27 October 2012

Slacker Ghost Hunting and Local Ghost Stories

My bestie J.C. Wilder and I, paranormal authors to the bone, have come to the conclusion that we’d make terrible ghost hunters.

First of all, we talk too much.

Second, real ghost hunters lug heavy equipment. Climb ladders to set up cameras. Schlep up and down stairs. Sit for hours in cold, damp cellars.

We’re simply too high maintenance for that.

A few weeks ago we had a girls-only weekend at her house. She had just downloaded Ghost Radar to her Android phone, and I had a similar program on my laptop. (Not sure if these really work, but they’re fun to mess around with.)

Camped out on her huge, antique, four-poster bed, fuzzy-slippered feet propped up, about 800 pillows arranged just so, dogs squeezed in wherever they could, we fired up our apps and waited. Positive we’d get something, because strange stuff happens in her house all the time.

Like how J.C.’s Mom always says hello to me by making her musical coffee cup play a merry tune.

After about a half hour of picking up random energies and spoken words, getting no answers to out-loud questions, J.C. commented, “We really should move downstairs. That’s where everything happens.”

For about a minute we contemplated the logistics of moving our comfortably parked arses all the way downstairs. (About six steps down, 30 feet as the crow hops.) And incurring the wrath of two tucked-in-for-the-duration pooches.

Neither one of us moved.

“Let’s watch a Medea movie.”

Oh, how the mighty have fallen...


Holland, Ohio, where I live, is a small bedroom community at Toledo’s southwest edge. You wouldn’t think Toledo would be a hotbed of paranormal activity, and you’d be wrong. There’s a lot of moving water around here – nearby Lake Erie, the Maumee River, and a close-to-the-surface water table just under a glacier-dumped bed of sand. Ghosts tend to feed off the energy of moving water.

Even itty bitty Holland as its hot spot – an old 1800s storefront down by the railroad crossing.

Currently it houses an art glass studio. And a poltergeist. Fortunately the poltergeist would rather fling small objects in the office rather than wreak havoc in the studio! A bit of video taken during Fringe Paranormal’s 2010 investigation shows how careful the ghost is with the fragile glass pieces:


The Toledo area is also the site of a couple of significant battlegrounds, the “Battle for Ohio,” in which there was a ruckus over a narrow strip of swamp land between Ohio and Michigan. Ohio won, which is the reason my house sits in the Buckeye State. No deaths were reported, except perhaps for that of a startled milk cow.

The more famous Battle of Fallen Timbers, said to be the last battle of the American Revolution, took place not far from my home. Sadly, much of the battlefield has been swallowed up by a highway interchange. But a small section has been preserved by the National Park Service. The forlorn little piece of land between the highway and the river is hard to find unless you really want to find it. A bike path runs through it, connecting the adjacent mall and housing development.

The bloody battle took the lives of 30 of “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s soldiers, as well as twice that number of Ottawa warriors.

A few yards from the towering monument to the white soldiers is Turkey Foot Rock. Marked with a plaque, this is the spot where the Ottawa chief rallied his warriors, and lost his life. If you look closely at the weathered stone, you can still see where surviving tribesmen carved turkey tracks as a memorial. When I visited, someone had left an offering of tobacco and flowers.

It is said that if you sit near the rock on Aug. 20, the anniversary of the battle, you can hear gunfire, screams, and smell gunpowder in the air.

If you're interested in finding out if your corner of the world is haunted, the internet has a number of sites where you can find out. Chances are there's an old building, battlefield, or bridge guaranteed to raise your hair.

Blessed Samhain, everyone!

Carolan Ivey
Romance that will haunt you…
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