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2011 Archive:
 Paranormal Peeps and Holiday Traditions
December 29, 2011

Littlest Mummy (A Christmas Story) By Richard Senate
December 21, 2011

Wartime UFOs with Mack Maloney
December 20, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) with Mike Markowicz
December 13, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Ghostly Lowdown on American Horror Story By Deonna Kelli Sayed
December 7, 2011

The Curse of H.H. Holmes with Jeff Mudgett
November 29, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Paranormal Roundtable with David Rountree and Paul Browning By Deonna Kelli Sayed
November 17, 2011

Legends Are Born in October By Christopher Balzano
October 17, 2011

Halloween Nation with Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
October 11, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

The Haunting of Major Graham Mansion by Deonna Kelli Sayed
October 5, 2011

The Hunt for Ohio's River Styx Ghost Train by Ken Summers
September 29, 2011

Evidence of Ancient Aliens with Peter Robbins
September 27, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Southern New England Haunts with Andrew Lake
September 20, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Pop Paranormal Culture and Middle Eastern Legends with Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 13, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Legend Tripping with AdventureMyths by Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 12, 2011

Out of Place in Time and Space with Lamont Wood
September 6, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

TAPS Academy Comes to Town by Deonna Kelli Sayed
September 1, 2011

The Amityville House with Christopher Quaratino (Lutz)
August 30, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Springfield, Missouri’s 150th by Debra Prosser
August 26, 2011

Column - regular feature

Paranormal Pastoring by Rev. Sherrie James
August 22, 2011

Live-ish From the Haunted Fearing Tavern
August 16, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

In Defense of Paranormal Reality TV by Deonna Kelli Sayed
August 8, 2011

Gone From Sight by Debra Prosser
August 3, 2011

Column - regular feature

The Psychology of Being Watched By Wayne Harris-Wyrick
August 2, 2011

The Paranormal Pastor Robin Swope
July 26, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Living Voices: Dr. Dave Oester By Deonna Kelli Sayed
July 20, 2011

Living Voices: Richard Senate By Bobby Garcia
July 13, 2011

What's in a Name? Let's Try "Paranormalogy!" By Rev. Sherrie James
July 6, 2011

Caged and Staged by Katie Mullaly
June 23, 2011

The Haunted Dibbuk Box with Jason Haxton
June 14, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Ghost Hunter's Grant Wilson
June 13, 2011

The Haunted Book by Lee Prosser
June 10, 2011

Column - regular feature

Raymond Cass - EVP Pioneer by Bobby Garcia
June 9, 2011

Illinois Haunts with Michael Kleen
June 7, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Artist Paulina Cassidy
June 2, 2011

Alien/Human Hybrids with Barbara Lamb
May 31, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Author Marley Harbuck Gibson
May 26, 2011

Biblical Apocalypse Prophecies with Dr. Robert M. Price
May 24, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

America's Strangest House by Deonna Kelli Sayed
May 23, 2011

Two-Year Anniversary Special
May 17, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Artist Jackie Williams
May 13, 2011

Wiliford by Lee Prosser
May 12, 2011

Column - regular feature

The Spirit Box with Psychic Chris Fleming
May 10, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Violating the 13th Amendment Paranormal Style by Reverend Sherrie James
May 6, 2011

Inside the Church of Satan with Joshua P. Warren
May 3, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - Terri J. Garofalo, creator of Entities-R-Us
April 28, 2011

Haunted San Francisco with Loyd Auerbach
April 26, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Future Predictions with Dr. Louis Turi
April 12, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spring of Culture at Ghostvillage - H.C. Noel, Creator of Tara Normal
April 7, 2011

Pennsylvania Bigfoot with Eric Altman
April 5, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Spontaneous Human Combustion with Larry Arnold
March 29, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Japanese Earthquake Ghosts, 2011 by Lee Prosser
March 28, 2011

Column - regular feature

UFOs with Stanton Friedman
February 8, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Ophiuchus with Astrologer Christopher Renstrom
February 1, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Crashing the Ghost Adventures Shoot
January 11, 2011

30 Odd Minutes - webcast

Marjorie Myrene Hart by Lee Prosser
January 3, 2011

Column - regular feature

September 29, 2011

The Hunt for Ohio's River Styx Ghost Train

By Ken Summers

For decades, local ghost hunters have ventured to a steel trestle near Medina, Ohio, hoping to catch a glimpse of a phantom train. They say it comes crashing down the bridge landing in a fiery inferno in the creek below. It's a spooky reenactment of a real train accident which folks say happened there about a hundred years ago. Some people snap a few photos of orbs; other claim to hear a train whistle. But so far, no one has actually witnessed the ghost train. Did the spirits from that terrible night finally find peace, or was it just a legend?

For starters, it might help if they were looking in the right place.

