Minerva Park Monkey Business

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So apparently there’s a monkey running loose in the village of Minerva Park, Ohio. Not just any monkey, mind you. A howler monkey. That’s right, a howler monkey. How are such things possible? Not sure, to be honest with you. But let’s see if we can at least shed a little light on the subject.

It would seem that all this monkey business came about on Thursday, February 4th, when the Minerva Park Police Department posted the following to their Facebook page:

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Couple of things to point out. First, notice the wording “it may be a medium sized Howler Monkey.” Then look at how the accompanying photo is described as having “been picked by the witness as the monkey they saw.” In other words, the witness wasn’t sure what they saw and just picked out a photo of a howler monkey because that’s what it might have been.

Now, let’s all pause for a moment and envision the hysterical image of the Minerva Park Police Department holding some sort of marsupial lineup where they marched in a bunch of monkeys (in my mind, they’re all wearing bandit masks) behind a 2-way mirror and told the witness “it’s ok, the monkeys can’t see you behind this glass. Now, can you point out the monkey you saw?” Or maybe they just took the witness on a trip to the Columbus Zoo and asked them to point out the perpetrator.

OK, back to being serious for a minute.

My point is that the witness saw something that looked like a monkey, got shown some photos, and picked out a Howler Monkey. Does that mean that’s what they saw? Maybe. But there’s a big difference between “it may be a howler monkey” and it IS a howler monkey, which is what everyone is saying now.

Things got a little stranger when news channels, including WBNS-10TV, picked up the story and began reporting that the original witness was actually a Minerva Park police officer. Some speculated that the witness being a police officer made the story more credible. Others, however, pointed to the curious fact that the officer was never named or identified.

Regardless, residents of Minerva Park spent the weekend looking up into trees and listening for the telltale grunts from a renegade howler monkey. Everyone came up empty-handed, leading some to believe the whole thing was, at the very least, a case of mistaken marsupial identity. That is until Tierra Sullivan was finally able to capture photographic evidence of the Minerva Park Howler Monkey:

monkeyspotting

–from 10TV.com

Or not.

Since The X-Files is back on TV, it seems only appropriate for me to say “I want to believe”. Trust me, if there’s anyone in Ohio that wants there to be a monkey running around the state, it’s me. And yet, that has to be one of the most un-monkey-like photos I have ever seen. Looks more like a bear or a dog. Maybe even a big, fat house cat. Not buying “monkey” on this pic, though. But I do need to give a tip of the cryptid hat for the photographer following proper procedures and protocols for taking pics of “mysterious creatures” and ensuring said photo is as blurry and fuzzy as possible.

And because nothing about this story makes any sense, that same exact picture has been attributed to two different individuals. 10TV said the photo was taken by Tierra Sullivan in their article entitled Columbus Woman Reportedly Snaps Photo Of Elusive ‘Minerva Monkey’. Columbus’ NBC4i, however, ran the story Minerva Park Monkey Update: Witness Says He Has A Picture with the identical (albeit uncropped) photo, stating the photographer was a man by the name of Eddie Rogers:

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–from NBC4i

Granted, Rogers said he was with his unnamed niece at the time, one could assume Rogers and Sullivan were both present at the time the photograph was taken. But when you’re dealing with such outlandish claims as a tropical monkey running rampant through central Ohio, I don’t think it’s asking too much that reporters take a minute or two to confirm who actually snapped what is, to date, the only known photograph of the creature.

As far as to where this alleged howler monkey could have come from, no one seems to know. Nobody’s come forward to claim the monkey, either. Officials say that’s because (surprise, surprise) it’s illegal to own a howler monkey in the state of Ohio. The Columbus Zoo doesn’t have any howler monkeys, either. So the whole thing is just one big mystery.

I’ll post updates as they come in. But as of Tuesday afternoon, February 9th, the monkey (or whatever it is) remains at large. Officials are telling people to stay away from the creature if you see it and to simply call 614-525-3333.

However, if you spot the monkey and said monkey appears to be smoking a cigar, please let me know ASAP. I have it on my Bucket List that I’d like to smoke a cigar with a monkey.

And no, I’m not making that up.

Smoking-Monkeys15

–from Pets Foto

UPDATE #1 (2/10/16):  According to This Week News, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been asked to help identify and capture the reported howler monkey. ODA spokeswoman Erica Hawkins was quoting as saying that while there were web cams in place over the weekend near the initial sighting, “no monkeys” ever showed up. ODA also did “some initial tracking on Feb. 2 and 3, but didn’t come up with anything.” Admittedly, though, that’s a little confusing since that would have meant they were “tracking” the monkey days before the initial sighting on February 4th.

