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Most Haunted?

Jenny Beaver, Ohio, USA
August 1999

Iapologize about the length of this piece, a lot has happened in the 4 years I've been a student.

I currently am a student at Ohio University in Athens, Oh. This area is claimed to be one of the most paranormally active (or haunted) areas in the state, maybe the world. Several factors add up to this. For all of the stories I have found about the area I will include the site addresses below the story.

According to the history of Athens, there was a man who was police/judge/executioner all in one. He hung his criminals at the hanging tree in one of Athens many cemeteries. It is said that the cemetery (see other links for full story) is haunted by him and his victims.

Athens county itself has numerous cemeteries. So many in fact that many times, someone has gone into an area to dig a grave and dug up an unknown and unmarked grave. There may even be some Indian burial grounds around there.

Five of these numerous cemeteries form a pentagram. At the center of the pentagram is Wilson Hall, near the center of campus. Surprisingly that building is not known to be haunted. The campus itself is divided into south, new south, west and east greens. All of these have residence halls on them, while east and west have a few academic buildings.

Across the Hocking river is another recently added annex to the university, known as the Ridges. The ridges was a mental hospital that was closed down in the 1980's. Many ghostly things are known about the ridges and its labyrinth halls.

One story is how a women was deaf and mute. As the women's wing was being closed for renovations she became confused and ended up being sealed in her end of the building. When that section was re-opened, she was found in her room dead. She was naked, lying on the floor with her arms crossed, and though she made no attempt to escape there were shadows of broken glass on the floor. To this day you can go into the room and see where she was lying on the floor when she died (from bodily fluids seeping into the ancient floor).

The ridges also contains a cemetery. As a last indignity to these patients who had to undergo the worst of psychiatric treatment (frontal lobotomies without anaesthetics were performed in a lab under the cafeteria during lunch to remind the patients to be calm) those graves in the cemetery are identified only by numbers, and the records of who is who were lost. In the northwest corner of the main cemetery is a perfect circle of headstones. Some say a local satanic cult use the circle for ceremonies, no one knows for sure, but they do include 13 stones.

The ridges was closed between the 1960's and the 1980's. When it was closed the less violent inmates were released. Since they had no family or anything, they were released into the homeless population of Athens, and some still live in the hills of Athens. I know of one inmate personally who works at a store in the town, he is very nice.

Some other quick stories of Athens (before I get onto my experiences). Wilson hall on west green (there are two wilson halls). There is the story of a woman who was involved in a cult or something, and mysteriously died. Some say she hung herself others say she died bloodily and that the blood could not be removed from the walls no matter how much paint was put over it (cement block walls). What is known is that strange occurrences continued in that room and today if you walk by the room you can see the window of the room from outside, but if you go to where the room should be, the inside has been bricked over by the university.

Bryan Hall, has a ghost named "Flik". Although I do not know the whole story on him, he supposedly lives in the tower of the building (see links for more detail). Well, now onto my experiences after that brief history.

When I first arrived at OU nothing was unusual. Around Halloween, of course, all the ghost stories started popping up in the local paper. My RA had one to add to that. She was staying at a friend's dorm room in the convocation center (around basketball stadium with dorm rooms around the perimeter) the rooms in the convo are separated.. all the bunk beds on one side of the room with a wall that is the back of the closets separating the bed half from the rest. The closets and desks are built into the backs of the beds, so nothing can be rearranged. The four or five occupants of the room (including my RA) were just falling asleep when they heard a loud SLAM! My RA got up and turned on the light. All the closet doors and dresser drawers and desk drawers were all open. Everyone else was still in the bedside of the room.

During my entire stay on campus I heard marbles or pencils being dropped onto the floor above my head. I chalked it up to my neighbors above me. It didn't matter what time it was, because there is no set time at college, everyone stays up late.

Well, my sophomore year I became an RA in the same dorm I lived my Freshman year. I was assigned to the fourth floor. To get an idea of the dorm, It's Treudley Hall, an all girl freshman hall. It's known to have a ghost, but the ghost never did anything. The building itself is shaped like half of an "H" -| the first three floors take up all the shape with the fourth floor being just the straight hallway | and the - part being the attic. Only RA's had the key to the attic and even then we had to go downstairs to the first floor to get it out of the desk. The fourth floor was the very top floor and above my room was nothing but the roof, and the roof even slanted across my window.

