On Sunday September 13, 2009, several members of Fringe Paranormal took a para-trip to several locations around the Sandusky, Ohio area. First up on the itinerary was Gore Orphanage Road. We made our way down a lonely, winding road crossing over a small bridge. Located in Vermilion, Ohio the orphanage (well actually it is better known as Swift Mansion) was built in 1903 by John Sprunger and named the Light of Hope Orphanage. The site of the former orphanage is owned by the park service and is located a short walk into a wooded area. Any buildings that once occupied the lot no longer exist. All that remains are large foundation blocks.
Many people claim to have had paranormal experiences at the location; disembodied voices, apparitions of children, small children crying, and sightings of an old caretaker of the orphanage. It is understandable that people would make such claims if you listen to tales about what supposedly happened one night at the orphanage. It is said that the caretaker at the orphanage set the building on fire, trapping many children inside and destroying the site. However, the true facts do not support such claims of paranormal activity.
There was never a fire at this location and no one was killed on the site. The orphanage closed down due to bankruptcy and due to allegations that child abuse was taking place at the home. Over time the Light and Hope orphanage site became known as Gore Orphanage. Why? Well, it comes from a definition of the word “gore” which relates to a triangular spot of land. And it just sounds pretty scary when added to the folklore.
Basically, the old orphanage site makes for some good ghost stories with no facts to support any claims relating to paranormal activity at the site. We did, however, conduct an EVP session with no results.
After leaving Gore Orphanage Road we made our way to Milan Cemetery located in (you guessed it) Milan, Ohio. Milan is the birth place of Thomas Edison and several Edison ancestors can be found among the dearly departed in the cemetery. Of particular interest is Abbot’s Tomb. The tomb is somewhat hard to find unless you know your way around. Luckily, Fringe Director Kelly knew the cemetery quite well as she is from the area. The tomb had a small opening/window in the front at one time which has since been blocked shut. Legend has it that if one approaches the tomb and knocks on the entrance that the ghosts of the inhabitants will come out and chase him away. The temptation was just too great to resist. I knocked on the door/cement blocks. And then!!!!! Nothing. Luckily I was not greeted by an enraged phantom from the afterlife. Had that been the case I may well have stepped backward and fallen down a hill and into a creek. The tomb sits on top of a steep hill. The front of the tomb faces the down slope of that hill which then meets the creek. Use caution if you investigate this spot. Myself, Kelly, and Agent Peggy continued our tour of the area. There were many interesting tombstones and statues in the cemetery.
The third leg of our para-trip was at Maple Grove cemetery. One well known legend at this location is that of the Dark Angel. According to legend, in the early 1900s a woman murdered her small daughter. A large angel statue was placed over the grave. Some time later the mother went insane and died of grief. Shortly thereafter towns people began to have problems with livestock being slaughtered. Witnesses claim to have seen blood dripping from the angel statue and attributed the mutilations to the work of the mother’s spirit inhabiting the statue. The hands and of the statue were cut off to prevent the spirit from roaming and continuing its killing spree. Its wings were also clipped. The town suffered no more destruction afterwards. Recently, the cemetery officials removed the statue. More than likely this was done to discourage vandals from entering the site to do even more damage to the area. (someone had apparently sawed off the head of statue for whatever reason) All that remains of the angel is its base.
Our team continued its survey of Maple Grove. One area is set aside for babies and small children. The newer section contains many ornate stones with a “silk screened” look to them. We also came upon an unexplained homage to a cat. As the night drew near we decided to end our trip and head back home. Our para-trip was quite interesting. This will hopefully be the first of many.
Prepared for Fringe Paranormal by Don C