Prepare to Be Scared: The Most Haunted Places in Ohio

Looking for a little fright this spooky season? Ohio boasts of plenty of haunted places, but beware, you’re going to be in for a scare!

Halloween cat on a branch in the full moon


Bridget Houlihan


Jan 21, 2021

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As we get closer to Halloween, many people choose to seek out the thrill that comes with a good scare. Whether it’s by going to a haunted attraction, reading a ghost story, watching a scary movie, or looking for a real life haunted place in Ohio. There’s something exciting about the possibility of being scared, even more so when it’s based on fact instead of fiction! 

Ohio has had a long history, which means there’s plenty of haunted places throughout the state. If you’re looking for somewhere to get a chill this spooky season, look no further than within the borders of the Buckeye State! If you want an actual haunted place to visit, we have 6 of them that you should consider checking out this Halloween season. Who knows, you may even come back with a paranormal story of your own!

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • What makes a place haunted?
  • The 6 most haunted places in Ohio
  • Our top ghost tours designed to inform you, as well as give you some frights!

What makes a location haunted?

Who (or what) determines whether or not a place is considered haunted?

creepy abandoned haunted house
Many haunted locations are the result of intense energy that has accumulated over the years.

When we think of haunted locations (or a haunted house), chances are we immediately think of scary movies or stories that are focused on ghosts. You may have also seen a paranormal show that features a team of ghost experts investigating a supposedly haunted location to find a rational explanation behind strange events. But what makes a place haunted? For centuries humans have been frightened by the prospect of the dead returning to this world to haunt them, and cultures around the world have all kinds of stories and folklore associated with ghosts. 

However, it can be hard to pin down exactly why certain places are haunted, and others are not, but for many of the places on this list (as well as around the world) a lot has to do with the history of the location.

Many paranormal experts believe that an emotional attachment to the place is key, as is if there are traumatic or violent events that occurred in that location. Sometimes places are haunted simply because that is where the entity responsible for the haunting lived or where they died. Violent emotions can also contribute to a haunting, especially if someone died young or tragically. And remember, contrary to horror movies, not all hauntings are evil! 

Here are a few tell-tale signs that there may be something paranormal going on at a location:

  • Phantom scents. This happens when there is no logical explanation for a certain scent to be in a location. If you’re always smelling cigarette smoke when no one in the area is smoking, or a certain perfume that no one wears, this could mean something else is afoot.
  • Cold spots. These occur in rooms where there otherwise should be no cold spots. People who experience this drop in temperature feel as though they just walked into a freezer, while the rest of the room stays at a normal ambient temperature.
  • Unexplained noises. While all places settle and have their own natural noises, paranormal noises cannot be as easily explained. Sounds like far away music, whispers, scratches, footsteps, or even muffled chatter could mean that there is something else going on at this location. 
  • Object movement. More typically in houses, this occurs when occupants find their items in completely different locations from where they left them. This is not just misplacing your keys, but more like finding your wallet in the medicine cabinet—when you didn’t leave it there! 
  • Feeling of being watched. This happens in many haunted locations, when you just can’t seem to shake the feeling of someone watching you from behind. It’s hard to describe, but everyone knows when it makes the hair on the back of their necks stand up!
  • Apparitions. And finally, some haunted places have had apparitions appear to those who are visiting them. Whether it’s a full apparition, a shadow, a mist, or some other form, these can be the most unsettling. But when you’re in a haunted location, you should always be prepared for a scare!

Most haunted places in Ohio (visit if you dare!)

Only visit these locations if you’re prepared for something paranormal!

The Ohio State Reformatory

Tour one of the most haunted locations in Ohio!

100 Reformatory Rd | Mansfield |

At the top of our list is the Ohio State Reformatory, because not only is it the most well known, but it is also one of the most well documented haunted places in Ohio. There have been all kinds of paranormal investigators who have gone through the former prison’s walls only to experience some very interesting events. The facility offers tours year round where you can see some of the small cells, solitary confinement areas, and offices where violent and brutal events were carried out throughout the years.

The violence appears to have left a footprint on the former prison that lingers to this day. Many people who tour the facility, whether in a paranormal group or during the daytime, report strange noises and the feeling that someone is watching them. If you visit during the October spooky season, you can even participate in their event, Escape from Blood Prison!

“There is so much rich history to hear about and see while on the tour.  There are several locations where people have purportedly experienced paranormal activity.   There are interviews with former inmates.  Hearing stories former inmates was totally cool.” -Yelp Review

The Ridges at Ohio University

Visit the former lunatic asylum that has a dark past

old cemetery at Ohio University
The Ridges has quiet graveyards where not so restful ghosts of former patients are said to linger. Image courtesy of Athens Conservancy

Radar Hill | Ohio University |

Remember how we discussed how strong emotions may have a way of creating haunted locations? That might just be so for the Ridges at Ohio University. This location was originally the Athens Lunatic Asylum that was designed in the 19th century to treat mental illness. The field of mental health was in its infancy at this time, and patients rarely got the help many of them desperately needed. Instead they were subjected to cruel treatments that offered little to no assistance.