Hawkins also stated that the photo alleging to show the howler monkey on the loose (see above) “didn’t give any clear indication what the animal could be.”

In the same article, Minerva Park police chief Kim Nuesse was quoting as saying that they “have nothing more to go on” and that “Friday morning was the last reported sighting”.

You can read the entire This Week News article here.

Want more Ohio News Of The Weird? Check out the archives here.

Helltown Added To Ohio Crybaby Bridge Project

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Come now, you really didn’t think we could compile a list of Ohio Crybaby Bridges and NOT include Helltown, did you?

If you’re unfamiliar with the legends of Helltown, give that link a little click and get yourself caught up. Suffice to say, the legends associated with Helltown have become so engrained in Ohio ghostlore that dare I say they’d rank near the top of any list of Ohio’s spookiest locations.

Of course, we are talking about Helltown–a place where people’s imaginations have been known to run amuck, creating strange variants in the legends that make tracking down the truth almost impossible. Case in point, the Helltown Crybaby Bridge isn’t even located in the area normally associated with Helltown. What’s up with that?

I can’t promise I answered all the questions surrounding this bridge, especially since new variations seem to pop up all the time. But I gave it a shot! So what are you waiting for? Click here and check out the legend of Helltown’s Crybaby Bridge!

Of course, if you need to catch up on all the other Crybaby Bridges currently on file, or this is your first time here, you might want to visit the Ohio Crybaby Bridge Project home page first.

The Haunted Book

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One of the questions I get asked most often by people viewing parts of my Strange & Spooky Museum is: “Are any of these things haunted?”

To be honest, while there are quite a few items in my collection that are alleged to be haunted, I can’t proclaim any of them as “haunted” for the simple reason that I’ve never experienced anything out of the ordinary with any of them. Still, they have been acquired from people who honestly believed that there was something strange going on with the items. And these items aren’t always the stereotypical spooky-looking amulets and voodoo dolls. Case in point, this rather unassuming book, which I acquired in late 2015.

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This book came to me via a member of The Ghosts of Ohio, who was given it by a man who wanted to get the book out of his house and knew The Ghosts of Ohio “dealt with this kind of stuff.”

The original owner was given the book as a gift. Even before he started reading it, he said he began to get an uneasy feeling whenever the book was around. Once he started reading it, however, those feelings got so intense that he quickly became convinced there was a spirit attached to the book. He was unable to finish even a single chapter before he decided he needed the book gone.

Since the book has been in my possession, I must admit that I have not experienced anything out of the ordinary. I even left 2 EMFs and a K-II meter beside the book all night, with a video camera running, and none of the meters budged. BTW, I did actually read the book and found it to be rather good!

But does that mean the book no longer has a spirit attached to it? That’s hard to say, which is the reason that in 2016, I’ll start bringing this book along to some of my presentations for you guys to see. Maybe the ghost just doesn’t like me and is looking for someone else to hang out with!

Want to know where this book might be showing up next? Click here to check out my 2016 Calendar of Events.

Care to see what other strange and spooky things I have in my museum? Click here!

Or maybe you have your own haunted object you want gone. Click here to let me know and we’ll take steps to take it off your hands!

 

 

 

 

My Interview On WCIT Radio

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Here it is: My October 2nd, 2015 interview on WCIT (940 AM) out of Lima. I talk about my involvement with the Lima Lantern Tours, my book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts, and some assorted spookiness.

Interview starts right around the 9:35 mark. Just give a click below to start listening.

Enjoy!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Name That Location #8

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OK, this one is going to be pretty easy. Or not. To be honest, I’m a bit amazed at how many people have never seen or heard of this magnificent building before. Regardless, here it is: The building that appears on page 205 of Ohio’s Historic Haunts.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.32.43 AM Can you name the building?

Want to take a peek at all the other Name That Location places? Click here!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Location #7 Revealed!

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Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.29.39 AM Seems like this one stumped a bunch of you. It’s the Bissman Building in Mansfield!

Of course, I might have made it a bit easier if I had included a picture of the outside of the building, but what fun would that have been?

Bissman Building exterior

For Ohio’s Historic Haunts, I was looking not only for haunted locations in Ohio, but those locations had to be historically significant. And boy, did I get that with the Bissman Building. It is truly an iconic building that was, and continues to be, an integral part of Mansfield’s history. There’s more to it, though. You see, the current owner, Ben Bissman, is a fifth generation Bissman, which means he literally grew up in the building. So he’s the one to go to if you want to get the scoop on the building’s history…or the ghost stories.

