There’s plenty if reasons to love the haunted history of Marietta, Ohio, even if you’re not of fan of getting the pants scared off you. The cute Southern Ohio city has awesome restaurants, beautiful scenery, and plenty of American history to keep you revisiting. But, if you want to head there to check out its haunted past, there’s plenty of spots to visit. Here’s my seven favorite places to get your haunted Marietta, Ohio thrill fill.
On my first day visiting Marietta, Ohio, the gang at Hidden Marietta gave me (and several other writers) a walking tour of the city. I discovered so much kooky, quirky, and downright cool history that I fell in love with the city almost immediately. I learned about its tragic past, spots that locals swear are haunted, and how the community’s resilience have brought it back to life.
There’s claims that the owner drank himself to death and haunts the property, but the true story behind why he would do it is even more fascinating.
The Webers were a family of grocers. Intensely German, they were super strict and had a large family. The mother and father never wanted their children to marry or go to school, but one son had different ideas. An artist at heart, James was very melancholy because he wanted a better life. Every year he’d beg his parents to let him go to art school and they finally gave in on his 18th birthday. The son excelled and received offers to pain in Paris. One day he receive a telegram with only two words: come home. He was forced to run the family grocery and became a sullen, old man never able to pursue his dream. James let it be known that when he died he wanted all of his paintings burned, but they were so beautiful that no one could do it.
Fast track to only a few years ago when the second story of the Sudgen Book Store was turned into an art gallery. The new owners found over fifty of James’ paintings and wanted to share them with residents and visitors to Marietta. They meticulously set up the art pieces and left for the day as the next day was the gallery’s opening day. When the owners arrived they were shocked at the sight: the paintings were strewn about and a book was open to a specific page on the desk. When they looked closer they found the real estate report with the deed from James Weber’s studio in 1932. The new owners removed the paintings from the space and put them back in storage.
One of the oldest hotels in Marietta, Lafayette Hotel has more than just awesome history with “America’s favorite fighting Frenchman”. Sorry, Hamilton musical quote. I had to.
Originally called the Bellevue Hotel when built in 1892, it’s had its history of tragedy. The property was destroyed by fire in 1916 and the walls have flood markers where it’s been deeply under water compliments of its pretty location near the river. The Hoag Edition is what I’d like to chat about, though. Built between 1937-38, Mr. Hoag is considered to still be the protector of the property. As the hotel’s owner for well over 50 years, his pride in the property has many believing that he makes his presence known by being a prankster: moving papers, whispering in ears, and good, clean fun.
I had the pleasure of staying in the Hoag Edition during my visit and the first night made me a teeny bit uneasy. My room door rattled even though it’s an inside door. Let’s just say I didn’t get a lot of sleep.
A scared area to Native Americans, locals built a cemetery around the Conus mound in 1801, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in the Northwest Territory. If we’re talking history, it also has the most Revolutionary War officers buried on its grounds. So, add them both together and it’s a mix for spookiness. There’s tales of folks seeing a blue ball of light, while others have claimed to see a ghastly soldier walking around the tombstones. I, personally, found the grounds calm and peaceful.
Buckley Island has a fun story! Situated between the Ohio and West Virginia borders in the Ohio River, it was once a mecca for debauchery. a Carnival by day, residents would take their families over to check out the fun. At night? It was all about your favorite vice. There was also a Pest House – a spot where the ill were taken to either get better or live out their lives. Most of the time the latter happened.
Mix all of this history together and you’ve got the recipe for a spooky spot. People that have made the boat trek over to the island have found artifacts and remnants – and many get very uneasy or queasy.
As Marietta, Ohio, sits on an ideal location in Southern Ohio, there was plenty of need for hotels and the former Labella Hotel has a fun ghost story. Women of the night spent plenty of time in the hotel compliments of 1880’s oil tycoons moving into town. Turns out one fell in love with a particular prostitute and got caught – but he didn’t stop his love affair. His son followed dear, old dad to the hotel with an axe and waited to see which room light would go on. The son walked up the stairs, broke open the door, and hacked his father’s head off. He left dad’s lady friend alone, though.
The son was put on trail by the local court – and released on justifiable homicide for defending his family’s honor. The building (one of the only remaining original buildings in the riverfront area) has stories of of footsteps walking up the stairs. There’s also claims of hearing sounds like boots on hardwood, silence, and then running steps.
St. Cloud Hotel
The St. Cloud Hotel was one of the popular spots to get a good night’s rest in town. For two dollars a night you could get just that – and a place to even valet your carriage. When the 1913 Flood destroyed many spots in town, the St. Cloud was in its heyday.
There’s a good story about the hotel, too. Eventually burned to the ground by a robber trying to cover his tracks, there was an unfortunate event on the balcony of the second floor. 12 dudes were on that balcony drunk during one of the floods (there’s been at least three!) and they were thrown into the water. Think about it: 12 grown men on one teeny, rickety, old balcony was not a good idea weight-wise. They scrambled to get to boats but one poor soul was missing. He got trapped under the balcony and drowned. Now only an empty parking lot, there’s loads of tales from this location.
There’s a ghost named Charlotte that likes to make herself known. She really dislikes male workers and claims of being pushed and shoved have been told. There’s also tales of plates being broken over their heads. That’s one tough gal ghost!
There’s no way I’d be able to write this post without the astute knowledge of the gang at Hidden Marietta! They made my visit a vibrant one and their tales of Marietta’s cool past are some I’ll never forget. They offer haunted history tours, Ghost Treks, and their knowledge of the city is impressive. The office is in the basement of the The Lafayette and filled with souvenirs. Oh yeah, don’t forget to ask them about the hauntings down there when you visit!
A huge thanks to the Visit Marietta, Ohio gang for hosting me this spring! Thanks for the fun and hospitality in your gorgeous city!