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  • Writer's pictureMahi Sheth

Urban Legends of Ohio: Ghosts of Athens

Who here at Loveland High School is considering going to Ohio University? You may want to reconsider your options as there is an abandoned asylum that is said to be haunted in Athens, Ohio.

As one might anticipate from a lunatic asylum in a college town, the abandoned Athens Lunatic Asylum near Ohio University is home to a variety of rumored hauntings, including a ghostly imprint of a woman that can't be removed, things moving in the basement where patients were allegedly buried, and the notorious ward where peculiar and inhumane methods were used to control patients.

The Athens Lunatic Asylum was a mental health facility in Athens, Ohio; it is now a development called The Ridges. From 1874 to 1993, the hospital offered a wide range of services to a wide range of patients throughout its existence, including Civil War veterans, kids, and people who were labeled as "mentally ill," including violent criminals.

The asylum was recognized as a calm, peaceful environment that benefited its patients' health. As the number of patients increased over time, patient care deteriorated, and many new and more invasive therapies were introduced, including ice baths, electroshock therapy, lobotomy, hydrotherapy, and early psychotropic drugs, the majority of which have come to be known as extremely inhumane. The patient mix transitioned in the mid-1900s, with several parents admitting rebellious teenagers along with more difficult patients.

Margaret Schilling, a patient, went missing on December 1, 1978. According to the legend, while Margaret and a few other patients were playing hide and seek with the nurses, they got sidetracked and forgot to look for her. When they discovered she was missing the following day, they started a search that at first proved fruitless. A maintenance worker discovered her dead body confined inside a building that was rarely used more than a month later. A stain from her decomposition was left on the floor after they removed her body.

That stain remains today, as do her paranormal activities, such as disembodied screams in the middle of the night, electric anomalies, rattling door handles, and fading spectral images. She is also rumored to walk the building at night and can sometimes be seen peering out the window of the room where her body was discovered. Her ghost has allegedly been spotted trying to flee the building.

A dark figure roams the abandoned halls of the asylum Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Some previous patients are rumored to have stayed behind as well, manifesting as fully dressed apparitions in the abandoned hospital wings as well as disembodied noises and cries. Screams, odd lights, and gurneys that squeak are also rather typical. There have also been recent claims that some of the patients who were chained up in the basement for having "bad behavior" are still there, haunting the asylum. Presumably, the cemeteries are all haunted as well. The grave's shapes create a circle in one location, which is claimed to be an old witches gathering place, and there

have been reports of shadow figures fleeing and hiding behind trees and headstones.

Have you changed your mind yet? No? Well then make sure to take a trip down to the asylum and see for yourself if what they say is true.

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