Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Location #2 Revealed!

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OK, one last chance to gaze at this picture and see if you can guess the location. Scroll past the pic for the answer.
Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 3.16.05 PMGive up? The photograph was taken at the Museum At The Friends Home in Waynesville, Ohio. Specifically, it was taken inside one of the rooms done up to represent what a typical Boarder’s Room would have looked like back in the day. What’s a Boarder’s Room? More importantly, what’s a “Friends Home”? Questions like that were what led me to cover this location in my upcoming book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts.

You see, Waynesville, Ohio, has long been rumored to be chock full of ghosts. Some even claim that Waynesville is “Ohio’s Sleepy Hollow”. The place is full of history, too, so there was no doubt that I wanted a Waynesville location for Ohio’s Historic Haunts. But which one? Sure, there were several famous Waynesville haunts that had been covered before in other books and shows. But I wanted something different, something unique that hadn’t really been covered before. That’s when someone mentioned to me that the Museum At The Friends Home was rumored to be haunted. My ears perked up when I heard “museum”, but to be honest, I didn’t understand the whole “Friends Home” bit. When it was explained to me that the museum was housed inside what used to be an old Quaker Boarding House/Home (and that Quakers address fellow Quakers as “Friends”), I was hooked and knew this was the perfect location for the book!

Exterior of the Museum At The Friends Home. The porch and balcony would come to play a part in several of the ghost stories Museum staff told me.

When I began interviewing the employees and volunteers of the Museum At The Friends Home, it quickly became clear to me that, like Farnam Manor, the Museum was also believed to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl. However, in the case of the Museum, there was some confusion as to who this girl was, especially since when the building operated as a boarding house, only one little girl lived here (albeit briefly). The little girl ghost wasn’t said to be alone in the building, either, as several other spirits have been reported here.

WIthout giving too much away, I do have to publicly admit that the Museum At The Friends Home was a truly unique experience for me in that the “weirdness” started even before my investigation began. In fact, all my investigators weren’t even inside the building yet!

Main staircase of the Museum At The Friends Home. Remote sensors used during my overnight investigation are visible in middle of stairs as well as running along the right side of staircase.

Want to know more? Well, you’ll just have to wait until Ohio’s Historic Haunts comes out this fall. Or you could pre-order your copy here. And if you’re dying to hear about things straight from the horse’s mouth, check this out: on Saturday, November 21st, I will be giving a special presentation at the Museum At The Friends Home, entitled An Evening With Author James A. Willis. And yes, my experiences at the Museum will definitely be a huge part of that presentation. I might even bring along a special guest or two who were with me during my investigation so you can really get the full story!

For more information on the November 21st presentation, visit the Museum At The Friends Home website here or click here to let people know you’re going! And keep on eye on my Calendar Of Events to see if I’ll be coming to your town!

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Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Name That Location #2

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What better way to start off the week than with another Name That Location!

What’s Name That Location, you ask? Well, it’s my way of teasing my upcoming book, Ohio’s Historic Haunts. I’m posting pictures of locations that will be covered in the book and asking you to guess where the picture was taken. After you’ve pondered the photo for a while, I’ll post the answer and some inside scoop on what happened at the location during the writing of the book. Just a couple of things, though. Can’t spoil the whole book now, can I?

So here you go: the photo that will appear on page 282 of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. Name the location!

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Oh yeah, and if you missed Name That Location #1, click here to get caught up!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Location #1 Revealed!

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OK, last chance to guess where this photo from my upcoming Ohio’s Historic Haunts is from! Scroll past the photo for the answer!

Give up? The photo was taken at the Farnam Manor in Richfield, Ohio. Specifically, the photo is of Emily’s Room, where the ghost of young Emily Farnam is said to hang out. Emily died in the house after falling into an old cistern.

Before I give you some more information about Farnam Manor, I’d like to point out the reason why I chose to start this whole “guess the location” thing with this particular photo. Simply put, I was a little bummed when I heard that while Ohio’s Historic Haunts was going to be chock full of photographs, they were all going to be in black and white. I didn’t think that would work, but the picture of Emily’s Room at Farnam Manor changed my mind. For me, the B&W kind of gives the photo a weird sort of vibe, which I am totally digging. In fact, the first time I saw it in the proofs, it instantly reminded me of all those all B&W photos from the 70s of the Amityville Horror house when Ed and Lorraine Warren were roaming about.

Anyway, a little bit more about Farnam Manor to whet your appetite.

I think it was destiny that Farnam Manor ended up in Ohio’s Historic Haunts. Truth be told, it wasn’t on the original list of locations to be included. But one day, I was passing through Richfield on my way to one of my scheduled library appearances when, out of the corner of my eye, a saw this gorgeous old house just sitting there all by itself, guarded by two stone lions.

Farnam Manor Exterior

Almost immediately, I got that weird, tingling feeling, letting me know that I might be onto something. I mean, how could a house like that not have some great history behind it? Still, I needed it to at least have a reputation for being haunted in order for it to be included in Ohio’s Historic Haunts. Instinctively, I did one of my infamous U-turns and pulled into the driveway.

Fate was on my side as one of the Manor’s co-owners, Tim Magner, was out mowing the lawn. After a brief discussion about who I was and why I was checking in, Tim sheepishly nodded and said that while he wasn’t too convinced, yes, there were stories about Farnam Manor being haunted. I thanked Tim and left him my business card. The rest, as they say, is history.

Months later, I would find myself back at Farnam Manor, interviewing over a dozen people who claimed to have not only encountered the ghost of Emily Farnam, but several other spirits, as well. Oh yeah, and I was told a rather interesting tale about Native American Indian ghosts that resulted in my bringing this bag of tobacco with me to leave as an offering.

Tobacco I brought and left as an offerinf Farnam Manor

What’s that all about? Well, you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out!

To read more about Farnam Manor, including what happened when I spent the night inside the house, grab yourself a copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. You can also check my schedule of appearances to see if I’m coming to your neck of the woods. If I am, odds are pretty good I’ll be talking about Farnam Manor!

Of course, you can also visit their website or, better yet, schedule your own visit to Farnam Manor and check the place out for yourself. Just be sure to tell them Weird Willis sent you. Oh yeah, and keep an eye on those stone lions out front. Was probably just me, but I was pretty convinced they were set to pounce on me the second I turned my back!

Closeup of lion at Farnam Manor