Athens, Ohio, the picturesque historic college town is located next to the undeniably beautiful Hocking River. Home to countless museums, historic neighborhoods, and of course who could forget the pentagram cemeteries… no you didn’t read that wrong. Turns out Athens is a virtual spirit magnet!
If you’re planning a ghost story-inspired road trip to one of Ohio’s most haunted cities, here’s your Ghost Guide, for a guaranteed weekend of scares! Oh, and the layout of the town looks like the points of a pentagram, with graveyards forming the town's boundaries.
E Circle Dr, Athens, OH, US
Topping the list is the Athens Lunatic Asylum, aka “The Ridges.” Operating between 1874 to 1993, The Ridges housed a variety of patients, including violent criminals diagnosed with mental disabilities. The hospital was probably best known for the primitive treatments doctors inflicted on patients, that ranged anywhere from shock treatment to the original lobotomy, the older deadlier more invasive brother to the lobotomy we recognize now.
Patients would have their skulls separated during the “procedure,” which killed many people it was inflicted upon. If you survived your brain surgery, the aftereffects were twice as worse for many patients who lost the ability to function and take care of themselves. For obvious reasons The Ridges is rumored to have become a hotbed of paranormal activity over the years.
The Asylum is located on acres and acres of land, some of which is taken up by three cemeteries that are the final resting places for many patients who lived and died at The Ridges. There are 1,930 people buried between the three cemeteries, each marked with a number. Today the grounds have been turned into the Ridges Cemeteries Nature Walk, where guests can explore, hike, or even investigate the sprits who are reported to haunt the area.
Lin Hall, Athens, OH, US
Today the Ridges has become the Kennedy Museum of Art, a gallery, educational facility, and all round awesome place. The building has been preserved for generations to enjoy, and what was once a not so great place has become an awesome community center.
Township Highway 18, Zaleski, OH, US
Moonville Tunnel was once part of the Marietta Cincinnati railroad, and at one point the area was quite remote and surrounded by a think forest of trees and brush. For years, the area was mainly used for coal mining. Though there hasn't been a train to pass through the funnel for well over 20 years, locals say that on dark nights, an old railway brakeman stands near the entrance of the tunnel, waiting for the next train to pass.
W State St & Cemetery St, Athens, OH, US
West State Street Cemetery is part of what’s known as the "Pentagram Cemeteries" located all across Athens. According to the legend, if you trace a line from each cemetery, you’ll get a pentagram with Wilson Hall at Ohio University smack dead in the center.
The cemeteries change depending on who you ask, but the one that always remains is West State Street Cemetery. At the entrance to the cemetery is a large angel statue that looms down on approaching guests. Eye-witnesses report that on certain nights the angel will move, speak, and even cry tears.
According the the legend, Ohio University is the most haunted campus in the country. Established in 1804, the university is so haunted it even appeared in an episode of Scariest Places on Earth. At the center of all this paranormal activity is Wilson Hall, home to the ghost of room 428. Over the years students staying in that room have reported hearing footsteps, eye-witnessing objects moving on their own, and seeing dark shadows that seem to watch them sleep at night. The room is so haunted that the university sealed it off and no student has stayed there since.
So there you have it, a scare-fueled adventure through one of Ohio’s coolest little towns. Plan your road trip adventure today!