Athens County Haunts

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Halloween is around the corner and so are campus celebrations and the sharing of ghost stories.

The Athens cemetery pentagram, Wilson Hall, and the old Ridges mental institution are among the most famous tales.

Some of the stories are unconfirmed, and the stories' origins are a little fuzzy, but those facts do not dissuade paranormal enthusiasts.

Amanda Hobson, whose specialty is vampire research, told students tales of haunted Athens and Ohio University on Monday.

“Because of the Halloween celebration, this is the right time of year, when people want to hear ghost stories. People want to hear those types of things,” said Hobson.

On Halloween night, it’s not uncommon for OU students to venture to the Ridges.

Each year, groups of students try to sneak into the old mental institution, despite that visiting the Ridges after sunset is prohibited.

Police routinely cruise the area to keep people from breaking into the buildings.

OU student Gongyu Huang remembers her run-in with police the first time she tried to enter the Ridges after dark.

 “A police stopped and told us to leave, ‘You can’t stay here and you are not allowed to go into that building’” Huang said.

For some, the authorities' surveillance of the Ridges after dark invokes more curiosity and adds to the mystery behind the stories.

Are there really ghosts?

It seems the answer doesn’t really matter; the Halloween traditions in Athens and the strange, unconfirmed paranormal activity are enough to keep people believing.