Small portion of the equipment we set up to cover the entire Bissman Building

Concerning the ghost stories, the Bissman Building has several. Perhaps the most intriguing to me is the one involving the ghost of a little girl who is said to haunt the building. While there are differing viewpoints as to who she is and why she chooses to hang around the Bissman, one thing is for sure: So many people have reported seeing her that it’s pretty hard to dispute that something odd’s going on in the building.

Some of the toys people leave for the “ghost girl” to play with at the Bissman Building

And guess what? While I was there for Ohio’s Historic Haunts, I just might have had an encounter with the ghost of a little girl! To learn more, you’ll just have to pick up a copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. Better yet, come to one of my presentations this fall and hear the story (and the “evidence”) for yourself!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts has finally been released, so you can snag your copy at Amazon, Kent State University Press, Barnes & Noble, or at most brick-and-mortar Ohio bookstores!

And if you want to check out all the other locations from Ohio’s Historic Haunts that I’ve revealed so far, click here!

This October, Lima, I’ve Got Something Special For You!

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I may have taken part in a bunch of the Lima Lantern Tours over the years, but nothing compares to what’s going to happen in Lima on October 3rd!

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Let’s be honest: My love for all things Lima goes deeper than Kewpee, the Greely Road Crybaby Bridge, and even that spooky, off-limits building way up in the hills. Lima’s just a weird place, plain and simple. So why wouldn’t a weirdo like me love it? And I’d like to think that over the years, Lima has returned the love. It certainly felt that way on the numerous Lantern Tours I took part in. But something in me felt that this year, I needed to give Lima a little something extra. Something special they wouldn’t soon forget.

You see, I tend to get very animated when I share my own personal ghost stories. I wave my arms and I pace back and forth—two things that can make for some awkward moments when you’re snuggled so close together in the back of a trolley making its way down Main Street in Lima, Ohio.

--From the 2010 Lima Lantern Tour

–From the 2010 Lima Lantern Tour

But more than that, it sometimes became hard to tell my ghost stories because Lima is just so chock full of strange and spooky history that I often felt I was stomping on all the other cool stories. So I would often hold back on my storytelling, especially since many of my stories needed to be seen to be believed in that it’s often hard to explain exactly what our video cameras picked up on an investigation or what the spooky noises really sounded like. To be honest, there’s not much room on a trolley car for a projector and video screen. So by and large, my favorite ghost stories remained untold.

Until now.

On Saturday, October 3rd, I’ll be heading over to Lima’s Encore Theater and giving you something truly unique: A special presentation that will feature the best of the best of my collection of ghost stories. Not only that, but I’ll be bringing along audio, video, and photographs of strange and spooky things I’ve captured over the years. Things I can’t explain.

And since I included Lima’s own Literacy Council in my upcoming book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts, what better time to let everyone in on some behind-the-scenes secrets of my investigations inside that building?

Want to know the different types of equipment I used? Curious as to what “evidence” I walked away with? Want to hear and see the “evidence” for yourselves? Well then, October 3rd will be your chance!

Upstairs Hallway at Literacy Council, showing placement of some of the equipment I used during my overnight investigation

Upstairs Hallway at Literacy Council, showing placement of some of the equipment I used during my overnight investigation

I’ll also be taking your questions and will be hanging around after the presentation to ensure you get all your ghostly questions answered. And since my book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts, is coming out on September 30th, a mere three days before the Lima appearance, I’ll make sure I bring along loads of that book (as well as some of my other titles) for you to purchase and have signed.

Put another way: You might have seen me in Lima before, but you’ve never seen me like this!

Tickets are only $5.00 each with proceeds going to Downtown Lima, Inc., an organization dedicated to creating and maintaining a dynamic, vital, and sustainable downtown. So for just $5.00, you’ll get to hear some great strange and spooky stories and help downtown Lima. It doesn’t get any better than that!

BTW, while this presentation is suitable for all ages, given the subject matter, it is not recommended for children under the age of 10.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to order tickets.

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Name That Location #7!

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Let’s jump right into this since we’re less than 2 weeks away from the release of Ohio’s Historic Haunts.

Here’s the photograph that will appear on page 202 of Ohio’s Historic Haunts:

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This one’s kinda tough, isn’t it? Well, let me give you a couple of hints. First, you’re looking at a freight elevator. Second, the photo was taken on the third floor of the building. The reason the photo includes so much of the floor in front of the elevator is because something rather horrific is said to have taken place here.

So, can you name the location?

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Click here to get caught up on all the other locations from Ohio’s Historic Haunts.