Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

Ventriloquist Dean Bohl and Chester Encourage Audiences by Spreading Happiness

Chester and Dean

Dean and Chester teach life lessons in their school presentations.

Things are not always as they appear.

Crowds gathered around when Dean Bohl came to Dickens Victorian Village with his Twisted Balloons and Chester. The young and young at heart enjoy his charades with Chester, while children can be seen running proudly down the street holding one of his balloon sculptures.

Opening Night Balloons baby

This youngster enjoyed her balloon doll at Dickens Victorian Village’s Opening Night.

   Dean has been entertaining since he was in his late thirties when he decided to use ventriloquism, balloons, and magic to motive and encourage his audience. He twists his balloons into intriguing characters that the children enjoy.

   Chester Sidney Dolittle is this ventriloquist’s best friend on stage. His sidekick Chester, an eight-year-old, becomes so real that people forget he is a puppet. He tells the audience, “Girls are beautiful. Boys have stinky feet.”

Opening Ventriloquist

A crowd gathered as he selected a Living Puppet to add some fun.

   An unusual section of his performance involves an unsuspecting audience member, who becomes his “Living Puppet.” A mask is placed on the person’s face and he becomes the voice from Dean Bohl. Fun and excitement happen next as they sing, tell jokes, recite poetry, and become involved in interesting conversations.

  As a youngster, Dean’s mother developed polio and was told her condition would require institutionalization. But during her hospital stay, she had a dream where Jesus visited her and when she woke up, she told them, “Jesus is going to make me better.” Three weeks later she walked out of the hospital.

   This miracle changed the course of their family’s life and Dean at the age of 16 felt a call to follow the path his parents had taken. On his mind previously, this White Sox fan wanted to follow a career in professional baseball. Now, he decided, “God, give me peace and joy of living. I’ll do what you want me to do.”

Dean at birtrhday party with unicorn (2)

Balloon unicorns were popular at a recent birthday party.

   For several years, Dean was a pastor in Illinois and then decided to be an associate pastor was more to his calling where he worked with children and choir. He received encouragement from those around him and moved his family to a church in San Diego, CA where puppets entered the scene as a way to reach children.

   It seemed he was always in the right place at the right time as people just appeared when he needed to learn something new. Chester was made especially for Dean by a popular San Diego Ventriloquist Co. and became part of his life in October 1978.

Dean and Chester (3)

Dean and Chester entertain the crowds wherever they appear.

   The puppet’s name came from three sources. “Chester” was the name given by the company while “Sidney “ was the name of the pastor, who believed in Dean when he started his puppet ministry. “Dolittle” of course, came easily as Chester doesn’t do much! Dean then developed Chester’s voice and personality before their first show together on Christmas Eve.

   Since then, Dean and Chester have developed a special connection. Things come from Chester that they had never intended to say. Sometimes the conversation between the two of them is so fast that it sounds like both are talking at the same time.

Dean and Judy

Dean and his wife Judy encourage others wherever they go.

   Dean and his wife had two small children at this time so carefully discussed their new idea of traveling the United States with a puppet show. His understanding wife told him, “If we don’t do this, we will always wonder if it would have worked.” The traveled the road for a few years before settling in Dublin, Ohio.

   Along the way, he met someone in a store who asked him what he gave away at his shows. They suggested he make balloon creatures and it just happened that a balloon artist walked into the store. The right people always seemed to show up as part of God’s plan for his life.

Dean Flower Bouquet

A balloon bouquet makes a perfect and memorable gift.

   Twisted balloons are a special feature of his program and he has developed a unique way of combining three to five balloons to make Star Wars lightsabers, princess lighted rings, teddy bears, OSU football helmets and the list goes on. Ideas are shared with balloon artists all over the world.

Dean and Live Puppet

You never know what Dean has planned for the Live Puppet.

   He stumbled upon his idea for the “Living Puppet” from a show he witnessed in England and New Zealand. This is a more recent addition to his program. A man in the Phillippines makes his masks for him so Dean can control them from behind – just like a regular puppet. He is blessed with wonderful connections.

