Eight Ghost Stories That Will Give You Goosebumps

The tri-state has more specters than you can shake an EMF meter at.

Illustration by Jason Snell

Cincinnati’s ghost stories could (and have) filled many books. Friendly faces, angry murder victims, and small children up to no good fill the region’s dark corners and historic spaces.

The ghost who haunts the dead end of Lick Road in Colerain Township goes by the name Amy. Local legend says her boyfriend or stepfather murdered her in the woods, and she’s still trying to find help. She may reach out to you. Rumor says you can summon her by parking your car, flashing the lights, and honking into the woods that swallow the road. The woman in white may appear, making strange noises on the nearby bridge or writing help me on a foggy window. Another road in Batavia Township, Clermont County, tells a ghost story in its name. The road, Lucy Run, shares its name with a creek and cemetery, both of which play critical roles in the legend. When Lucy’s fiancé came to her family’s house to break off their engagement, she leapt on a horse to get him back. Caught in a flash flood, the horse threw her and she never reached her man. Now she runs between the creek and the cemetery in the white dress she’ll never wear to her wedding.

Roadways aren’t the only modes of transportation haunted by ghosts. One of Union Terminal’s first great triumphs, long before its role as a train station took a backseat to its museums, was welcoming home soldiers during WWII. Witnesses share stories of hearing families and crowds cheering to loved ones around the platforms, but not all the weary soldiers seem to have found their way out. It’s said that a lonely ghost in a WWII uniform wanders Union Terminal, forever trapped on the last leg of his journey home. And there are many other ghosts who are also stuck at the location they were last seen.

Imogene Remus fell in love with a former prohibition agent while her husband, a notorious bootlegger, served time in prison. Her husband, George Remus, returned in 1927 to find his assets liquidated, his distillery sold, and his wife fighting to file for divorce. He had her driver run her off the road near the Spring House Gazebo by Mirror Lake in Eden Park and shot her dead. He was declared innocent by reason of insane jealousy. It is believed that Imogene haunts the site of her murder, dressed in black.

Meanwhile, an unsolved murder from the 1800s haunts the Ohio River. On a warm August night in 1890, Billy Fee went fishing with his newlywed friends and a fourth companion near Lawrenceburg, Indiana. When a farmer later pulled Billy Fee’s naked body from the water, a whodunit murder mystery began. He’d suffered gunshot wounds to the head and chest, and someone slit his throat. Police never named any suspects, and no one faced justice, though a ghostly copy of Billy’s face appeared on a rock, and passersby claimed to see ghoulish reenactments of the fateful fishing trip in the fog.

If you’re into ghostly lodging encounters, The Golden Lamb Inn has a fine collection of spirits. Located in Lebanon, it’s Ohio’s oldest hotel, having hosted the likes of Charles Dickens and Annie Oakley as well as 12 presidents. Some of its guests are more famous now than they were in life, like little Sarah Stubbs, who— depending on who you ask— might actually be Eliza Clay. The ghostly girl giggles behind staff and coaxes visiting children to play. And there’s Clement Vallandingham, who died in a guest room in 1871, who likes to smoke and people-watch from his window. For a ghastly downtown hotel experience, even the ghosts are well dressed at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The Lady in Green is the most well-known and often spotted. Wandering the mezzanine, Hall of Mirrors, and even catching a lift in the elevators from time to time, she keeps on the move because she’s looking for something—the man she loved. According to legend, her husband helped build the hotel, suffered an accident, and disappeared in the construction. She will only go home when he does.

Harry Delos Andrews loved few things as much as the castle he built on the shore of the Little Miami. The WWI veteran spent 50 years working on and living in his dream. He suffered severe burns from a trash fire on the roof that ended his life at 91, but even that couldn’t keep him away. Volunteers report encountering his ghost, which points out things in need of maintenance. He still sleeps in his old room, too.

There’s always another scary story in Cincinnati. The ghosts here aren’t shy, and you don’t have to go far to find the next cold spot.

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