Central Ohio Legends & Lore

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Yeah, so this just happened.

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My latest endeavor hit Central Ohio bookshelves and online retailers everywhere on June 26th. And I have to admit it’s one that I am quite proud of.

For one, Central Ohio Legends & Lore gets me back a bit closer to my Weird Ohio roots that so many of you have been asking me to return turn. In other words, while this new book has some ghost stories in it, the vast majority of it centers on just plain ol’ weird stuff. You know, things like UFOs and the Ohio Grassman.

But what’s more, for this book, I made a conscious effort to focus on real weirdness: Stuff that sounds too weird to be true, but it is. Case in point, this pic from the cover of Central Ohio Legends & Lore:

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This picture is of a real mine fire in New Straitsville, Ohio. The fire was started in 1884 and still burns today. That’s right, there’s a 133-year-old fire burning right now under New Straitsville, Ohio.

I wanted to focus on real stories like that because I feel that with today’s paranormal reality shows, just uttering words like “ghost” or even “unexplained” can often cause the general public to react with cries of “BS” and “that’s not real”. Sadly, I think a lot of, in this case, Ohio folklore, is being abandoned and forgotten. I’m hoping to change that.

Of course, that’s not to say I abandoned the Ohio ghost story. Far from it. In fact, Central Ohio Legends & Lore contains some of my favorite Ohio ghost stories, including some that had yet to be included in any of my other books. In fact, I can honestly say that the research I did for one particular ghost story in the book, Thurber House, got me really, really excited.

It also led to an event being planned for this fall that is going to offer some lucky people the chance to stand at the crossroads where the paranormal and literary worlds meet. And who knows what will happen! Details on that event will be coming soon, so keep an eye on this blog. In the meantime, if you want a hint, go read James Thurber’s The Night The Ghost Got In.

Central Ohio Legends & Lore is available at most Central Ohio bookstores, as well as select grocery stores and even Walgreen’s. It’s also available at Amazon.com and all the other online retailers. It will also be available for purchase at all of my upcoming appearances and presentations. I’ve already started making the rounds on a bit of a mini-signing tour. At some of the locations, I will be giving brief talks about Central Ohio Legends & Lore. Come the fall, we launch into full-blown presentation mode, of which the new book will certainly be a large part. For a full list of upcoming appearances, click here.

Hope you have as much fun with the book as I had writing it!

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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.

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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!

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.

Information On Ohio’s Historic Haunts Pre-Release Book Signing

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While the official release date for Ohio’s Historic Haunts is September 30th, the publisher, Kent State University Press, has decided to release some copies ahead of time. The reason for this is a super-cool pre-release book signing on the campus of Kent State University!

So on Saturday, September 26th, you can swing by the Kent State University Book Store (located at 1085 Risman Drive [124 Student Ctr], Kent, Ohio) and grab yourself a first edition of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. I will be there between the hours of 2 and 4 pm and will be more than happy to sign your book (and anything else you want me to) for you. After that, you can proudly walk to your car carrying your autographed first edition, a full 4 days before the general public has a chance to get their hands on a copy!

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the campus book store’s website here. 

Hope to see you all there!

If you can’t make it on the 26th, I will have copies available for purchase at all of my upcoming presentations and appearances. You can always grab a copy off Amazon, too!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Location #6 Revealed!

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Welcome to location #6 from Ohio’s Historic Haunts: The Sullivan-Johnson Museum in Kenton, Ohio!

Like any great museum, Sullivan-Johnson is packed full of multiple histories, if you will, from local locations as well as ones from across the county. So much so that as you walk through the building and marvel at the historical artifacts tucked into virtually every corner, it’s easy to forget that this museum used to be a private home, owned by members of the Sullivan and Johnson families.

Museum display showing members of the Sullivan-Johnson family

But if you linger in the rooms, you can almost feel yourself being transported back to simpler times. When that happens, the rooms take on a warm, almost cozy feeling. No wonder that some believe ghosts from both families—Sullivan and Johnson—have taken up permanent residence here. It’s the type of place that once you visit, you never want to leave. Of course, there’s no denying the possibility that all of the historical pieces at the Sullivan-Johnson Museum may have a ghost or two attached to them, too.

So who or what is haunting the Sullivan-Johnson Museum? Well, you’ll just have to pick up a copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts and see if you can answer that one yourselves.

