retsej (retsej) wrote in thequill,

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Haunted Town

I started working on a non-fiction account of my experiences in the haunted house I grew up in. I needed something different to work on, and Nickolaus Pacione delivered the answer with a call for submissions for an anthology he's assembling for works of non-fiction horror.
The strange thing is that I've uncovered some strange things about my hometown of Loudonville while trying to do some background research. The town is settled at the edge of the Mohican Forest, which has a reputation in the paranormal. I've gone ghost-hunting with friends many times while growing up, seeing many unexplainable things. I have some good tales that I will tell one day. But, I was a little shocked when I found a reference to an old asylum there in the 1800's. That was the first time I've heard anything about that. So, I called my dad to ask him some questions. He pointed me to a few good details and gave me some stories to use in my piece I'm doing for the anthology. He said that he has heard of an asylum there, but nothing more than that. He said it might have been around Pleasant Hill Lake, in the heart of the Mohican.
I learned that there was once a small town where the lake is now, called Newville. That explained the strange roads that seemed to go strait into the water. I wanted to find more information on this, but there is nothing on the 'net. On Ohio History Central Online Encyclopedia, there is nothing to be found. According to them, Loudonville doesn't even exist. I find that a little strange.
I looked for information about an asylum. I found that the first asylum in Ohio was in Columbus, and in the mid 1800's they built three--Dayton, Akron, & Toledo. There was mention of others built, but none of them named. Since there are no longer any mental asylums in Ohio, it's a little difficult to find any other information except for the one in Columbus. The only information I found in relation to my house was the mention of an old barn that caught fire there and some of the timber was used in the construction of a creamery that later was converted into my old home.
I also uncovered mention of a book by Charles Fort called The Book of the Damned, published in 1919. Fort was called the "Father of Ufology." He was nearly locked away for his radical claims, but was redeemed after his death when an outbreak of UFO sightings around the country mirrored his claims. Anyway, the reference I found was rather intriguing. The passage said
Fort told how in 1890 people in Loudonville, Ohio had seen a city floating in the daytime sky. Some declared the apparition to be "the New Jerusalem." Others thought it looked like the city of Sandusky.

Fort wrote, "Now it may be that Heaven is exactly like Sandusky. And those of us who have no desire to go to Sandusky should ponder that point."

I've never heard anything like that before, but found it entertaining. I'm sure many people know of Sandusky, Ohio. It is home to Cedar Point. I just thought I'd add this find for a bit of humor. The passage is found here.
I also uncovered some truth to two old urban legends that I've heard told of happening in many small towns. This one actually has historical reference and a lot of documentation to prove its origin at Malabar Farm, outside Loudonville (though Mansfield always gets the credit of having the farm build by Pulitzer-prize winning author Louis Bromfield, it's closer to Loudonville and included among its historical sites). One tale is of Ceely Rose, who murdered her entire family with rat poison. The other is of Phoebe Wise, an eccentric that talked to her horses and dogs who shot a man who was infatuated with her. She was related to Louis Bromfield. He actually used both of them for a play he wrote. One of the pages that tells of this is here. There are many other references to this, but this is the best one that tells of both.
I've uncovered a few references to an asylum in Mohican that now is believed to be the source of a mysterious light over the past 20 years, but no confirmation that it actually existed. One of the pages is here. I'll probably have to return there and look for physical evidence and documentation that will never see the internet. I'm sure I can uncover something at the small museum in town that houses documents and other things about the history of the town. Hopefully, I will find something.
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