OK, so Labor Day’s officially over. So in my book, that signals the beginning of Halloween season! With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Ohio Halloween season memories; ghostly blasts from the past, if you will. They won’t be in any particular order. Just sort of random memories as they pop into my head or I come across them on my hard drive. And we’ll begin with the Delaware Ghost Walk from October of 2007.

Promotional flyer for the event

Promotional flyer for the event

I always look back fondly on the 2007 Delaware Ghost Walk, and not just because it was the first one The Ghosts of Ohio participated in. Sure, there was that, but it was also a blast because this was the first instance where we were having to do a two-day setup since the Ghost Walk that year was taking place over two nights. The Strand was open the entire weekend, too, so we ended up using some pieces of plywood to prop up the projector out in the seating area…and then parking Darrin Boop next to it so people didn’t bump into it during the presentation. After Friday’s presentation, we had to break everything down and then set it all back up again Saturday night.

The Ghosts of Ohio, up in lights on the Strand Theatre’s screen (note my multiple Monster cans hiding behind the bottled water on the lower left)

The 2007 Ghost Walk also holds a special place in my heart because so many members of The Ghosts of Ohio got involved, and not just with the presentation itself. Naturally, they were there, as always, to help me set up my 45-minute presentation on both nights, but they also worked the merchandise table and some members even donned costumes and helped out on the ghost walk itself, working as tour guides.

Members of The Ghosts of Ohio hanging out at the 2007 Delaware Ghost Walk.

 

 

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16-page booklet from the 1930s that is filled with magic tricks, supposedly ones performed (or at least endorsed by) Columbus-born magician, Howard Thurston. All the tricks in this booklet have been given bizarre names, my favorites being “The Healing Tongue” and “Futile Blows”. The “Library of Magic” listed on the cover was the name given to all 6 “volumes” (ie: booklets) in the series. As you can see, this was Volume 1.

Booklet was a giveaway from Swift and Company, who manufactured baking products like shortening. So there’s a great 2-page ad for Swift’s Silverleaf Lard that asks “what magic can you do with pastry-tested shortening” and then encourages readers to “eat more baked goods” because they are “wholesome, digestible, delicious.” Ain’t that the truth!

You can check out some other pieces of Howard Thurston memorabilia in the Historical Memorabilia wing of the Strange and Spooky Museum. Go on, click away!

 

It’s been a while, but the Tokoloshe is back with a vengeance, ruining the sex lives of men and women everywhere!

In this instance, 28-year-old mother of two, Grace Baloyi, is claiming that the Tokoloshe’s continued sexual assaults have left her drained, tired, and cranky. “The Tokoloshe makes me impatient with every man who comes into my life”, she recently told a reporter.

Baloyi states that the Tokoloshe often has relations with her several times, “usually in the early hours”, although it has also been known to assault her when she tries to take naps during the day. “Sometimes I see it coming to my bedroom and taking off its belt”, she remarked.

When asked to describe the events, Baloyi simply stated “I wake up wet and tired.”

Baloyi believes the Tokloshe was sent to her “by jealous people who don’t want me to get married or have a stable relationship.”

You can read the entire news article here.

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OK, so I know everyone is impatiently waiting for me to launch the Ohio Crybaby Bridge Project here. And it’s coming, I promise. But as I’ve started compiling the data, I’ve discovered something; nothing is right about these places! Directions are wrong, street names are wrong, and even the type of bridge is sometimes wrong (railroad trestle as opposed to a covered bridge, for example).

Now I know that since I’m dealing with urban legends and the Internet, I really shouldn’t be surprised that so much information is wrong, but I am!

Still, what I have so far is nothing short of amazing and soon, very soon, you will be able to visit this site and not only see a list of Ohio’s Crybaby Bridges, but also read the legend behind each one. Lots of pictures and even directions…although I’m wondering if it’s too early to start the obligatory “don’t trespass onto private property” messages yet. Perhaps I’ll wait.

