The 10 Best Myths and Urban Legends in Ohio

Every state has its own set of strange myths and urban legends. Ghosts, werewolves, things that go bump in the night. But Ohio residents have a special relationship with the unusual. Take a look at some of the weirdest and most explainable myths and legends in the great state of Ohio!

1. Satan's Hollow

This creepy drainage tunnel is often referred to as “The Tunnel to Hell,” and is reportedly a site where Satanists come to sacrifice animals to the devil in a hidden altar room. Although the tunnel is technically private property, it hasn't stopped paranormal enthusiasts from coming to explore. Videos from those investigations show Satanic symbols painted on walls, strange voices and growls coming from deep within, and many have claimed to see a demon called, “The Shadow Man.”

2. The Ridges

The abandoned Athens Lunatic Asylum near Ohio University is full of different legendary hauntings (as you might expect a lunatic asylum in a college town to be) including a mysterious stain in the shape of a woman that can't be washed away, things moving in the basement where patients were reportedly buried, and the infamous tuberculosis ward where strange and inhuman methods were used to control patients. The building sits atop a large hill in front of a cemetery, and though it's closed to the public, college students have been braving the trip since the legends began.

3. The Werewolf of Defiance

Though werewolf legends exist in some form or another, the werewolf of Defiance is a bit stranger. There have been multiple sightings throughout the years of a large beast-like creature that resembles a werewolf, one of which from a railroad worker who claims the werewolf struck him in the shoulder with a piece of lumber. We can't explain why a werewolf would need to use a 2x4 as a weapon before running off, but police take the matter very seriously as the descriptions of the creature all seem to be very similar.

4. Loveland Frog Men

This is one of the stranger Ohio myths, but the sightings of the Loveland frog men go back to 1955. They reportedly stand about four feet-tall and look like humanoid lizards. New sightings seem to pop up every couple decades, the latest of which was in August 2016, when two teenagers playing “Pokémon Go” reported seeing a giant frog that stood up and walked on its hind legs.

5. Cry Baby Bridge

Cry Baby Bridge is a legend that exists in almost every state, and Ohio has over 20 reported Crybaby bridges. The popularity of the myth is likely due to the simplicity of the story. A grieving mother throws her baby into the river, sometimes throwing herself in as well, sometimes driving off the bridge in an accident. But if you go to the bridge late at night and turn off your car, you'll hear the cries of a small baby echoing in the dark. The bridge in Salem is especially creepy as it's not connected to any main roads and it's relatively difficult to find. So if you're brave enough to take the hike out to Cry Baby Bridge without a car to speed away, you might want to bring some decent running shoes.

6. Hatchet Man Road

What list of scary myths would be complete without a homicidal maniac who attacks from beyond the grave? In the early 1800s, Andrew Hellman reportedly killed his wife with a hatchet and spread the pieces all over the road near his Bellefontaine home. The legend goes that if you're out late at night and you turn off your car, you'll see the pieces scattered on the road, and a man with a hatchet standing nearby in the ditch.

7. Lake Hope Furnace

A man's work is never done, they say, and according to this legend, that includes in death. The remains of an old iron furnace sit as a monument at Lake Hope State Park, and legend has it that on dark, stormy evenings, the ghost of one of the furnace workers still comes by to light it. He reportedly carries a lantern in his hand, but vanishes into darkness whenever people get too close.

8. Ohio State Reformatory

You might recognize the Mansfield Reformatory as the location where they filmed the “Shawshank Redemption,” but the people who take guided tours through the buildings have their own stories to tell. Legend has it that, even when the building is empty, you can hear footsteps stomping through the hallways, knuckles tapping against the cell bars, and voices of the ghostly prisoners who died there.

9. Gore Orphanage

Some legends about the Gore Orphanage claim that there was a fire started by one of the kids where they all perished. Others claim that it's been the site of strange occult rituals. Though the true story is unknown, many tourists have claimed to have ghostly encounters there, especially in the abandoned children's cemetery behind the building.

10. Beaver Creek State Park

The legend goes that when the canals were being built in East Liverpool, Ohio, one of the canal workers lost his wife and daughter to a tragic accident. Stricken with grief, he entombed their coffins in the walls of the canal, and then threw himself into the rushing river where he drowned. The canal has long-since been drained, but legend has it that if you go to the canals late at night, you'll see the man carrying a lantern, still searching for his wife and daughter.

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