By BRITTANY POWELL
In the spirit of Halloween, young and old alike anticipate hearing ghost stories.
A few visitors to the Wapakoneta library may have received more than what they bargained for.
Paranormal investigator and author John B. Kachuba gave a presentation at the Auglaize County Public Library Tuesday about “real” haunted locations. He spoke of local haunts that he has researched and locations where he has conducted paranormal investigations.
Anita Foor, of Wapakoneta, said she came to the presentation out of curiosity.
“I’ve always been fascinated by ghost stories and the paranormal,” Foor said.
Foor said she and her daughter, Serena are fans of the popular “ghost hunter” television shows. After learning about the hauntings of Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Foors said she hopes to plan a visit with her daughter to the haunted location.
Besides the ghost story aspect of the event, Foor said she learned a lot about local history.
“I found it interesting to learn about Ohio,” Foor said. “It was neat to hear about the different histories behind the ghost stories.”
Kachuba presented 10 “haunted” locations that he has investigated in eastern Ohio.
“All the places I visit are open to the public,” Kachuba said. “You don’t have to be a ghost hunter to visit them.”
Cincinnati Music Hall, which was built in 1876, is a location that was previously used as an orphanage, and, before that, a pest house. Kachuba said the location was used to bury people with disease, and the burial site was merely a deep hole that was also used to bury unidentified bodies.
While the music hall was being built, many human remains were uncovered.
Currently throughout the music hall, Kachuba said he has talked to people who have heard music while nothing is scheduled at the hall, and no one has been able to find a source for the music.
He said there have been multiple sightings of people dressed in Victorian clothing.
Kachuba said he is a frequent visitor to the hall.
“I go for the performances,” Kachuba said, “but I go for the ghosts, too.”
The Cincinnati Observatory is another known location for haunts, Kachuba said.
Kachuba said “Dr. Smith” is known to haunt the observatory, resulting from his suicide years ago. He researched the obituaries in the local paper, which stated Dr. Eliot Smith hung himself with a rope on the telescope in the observatory.
Kachuba said he visited the location of the suicide with a ghost hunting group, and they discovered noises on their recording devices they could not detect by ear.
“We said, ‘Is there anybody here that wants to talk to us? Is this Dr. Eliot Smith?’ ” Kachuba said.
When the group replayed the tape back, Kachuba said they got a reply they did not hear during the recording. Kachuba and his group heard, in a whisper, “Right,” play back on the recording in response to his name.
Kachuba also spoke about the Collingwood Art Center in Toledo, which he visited in response to students’ reports of the “Shadow Man.” While exploring the basement, Kachuba said he experienced a “thickness” in the air, which he could not explain.
“I got this overwhelming sense of depression,” Kachuba said.
Kachuba said the building was previously a convent, and a retired nurse who visited the center asked, “by the way, is the shadow still in the basement?”
While Kachuba specializes in researching the unknown, he said there are times where myths are proved false by research.
The Ridges Mental Health Center in Athens was an asylum that housed more than 2,000 patients. Due to dangers inside the building, the public is not allowed inside.
Kachuba said there were locked floors and rooms in the building due to the patients’ mental illnesses.
A 52-year-old woman went missing, but was found two years later inside the asylum in one of the locked rooms on a locked floor.
Kachuba said she had her arms crossed over her chest, waiting to die.
Kachuba presented a photograph of an imprint of the woman’s body left on the floor of the room.
Local rumor has it that if a person touched the imprint, he or she would die. Kachuba dismissed the myth and said the imprint on the floor in the photograph was simply left behind due to the body’s “goo,” or decay, and that it was not a product of the “unknown.”
Among the other haunted locations Kachuba presented were the Local Heroes Bar & Grill in Cleveland, which a psychic swears is haunted, Punderson State Park in Newbury, where a group of gypsies saw a woman walking on the lake, the Oliver House in Toledo, where people have reported mysterious figures.
“These are just some of the places in Ohio,” Kachuba said. “Every day someone calls me with something else. There are an amazing number of places in Ohio that are allegedly haunted.”
Kachuba recommended that anyone interested in the paranormal to conduct their own investigations.
Adult Services Coordinator Andrea Burton said, while she was interested in the haunted locations, she was not brave enough to visit the sites.
“I got goosebumps a whole bunch of times during the presentation,” Burton. “I liked the historical information.”
Burton said she asked Kachuba to give his presentation to the library because she saw a positive reaction to the Dayton Metro Library’s ghost program.
She said Kachuba frequently gives library presentations, and it is the right time of year for ghost stories.
“It was an overall great presentation,” Burton said.
She said she particularly enjoyed Kachuba’s storytelling.
“I really liked when he would talk about the recordings and used a whispering voice,” Burton said. “He did a really good job interacting with the audience.”