River Styx Bridge
I've heard about the "River Styx Ghost Train" many times in my life. I even took a few daytime trips down River Styx Road along the west branch of the Rocky River and under the trestle just to see the place. There are excerpts of newspaper stories on some paranormal websites giving some of the details of the accident, and for some reason the facts just never sat quite right to me. I shoved that story away for years and forgot about it until Jeri Holland brought it up this past spring.

Now, Jeri and I were once fierce rivals, each trying to stake our claim over the Cuyahoga Valley and beat each other to the next ghost story discovery. We both mellowed a bit over the years, realizing the pettiness of acting like ghost hunting was a competition, and have worked together off and on for the past few years. She had been approached by The History Press to write a book on haunted places in Akron, Ohio, and asked me to help her out on her first book. I naturally said yes.

Part way through researching some other places in the Akron area, Jeri mentioned to me she wanted to include the River Styx train story in the book. After reading all the newspaper articles about the accident in 1899, she was convinced it happened closer toward Akron. I reread the accounts and agreed with her. According to the newspapers, the Erie Limited was heading west from Akron in the early morning hours of March 22, 1899, when the driving rod on Engine No. 5 snapped. At the throttle was engineer Alexander W. Logan. With all his might, he tried to reverse the locomotive; sensing disaster, Logan commandeered the engine as it veered off the rails and crashed at the trestle over the River Styx. All passengers and crew survived except for Logan. They found him in the wreckage, still clutching the throttle. The accident happened not near Medina, but just outside Rittman, Ohio.

Like many towns, Rittman was built largely by the railroads. The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad first came through in 1836 and gave the town enough economic boom to become a city. Not long after, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad also built a line through Rittman; in fact, the town was named after Fred Rittman: the treasurer of the B&O. You can still see parts of these original lines today. We now knew the city, but where was the bridge?

River Styx Bridge
I'll confess I'm very much a railroad enthusiast and have been since I could walk. When Jeri raised the question about finding the site of the Erie Railroad bridge mentioned in the accident, I jumped right on it, sifting through old maps and documents. I knew the Erie bought out other lines. (Hundreds of old railroads merged with bigger companies between 1860 and 1930.) After comparing old maps, I had a strong feeling I knew which set of tracks was the old Erie line. Luckily, Rittman made it easy for me. One street which bordered the old tracks was renamed Erie Avenue.

The newspaper clippings from the accident gave the final clue. The bridge was "a mile east of the depot." Find the old depot, find the bridge. And sure enough, tracing the tracks northeast from the depot site there was a railroad bridge crossing the River Styx. Checking a current satellite image of Rittman, I found that the bridge was still there. Obviously, it wasn't the exact same bridge from 1899, but it was in the same location. With deadlines and other delays, it wasn't possible to go to the site to examine it, but by August our schedules lightened up enough that Jeri and I set out to make the trip to Rittman and visit the real haunted River Styx bridge.

The sun was just beginning to set when we arrived on the fringe of the Morton Salt plant east of town. And there it was: a faded pale green plate girder bridge stretching across a 100 foot span above the River Styx. Though it was in poor condition, it showed some signs of use. The old tracks heading to Barberton were very warped and uneven. But aside from the slow, steady flow of traffic along Ohio Avenue, the area was quite peaceful. On the west abutment, we held a makeshift investigation with minimal equipment. Our main goal was to document the site, not find definitive evidence of the haunting. As the light faded and darkness set in, we checked out a nearby pond. Mosquitoes were bloodthirsty and relentless, so we didn't end up staying very long.

Though our trip was brief, there was something wonderful about visiting a site forgotten by history for so long. Newspapers in 1900, 1901, and 1902 reported encounters with a phantom train along those tracks. Over the next century, the story lived on and evolved, changing locations to the bridge outside of Medina. Indeed, the Medina steel trestle makes for a more interesting place to imagine a train wreck. Had a locomotive plunged into the valley at that location, it might have resembled the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster (which is likely what caused the reimagining of the incident).

River Styx Bridge
Jeri has planned a proper investigation of the site for October on the anniversary of two ghostly sightings in Rittman. Hopefully, something significant will happen; after more than a century of neglect and with no recent reports of anything unusual at the location, I'm reluctant to expect anything noteworthy. These true tales have been too long ignored by the people of northeast Ohio. Today, many paranormal investigators prefer the popular, well-trodden "hot spots" popularized by television instead of obscure places which have faded from memory long ago. Yet our paranormal history should not be forgotten.

You can read the full story behind the River Styx Ghost Train and many other historic hauntings in Jeri's book Haunted Akron, now available in stores.

Ken Summers is a paranormal researcher, blogger, lecturer, and author of Queer Hauntings. To learn more about his work and future projects, visit his website The Moonspenders.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014