With 213 years of history and counting, the state of Ohio is in no shortage of ghost stories. Centering several of them are a number of dimly lit inns and taverns spread across the Buckeye State. Most have remained continuously open for the majority of the last two centuries, seemingly collecting spirits in the process of selling them.
Here is a list of the most haunted inns and taverns found throughout Ohio:
Rider’s Inn – 792 Mentor Ave, Painesville
Joe Rider, the inn’s original owner, had four wives throughout his life. Two died inside the inn – Miss Roseanne and Miss Susanne – and their spirits are said to haunt the building to this day. The former, known to be very tidy in life, will allegedly fix anything out of place. The latter will greet arriving guests as if she were still breathing – or she would, if the door to her bedroom wasn’t sealed shut with 193 nails in an effort to keep the spirit contained. There have also been alleged sightings of a US Civil War soldier in a second floor window at night, waving to anyone looking up from below.
Blind Lady Tavern (formerly Jury Room) – 22 E Mound St, Columbus
This college town tavern has its own version of Slenderman said to haunt the grounds. Patrons and workers alike report being stalked by a vertically-gifted shadowy figure. There are also frequent reports of poltergeist activity, such as items being thrown off shelves and pints of beer pouring themselves.
Oliver House – 27 Broadway St, Toledo
It sounds like the exposition of a bad horror movie, but the Oliver House is said to have been partially built atop a native burial ground. Later on it was used as a temporary hospital for wounded veterans of the Spanish-American War. Needless to say some of these soldiers never left the inn alive. In addition to cold spots, guests feeling a sense of sudden dread, and other subtle paranormal activity, the ghost of “the Captain” is alleged to haunt the basement Pool Room.
Like Rider’s Inn, the spirits of two women are said to haunt the Ye Olde Trail Tavern. One is a blonde haired woman alleged to be seen wearing a blue dress. She appears friendly – smiling to those she encounters. The other is a dark haired woman in what appears to be widow’s clothing, seen weeping on the second floor.
Crosskeys and 17 East Tavern – 19 E Main St, Chillicothe
A new establishment compared to the others on this list, Crosskeys Tavern is home to an apparition named Harold. Though owners, employees, and patrons are uncertain who he was or where he came from, the spirit is notoriously feisty. According to reports it’s not uncommon for Harold to hurl drinks across the tavern and snuff out lights wherever they exist.
Red Brick Tavern – 1700 Cumberland St, London
Though opening as a stopover for stagecoach traffic, the Red Brick Tavern closed its doors after 22 years due to the advent of the railroad, which shifted business to other parts of the state. Eventually revitalized for commercial purpose, the tavern served as a residence for families for nearly a century in the meantime. It is the inhabitants during this period whom are said to stay around in spirit form. One in particular is an unidentified woman appearing in the upstairs window. Another is believed to be a mischievous youngster, as guests have claimed to have chairs pulled out from behind them, followed by the noise of a child’s laughter.
Golden Lamb – 27 S. Broadway St, Lebanon
Opened 1803 (rebuilt 1815)
One of the oldest Ohio establishments still in operation, Golden Lamb has hosted several esteemed guests over the years, including authors Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain. Another notable guest was Ohio Supreme Court Justice Charles R. Sherman, who died while staying at Golden Lamb Inn. His spirit is said to appear in the hallways at night, along with lingering cigar smoke. Another entity alleged to haunt the inn is a girl named Sarah, who is known to knock pictures off the walls, jump up and down, and cause other mild trouble throughout the day.
Inns and taverns, especially older ones, are small bits of space where countless lives have crossed over decades and centuries. Some are inevitably going to make their way back for a drink after death, oftentimes to the startled bewilderment of the living. For a number of inns and taverns in an old state like Ohio, these spirits are an accepted part of the atmosphere.