Monday, June 20, 2011

The Never-Ending Forgotten History of the Valley...

After a lot of debate, I decided to bring back the Haunted Cuyahoga section of my website. Yes, a lot of my old research (and some rescued documents from Jaite Mill) were turned over to Jeri Holland of Cuyahoga Valley Paranormal about a year ago. I'm still leaving much of the valley's hauntings in her experienced hands. Still, there's so much I've wanted to write about... and so many corrections to make from the old information I had posted. Most of the old pages hadn't been updated since the time when I started looking for ghosts in the Cuyahoga Valley around 1999. Sadly, a lot of that information was total speculation; a lot of research over the years changed what is real from what is urban legend.

In September, Jeri's book Haunted Akron: Ghosts of the Rubber City will be published by The History Press. In it are a few stories from the valley in the southern part within Akron city limits. Since we both feel passionate about history and tossed tons of researched material back and forth over the last few months, we've both been excited by all the new discoveries in both bizarre local history and haunted places. There was the murder of a mixed-race man in a long-since-vanished town, a gruesome suicide at an old canal lock, and a haunted pond in Green Township. But when I scoured old maps and newspaper articles sent to me by Jeri and pinpointed the real location of the "haunted River Styx railroad bridge," you can't imagine how excited we both were.

And there's so much more to tell about; so much so that Jeri is already planning a second Haunted Akron book. At the same time, we're working together to get a early start on teaming up as co-authors for a book on ghosts in the Cuyahoga Valley tentatively planned for The History Press next year. I'm slowly adding some new discoveries to my site, though a lot of it will remain hidden until the book eventually is written and released (though I may share some stories at library talks before then). It's hard to keep all these stories to myself. I've always know that the Cuyahoga Valley has had some wild tales in its past; I ever expected the list to keep growing.

While not all stories involve ghosts directly, there are plenty of downright creepy sites to see. Along Riverview Road, I found the site of a fatal shooting by an "insane," drunken husband. Near a old canal lock, there are apple trees growing which are likely the offspring of trees planted by French traders in the 1600s. And, of course, one tale is a particular favorite of mine: the railroad station along the Valley Railway built on top of an old Irish cemetery! Yes, the bodies are still there... and I'm pretty sure that no one--not even the National Park Service--realizes it.

Hopefully before the heat of summer dies down, I'll have a chance to check out some of these places and (perhaps) have an investigation or two. This is the one thing I've missed the most: being the first person to look for ghosts in certain locations for many decades. Back when I started exploring the valley, it was like that. As some spots have become extremely popular, it took the fun and excitement out of investigating. I've never been crazy about going places that hundreds or thousands of would-be ghost busters trample to death. I like being unique, and in finding these new places that haven't been exhausted to death is the best way to do that.

No comments: