Students can visit local destinations for a spring break adventure

by Katie Chong and Daniela Wainfor, ’18

Ohio is known for hosting many historically haunted sights and unexplained phenomena due to its large amount of deserted prisons and towns. For those staying home this spring break and looking for something different to do, say perhaps paranormal, these are just a few destinations to explore in the Buckeye State. Even if you’re not fascinated by the paranormal, these places have some interesting history behind them and are fascinating on their own.

The Clay Haus (123 W Main St. Somerset, OH 43783)

Photo by Katie Chong

The Clay Haus is a functioning restaurant that was originally established by Jacob Miller in 1812. The lower level of the house was filled with animal claws, jawbones and civil war memorabilia before it was cleared in the 1970s by the current owner, Betty Snider. There is reported paranormal activity in the restaurant including a ghostly figure of a man who dwells in the “blue room.” The Clay Haus is still open to the public to dine in and enjoy the German-American food and perhaps experience the paranormal phenomena of the house.

Ohio State Reformatory (100 Reformatory Rd. Mansfield, OH 44905)

Photo courtesy Rain0975

The Ohio State Reformatory was originally built as a boys’ reformatory school that opened in 1896. It was later transformed into a prison and housed over 155,000 inmates until its closure in December 1990 due to overcrowding, violence, and disease. It was featured in the classic film “Shawshank Redemption” and has attracted many tourists eager to see the famous set. The reformatory is open for its winter tour season from Feb. 2 to March 31, Friday through Sunday, and hosts guided tours as well as ghost walks for those who seek a greater thrill.

The Ridges (Radar Hill Trail Athens, OH 45701)

Photo courtesy Mike Tewkesbury

Formerly an asylum for the mentally ill located in Athens, Ohio, administrators renamed the Athens Asylum the “Athens Hospital for the Insane” in 1876. The establishment went on to have many names after that. The asylum itself was built from bricks fired from clay dug on-site. When it was used as a mental hospital, the patients endured many painful and cruel techniques that would be looked down upon today. Billy Milligan, a patient with dissociative identity disorder, was housed here in the 1960s. Tours at the Ridges can be purchased for $15 a ticket.

The Steubenville Ghost (Route 7 toward East Liverpool)

Photo courtesy Anders Jildén

Legend has it that if one ever finds themselves driving on Route 7 near Steubenville towards East Liverpool, a hitchhiker may appear. Unexplained sightings have been reported of an ethereal-looking woman dressed in a white gossamer gown stopping in front of cars. It is said she asks for a ride into town. The story claims that anyone who proceeds to take her will never be seen again.