The region’s paranormal hotbed

Photo: Patrolmen John Stager (left) and Craig Synan (right) with Jack the Ripper (Tom Sowers)

By Lisa Bennett

Crisp autumn  leaves adorn sidewalks like works of colorful art and the comforting scents of cinnamon and spices dally outside coffee shops and bakeries. October is as a refreshing break from the heat and hard work of summer as it is a time of beloved family traditions and good old-fashioned fun. From visits to apple orchards and fall festivals, to making memory boards and lighting candles for lost loved ones, to carving pumpkins and bobbing for apples on Halloween, October is a month replete with activities and traditions that continue to make it a favorite holiday around the world. It’s a time to just relax, let go, and enjoy time with family and friends without the pressure of gift-giving and familial expectations that the winter holiday season brings. That’s not to say winter holidays aren’t awesome. After all, who can resist presents, yummy food, holiday parties, and time quality time with loved ones? Ok, well may Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch can. But for the rest of us, winter holidays are a time to celebrate, just like in October.

Touring haunted hot spots

What better way to celebrate the spookiest month of the year, than with a Ghost Tour? Here in Ohio, the haunted “Ghost Tours of Troy” are quickly becoming a new fall favorite. The tour, which runs every half hour and lasts about an hour, begins at 405 Public Square (which is also where check-in is) covers a host of older, haunted buildings. Tour guides wear time-period costumes and provide a historical background of the buildings. “The tour is downtown Troy. There is a lot of history in downtown Troy and a lot of older buildings that all have their story to tell,” says Shawn Denoyer of Ghost Tours of Dayton, “There is even a surprise finale.”

One popular stop on the haunted tour is a renowned, haunted bookstore called, Around About Books on West Main Street in Troy. Co-owner David Crouse says, “We’ll be in here alone sometimes, and we’ll hear somebody walking around upstairs, but there’s nobody upstairs.” Customers have seen lights turning on and off and books flying off the shelves. Crouse recalls a rather unsettling evening where he went upstairs to the literature room to check it out before turning off the lights. He said he looked over to his left into what had been the poetry section at the time and saw a woman with her back to him. “I looked back and she was gone!” says Crouse. Crouse believes a possible source some of the hauntings could be a tragic accident that happened just outside the building in the 1800s. During that time, the upstairs portion of the building was a physician’s office. According to some records found in the old office, a man was hit by a horse and buggy in the street and brought upstairs to the physician’s office to receive treatment. Sadly, his injuries were too great and he died there in the office. Some folks, including Crouse, believe that his untimely death has left “William” haunting the building to this day.

Hidden passageways reveal secrets 

Could the rest of the buildings downtown be haunted as well? One way to find out is to explore the hidden passageways and secret rooms in them. Second Story Secrets is a fun, whimsical way to explore parts of Troy that are rarely, if ever, seen by the public. “Second Story Secrets is a fundraiser that supports Troy Community Works,” says Christy Shell, Owner of Zeal Coaching for Life and Careers. Some of the places that are visited include six ballrooms that were used for opera houses or gymnasiums. There is also a “speak easy stop” at the Haner Mansion, where Mrs. Haner grew up. Participants will get tickets for beer, wine, or the signature high-ball drink. “Every year there is a secret access location,” Shell adds. There are stairs and uneven floors at points during the tour, so Christy stresses that people should wear comfortable walking shoes.

If you are looking for something fun to do with your kids, the annual Boo Bash is a free event that is open to the public for kids of all ages. Each child will receive a free copy of a booklet called, “Creepy stories from the Haner Center”. The book was a collaboration between a class of local eighth grade Language Arts students and the Boo Bash Committee. Kids who attend will also be treated to a host of games, a scavenger hunt, and a toilet paper mummy competition. The toilet paper mummy competition does require pre-registration and is open to kids from ages seven to 12. The competition will start at 12:30 p.m. A special guest will also be at the event. Alek Zander the Magnificent, a local illusionist and volunteer at the Boo Bash, will show off his magical prowess at the event.

Whether you are a fan of the spookier side of October or just someone who is curious about local history and what lies hidden in the older buildings and secret passageways around town, Troy has a lot to offer this year. So put down that cider and come check out what this spooky city has to offer.


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Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at

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