   His school programs not only entertain but also teach a lesson. In one skit, Chester calls people names and makes fun of them, but then Dean calls Chester a “Dummy” and Chester gets so upset he hides in his box and won’t come out. Calling names may seem funny but someone always gets hurt in the process. “Once you get a reputation, it is hard to shake it.”

    Or Chester might find a beautiful balloon apple on the ground. When he picks it up, a balloon worm pops out. “Things can be beautiful on the outside and not so perfect on the inside.”

Dean at travel show (2)

His balloons were an added attraction at a recent travel show at the Columbus Convention Center.

   Now Dean is retired, but he still looks forward to being with people and having fun. Life lessons seem to pop into his shows naturally. You might find him entertaining at fairs, birthday parties, school assemblies, camps, corporate events, and more.

   Watch for Dean Bohl and Chester in your neighborhood as they spread a little happiness to those that stop by. You might even get into the act!

Contact Dean to set up a performance by calling his cell phone at 614-314-0696 or email him at puppetman3@yahoo.com. Dean has moved so the address on the card is no longer correct.

Dean Calling Card

Dance the Night Away with Cambridge Social Dance Club

Fezziwig Ball at gym

This dance group has led Victorian era dances at the holiday balls for years.

Tuesday evenings you often hear music coming from the Banquet Room of Mr. Lee’s Restaurant. This isn’t to entertain the customers over a delicious meal, but lesson time for the Cambridge Social Dance Club. If you would like to learn some new dance steps, this is the place.

Sock Hop with Elvis

Elvis even joined them for a sock hop.

   Spreading the love of dancing has been something this group has been doing for several years. They often perform at community events and spin around the floor making you wish you had their nimble ability.

Ron and Sheri 2

Ron and Sheri Warren teach others to dance at Tuesday evening classes.

   Started in 2002 by Al and Lee Mularski, the dance club was a place to teach others something that brought the Mularskis great pleasure. They loved dancing. Today, Ron and Sheri Warren serve as patient instructors. During my visit to a dance session, they were teaching the merengue, a Latin dance.

Ron and Sheri 001

Instructors Ron and Sheri Warren are dressed for the Grand Victorian Ball.

   Ron and Sheri demonstrated the basic steps of the dances first. They went very slowly adding new moves as soon as everyone was familiar with the original.  The moves they taught for the merengue included: travel, bow tie, hammerlock, and pretzel. Once they had the pattern down, couples could then make choices as to which move should come next.

Social Dance Club parade

They added their charm to a holiday parade.

   Often this group goes out to demonstrate their dance skills while they endlessly encourage others to join them. Rolling Hills Middle School volleyball team was one of those groups that found it a great social activity. Several places they have been recently included nursing homes, senior centers, and church programs. They’ve even been seen twirling down the street in a parade.

Joe and Ellen Waske 001

Joe and Ellen Waske share their dance skills at many events.

   Every year they do a benefit for a local charity that has special meaning to the group. Money raised might go to the American Heart Association or Cancer Association, but they make certain that it stays locally.

Jim and Paula Bakos

Social Dance Club President Jim and Paula Bakos shine on the dance floor.

   Jim Bakos now fills the role of president for this group. He feels dance is important because “it exercises the mind and the body.” Both partners have to know the steps, but the man leads and signals the next move to his partner through a touch, an arm movement or speaking.

Ladies 001

Ladies of the Cambridge Social Dance Club are pictured in their beautiful gowns.

   On Saturday, November 23 the group will be performing and instructing at the Grand Victorian Ball held at the Eagles’ Club and sponsored by the American Heritage Historical Society. They will appear in their beautiful Victorian ball gowns, many being made by Martha Owens, one of the dancers. Audience participation in many traditional Victorian dances will be encouraged.

Martha and Gary

Martha Owens and Gary Carpenter enjoy dancing. Martha makes many of the dresses for the ladies.

   The Grand Ball is reminiscent of Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball in Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” Dancers from Columbus to Cleveland to Steubenville participate in this musical event. Dances they perform will include The Grand March, Virginia Reel, Lancers Quadrille, and Spanish Waltz.

