Do Spirits Roam at the Historic Park Hotel?

Put in Bay is the home of the historic Park Hotel. Does this grand Victorian era hotel play host to living guests as well as the dearly departed?  Some claim that the inn is home to a mysterious woman who keeps watch over visiting children. Some claim to have wakened to see the visage of  a former owner staring down at them as they sleep.  Perhaps some guests simply can not check out.

Investigation Date:   April 8, 2011

Location:  234 Delaware Ave., Put in Bay, Ohio 43456
41.652792   -82.816959   N41° 39.1675′, W082° 49.0175′

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Investigators Present

Don C.
Kelly S.
Fred S.
Chad D.
Matt
Jenny

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Investigation Conditions
Avg. Temperature  42°
Avg. Humidity  88%
Barometric Pressure  29.90 in.
Wind  10 mph NE
Precipitation  .88 in.
Dew Point  40°
Moon  21% of full  waxing crescent
Solar X-Rays  active
Geomagnetic Field  quiet

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History

Put-in-Bay is a village located on South Bass Island in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio. The island is located 15 miles northwest of Sandusky, Ohio and has a total area of .6 square miles.  As can be surmised by the size of the island the population is sparse.  According to census information about 200 people reside at this location.  It is believed that the name of the island originates from  early maps of South Bass Island that showed the harbor being named Pudding Bay, probably because it was shaped like a pudding sack. As it is surrounded by Lake Erie there are only two ways onto and off of the island: by watercraft and by aircraft.  Put in Bay has prospered as a tourist destination since 1864. During the winter months tourism dwindles and many residents live elsewhere until spring returns.

The Deutsches Hotel, now known as the Park Hotel, was built in the 1870s with 26 rooms. The hotel was the first one on the island to offer beds with spring mattresses rather than traditional straw filled beds; quite a luxury during this era. Local historians believe that the hotel was built by George F. Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt was also an early owner of the Roundhouse Bar which is adjacent to the hotel. An 1888 newspaper article named one of the first owners as both Smith and Schmidt in the same paragraph. It is theorized that this is the self same person previously mentioned. The Round House opened for business as the Columbia Restaurant in June of 1873.  It is believed that the building was actually built in Toledo, Ohio and shipped to the island where it stands to this day. Why was it renamed  the Roundhouse?  It may be because the owner’s nickname was “Roundhouse” Smith. It may also be that “Roundhouse” Smith got the nickname because the bar was round. In the 1950s, the McCann family purchased the Roundhouse Bar. This same family presently owns the Park Hotel.

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Claims    

It is claimed that a woman, nicknamed the “governess” by the proprietors, met her death in the Park Hotel.  The woman is purported to have fallen down the stairs leading from the second floor down to the lobby. Certain residents who frequented the hotel as children report having been watched over by the Governess as they played at the bottom of the lobby stairway.  She has also been sighted in room 14.  Another belief among residents in the area is that one of the early owners of  the hotel committed suicide at this location. Legend has it the man hanged himself from the third floor stairway rail. His body was supposedly found dangling on the second floor between the third and second floor stair rails. Visitors report waking to find the man staring down at them in their bed.  He is also reported to be seen gazing out the window of room 17.  This same entity has also been sighted in the winter bar adjacent to the hotel lobby.  A somewhat whimsical and odd occurrence was reported by an employee at the front desk one evening.  It seems that the head piece of a costume, a foam chicken head, sailed across the room of its own accord. This turns out to be a distance of 6 to 8 feet. The employee was understandably spooked to say the least and refuses to speak about the incident to this day. There have also been appearances by someone or something on the couch in the lobby.

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Investigation

Our investigation of the Park Hotel was attended by Directors Don and Kelly along with Agent Fred S. and guest investigators from Weston Paranormal Investigations; Matt, Chad, and Jenny.  Motion detectors were placed in the winter bar and on the second floor.  The Weston team placed their video cams in room 14 and room 17 where many of the visitors have reported events.  A third cam was placed in the winter bar to capture that area and part of the lobby.  The fourth cam was situated to catch the lobby area.  Kelly also positioned a hand held video camera to focus up the lobby stairway leading up to the second floor.  The position of this camera would capture any activity on this stairwell as well as the area where a previous owner’s lifeless body was allegedly found hanging.
The group split into two units. Kelly, Fred, and Don formed one team and Chad, Matt and Jenny formed another. The teams rotated  between the lobby and winter bar area and the second and third floors. Environmental observations and EVP sessions were performed throughout the evening.  The team did register a small KII meter spike in room 17. The team also heard a loud thud against the wall in room 17 which could be heard in the lobby as well.  No explanation could be found for this.  The investigation continued without incident and the group wrapped up at 3:30 am.

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Analysis

The KII spike occurred one time and could be considered a natural unexplained anomaly. While we can not explain the loud thud heard in the same room we also can not attribute this to anything paranormal without some type of corroborating event or evidence. The team recorded some questionable pieces of audio which must be analyzed thoroughly before reaching a conclusion.  Research has discovered that  Mr. Schmidt, mentioned in the history of the location, DID actually die on the property. However he did not commit suicide in the hotel itself. His body was discovered in a barn at the back of the property. As an actual death record is elusive the facts of Mr. Schmidt’s suicide are murky.

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Conclusion

The Fringe team must dig up further information on the deaths at this location.  This may prove to be a difficult task as the alleged deaths occurred in the late 1800s.  If the team can prove these allegations we will know how best to proceed with this case.  This Victorian era hotel proved an interesting piece of history to investigate. We hope to return with more information on its history which may lead us to other avenues of  inquiry and evidence.

Please visit our friends and let them know you saw them here    Stop by the historic Park Hotel.

Ask to see the Fringe Paranormal plaque while you’re there

Read about our “triple threat” Put in Bay investigation at the Doller House, Crew’s Nest, and Park Hotel

Prepared by Director Don C. for Fringe Paranormal

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I am the Director of Fringe Paranormal based in Toledo, Ohio.

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Posted in Fringe Paranormal's Investigations, Haunted Places, Paranormal
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