Back steps, where ghostly footsteps are said to be heard

For now, my lips are sealed. I will tell you, though, that during our visit to the Sullivan-Johnson Museum, we had the unique opportunity to spend some time chatting (and ghost hunting) with a lovely woman who not only knew the last member of the Johnson family to live in the house, but who had also developed a long-standing friendship with her, as well.

Did having someone who had a close personal relationship with one of the alleged ghosts help stir up anything in the house? For the time being, I’ll just say my answer is a definite “maybe”! I will say, though, that one of the ghosts said to make its home at the Sullivan-Johnson Museum is also believed to be quite particular as to what portraits of her get hung up in the house…and even in the local library!

Some of the equipment we brought with us for the overnight at the Museum

Pick up your very own copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts at Amazon, Kent State University Press, Barnes & Noble, or at most Ohio bookstores!

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

Release Date For Ohio’s Historic Haunts Moved Up!

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You asked for it and Kent State University Press made it happen: The official release date for Ohio’s Historic Haunts has been moved up! The book will now be released on September 30th, 2015.

This means that the book will be available for purchase at all presentations and appearances beginning October 1st. There’s an outside chance they will be available at the September 26th appearance at Farnam Manor, too. Fingers crossed.

For those of you who pre-ordered the book, they should be shipping out shortly. But it appears as though Amazon will still be running their “25% off pre-order sale” on the book until the official release date, September 30th. So click on over there if you want to take advantage of that.

The book is also available through Kent State University Press as well as all other online book retailers.

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Name That Location #6!

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WIthout further ado, allow me to present the photograph that will appear on page 32 of Ohio’s Historic Haunts.

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Sorry for the odd crop, but in the full photograph, there’s a historical marker on the left side and a big ol’ sign with the location’s name on it on the right side. Figured it wouldn’t be much of a test if I left either of those in!

So, can you name the location?

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Need to catch up on the other 5 locations that have been revealed to date? Click here!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Location #5 Revealed!

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Welcome to location #5 from Ohio’s Historic Haunts: The Lima Adult Learning Center/Literacy Council Building on West Spring Street in Lima, Ohio.

This one stumped most of you, which is one of the things that attracted me to the building in the first place. You see, to be honest, the house doesn’t look like anything that spectacular from the outside. The inside, however, is an entirely different story.

Originally, the house on Spring Street served as the opulent home to two of Lima’s movers and shakers, Clair and Lulu Tolan. Clair was a successful businessman who would eventually become the owner of the Tolan Block of buildings near Spring and Main Streets in downtown Lima. Their home on Spring Street reflected that success and it was often home to elaborate parties.

Gorgeous stained glass along the main staircase

Upon Lulu’s death in the 1950s, the building began to be used as a commercial building and several different businesses would take up residence inside the home. And with each new tenant came new changes to the building’s interior. The last business to call the building home was Fred and Doty Accountants, who stayed until approximately 2005. After that, the building was boarded up and abandoned.

Several years later, the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council took control of the building and began attempting to restore the home to its original glory. After having sat abandoned for a few years, perhaps this restoration is what brought the ghosts back around: They wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Upstairs Hallway at Literacy Council, showing position of multiple sensors we used during our night in the house

It’s hard to say with any certainly who the ghosts are at the house on Spring Street. One thing is for sure, though: They have made their presence known on multiple people on more than a few occasions. Having said that, I’m sure you’re all asking the same question: Did anything happen the night you spent inside the house for Ohio’s Historic Haunts. The short answer is “yes”, something did indeed happen. Several things, in fact. But you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out for more details from me!

Well, that’s not entirely true. I will be in Lima on Saturday, October 3rd for the Lima Lantern Tours. Rumor has it I’ll be giving away all sorts of secrets about what happened inside the house on Spring Street while I was conducting research for my book. So stay tuned!

Chimes that are said to ring on their own, even when there’s no one around them

Can’t wait to find out what happened inside the Literacy Council building? Grab yourself a copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts right here.

Just want to catch up on all the other locations that I’ve revealed so far? click here!

Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Name That Location #5

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Hard to believe, but we’re only about a month away from the official release of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. So the Name That Location photos are going to start coming a lot faster. With that in mind, take a peek at the photo that will appear on age 59 of Ohio’s Historic Haunts. Can you name the location?

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If you can’t wait to see a copy of Ohio’s Historic Haunts sitting on a shelf in a local bookstore, eagerly awaiting your purchase, you can preorder it now on Amazon or directly through Kent State University Press.

Oh yeah, and click here if you want to see all of the locations that I’ve revealed so far!