Spooky - Photo by PxHere

“I don’t know if I can redirect you, but back in the early pioneer days of Wood County, they did have their ghost stories.”

Immediately, my attention was caught after hearing this. I had chosen to tackle the history of Halloween, but instead, I received information that was delightfully spooky.

I had previously called the Wood County Museum and spoken to a historian to schedule a time when he could inform me of the origin of this mysterious holiday. When I called on the day of the interview, the phone was given to Mike McMaster, a man with a passion for history.

The museum offers programs where they teach specific aspects of history with pieces of the past to showcase. After giving a brief introduction of himself and what he does as a historian, he got right down to business and answered my questions.

McMaster said BGSU’s Halloween progression was similar to most places. In the 1920s to 1930s, Bowling Green Normal College — now BGSU — started having school dances in October, but not making it the frightful and fun experience we know today. Eventually, they would adapt into wearing costumes and having trick-or-treating.

McMaster then decided to transition into a much spookier topic — Wood County’s ghost stories.

Sorrow on Shutnock Hill

“One of the oldest ghost stories told is about a Native American hill called Shutnock,” McMaster said.

My interests peaked as I thought of old horror stories involving Native American burial grounds.

“That hill is long gone. The story however, survives,” he said.

Shutnock held the tale of a Native American chief’s daughter whose lover was casted out from the tribe. She watched him depart on top of Shutnock Hill, losing some of her soul in her sorrow. She would later return to that hill within her afterlife, forever haunting the grounds of her heartache. Today, the hill has been leveled out, but some say the weeping woman’s spirit walks among the living in search of her soulmate.

Woodbury House of Horror

The oldest documented ghost story McMaster could find was about the Woodbury House.

I thought a real life haunted house is sure to be a terrific tale. In 1837, Woodbury was a small town in what would later become Bowling Green. But the old town became less and less populated shortly after. The house of General John Thompson stayed, despite the village becoming abandoned.

In an 1896 book, Charles Evers tells the story of two hunters who have a terrifying stay at the Woodbury House in 1852. A headless skeleton of a murdered peddler is said to have haunted the halls and chose to give a good scare to the two men. Curious to help the mystical being with no head, the two men search around the house for his missing skull.

Upon finding his cranium, the hunters watched enamoured as a hidden voice said, “I have found peace.”

The skeletal paranormal creature then disappeared with his head in hand. After this legend began to spread, children started to flock to this gateway of spooky findings.

Rumors of witches and murderers spending time in the Woodbury House run rampant. This would later cause Evers, who was at first the local sheriff, to burn the house down to “abate a nuisance.”

Did Evers get tired of the kids running amok and injuring themselves in the abandoned house, or did he truly believe the house was a gateway to unimaginable horrors?

Holcomb Road Hell

“In Wood County, all the local kids go out to Holcomb Road,” McMaster said.

I compared what Mike had said to something similar in my hometown. There were plenty of rumors about a terrible crime taking place at an orphanage on a backroad. In the 1980s, the people of Wood County told the story of a bus crash involving kids distracting the driver, so, those who wandered to Holcomb Road would hear the cries of the undead children.

McMaster reassured me with the truth of this story.

“That legend was all because at the corner of that road, before you enter the largest forest of Wood County, the guy who owned that property in the 1970s collected junk and had a random bus from the local high school sitting in there,” McMaster said.

This, combined with the creepiness of the woods McMaster emphasized, and John Carpenter’s “Halloween” coming out the following year, helped fuel the fear of Holcomb Road.

“Halloween” was the first independent slasher film to make its way to theaters, so this only encouraged the rumors.

“There was no bus crash ever … Now you have a random bus in the creepiest woods of Wood County and then stories get told,” McMaster said.

It was previously what he described as a “lover’s line,” but it’s reputation from being a date night spot quickly changed at the beginning of the Halloween film series.

This school bus was ultimately hauled away after it had been vandalised and caught on fire. McMaster noted the parallels between the Woodbury House and school bus being burned down and Shutnock Hill being destroyed.

It almost leads one to believe that these locations were really just a public nuisance.

Or perhaps the county was hiding a blood-curdling secret within these paranormal locations? 

Dying to know more about the horrifying Holcomb Road? “The Legend of Holcomb Road” is a popular documentary and short film made that discusses the ghostly encounters one may have while exploring the aforementioned “Highway to Hell.”

At the end of McMaster’s plethora of ghost stories, he implored others to be weary.

“If you ever drive out there, drive out during the day because you don’t know what’s out there. Seriously. It is big and creepy looking,” McMaster said.

Finding Holcomb Road will be difficult for the average person, as he informed me that the road sign was put on a pole fifteen feet above the ground to prevent people from going there. It almost seems as if the county was protecting people from some sort of evil force? Or was it just to cut down on the immense vandalism? Maybe something interesting to think about, or even explore … if you dare.

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