   Reservations are required by November 18 for the Grand Ball at the Eagles’ Reception Hall and can be made by calling 740-435-0400 or 740-439-4150. Cost is $25 per person or $45 per couple.

Cambridge Social Dance Club Dancing

Dancing in the street gave a Victorian feel to a Street Fair in recent years.

   On Tuesday evenings they want to instruct those who are interested in social dancing. All ages are welcome from 10 -100. You might be a beginner or want to advance to another level – there’s a place for everyone. Every few weeks they change the dance they are teaching so you might find yourself doing the waltz, merengue, or tango to name a few. The dance for November is the East Coast Swing.

   The cost of lessons is very reasonable at $6.50 for members, $7.50 for non-members, and $3.00 for students. Children, when accompanied by their parents, are free! Lessons begin at 7:00 each Tuesday night except for December. For more information call Cathy Pastre at 740-826-4081 or Gary Carpenter at 740-502-8171. Join in the fun and learn how to dance. It will brighten your life.

   Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is where the Cambridge Social Dance Club excels.

Carl Wickham Creates Miniature Civil War Wagons and Artillery

Carl wheel woodshop

Carl holds a hard-to-make wheel in his workshop.

When Carl Wickham retired, he began researching his genealogy. To his surprise, many of his relatives had been defending our country since the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War. What made the biggest impact was the fact that he had several relatives in the Civil War including his great-great-grandfather, who was killed at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Carl traveled there in 2016 to put a flag on his grave.

Carl - flag on grave

Carl visited the grave of his great-great-grandfather, who fought at Missionary Ridge during the Civil War.

   Then began the research on artillery and supply wagons that were used during the Civil War. In his spare time, he began carving a rough cannon out of wood, but it just wasn’t good enough for Carl.

Carl designs

He discovered a book with dimensional drawings of the Civil War equipment.

   He found a book, “Artillery for the Land Service of the United States,” containing detailed drawings for artillery used during the Civil War and used those illustrations to produce his 1/8” scale models out of wood.

Carl wagon 2

Carl even hand-carved the horses for this supply wagon.

   He has worked for nine years on developing his collection of models, which he often displays not only around the Ohio area but also at events in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Carl miniatures

The cannon and wagon are 1/8″ scale Civil War Miniatures.

   It’s no wonder he has great skill with woodworking as his dad was a carpenter. Carl said, “I was raised in the woodshop.” He recalls wonderful years of growing up on the farm where they had beef cattle, horses and many fruit trees. The day they got their first tractor, a ’52 Ford, was a special occasion.

   Great memories of the farm surfaced easily. Butchering hogs and beef were big events for the whole family. He especially remembers the special treat of cracklins’, a small deep-fried piece of pork fat with a layer of skin attached. Eggs were delivered to M&K in Cumberland with a stop at Young’s Feed Mill to get sacks to match for his mom to make dresses.

Carl - Welded art

Welded artwork was his favorite early in life.

   Art and mechanical drawing at Shenandoah High School started Carl on the road to being a welder. His dad had an anvil so Carl decided to try blacksmithing. This was something he learned on his own through trial and error by reading books. Blacksmithing turned out to be his favorite hobby for most of his life.

Carl and Sandy welded porch railing

Carl and Sandy stand behind the ornate porch railing he created with golden leaves.

   Carl and Sandy were married in 1968 before he left to serve in the Army. There he was a radio operator and kept track of the battalion’s equipment. Upon his return home, Carl worked at Philo Electric. When it closed he got a job which was to last for thirty-five years – a mechanic for Central Ohio Coal.

Carl Big Muskie

His job for many years was repairman for the Big Muskie.

   For most of that time, he welded on the Big Muskie fixing parts that were broken. It took a lot of welding to fix anything due to its size. He worked on it until 1991, when the Big Muskie was dismantled. During that time, Carl worked seven days a week as was always on call for needed repairs. He continued working as a welder on Central Ohio Coal equipment until his retirement.

Carl - cupboard and map

He created this beautiful wooden cabinet and an inlaid map he holds.

