diane Keaton, Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russel.
The prison remained in operation up until December, 1990, when the federal court shut it down with the Boyd Consent Decree. A number of “extra” buildings were demolished afterwards. In 1995, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society (MRPS) was formed in hopes of restoring the prison for recreational use. The prison then turned into a museum, and tours were added to help fundraise for restoration projects.
At six tiers high, the East Cell Block is the world’s largest free-standing steel cell block. The prison is haunted by many of the inmates, a few guards, and the wife of one of the superintendents, Helen. Over 200 inmates and guards died at OSR.