Ohio may be quintessential Midwest, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s lacking, especially in the creepy department. After all, when you think about movies mentioning Ohio, the list is practically endless. And when it comes to places that make you shudder, the Buckeye State is not wanting. Here are the 10 creepiest places in Ohio that you’ll definitely want to visit – or not.
Top 10 Creepiest Places in Ohio
These 10 creepiest places in Ohio offer a chilling and unforgettable experience for those brave enough to explore their haunted hallways and ghostly grounds. From the rumored ghostly guests at Buxton Inn to the tragic history of Gore Orphanage, the spectral inhabitants of Prospect Place, and the mysterious Loveland Castle, these haunted locations are a must-visit for thrill-seekers. Prepare yourself for a spine-tingling adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Note: I’m all for checking out creepy, haunted places no matter where I’m traveling. Having written that, I always play it safe, heed warning signs, and never check out an area that’s considered off-limits. As for these creepiest places in Ohio, if and when you do visit, treat both the buildings and their “residents” with respect, never provoke, and always be kind to both the living and unalive folks you encounter. It’s good practice to leave an area just as you found it as well, and always make sure you have permission to explore if need be.
Okay, on with the show!
1- Ohio State Reformatory
Former prison turned haunted hotspot, known for its eerie history and paranormal activity. Famous for its appearances in movies and its haunted reputation, you can see Ohio State Reformatory prison cells in music videos as well. Located in Mansfield, its dilapidated beauty is worth seeing even if you don’t believe in ghosts. Most famous for “The Shawshank Redemption” in 1994, self-guided tours will mosey you through prominent film locations including the safe.
2- Franklin Castle
A Victorian mansion in Cleveland with a dark past, rumored to be haunted by restless spirits. According to Zac Bagans from “Ghost Adventures“, there’s not a paranormal investigator that hasn’t heard of the place. Claimed to be the most haunted residence in Ohio, Hans Tiedemann built the castle in 1883 and, along with his wife, had six children, all but two passed away in their childhood or early infancy. Today, visitors claim that Hans’ wife and their daughter, Emma, walk the hallways and rooms.
If you’re feeling brave, you can actually book an overnight stay and find out for yourself if the castle is haunted or not.
3- The Ridges
Located at Ohio University in Athens, The Ridges was a former insane asylum. Sitting across from the Hocking River, the buildings were purchased in 1993 to be used by the campus. Today, not only is there a creepy vibe when you visit, but walking down the adjacent nature trails is even more eerie and leads straight to The Ridges Cemetery. Look up Hocking Hills haunted places online and The Ridges will be a popular destination.
4- Moonville Tunnel
A long-abandoned railroad tunnel in Vinton County,’s Zaleski State Forest, the Moonville Tunnel is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a headless railroad conductor. Folks have seen former miners and railroad workers in spectral form, have spied the conductor’s lantern shining at night, and even smelled the Lavender Lady’s scent.
An abandoned area in Summit County, infamous for its eerie legends and paranormal encounters. Located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the former Boston Village collapsed, and its houses were torn down. These days, only the land exists but people swear there’s an eerie feeling when they’re nearby or walking around to check out its creepy beauty.
6- Gore Orphanage
A tragic tale surrounds this former orphanage in Vermilion, believed to be haunted by the spirits of deceased children. Young folks flock to its location and swear they hear the sounds of crying children. Technically called Orphanage of Light and Hope, it sits on Gore Road, and its history of a massive fire makes for an even creepier story from the city’s residents. To find it, simply plug Gore Orphanage Road into your GPS.
7- Prospect Place
A historic mansion in Trinway, Prospect Place is said to be haunted by the ghosts of its past inhabitants. Phantom footsteps, shadows, and whispers have all been seen and heard and are claimed to be from former slaves escaping to freedom in Ohio. The 29-room mansion was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and was built by abolitionist G.W. Adams who actually did live to see slavery abolished before he passed in 1879.
8- Loveland Castle
A medieval-style castle in Loveland is said to be haunted by the spirit of its eccentric builder. Originally called Château Laroche, Harry Andrews created the medieval castle replica on the bank of Little Miami River, and took 50 years to complete. Using milk containers to fabricate the cement bricks, the castle is a labor of love and strong enough that it’s considered a bomb shelter.
9- Buxton Inn
This charming inn in Granville is rumored to host ghostly guests from its long history. Built in 1812, Abraham Lincoln was a guest. The inn has been called “spiritually active” instead of haunted and guests have seen The Lady in Blue (former owner, Ethel Houston) and the scent of gardenias follows her through the interior. Additionally, Houston’s cat has been seen hanging out in room 9.
10- Lafayette Hotel
In the haunted capital of Ohio, Marietta is home to the Lafayette Hotel. With its pretty views of the Ohio River, during the day it looks like a typical historic hotel. At night, however, the third floor takes on a completely different vibe. A woman in Victorian-style clothing has been seen roaming the hallways, and the former owner, Mr. Hoag, has also been spied.
I’ve personally had the pleasure of staying at The Lafayette Hotel for a couple of nights a few years back and, I can’t lie, the vibe was super creepy. Walking the hallways to get back and forth to my room was unsettling and staying on the third floor, well, let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep.
Creepiest Places in Ohio – In a Nutshell
The chilling tales surrounding these creepiest places in Ohio make them a must-visit for thrill-seekers. Whether it’s the tragic history of Gore Orphanage, the ghostly inhabitants of Prospect Place, the mysterious Loveland Castle, or the spectral guests at Buxton Inn, these places offer an unforgettable and eerie experience. Venture into their haunted hallways and ghostly grounds for a spine-tingling adventure you won’t soon forget in Ohio’s most haunted places.