   This man through the years has enjoyed many different activities around the farm but is perfectly content to stay home rather than travel. His many creations are shared with his family. He never sells any of his work. Everything from beautiful wooden cupboards, stands, and wooden inlaid pictures can be found around their home.

   In his younger years, Carl enjoyed having a large garden and many flower beds. Sandy, his wife for fifty-one years, said, “Carl can do about anything.” Sometimes she has to reheat meals for him as he gets so wrapped up in his work that he forgets to eat.

Carl miniature engine line shaft

This miniature engine he made works to perfection.

   While he has done gardening, blacksmithing, and welding in the past, today his energy is devoted to the Civil War miniatures that are amazing in their accuracy. He even carved the horses that pull the supply wagon. Their harnesses were made from an old leather coat he purchased at Goodwill.

Carl showing how to make a wheel

Carl spends many hours working in his shop to make perfect miniatures.

   Carl gives all the credit to “someone up above who gave me my talents.” He enjoys all of his various creative works which feel like play to him. “I am truly blessed.”

Carl miniature tools

Compare these carved miniature wooden tools with the quarter at the bottom center.

   His next shows will be in 2020 on January 18-19 at Kabin Fever in Lebanon Valley Expo Center in PA. Following that on April 25-26, Carl will be at the Yack Arena in Wyandotte, MI. Carl always enjoys telling everyone about his miniatures!

Seneca Lake Pottery Designed by Chuck and Shana Fair

Chuck and Shana (2)

Chuck and Shana become a Victorian couple during the Dickens Victorian Village season.

   When people retire, they often search for something to fill those empty hours. Chuck and Shana Fair found the perfect retirement project – making pottery. They took classes at OU Zanesville and had so much fun that Chuck decided to set up a studio in their garage. That led to the creation of Seneca Lake Pottery.

   Shana grew up on the water at Lake White near Waverly so Seneca Lake seemed the perfect place to retire. She loves the feeling of weightlessness in the water and enjoys meeting a school of fish as well as exploring the beauty of the underwater colors.

thumbnail_CF as town crier

Chuck became the town crier for Dickens’ Opening Night.

   Chuck grew up locally near Kimbolton and met Shana when they were students at Ohio State University. They married after graduation and each had fulfilling careers. Chuck worked as a buyer in the electronics industry, where he saw the progression from tubes to transistors to microprocessors. Shana’s career led her to work as a library director.

Chuck at Potter Wheel

People enjoy watching Chuck throw a pot on the wheel.

   Today at Seneca Lake Pottery, Chuck focuses on wheel throwing to create pots with strong lines. He embellishes his pots by altering the thrown forms, adding texture and finishing with bold glazes.

   He frequently demonstrates making pottery at downtown events and festivals. People, especially children, gather around to watch his creations magically take form.

Shana at SF Festival (2)

Shana displays yarn colored with natural dyes.

   Although pottery was new to Shana, she has been interested in crafts since she was a Brownie Scout and wove her first lanyard. Since then her passion turned to creating objects in macrame and she is presently working on a window treatment.

   She also hand spins yarn, silk, and cotton using her great-great grandmother’s spinning wheel. Then she dyes the yarn with native plants such as marigolds, onion skins, walnut husks, Queen Anne’s Lace, or insects. These were the kinds of natural materials the early settlers could find near their homes.

 

Seneca Pottery at Ellie's Cottage

A display of their Seneca Lake Pottery can be seen at Ellie’s Cottage in downtown Cambridge.

 Last season Shana created some beautiful pottery Christmas ornaments with silkscreened original sketches of the scenes done by Bob Ley before the Dickens Victorian Village project ever began. The idea was so popular that she is going to do more scenes this year.

Santa's Stockings

Collecting for Santa is one of the roles they play at the Byesville Rotary Club.

   Both Chuck and Shana are active in not only the making of pottery but also volunteering in the community. They are a husband/wife team that works together at so many functions.

Chuck at Rotary Chicken BBQ

Chuck enjoys working the chicken BBQ on a Rotary weekend fundraiser.