The RA's have to move in a week before anyone else for training. When I arrived I was a day earlier than the rest of the RA's. My ARA was the only one in the building with her husband. When I arrived she was glad to see me. She said she had heard furniture moving upstairs in the night. Knowing that no one could be up there, that freaked her out. So now that I was there, she could blame it on me.

When I moved in, my boyfriend stayed with me a couple of nights before returning home. While we were there we would hear furniture moving from the rooms in the building and the infamous marble sounds (sounds like someone is dropping a pencil and letting it roll on the floor) even though no one was above my room. I was used to this so it didn't bother me.

The year progressed, and one night my residents came running to me to tell their neighbors to stop moving their furniture since it was late, and past quiet hours. I went to the room and knocked on their door. The residents in that room told me that they thought it was their neighbors, the girls who had come to me in the first place. Needless to say both rooms did not get much sleep that night since they were so scared. Once again it didn't bother me since I was used to it.

I moved off campus last year (and NO marble sound). But I am moving back onto campus this year to a relatively unhaunted section of campus. We'll see if the marble sounds return. The university itself is very old. It was established in 1804, and the town surrounding it is even older. So many stories are found in its history that I can not tell all of them, so I will include links. I have for a long time been interested in the paranormal, and for a shorter time been involved in Wicca.

None have helped to curb my very active imagination. Since I am so interested I read lots of true ghost stories (including this site which I love so much.)

Late last spring some new friends of mine wanted to hear the stories of the ridges. So we drove out at night and walked among the graves. There was a full moon, so no flashlight was needed. THe graveyard is rather large, and surrounded by woods, which some of the graves have sunk into. I was told by one pagan friend to check out a certain large headstone. He had previously felt anger from it. So I went, armed with a protective crystal, a protective silver ring and an ankh. One of my friends became very frightened so I gave her my ankh and told her it would protect her.

We walked down into the graveyard (Athens is in the Appalachian area, and is very hilly). I walked up to the stone and felt deep pity and sorrow, but no anger. As we walked along the graveyard I decided to start back up the hill and to the car. I had just past the stone that I checked earlier and said a short prayer. And as I walked about ten feet away I heard a low growl from the woods that were well over 200 feet away (I was at one end of the graveyard and the woods at the opposite end emitted a growl) it was low but very loud and audible. Not wanting to scare anyone else and thinking it was my imagination I hurried up the hill. I had looked back when I heard the noise, but saw nothing except my friends wandering through the stones. R. (a friend) hurried up the hill soon after I did. The others seemed oblivious to the noise I had heard. It didn't sound like an airplane nor car nor train. And although there are bobcats and such in the woods, it sounded much different than any wild animal I've ever heard (I'm a wildlife biology major). Later I talked with R. explaining what I had heard and she said that she had heard it too, that is why she hurried and left the others.

The experience frightened me, but I have no doubt I will return to the ridges cemetery in the future.

Athens, is known for Halloween (named one of the top party schools by playboy). It is a tradition that the streets are crowded with students and visitors (even from California) who bar hop and just walk up and down the street in costume. Years ago (so its said) a Psychic appeared on Oprah and predicted some things which have turned out to be true, but she predicted that in a small town in the midwest, where there is a very large street party at Halloween, a madman dressed as little bo peep will come and massacre the students there.

Ever since that prediction no one has seen a little bo peep. I've heard that if one shows up, he will either be arrested or will be beaten up by residents.

One incident I will end with is not very paranormal but still scared me half to death. I was up very late one night burning incense in my small RA room. I was watching Stephen King's story of when machines come alive (either "Trucks" or "Maximum Overdrive") and kill any human they can (pretty scary movie). Just as the movie was ending and the credits were rolling my smoke detector went off. The sound only lasted about 1-2 seconds, but it really scared me. The incense I had been burning went out two hours before the alarm went off (about the time the movie started) needless to say I had to walk up and down the hall a few times to calm down before returning to my room.

Jenny Beaver, Ohio, USA
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