Ghost Tales Flourish in Historic Marietta
Welcome to Hidden Marietta, where some stories – and some people – simply refuse to die.
The most haunted town in Ohio seems a natural place for a Ghost Trek – the streets of Marietta. Meeting near the Lafayette Hotel along the Ohio River, excellent guides tell some of the scariest stories about restless spirits left over from the past in this paranormal hot spot. Even rain won’t dampen your spirits.
While ghost stories are told at each stop, the tour also tells the history of early Marietta. As you hear stories of murder and paranormal activities, the heart races just a little faster as you glance around to see if there’s anything unusual happening.
The tour takes about two hours with perhaps a dozen stops, so many interesting ghost and historic tales are told along the way. Buckley Island in the middle of the Ohio River has experienced everything from Native American Indian attacks to an amusement park. At one point it also contained “Pest House”, where all sick people were quarantined to prevent illness from spreading on land. Once there, you stayed permanently. Today, hikers still feel sick and weak on the island…perhaps leftover energy?
Walking down the brick streets, with Victorian style buildings, gives you the feeling of stepping back in time. Listen to the tales of footsteps, knocks, and voices in the night. When you visit the old La Belle Hotel, the eerie glow of the night beckons for a close look at the staircase where the ax murderer walked slowly up, then ran down. Those footsteps are still heard frequently today and reflect a residual haunting – energy left over from 130 years ago.
Today, guests at the Lafayette Hotel often comment about unusual happenings in their rooms. Glasses may be moved, lights turned on or off, and people are frequently seen roaming the halls. One of those nighttime visitors appears to be Mr. Hoag, former owner, in his brown derby hat.
Employees of long ago recognized Mr. Hoag as the best possible manager. Employees today say that sometimes during the night, the elevator will suddenly light up for 6th floor, which is where maintenance equipment is stored, and the manager frequently visited. After a short time, the elevator comes back down to the ground floor. Just Mr. Hoag, still checking on his hotel.
Another eerie stop was the Tiber Way Grille, where people hear moaning and sobbing. Close inspection of the old ghost advertisement on the side of the building, brings out the letters saying: Chronic Disease- Marietta Sanitarium. After the hospital moved, a funeral parlor occupied this building. Now you see the reason for the crying sounds. Soon this will become a Victorian style hotel – complete with ghosts.
Now that you have heard a few of the ghost stories, perhaps you’ll enjoy a visit to Marietta sometime soon yourself. While Halloween seems the perfect time for a Ghost Trek, this event is held every Friday and Saturday evening from June to November at 8:00. Meet at the corner of Front and Greene Streets, at the fountain by the famous haunted and historic Lafayette Hotel.
Watch out for those ghosts!
To arrive in Marietta, Ohio take Exit 1 off I off I-77 and head west on Route 7, Greene Street. Where the Muskingum River meets the Ohio River, you will find the old Lafayette Hotel, the starting point for the Ghost Trek. This walking tour is under the expert guidance of Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta and author of several books of Marietta history.