   They play leadership roles in the Byesville Rotary Club by organizing events to help the community. The Rotary Club provides scholarships to many area youths, Health Screenings. and Christmas food baskets to mention a few of their projects.

Shana - Guatemala

Chuck and Shana traveled to Guatemala to present books for their Literacy Program.

   A recent mission trip took them to Guatemala where they donated books to the Literacy Program there. This country is making an attempt to be self-sustaining, so Rotary is assisting with scholarships and books to help keep children in school. The Fairs enjoy meeting interesting people wherever they travel.

Creative Team 2015

They both are part of the Creative Team that designs the Dickens Victorian scenes.

   They also are a tremendous help with Dickens Victorian Village in nearby Cambridge. In fact, without their long hours spent with the Dickens Creative Team, the Victorian scenes may never make it to the streets. Chuck is the carpenter in residence as he builds and repairs platforms as well as figures. He is now responsible for making the framework for any new or replaced characters.

Shana Mannequin head

Shana recently put the finishing touches on one of the mannequin heads.

   Shana has been working on the scenes for years as she has an eye for perfect costumes. Her needle and thread are often at work here. In the last couple of years, she has expanded her talents to making the heads for some of the figures.

Downtown Potters

Chuck and Shana enjoy demonstrating their pottery skills in downtown Cambridge.

   Both Chuck and Shana will be found in the Heritage Arts Tent at the 50th Anniversary of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival demonstrating their creative talents. Chuck will be throwing pots on the potter’s wheel while Shana will be demonstrating slab building on molds.

thumbnail_2a Chuck

thumbnail_2t Shana--Cpt. Don's

Chuck and Shana enjoy scuba diving in the Caribbean.

   They enjoy exploring new places so take exciting vacations each year. A favorite spot is the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean where they enjoy scuba diving in the coral reef at the National Park. This year their plans are to head to Glacier National Park on a Roads Scholar tour.

thumbnail_CF at Bryce

Chuck enjoys the view on one of their adventures at Bryce Canyon.

   As you can tell, this is a busy couple. When asked what they do for relaxation, both answer, “Gardening.” Chuck also enjoys golfing and woodworking while Shana, with her library background, enjoys reading a book at the water’s edge. They both enjoy frequent trips to the theater.

   Chuck admonishes young people to “keep an open mind about what is going on around you. Don’t be complacent about what you learned in your childhood.” Chuck finds changes in technology fascinating. “There’s no way to guess what you are going to see in life in the next hundred years.”

   People like Chuck and Shana who share their talents are vital to the success of the community. We’re happy they decided to make their home on Seneca Lake.

Schumaker Farms Takes Pride in Their Heritage

Schumaker Produce Stand

Schumaker’s’ Produce Stand gets ready to open for another busy day.

Once a farmer, always a farmer

   Driving just outside of West Lafayette, a small produce stand catches your eye. At this time of year, pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks give you a feel of fall in the air. But there’s much more to the story of Schumaker Farms than just their produce stand. Let me tell you the rest of their story.

Schumaker Family

Today the farm is run by Chad, Leigha, Wendy, and Jim Schumaker.

   Way back in 1806, now we’re talking over 200 years ago, the family of Francis McGuire from Hampshire County, Virginia settled here on 1500 acres. Their daughter, Magdalena, married George Miller, and that family tradition has continued to operate this farm for seven generations.

Schumaker Signs of Fall

Signs of fall at the produce stand include pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks.

   Jim and Wendy Schumaker are the present family members working on this farm. Now their farm is much smaller as when it was passed down, the land was split between heirs. But pride in their heritage continues. Jim’s great-grandfather was the original owner. Several family members are buried high on a farm hill in Miller-McGuire Cemetery where their spirits keep watch over the farm.

Schumaker Old Barn

The date of 1887 can still be faintly seen on the slate roof of this original barn.

   The buildings on the farm date back to 1887 as you can easily see from the printing on the barn’s slate roof. Jim has strived over the years to improve the farm. ”I want to make it a showplace to share the farm with other people.” He’s always looking for new things to include to promote the farm in agritourism.

Schumaker Jim

Jim proudly displays the Bicentennial Farm Award for 200 years of family farming.

