Goll Cemetery is a silent memorial entombed within a public nature preserve near Archbold, Ohio. Legend has it that one of the first families in the area, the Peter Goll family, was banished into the woods one evening for some unknown offense. They were left to fend for themselves. The family died off one by one with the patriarch being the last to meet his demise. Some claim to have seen the father and several other family members haunting this cemetery. Balls of light have purportedly been seen in the area around the cemetery and in the woods. It has also been reported that a big black tombstone in the cemetery is always warm to the touch. The Fringe Paranormal team investigated Goll Woods to shed some light on the dark tales surrounding the area.
Investigation Date: Saturday May 1, 2010
Location: Goll Woods
Coordinates: Latitude/Longitude – N41°33.292’/ W084°21.699′
Early settlers first arrived in the “Black Swamp” area around the mid 1800’s. The area now known as Goll Woods near Archbold, Ohio was covered with dense forest and a swampy terrain. Upon arrival the settlers undertook the difficult task of clearing forest and draining the swamp land to make the area habitable. One of the settlers of German township, Peter Goll, purchased a large plot of land from the government in 1837. Mr. Goll and his family left 100 acres of the land unspoiled, just as they had found it. In 1966, the Goll ancestors sold the land to the state of Ohio as a nature preserve. Due to the swampy conditions of the area, insects were and still remain quite a nuisance to say the least. Back in the early days malaria was rampant. The trees in Goll Woods are a wonder to behold. Some trees, Burr Oaks, are over 400 years old. They may have a 4 foot base diameter and tower over 120 feet tall. In 1975, Goll Woods was designated a registered natural landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.
The Fringe Paranormal team arrived at Goll Woods early one Saturday evening. While the area is a public preserve people were far and few between. Only an occasional car on the adjacent roads were to be encountered. We began our night with a walk through the trails in the wooded area. Upon alighting upon the trail we noticed a ball of light. It appeared high in the canopy of the trees. At first we thought it might be an aircraft and gave it no thought. Further observation, however, dispelled that notion. The behavior of the light was erratic and not that of any known aircraft. While the light appeared to be high in the trees the size seemed to suggest a large object. Could this be the strange ball of light that others had seen in these woods? Throughout our survey of the trails we spotted other similar lights. this seemed to suggest a natural cause. We believe the nature of the lights to be that of the common firefly.
Fireflies are in the insect family Lampyridae, from the Greek for “shining ones”. North America is home to 170 species. Interestingly, the light of the firefly is produced by two rare chemicals in their abdomen, luciferin and luciferase. Both are named after Lucifer the fallen angel. A lightbulb gives off 10% of its energy as light and the remaining 90% as heat. The firefly by comparison gives off almost 100% of its energy as light. Based upon the data on the luminescence of this species and the behavior witnessed along with sightings of multiple lights we must conclude that what we witnessed was in fact a natural phenomena.
It has been told that the Goll family was banished into the woods where they would come to perish and eventually remain as troubled spirits. A quick look at the history presented above would seem to dispell these legends. It would seem unlikely that the heirs of the family would sell the woods to the community that drove their ancestors into the dark and unforgiving “Black Swamp”. We must also note that if the legends were true that there would have been no heirs to actually sell the land.
We also note that the legend is very similar to other urban legends telling tales of families being banished or driven from town only to haunt the area after their demise. Such examples include Gore Orphanage Rd. and the Eaton Childrens home/Coffin Rd.
There have been claims that a large black tombstone in the Goll Cemetery is always warm to the touch. Fringe Paranormal returned to the cemetery at another time during daylight hours. We arrived at 4:00 pm. Upon examination of the stones we noted that there are 78 tombstones in the cemetery. Of these, five are black. Any of these five could be the black marker of the legend. the stones in Goll cemetery are aligned such that the flat sides face a North-South direction and the edges face an East-West orientation. We took temperature readings of the black stones and compared them to the other non-black stones. The temperature of the black tombstones averaged 15-20 degrees higher than other stones in the cemetery. This is to be expected based upon natural law. Basically, the darker the object, the better its emission of heat because it is a better absorber of light.
Analysis and Conclusion:
During our investigation of Goll Woods we were able to find a natural explanation which may account for sightings of balls of light. Based upon lack of corroborating evidence we doubt the validity of stories relating to the Goll family being banished into the woods by angry townsfolk. As far as certain tombstones being warmer to the touch than others, this is due to natural factors of heat absorption and materials.
While our investigation can not disprove what others have experienced, it can provide possible natural explanations to those experiences. The findings of the Fringe team lead us to conclude that it is likely that any seemingly paranormal activity at this location is quite natural.
Prepared by Don C for Fringe Paranormal