By Ashlee Oakley
Looking for a chilling local ghost story this Halloween season? Look no further… and perhaps you needn’t look any further than your own backyard. Here are some legends worth telling, with settings in the Springville area.
Victorian Homes of Main Street, Springville: It has been rumored that some of the beautiful, striking Victorian houses on the main drag of Springville are indeed haunted. In one such legend, a house belonged to a veteran of the Civil War, “Mr. Meyers.” After the war, in 1880, Meyers had the house built for himself and his daughter. Meyers eventually left town to meet with colleagues Gettysburg, PA- only to meet an uncertain end, as he never did make the meeting, nor did he make it home, leaving his young daughter at the home alone indefinitely. Some Springville residents have noted a little girl spotted standing in the widow’s peak of the house and roaming around, certainly awaiting the return of her beloved father. It is said that if there is anyone living in the house, she becomes displeased, and will make herself known—turning off appliances, disembodied laughter, doors slamming, and you can sometimes hear a person run up the spiral staircase.
Western House, Springville: Everyone in town knows the old Western House, but do you know the haunted history that goes with it? Though currently an empty building, it was first a hotel and saloon, throughout the years changing to a restaurant, a bar, and apartments. The first former owner’s daughter, Christine, is said to mysteriously haunt the building, but little is known about Christine. This poltergeist was said to have enjoyed surprising people, particularly men, when coming out of the bathrooms.
Spaulding Road Cemetery and Woods, Concord: Between Genesee and Kern Roads, Spaulding Road is little but a dirt pathway with a few lovely houses, a creekbed, and beautiful nature— and Spaulding Cemetery, used from 1808-1941. It has been reported that, even on a sunny, calm day, once you step up the hill onto cemetery grounds, the wind picks up, and if you are quiet, you may hear disembodied voices. If that scares you, don’t look into the woods surrounding the graveyard, as you may also see shadows darting back and forth. Driving by at night, you are almost certain to have car trouble— engines turn off, lights are said to blink on and off, and ice cold dread will be in the air, before you are “let go,” and allowed to continue on to your destination. Many brave souls that enjoy ghost chasing will admit that even they will not climb the steep but short hill to the burial site once dark arrives.
Woodside Hamlet “Witch Woods,” Concord: About a half-mile off the road, down an overgrown path (and not far down the street from the haunted house depicted in “The House on Woodside Road” by local author Shirl Ann Jozak), there is a water well, which looks to be constructed many decades ago. There are many strange, distressing markings on the inside of the enclosure around the well, and the well has long been sealed over. It is said that in this area, the temperature is noticeably colder, and otherwise dismissed sounds echo starkly through the area, with a noticeable atmosphere of doom.
East Otto Cemetery, East Otto: There are many accounts of ghost-watchers going to East Otto Cemetery on East Otto Road at night, and beholding the screaming spectres of two young women, running as their ax-wielding murderer chases them. It is also said that you may have car trouble, such as unexplainable shaking of the vehicle, your horn beeping without being touched, lights going off on their own… drive by at your own risk!
Goodleburg Cemetery, South Wales: Often referred to as “one of the most haunted spots in America,” few ghost hunters leave without a sighting. Faint music can be heard, a low, ominous fog is said to follow visitors around, and sightings of the ghosts of a morally corrupt doctor and his most unfortunate patients are said to be common occurrences. Feelings of being pushed back or unable to move have been reported. Photos may show orbs of all colors, the fog, and shadow figures. The doctor’s disturbingly abandoned home stands directly across from the graveyard and how could you not feel watched with this centuries-old home standing at your back!
And, last, but certainly not the least of the ghost stories told today:
The Strange Tale of Zoar Valley, Collins/Otto: Many strange spectral stories have been reported by both believing and skeptical visitors of Zoar Valley, but the one that stands out the most is the bizarre and unbelievable tale of the “claw-handed” people. Early in the 1900’s, a number of Zoarites were reportedly born with a specific genetic abnormality that left them with fingers and toes unnaturally fused together. Possible reasons have been speculated as deformities related to contaminants, curses, and STDs, but legend suggests that the Zoarites chose not to continue having children as a community, and died out. Strange sightings of spirits with claw-hands have been described as having been seen in the area. Zoar Valley is also naturally exceptionally dangerous, with its deep gorges and vast, beautiful landscapes of no-man’s land, and is considered a hotbed for phantom encounters- moving cold spots, feelings of being watched… regardless, it is well known not to go into Zoar Valley alone—and certainly never at night— because it is dangerous!
These are just a few of the many stories of hauntings in and around our historical village. If you are interested in checking these places out, please heed private property signs- and if you’re on a mission, ask permission- never go onto private property without the owner’s go-ahead. If you have any of your own ghost stories, please feel free to send them into our editor during the month of October, at email@example.com. If you enjoy terror on Halloween, these “real-life” ghost encounters might be on the agenda for your Oct. 31 activities this year… if you dare!