5 of Central Ohio’s Most Haunted Places

Adventure, History, Seasonal, Things to Do


Written by Step Out Columbus

Published on September 21, 2023
Photo by The Ohio State Reformatory via Facebook

Who ya gonna call? ?   

Fall is here and Halloween is right around the corner. Aside from pumpkin-flavored everything, some of you are looking to get scared out of your socks. 

Most people enjoy going to “haunted houses,” or controlled environments where actors dress in scary costumes and pop out at random times to scare thrill-seekers. Even some haunted hayrides and DIY haunted garages in local neighborhoods can give a good scare.

While all of that is fun and great, perhaps they aren’t scary enough for your liking. Maybe you’re a truth-seeker, a skeptic, or just someone looking for creepier.

Luckily Central OH is full of haunted houses. Real haunted houses. Locations that have supposed accounts of unusual happenings. There may not be ghoulish figures popping out around every corner, but these spots are almost guaranteed to give you chills. The history behind them and the stories they tell keep even the most skeptical people enticed.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some friends, an EMF detector, recorder, camera, and get out there. Here are some of the most haunted places in Central Ohio. 

Did one of these places close? Send us a note!

Ohio State Reformatory

100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905

Some of history’s most evil and heinous criminals lived within the walls of the Ohio State Reformatory and are believed to haunt it to this day. While the Reformatory does not exist as a prison any longer, it is a place for people to tour and experience the eery heaviness that can only be traced back to its dark past.

The Shawshank Rebellion was actually filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory which is a draw for many enthusiasts as well. If you’re reading this article though, you’re most likely here to uncover some of the documented paranormal happenings that have taken place here.

Ghost Hunts are held at the Ohio State Reformatory for people ages 18 and up, so if you think you can handle it – this may be up your alley. You’ll be able to explore 250,000 square feet of the Reformatory which includes the East and West Cell Block, Solitary Confinement, Chapel, Attic, and more. You’ll be taken on a guided one hour tour through the Reformatory. When the tour is concluded, the lights turn off, and you’ll be free to wander until 3am. People often state that they’ve felt an evil presence, have heard footsteps, and audible voices…

Photo by The Ohio State Reformatory via Facebook

Ohio University

Athens, OH 45701

The Ohio University is said to be haunted by deranged patients of the past who spent their lives at the Athens Lunatic Asylum. In 1978, one of the patients escaped the asylum and was found dead one month later. There are claims that the imprint where she passed is still visible, even after all these years.

The Brown House is also supposedly haunted, as there have been strange, reoccurring reports of shrieking sounds of children playing in a pool that no longer exists on the grounds.

Photo by Ohio University via Facebook

Greater Columbus Antique Mall

1045 S High St, Columbus, OH 43206

The Greater Columbus Antique Mall is not just a draw for its endless array of antiques and vintage memorabilia – its also reported to be haunted… One employee rapidly quit after supposedly being met with an evil, ghostly entity dressed in a black cloak.

What some people don’t know is that the Antique Mall actually used to be a Funeral Home. That may be why there are reports of customers seeing a crying woman in a yellow dress who quickly vanishes after being noticed. Employees and customers have also made remarks about strange smells like dead flowers, food, and cigar smoke.

Schwartz Castle

492 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215

The Schwartz Castle is not open for tours, but it is still worth mentioning. Residents claim that the building is haunted due to strange occurrences, and have witnessed things that have made them wonder if Fredrick William Schwartz himself may haunt it. Schwartz built this beautiful castle for his fiancé in an attempt to show her the extent of his love. She eventually called off the wedding which sent Schwartz into an irreparable spiral.

Residents have reported feeling a cold sensation when inside, and have even said that they have spotted Schwartz staring through a window or lying naked on the roof.

The Ohio Statehouse

1 Capitol Sq, Columbus, OH 43215

If you haven’t heard, The Ohio Statehouse holds haunted tours for guests to immerse themselves in the location of several paranormal events that have supposedly taken place within its walls. Its halls and chambers hold ghostly stories of old, and it is even said the ghost of Abraham Lincoln himself lurks within them. Visitors are sure that they’ve seen Lincoln dancing in the Senate Chamber.

Photo by Ohio Statehouse via Facebook

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