I slammed on my breaks in downtown Chillicothe on Halloween morning last October.
This was outside the Chillicothe Antique Emporium on Main Street. It is possibly the most terrifying thing I’ve seen in broad daylight. It really doesn’t get much scarier than clowns and this one appears to be welcoming guests into a portal to another dimension.
No, I did not go inside.
Here’s one more closer look. You can also see it in person as they’re using it again this fall!
It’s time to tell the fourth and final story from the Chillicothe Ghost Walk. My last stop on the tour was at an antique store called Porch Swing Days. That’s the business that occupies this building now but it’s an extremely old building that has served many purposes over the decades.
For some years it housed a business that sold tin like you find on ceilings in old buildings. In fact, the ceiling in here is gorgeous. Many folks remember it as a candy store too. Today it is a neat store that specializes in a good selection of primitive antiques and reproductions.
Our guide related stories about former business owners who still visit in the afterlife and about an elderly woman who she witnessed working at a Hoosier cabinet in the corner they very morning. The guide said the apparition wasn’t impressed with having a guest in her space while she was busy working.
The best thing about these tours is that you get access into areas that the public ordinarily never sees. In this case, we got to see the basement.
Before the ghost tour they bring in someone who visits each stop and attempts to communicate with any ghosts present. This person said that this is one of the most haunted places in Chillicothe.
She related a story about a man with a broken leg associated with the building’s old coal bin. She also mentioned two men who claimed to be guarding a portal of some sort. This comment freaked out the other people on the tour but I found it intriguing. There’s actually an underground tunnel in this old section of Chillicothe. I don’t know how extensive it is or where it goes but I got to see a tunnel entrance in the basement at the Crosskeys Tavern a couple of years ago. I suspect that this storefront is part of the tunnel system.
The only thing that I experienced that day that was even remotely unexplainable occurred in this basement. There supposedly is a woman down there who is alone and scared and who presented herself to the ghost hunter, smelling strongly of a floral perfume.
I smelled the perfume. Strongly. So strongly that I badly wanted to cough. And then it was gone. I don’t mean the scent faded. I mean it disappeared as quickly as it occurred.
Anyway, if you ever get a chance to do the Chillicothe Ghost Walk, I highly recommend it. The cost is just $10. You go at your own pace and get a guided tour at each of the sites. You get a lot of history and some fun stories and it’s good use of a Saturday as we enter the spooky season.
You can search to find the other stories I’ve written about this year’s tour. The other stops were the old county jail, the Majestic Theater and the current Masonic Lodge.
Last year on Halloween I was out wandering around doing my usual Saturday thing when I came upon something that caused me to slam on the brakes.
Here it is.
This private residence in all its spectacular over-the-top Halloween glory is situated across the street from the Rite Aid in Hillsboro, Ohio.
Isn’t it fabulous?
Oddly enough, no one else seemed to be paying any attention. I’m assuming this is an annual tradition given the extent of the decorations, the creativity and presumed cost involved in making this macabre display.
Honestly, Halloween isn’t really my holiday but I couldn’t get enough of it.
These horses were pulling a hearse.
It’s a lot to look at and I’m guessing the neighbors aren’t super thrilled but I bet it’s fabulous after dark.
This looks like a great place to sit and read a book or plan an adventure. I’m eight books behind in my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge so a peaceful place to read sounds incredible.
This lake is my go-to place to walk so I literally have never sat down here for even a minute. In fact, you rarely see anyone sitting on the benches around the lake. Is life really so busy that we don’t have time to sit and relax on a gorgeous fall day?
One of the truly magnificent things about wandering this earth the way I do is that I often meet people by chance and see unexpected wonders.
Saturday morning found me meandering down Rt. 93 into Lawrence County where I soaked in the autumn weather, occasionally doubling back to grab a picture here and there. When I finally reached downtown Ironton, I parked near the county courthouse and set about enjoying the architecture.
One of the best qualities of an old river town is the variety of architectural styles and Ironton is quite nice in this regard.
From the corner of Fifth and Center streets, you can see several historic churches. It is a beautiful vantage point. The most notable and fascinating of these is a block down and looks like something from nineteenth century England.
It is a substantial, magnificent building with a tower that soars high above the street. I walked down Fifth Street for a closer look and to learn that it is the First Presbyterian Church.
I snapped a few photos, admiring the clock tower and imagining what the stained glass windows must look like from inside on a sunny day. A church history flier indicates that the architecture of this building is so unusual that the only other church like it in America is in Bedford, Massachusetts.
As I turned to walk away, I encountered a man on the sidewalk. We smiled at each other and I mentioned how beautiful the church is. He smiled even bigger and asked if I would like to see inside.
When I responded that I would love to if he had the time, he said that he would make the time. My new friend was Pastor Carson Hunt. He seemed like a genuinely nice man who is quick to invite strangers to become visitors and visitors to become members. He seemed happy to tell me about the history, pleased to point out special details and glad to share about some recent improvement projects.
Please understand that my adventure days are nearly always Saturdays and finding a church unlocked on a Saturday is rare. That means I seldom get to see inside. The simple offer to go in was a real treat but Pastor Carson didn’t just let me come inside. He turned on the lights and played some music so I could appreciate the acoustics. I wandered around at my leisure as he shared some of the history.
It was one of those rare experiences that made my day truly special.
The congregation dates back to the founding of Ironton in the middle of the nineteenth century. When the city was laid out, the proprietors of Iron and Coal Company gave one lot to every church organized in the city limits. This explains why there are so many historic churches in close proximity.
Hiram Campbell was a local businessman and played an important role in the history of the First Presbyterian Church. Pastor Carson explained that Mr Campbell donated the church’s principal stained glass window in memory of his brother John, the city’s founder. Located in the south gable, it features four distinct scenes that tell the story of John Campbell who died while a missionary in Africa. One panel depicts his missionary work while another panel shows a ship on the high seas. A third shows an open Bible and the final panel shows a cross and crown.
This is one of those churches that feels ornate but simple, fancy but comfortable, reverent but welcoming. There’s something really special about this place and I was incredibly grateful for the peak inside.
Like most congregations across the country, they are struggling to grow despite outreach attempts. But he said they are still holding their own and he is grateful for each and every one of their members.
He and some other gentlemen were working Saturday. He mentioned fresh paint on the doors and a new hot water heater as well as a number of ongoing projects that made me think this magnificent old church is fortunate to have some attentive caretakers.
This made me happy.
Pastor Carson invited me to visit anytime and I am certain he would want me to invite all of you as well. If you’re looking for a new church home or simply somewhere to visit, you will be welcomed with open arms. Be sure to stay for donuts and fellowship after Sunday service.
They take part in a historic church tour organized by the historical society every December. This would provide you with opportunity to see inside several of these historic churches.
Want more information? You can find them on Facebook.