As a result, many patients died at the asylum from treatments such as lobotomies, and were buried in graves only marked with their patient number. As you can imagine, this may have created more than a few restless spirits that are still believed to roam the property now owned by Ohio University. You can stroll through the trails that surround the property, and even catch a glimpse of a few lonely cemeteries where patients are buried. 

Franklin Castle

View one of the most famous haunted houses in Ohio

4308 Franklin Blvd. | Cleveland |

This house is also known as the Tiedemann House after the German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann who commissioned it in the 19th century. He commissioned the house and lived there with his wife and two children, but he eventually ended up selling the house in 1896 after his wife died. It changed hands throughout the next 100 years, which led to rumors of it being haunted. One of the reasons for this was that the house has secret passageways and hidden rooms, and that maybe even someone died there. 

While the residence is now in private hands and cannot be toured, you can still view the iconic building from the beautiful Franklin Blvd. Since no one can get in to substantiate the haunting claims, many believe they are unfounded. But how do we know for sure?

“I do hope to get to venture inside at one point because that would be insanely awesome as I'm always looking for dark and scary places to find spirits that will manifest for you!” -Yelp Review

Beaver Creek State Park

Visit the old locks and learn about their sad histories

haunted locks at Beaver Creek State Park
The ruins of another time and place are all that is left of this part of Ohio history. Image courtesy of Only in Your State.

12021 Echo Dell Rd | East Liverpool |

If you’re in the eastern part of Ohio and looking for an outdoor spooky adventure, you’ll want to stop by Beaver Creek State Park. This beautiful state park offers 2,722 acres of wild areas to explore, and encourages visitors to make use of the trails, fishing, boating, picnicking, and camping options. While this park is definitely worth a visit during the spring, summer, or fall, it may also be worth another look during the lead up to Halloween because of its haunted past.

This state park is home to some of the canal system that was built in the early 1800s, which included many locks to help boats pass through. It’s believed that at least two of these locks are haunted. One by the ghost of a canal worker at Jake’s Lock who was struck by lightning as he went about his duties. He is said to return with a ghostly lantern. 

The other is Gretchen’s Lock, which tells the tale of the daughter of an engineer who worked on the locks. The legend states that Gretchen asked her father to return her body to their homeland should she happen to die. When she passed away due to malaria, her father put her body on a ship that went through this lock. However the ship was lost at sea, so her restless spirit is still roaming the area asking to be taken home.

Moonville Tunnel

Take a ride through an abandoned, spooky train tunnel

Hope-Moonville Rd. | McArthur |

Trains used to be the main way that people and goods were moved across the U.S., which is why you’ll find lots of old, abandoned tunnels throughout many wooded or mountainous areas. In the 19th century, the Moonville and Marietta railroad went through the woods of McArthur. The small development of Moonville sprung up and at one point, had around 100 residents. As the railroads and nearby coal mines started to decline in the early parts of the 20th century, the families moved out, leaving Moonville a ghost town. 

You can still hike the area, which is near the Zaleski State Forest, but be warned, you may encounter some ghosts if you go after dark. The stories say that the railroad workers who were killed by trains still pass through the tunnel, waiving their ghostly lanterns. 

Hell Town

What happened to this ghost town?

Have you always wanted to visit a ghost town that was created not that long ago? If so, then you’re going to love the spooky vibes and chilling atmosphere of the former town of Boston Mills, now known as Hell Town. In the 1970s, the residents of this small town were asked to leave by the federal government, in order to expand the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park. However, persistent rumors circulated that the actual reason the residents were asked to leave and relocate was that there was some kind of chemical spill that caused some citizens to experience mutations. Not to mention the local wildlife, which gave rise to the legend of the Peninsula Python.

People who have explored the site claim to have seen disfigured people still in the area, as well as a church with an upside down cross for satanic worship. The rotting buildings and overall creepy abandoned town vibes have only increased the belief that the government wasn’t telling the residents the entire story. 

Ghost tours perfect for the spooky season

Catch one of these local Ohio ghost tours and learn a little more about some haunted places near you!

After visiting some of these haunted spaces, why not learn a little more about the haunted history in your hometown!




That’s our list of the most haunted places in Ohio, and why you should visit them! If you do visit, remember to be careful, and treat these areas with the respect they deserve. Go there to observe—you might be surprised by what you find!

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