   They sell their produce in the summer months from a building constructed by Jim’s father, Robert, following his service in WWII. It was first used as a commercial garage, then later as an auto shop, Ferguson tractor dealership and boat dealership.

   Their most popular item at this produce stand is sweet corn. With eight acres of corn, they pick it fresh every morning. They have raised sweet corn for 58 years and sell about a hundred dozen ears a day all summer long.

Schumaker Donna Addy Cookie Maker

Donna Addy frequently bakes delicious cookies in the morning.

   Wendy keeps busy with her catering business as well since 1995. Perhaps she picked up her love of cooking from her grandmother, who was a great cook. But most of all, Wendy enjoys working with the various people she meets.

Schumaker Banquet Facility

Their banquet pavilion is a popular place for receptions and fundraisers.

   Their catering service can be “at our place or yours”. Their place is a large pavilion on the farm where people frequently have wedding receptions, family reunions, and other special events. Wendy caters all around the area and was recently honored to cater the luncheon for the dedication of the Woody Hayes bronze statue during the “Gateway to Fall” celebration in Newcomerstown.

Schumaker Wendy at truck

Wendy holds a jar of their famous BBQ sauce beside her catering truck.

   People enjoy favorites such as cheesy potatoes, pulled pork, and meatballs. Schumaker Farms Sweet BBQ Sauce became so popular, they now have it bottled so you can take home that great taste.

thumbnail_Schumaker Chad and Leigha with scarred pumpkin

Chad and Leigha hold a pumpkin she scarred when it was green.

   Today their son Chad and his wife Leigha have taken over many of the day-to-day operations and plan to keep the farm going. Leigha has a special flair for decorating while Chad has loved farming since his youth. They are in charge of the seven-acre pumpkin patch.

   Fall is Fun Time at Schumaker Farms. On weekends you can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick the pumpkin of your choice.

Schumaker Hay Ride

Many schools take field trips to the farm and include a hayride.

   Bring the youngsters along to play in the corn bin, slide down their huge slide, and visit the petting zoo. Enjoy the corn maze and a barn straw maze while picking up fresh produce or a delicious snack. Admission is $5 a car and includes all activities.

Schumaker Corn Bin

Children enjoy playing in the corn bin.

   Field trips for school groups create a great learning experience with a retired teacher explaining how a pumpkin becomes a pumpkin as well as other insights into farming. The Schumakers explain, “Those roly-poly orange spheres with built-in handles on top are naturals to wear grins or sneers and destined to bring grins to all your students’ faces.”

   When they eventually “slow down” and take a break, a cruise to a warm climate is their top choice. This chance only happens in January or February when they have enjoyed the Caribbean and Panama Canal in the last few years.

   Stop by Schumaker Farms for their Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience this fall. There are lots of things to see and do. These hard-working people enjoy their lives. For them, work is fun!

Schumaker Farms is located along OH-751 just west of West Lafayette. From US 36 take OH-751 south and watch for the farm produce stand on the left side of the road.

Twin City Opera House Alive with Music, Films, and Spirits

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

Everything looks very similar in this historical picture – except the cars.

   Walking into Twin City Opera House is like walking back in history. On May 28, 1892, the formal opening was held for the performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado” by the Arion Opera Company. All 800 seats were sold!

   Railroad excursion trains brought people from neighboring towns. While many were not patrons of the opera, all were curious to see this newly proclaimed “light of the day” as it was one of the first buildings in the county to be lit by electric light. The opening was not as grand as expected due to failure at the local generating plant, which caused the theater to be plunged into darkness.

Opera House - entrance

The entranceway still has an owl above the doorway.

   Building the Town Hall and Opera House was a politically charged issue in McConnelsville at that time. Before the GOP adopted the elephant as its symbol in the twentieth century, the party had sometimes used the owl of its ancestral “Whig” party as its mascot. That owl still adorns the keystone in the archway over the Opera House entrance.

Opera House - Marvin and Deana

Marvin and Deana Clark currently manage Ohio Valley Opry.