Anyway, to thank you for your patience, I thought I would tease you just a little bit more by releasing a partial list of the Ohio Crybaby Bridges that will be part of the project. I’ve encountered more than a couple of bridges that were either gone or else the story was completely bogus. The following, however, will most certainly appear in the final version:

Abbeyville Road (Medina)
Alliance Crybaby Bridge (Stark)
Brubaker Road Covered Bridge (Preble)
Cable Train Trestle (Champaign)
Cleveland-Massillon Road (Summit)
Crybaby Bridge (Highland)
Crybaby Bridge (Shelby)
Crybaby Hill/Harris Jones Cemetery (Henry)
Crybaby Lane / Euler Road (Wood)
Crying Bridge (Richland)
Crying Bridge (Miami)
Crystal Springs Crybaby Bridge (Stark)
Egypt Road (Columbiana)
Fudge Road (Preble)
Ghormley Road (Highland)
Gore Orphanage Road (Lorain)
Greely Chapel Road (Allen)
Helltown (Summit)
Hyde Road (Greene)
LeFevre Road (Miami)
Mary Jane’s Bridge (Richland)
Myrtle Hill Road (Medina)
Newton Falls Covered Bridge (Trumbull)
Palmer Road (Mercer)
Pfeiffer Crybaby Bridge (Hardin)
Philo Crybaby Bridge (Muskingum)
Rogue’s Hollow (Wayne)
Screaming Bridge (Butler)
Schrader Road Crybaby Tunnel (Ross)
Stover Road (Thompson Road) Crybaby Bridge (Union)
Tindall Bridge (Sandusky)
Wisner Road (Lake)
 
So what do you think of the list so far? Have you been to any of these bridges in search of ghosts? Better yet, been to a bridge that’s not on this list? If the answer to either of those questions (or both of them) is “yes”, drop me a line at jim@strangeandspooky.com because I want to hear your story. Who knows? Your story might make it into the Ohio Crybaby Bridge Project, making you the envy of your family and friends!

 

For the longest time, I fought Instagram. I had no interest in joining, simply because I didn’t see the point. To be honest, the whole thing felt a little silly and, well, pompous. Sure, people seem to enjoy it, but I’ve never been the kind of guy who felt the need to upload pics of his turkey on rye with the message “getting ready for lunch #boyamihungry #luvturkey #ireallythinkpeoplecareaboutwhatieatforlunch”.

But the more I looked at Instagram, the more it seemed to be something I could use to sort of give everyone a quick glimpse inside my strange and spooky world. I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but not everything in my life is blog worthy. Shocking, but true!

What Instagram allows me to do is show you all a little peek behind the curtain, if you will. Like this picture, which is a random shot of some of the items from my Strange & Spooky Museum that I recently unpacked:

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And then there was this strange little picture, which is related to my latest paranormal project. I uploaded it to Instagram and it promptly blew up, with everyone wondering aloud what the heck it meant. What do you think it means?

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Anyway, If you’d like to follow along, you can find me lurking on Instagram here. I’m only getting started, but there’s already some strange and spooky images on there. Just don’t expect to see any pics of turkey sandwiches…unless they look really, really weird.

You can also access my Instagram site by clicking on the photo in the “Latest Instagram Upload” feed, which is over on the bottom left side of the very page you’re reading now!

 

 

So here’s the photo they chose to use of me in Cleveland.com’s recent review of last Saturday’s Author Alley. I couldn’t be happier!

Now, most people would be horrified if they found a picture of themselves online, looking like that. Not me. I think it’s the coolest thing ever, especially since it was taken during a book signing. You see, I’ve always felt uncomfortable at book signings, including ones that have multiple authors at it. Don’t get me wrong, I love attending them and have met some wonderful people and authors at these events, including the Author Alley. It’s just that I always end up feeling like something of an outsider at these things, usually because people don’t know what to make of me.

Put it this way; sandwiched between novels, collections of poetry, and children’s books, you’ll find me–the weirdo who believes in ghosts and likes to run through the woods looking for Bigfoot.

