Kat Klockow and her group of local artists turn ghost stories and legends into comics with their new Cincinnati Cabinet of Curiosities anthology. The 40-page book, which has been available for digital download, is being released in print in January after the group raised more than $7,800 in a Kickstarter campaign. It features six paranormal tales, including Klockow’s creepy experience at the Sedamsville Rectory. Books will be sold by each participating artist and, Klockow hopes, in local bookstores and comic book shops. The comic artist and author cohosts the group’s Hometown Haunts podcast, which highlights spooky destinations across the region.
When did you first become interested in Cincinnati’s supernatural history?
I grew up reading true haunted location books; I have ones from all over the globe. So when I moved here, I picked up a haunted history book about Cincinnati. I ended up writing two books with that book’s publisher, Haunted Hoosier Halls: Indiana University and Ohio’s Haunted Crime [Schiffer Publishing], and I went all over to see places with ghost stories. My art group was enthralled with these stories, and so earlier this year we decided to come together and create this book.
To accompany the anthology, you also launched the Hometown Haunts podcast with Christina Wald and Jen Koehler. What do you discuss there?
Whatever weird stories we find during the week, and comics news with horror and supernatural themes. We also highlight interesting, spooky places people can visit all over the area and a little bit beyond.
You write about your weekend experience at the Sedamsville Rectory for the anthology. What was that like?
The first night was pretty dead—to use the pun—but the next night got flipped upside down. We were doing an EVP [electronic voice phenomena] session to record audio when I saw two pit bull shadow-dogs with clipped ears. I learned later that Michael Vick had a dogfighting ring in the basement. The night got weirder. Downstairs I noticed some shiny leather patent shoes that were attached to a very tall priest with mutton chops, salt-and-pepper hair, and tiny spectacles. But the strangest thing happened at the end. We were in the men’s parlor, and in walked a complete doppelganger of one of the women in our group. That was enough for my friend’s wife to say, OK, I’m done!
Will you stick with ghost stories for the next anthology issue, or branch out to other paranormal themes?
We want to include creatures, ghost stories, and urban legends in each issue. We do have a nearby Bigfoot sighting that someone wants to write about and an interesting story about a spirit medium who inspired the Magic 8-Ball. We’ll also bring in new artists and writers every issue to really foster a local artist community.
What makes Cincinnati ghost stories unique?
We have a unique blend of histories, legends, and interesting creatures like the Loveland Frogman, mermaids, and Mothman. We also have the Ohio Grassman and UFO sightings with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, plus rich histories from the Great Migration and bootlegging. A lot of aspects of American history congregated here, which makes for great ghost stories.