   Today, The Ohio Valley Opry founded by Marvin and Deana Clark in 2000 provides monthly entertainment at the old Opera House. They toured the United States for nearly twenty years as the Marvin & Deana Clark Family then returned to the area where Marvin grew up in southeastern Ohio.

Opera House- Ohio Valley Opry clear

The Clark Family Band provides great variety in their performances.

During this time on the road, they played at churches, fairs, and festivals with their four daughters. Most of the time they have played Country, Country Gospel, and Bluegrass. Marvin actually writes most of the songs that the family sings. They provide music and laughter throughout their performances.

Opera House - packed

Ohio Valley Opry frequently fills the auditorium with fans.

Opera House Sign

The husband and wife team of Birch and Sperry entertained with magic and the xylophone in the 1940s. This poster hangs in the lobby.

   A large variety of performers and celebrities have appeared at the Opera House over the years. Evangelist Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, and Senator Albert Beveridge spoke there. The most spectacular of all were the traveling shows that would arrive by train and provide lavish productions. The tradition continues today with local, regional, and national artists now performing.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio   Back in 1913, a system for showing silent films was installed. The best seats in the house were those in the “Parquet Circle,” which would be the front rows of the center section on the ground floor. Those premium seats could coast as much as twenty cents, while those in the “peanut gallery” were a nickel.

Opera House - stairs to balcony

Climb this beautiful stairway to the balcony.

   The first sound pictures using a “Vitaphone” system arrived at the Opera House in 1930. True “talkies” arrived in 1936. The theater still continues to screen recently released films, as it has done nearly every week since 1936. Price for viewing all films is a reasonable $4 per person.

Travel Channel Paranormal Show

The Travel Channel included them in their Paranormal show.

   No building this old would be without some resident spirits. Ghost stories have been around at the Opera House for over forty years with paranormal investigators spending many nights there with their special equipment. Often it is listed as one of the most haunted buildings in Ohio.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

United Paranormal is one of many groups that explore the resident spirits in the underground tunnels.

   Some say that Everett Miller, an usher there for thirty years, watches over the Opera House and has been contacted by the investigators. Or you might see ten-year-old Elizabeth peeking from the catwalk. Deep in the basement, Dark Shadow Masses have been observed by many. Spirits seem to thrive here. Come for a ghost hunt to find out more.

   It’s a beautiful drive down the Muskingum River to McConnelsville any season of the year. Check out their schedule at www.operahouseinc.com for dates and times of musical performances, film screenings, and ghost tours.

Opera House - Time capsule

Josie points to a time capsule that her dad helped develop to be opened in 2090.

   On September 21st, there will be two shows featuring country music legend, Doug Stone. Movies change each week so check out the schedule before heading to McConnelsville. The next scheduled public Ghost Hunt is December 7 and pre-registration is required.

Opera House - with statue

The Twin City Opera House can be found in the center of town near the Civil War monument.

   As you can see, the Twin City Opera House adds excitement to the McConnelsville area in many different ways. Make your choice – music, films or ghosts – and join in the fun.

Twin City Opera House is located in downtown McConnelsville along the scenic Muskingum River on Ohio Route 60-S.

Doug Waller Collects Stories of Bigfoot Experiences

Author of Four Bigfoot Books

Doug at Library

Doug Waller greets those attending a lecture at the library.

If you have an encounter with a large, hairy, ape-like creature, Doug Waller is the man to call. He’s writing books about the experiences people have had with what they call Bigfoot or Sasquatch. His stories come from sightings all over the world.

bigfoot-newcomerstown

This Bigfoot statue, a favorite of mine, can be found in Newcomerstown at The Feed Barn.

   People have been intrigued by the Legend of Bigfoot for hundreds of years. This large hairy creature is known as Bigfoot in the United States, Sasquatch in Canada, and Yeti in the Himalayans. It’s no surprise that the creature received his name after footprints were discovered that were very large – up to 24 inches long.

Bigfoot sightings US and Canada

This map shows Bigfoot sightings in the United States and Canada.

   Bigfoot has been written about for years. In 1925, Zane Grey wrote an article in Oregon Trail Magazine describing the encounter some miners had with what they described as two giant forest monsters, who looked like ape-men. Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being and included it in their totem poles.