On top of that, all the other authors are so professional, telling people who stop by what the inspiration for their book was and handing out professionally-printed press kits and business cards. Sure, I have business cards and flyers. But if someone comes to my table, I’m more interested in finding out if they’ve ever seen the Loveland Frog or if they’ve yet to see the Collection of Swallowed Objects at the Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio. Most of the time, I don’t even mention my books. The way I see it, the books are there on the table. If people are interested, they’ll pick one up. If not, no biggie. I’m really just there to share my stories and talk about weird stuff.

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Which brings me back to that picture. While I certainly get that since I’m a “published author”, there are certain preconceived notions around how I should appear and act, let’s face it; people are already bummed when they find out that Weird Willis doesn’t drive around in a hearse or live in a haunted house. I think if they were to meet me for the first time and I was just sitting there quietly, they’d be really disappointed. And so would I.

Oh and for the record, my pose was the inspiration of my daughter, Courtney. Prior to leaving me to check out all the Larchmere Festival had to offer, Courtney gave me her traditional kiss and hug, along with her mini-pep talk to “go talk to the big kids about ghosts.” When I asked Courtney what I should do when the adults came to talk to me, she responded “be scary” and then proceeded to show me how to do just that. For the record, I think I nailed it.

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You can read the entire Cleveland.com article, complete with aforementioned Weird Willis photo, by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me begin by saying that I don’t condone violence. In fact, when I first started reading the news report about how Jimmy Nguyen became so upset over his hair cut at a Chillicothe Great Clips that he decided to punch the hairdresser, my blog was the last thing on my mind. But once my eyes settled on the photo that accompanied the article, I knew it needed to be added to the Ohio News Of The Weird.

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–via NBC4i.com

In case you haven’t guessed, that’s Jimmy Nguyen’s mug shot, taken after he was arrested and charged with assaulting a Great Clips employee. The assault was apparently set off by Nguyen’s disapproval of the hair cut he had just received. But here’s my question: what hair?

For the life of me, I’m not seeing what Nguyen is so upset about. His sides look nice, trim and even, too. I think I might even detect a hint of product in there. As for the rest of his head, well, it’s not like Nguyen gave the stylist a lot to work with.

Of course, the mug shot happened after the alleged botched hair cut, so maybe Nguyen sauntered into that Chillicothe Great Clips with a full head of hair and got totally scalped. If that’s what went down, Nguyen would’ve had a valid reason to be so angry if he originally had hair like, oh, I don’t know, Fletch:

Fletch

OK, maybe Fletch is a bad example. You see, Nguyen is just an average Joe like me, with average hair. Fletch’s hair was the thing of legend and he was able to use it to his advantage. If you remember, Fletch was actually 6’5″–with the afro, 6’9″.

Either way, if you’re that worried about how your hair looks, you might want to re-think that plan of walking into a random Great Clips unannounced (“no appointment necessary”) and handing your “$10 hair cut” coupon to the next available stylist.

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Go here to read the full NBC4 article

Want more Ohio News Of The Weird? Visit The Archives here

To see Fletch in action, click below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuthorAlley-art-2014-m Glad you asked! The Author Alley will be open from noon until 4:00 pm this Saturday, July 5th. The Larchmere Festival, which the Author Alley is part of, will run from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. But participating authors, including yours truly, will only be available in the Alley between the hours of noon and 4:00 pm, so please plan your day accordingly. I will have copies of Weird Ohio, The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, Weird Indiana, and Haunted Indiana available for purchase, but all sales are being handled by the Festival. In other words, after 4:00 pm, I won’t have any copies with me.

Of course, with all the cool things to see and do at the Festival, I’m sure I’ll be wandering around, looking to score a shrunken head for my Strange & Spooky Museum, so feel free to tag along. Hope to see you all Saturday! For more information on the Author Alley, go here. Or go here to find out more about the Larchmere Festival.