Ohio is rife with urban legends. Some spring up from the seeds of truth while others seem too far out to be believed. Many of these stories echo urban legends from other areas, so read a few for yourself and decide which tales you believe are real.
Buckeye State Urban Legends
Ohio Players Legend
This first urban legend involves a popular 1970's tune recorded by the Dayton, Ohio band known as The Ohio Players. Their song Love Rollercoaster was a disco tune that appeared on the album Honey. The tune featured background screams meant to recreate the sounds of people riding roller coasters. According to the legend however, the scream of a particular woman was accidentally captured during recording as she was murdered just outside of the studio. If you listen to the song, you can actually hear the scream, but it's doubtful that it's anything more than a purposeful part of the recording. Still, the legend persists. Listen and decide for yourself whether or not it's true.
Urban Legends About Ohio Bridges
No one knows why, but urban legends about bridges seem to multiply like wildfire. Here are a few of the most popular Ohio bridge tales.
- Brubaker Bridge - This legend tells the tale of a carload of people who died in an accident on the bridge. People claim that cars often stall while crossing the bridge and that a ghostly hand knocks on the car. As the story goes, this ghost belongs to the last undiscovered body from the accident. Perhaps there is a restless spirit seeking a proper burial?
- Cry Baby Bridge - Located in Fremont, Ohio, this bridge is supposedly the location where an unwed mother threw her unwanted baby from the bridge. Tales include hearing the dead baby's cries at night and sightings of the guilt-ridden ghost mother searching for her child.
- Bloody Bridge - Located over the Miami Erie Canal in Auglaize County, this bridge is said to be the site of a terrible axe murder brought about by one man's jealous rage upon losing his sweetheart to another man. A historical marker at the site claims that the murderer lopped off his rival's head, and that the young woman fell into the river below and drowned. The murderer went missing and was never seen again. Today, people still claim to see a ghostly woman in the water as well as a headless ghost on the bridge.
- The Old Covered Bridge - Located in Marion somewhere along Route 23, it's said that if you stop on this haunted bridge, place your keys on top of your car and honk your horn three times, your keys will disappear. You can give it a try if you dare.
Legends of Strange Creatures
- The Werewolf of Defiance - During the summer of 1972, a railroad worker was reportedly assaulted by a werewolf with a two-by-four in one of three similar attacks along the tracks. The events put the residents in great fear, and the "creature," or whoever committed the assault, was never apprehended. Does the Defiance werewolf still lurk along the tracks?
- Lizardman - This tale comes from an area along the Miami River near Loveland, Ohio. In the 1970s, local residents reported sightings of a strange lizard or frog-like child. According to the story, one or two police officers also reported seeing a strange lizard-like creature.
The Legends of Hell Town
Of all the urban legends in Ohio, tales of Hell Town seem to be the most prevalent. Perhaps this is due to the actual facts that lay at the root of this story. The area known as Hell Town was once known as Boston Mills. The area was bought out by the US government to make way for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The residents were not happy with the situation, but they were given no choice in the matter. Once they had vacated the town, the government officially closed the area. The buildings were occasionally set afire and used to train new firemen, and the once thriving town took on the appearance of a burned out ghost town.
According to people in the area, the town's remains still lie within the park, and hikers occasionally come upon the area during their walks. The town must certainly look spooky just sitting in the middle of the woods quietly decaying, so it's easy to see how so many stories have sprung up about "Hell Town."
A few urban legends associated with the area include the following:
- Some people claim that the government closed Boston Mills after some sort of chemical accident that caused the citizens to mutate. Government cover ups are often a favorite theme in urban legends, and some people claim to have actually seen disfigured, mutated people still hiding in the area.
- Have you ever heard a tale about a church in the middle of the woods that's used for satanic worship? It seems that almost every place has one, and Hell Town is no exception. In this case, it's the church that used to be part of the Boston Mills community, and it supposedly comes with the standard upside-down cross that is always part of this particular type of urban legend.
- Spirits of murdered children are also said to haunt the woods of Hell Town. As the legend goes, a school bus ran out of gas while passing through the area. While the driver was gone trying to get gas, an escaped patient from a mental hospital came along and killed the children. This legend has several classic "urban" elements including the escaped mental patient, the vehicle that ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and, of course, the ghosts of children.
Common Themes in Legends Across States
The preceding stories are just a sample of urban legends in Ohio. However, they show how common themes in these tales always seem to pop up from one region to the next.