Ohio University and the Athens area is considered in the U.S. This area has been featured on haunted documentaries, online posts and social media listicles about various spooky stories and sightings. Here are five of the scariest and most well-known haunted places in Athens ranked from a little spooky to absolutely horrifying:
Strouds Run State Park, 11661 State Park Road, has been around for decades. In fall of 1962, OU instructor Gene Isaac Stees hit his pregnant wife over the head with a crowbar and then stuck a plastic bag over her head. He then dumped her body into Dow Lake, a lake near the park. People reportedly see the ghost of Mrs. Stees walking around the edge of the water. Gene Isaac Stees was arrested for this act, but escaped from prison in 1972 and has never been caught.
Jefferson Hall is a residence hall on East Green. People reportedly see ghostly figures in their rooms and see objects move by themselves. Though Jeff Hall isn’t the scariest of the places in Athens, there are a lot of people who make reports about weird happenings. It has since been renovated, so that could’ve gotten rid of some of the ghouls… or did it?
Simms Cemetery is considered one of the scariest cemeteries in existence. The name was coined by a man named John Simms, a town official known for sentencing people to death by hanging. He was also a known racist toward freed slaves living in the area, and most of the people who were hanged were African-American. His ghost has been seen wandering the cemetery and is known for chasing people who trespass on the grounds. Along with the cemetery, the hanging tree still exists, and there are visible marks where the rope was tied.
Wilson Hall is a residence hall on West Green. This building is located in the middle of the cemetery pentagram. The pentagram is an ancient occult symbol of power and magic. Wilson is located directly in the center and is supposedly home to many spirits. The most reported is the student that died in room 428 in a mysterious way, rumored to be practicing occult. Students have since heard strange sounds, hear footsteps and see objects moving on their own. Since seeing those occurrences, OU has sealed and blocked off the room and no one is allowed to stay in there. In addition to the sealed room, it is rumored that Wilson was also built over a cemetery that was home to deceased patients of the Athens Lunatic Asylum.
The Ridges is the former location of the Athens Lunatic Asylum, which opened in 1874 and closed in 1993. As if cemeteries and haunted dorms weren’t enough, OU used to be home to a major mental institution. Though there are many stories about ghosts from the asylum, the biggest story revolving around The Ridges is the stain found in the asylum. The stain supposedly forms the outline of the body of a woman named Margaret Shilling. She is known as the most notorious ghost from OU, referred to as “the lost lady.” The workers of the asylum tried relentlessly to scrub the stain out but gave up after receiving no results. The legend is that if you touch the stain, you will become possessed. The most talked about rumor is that an OU student broke into the asylum and touched the stain, then feeling plagued by a ghost, went home and died by suicide. Whether or not that is true, the rumor certainly brings out two intense reactions from students: either turning them away from the temptation of breaking into the asylum or provoking them to further investigate for themselves.
If you dare to explore any of these haunted locations, please be sure to be respectful of the property and just be careful. You never know what ghosts and ghouls you could come into contact with.