   Doug’s interest in the legend of Bigfoot has been strong for over thirty years. His first recollection was in the 1970s when he read about the hairy ape-man in Missouri called Mo Mo – Missouri Monster. When he was just out of high school, he read in the newspaper about a meeting that Don Keating was having about Bigfoot so he attended.

Doug FOotprint Casts

Casts of footprints were on display from Ohio and California.

   Things got serious when he joined the staff of the Guernsey County Public Library. During his 23 years working there, he would read two or three books about Bigfoot at a time. Once he read all the local ones, he began ordering them in from other libraries. Another staff member, Shawna Parks, also found the subject interesting and investigated stories with Doug.

   Then a popular local couple had an experience at Salt Fork State Park in August of 2004 that really spurred his interest. They had seen a large creature near the grounds where they were camping. It had many of the characteristics of Bigfoot including that distinct odor that resembles rotten eggs. It was the first local spotting that could be investigated. This area is now known as Bigfoot Ridge and is a primitive campground and picnic area.

Bigfoot sign

This sign displays its name and symbol at many events.

   In 2008, Doug formed a group called Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation. The main focus of the group is to give a safe venue for Bigfoot eyewitnesses to come together to share their encounters and experiences. Many witnesses are reluctant to tell of their experience due to ridicule. Most say it has changed their life. Some never hunted again or even went into the woods. Others moved from the country where they had always lived to ensure safety.

Doug Speaking about Bigfoot

Doug uses a slideshow to share stories of Bigfoot.

   Now Doug frequently gives lectures in six or seven different states about these experiences and holds campouts at spots where the mysterious Bigfoot happens to frequent. Investigators meet there around a campfire and many stay for the weekend looking for evidence of footprints, hair, and rough structures.

Bigfoot Campout Salt Fork

Campouts are held during the summer months at Salt Fork State Park.

   Often during the evening, they hear screams, wood knocks, rocks are thrown, and trees twisted. Branches are frequently found arranged into a simple structure. When tracks are found, they make a case of them for future reference. Some of Bigfoot’s favorite paths include railroad tracks, streams, and power lines.

Bigfoot structure Salt Fork State Park

This structure, thought to be made by Bigfoot, was found near Salt Fork Lake.

   One interesting tale happened in Belmont County with a family who lived in the country. The dad worked in the deep coal mines on a swing shift so that meant that mom and the four children were often alone at night. That’s when Bigfoot would pay a visit. He would scream and pound on the walls.

   One evening something was hiding in the loft of the barn. The mother fired a shot and heard the creature running away. Another night Bigfoot got into the basement. The mother could hear him breathing and smelled that wretched smell before she called the sheriff as well as her husband at work. Her husband came home twenty miles to find her guarding the door with her gun and the children hiding behind her skirt. No trace was found of Bigfoot.

Doug Footprint Comparison

Another Bigfoot speaker, David Wickham, shows a size comparison between a Bigfoot and human footprint.

   There are many ideas of who Bigfoot really is but no one has the answer. Some feel he’s linked to the caveman. Others think he’s an interdimensional being or believe that there is an extraterrestrial connection. One theory says that Bigfoot appears due to the electromagnetic effects of UFOs as the two are frequently seen together. Research continues!

Doug Books

Doug has written four books in which he shares people’s Bigfoot stories.

   Doug has written four books about Bigfoot stories that have been shared with him and has a start on number five. Some share anonymously as they fear ridicule from friends and family. His mission is to record these stories for posterity. There have been sightings recorded in 49 of the 50 states. Hawaii is the only one without enough evidence to be listed.

Doug - Books at Stillions Market

Purchase one of Doug’s books from Tyler at Center Market on Route 22 as you head to Salt Fork State Park.

   He receives phone calls from all over the country these days and hears many interesting experiences. But Doug remarked, “I hope I haven’t gotten the most interesting one yet.”

   Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

To contact Doug, you can email him at southeasternohiobigfoot@yahoo.com or message him on the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation Facebook page.

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