Sitting down to brunch with my friend and her sister upon my return from Ohio University Transfer Orientation, I dropped a comment about silly stories of Athens County being haunted.

I laughed. They nodded solemnly.

Didn’t I know, they insisted, that Ohio University was on Fox’s Scariest Places on Earth, that it is the most haunted university in America? Um, no!

This may sound ridiculous, but I am more terrified of the supernatural possibilities of ghosts or (laugh it up) aliens than I am of walking the streets of a city alone at night. Something about the unknown is terrifying.

As for the ghost stories, I wish those were still unknown to me. But of course, I had to scope out Forgotten Ohio to hear all the haunting details even at the risk of ever falling asleep again.

To the south of campus is the location of a roughly 200 year old asylum. Today, this area called The Ridges houses offices for some university departments. The mentally ill are no longer present… except for their ghosts of course.

Websites and word of mouth can account for dozens of ghostly appearances and events. One story tells of Laura, who fell out her fourth floor window and has visited the room right next to where she landed on the sidewalk. The song “Laura” by Bob Marley does not play in this room on any CDs or cassettes, etc.

Another tale, perhaps the most popularly known, is about the student who touched a stain in the old asylum of where a woman laid to die and was found a month later. The stain truly does exist, likely formed from the lack of sunlight to that spot while the woman’s body rested there. The girl who touched the stain returned to her dorm room, wrote on her walls in blood, and tragically killed herself. The tale sites that regardless of cleaning or repainting done to the room, the stains continue to seep through. The room had to be turned into a closet/boiler room.

Freaky?

The next day at work I asked a colleague who had graduated from OU if the stories are true. To my dismay, she confirmed some of the stories I read about and even added her own from personal experience. Apparently, Lady Ghost in one dorm hates boys and has been known to throw even a bowl of mac-n-cheese across the room at one. Multiple witnesses account for events with this spirit, and my colleague has felt the chilly presence herself.

As fascinating as the tales may be, I declare that I will leave Athens the second I encounter any otherworldly friends. Stay back Casper, you don’t want to hear me scream.

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