It has been said that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Museums serve as record keepers of our past. The dead come alive in these grand spaces and talk to us about the past in hopes that we will learn from their mistakes. Using allegories about the dead to describe a museum may seem simple enough but what if the dead really do come alive in these repositories for history? Some believe this is the case in Fostoria, Ohio.
Note: The findings and experiences contained herein are a conglomeration of two investigations at the museum
Location: 123 West North Street, Fostoria, OH 44830
Investigation Dates: 8/22/15 and 9/19/15
- Dave B.
Covering over 6000 square feet the Fostoria Historical Museum lies in the heart of downtown Fostoria, Ohio in Seneca county. The local government built the museum in 1900 and established it as its city hall. The Fire, Police, Water, and Health Departments were housed here. You could also find the municipal court inside as well as all of the city’s offices including the mayor and City Solicitor among others. In the 1950s the hall was also utilized as a repository for civil defense and hospital rescue equipment during the cold war. Suffice it to say that the city realized that the building was too crowded. In 1959 the construction of a new municipal building on South Main street was completed. Everything except for the Fire Department relocated. In 1974 the Fire Department finally moved out of this West North street location over to its new station on Crocker street, the site of the old Whittier grade school. At about this same time the Fostoria Historical Society, which was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1973, took up residence in the location.
Today visitors to the museum can view a variety of exhibits related to the history of Fostoria. The old ground floor garage next to the front entrance houses a 1941 Seagraves ladder pumper fire truck left behind when the fire department moved out. The second garage area next to that is a of “war room” and displays various artifacts related to the Civil War and World War II. Another area downstairs towards the rear of the building contains an old 1918 Allen automobile manufactured right in Fostoria. Heading upstairs brings a variety of other exhibits. Remember the old Whittier school we mentioned? Well, there is a room recreated to look like a classroom. Blackboards, desks, and other furniture salvaged from the school have been arranged to reproduce an old time classroom. Be on your best behavior though as some of the old paddles are there as well.
As this location is filled with historical objects and there are no reported deaths on the property it is theorized that the haunts here are due to entities being attached to items in the facility. In the fire truck garage a ceiling light turns on of its own accord.
Right next door in the war room you might hear whistling. Play some Nazi audio or German music and you may hear ghostly marching above your head. Oh, and for the record that area above you is just open air. There is not a room over that ceiling. Back near the 1918 Allen car if you place a KII meter inside it you may see the meter activate. Be careful as you head up the staircase leading to the second floor as strange shadows have been spotted on the landing. Perhaps the most intriguing claim is that of an entity, said to be a child, in a room upstairs. Outfitted to portray an early American bedroom, this room contains a bed that once belonged to a little girl. It is alleged that she died in that bed.
After hearing of these claims the Fringe team decided to check out the museum. Whenever possible we try to investigate locations more than once. Circumstances smiled upon us and we were given the opportunity to visit the museum not just once but twice. We spent an evening in August and also a month later in September. We arrived in the early evening before dark and toured the facility to familiarize ourselves with the layout and get an idea of where we might want to place our equipment. We opted to use seven video cameras. Cameras captured the areas previously mentioned above: the child’s bedroom; the fire engine room aimed at the ceiling light; the stairway landing where shadows have been spotted; and the garage containing the Allen car. We also placed a cam inside a second floor room, the former mayor’s office from long ago, which now contains period furniture. This space contains a drawer with an attached tilting mirror. There are claims that the mirror moves and that a cup on top of the dresser moves as well. We also positioned a camera across the hall to catch the doorway of this room as well as that of the room next door. That adjacent area contains war items including a Nazi flag. Activity is said to occur here as well.
The Fringe team split up into several small groups for the investigation. Throughout our time in the museum one of the things we focused on was conducting EVP sessions, with special attention given to the room where people claim to see the young child. We opted to place our Haunted Trigger Object device (HTO) in the child’s room. An alligator clip connects the HTO device to the trigger object or to a metal tray that holds the object. Any disturbance of the field around the object or the metal tray will cause the HTO to light up and emit a sound. We chose a teddy bear for our purposes. Later in the evening we explored the garage area near the war room. We played some period music as well as some German war rallies with Adolph Hitler. Apparently, the troops were on leave for the night as we heard no marching above our heads. Later we moved to the room next door which is set up like an old time fire department kitchen, complete with old appliances and kitchen utilities. Some visitors claim that they can smell breakfast cooking even though the appliances are not currently in use. As it was quite late in the evening we were a bit hungry. We asked anyone who might be around if there was anything good to eat and could they fry us up something to eat? Unfortunately we experienced nothing. The aroma of bacon and eggs did not permeate the room. We continued alternating throughout the complex in an attempt to capture some sort of evidence of odd goings on.
Later that night one of the groups did notice a REMpod activate during their time in the war room while playing civil war music. Other than the occasional “thud” or KII meter hit the investigation was pretty quiet. As most investigators know, you can not always gauge the success of an investigation solely by the experiences of the evening. Oftentimes, we do not uncover anything of note until after we return to the Fringe home base and analyze all of our video and audio. The museum is a case in point. While our time at this history filled spot was relatively quiet our analysis did turn up one interesting piece of audio. As you recall there is a child, a little girl, that is said to haunt a room upstairs. It is alleged that this girl suffered an illness and passed away in her bed. This bed is displayed in the room along with other furniture of the same period. During our investigation we conducted numerous EVP sessions in this area. One question seemed to elicit some sort of response. Twenty seconds into this clip we asked:
“Did you die in your sleep?”
If we interpret the audio as a positive or negative answer to the question posed then we have some possible evidence. Unfortunately we have no research to tell us how or where the child died. If we had this information it would bolster the value of this EVP.
It was early in the morning, or late at night depending on your point of view, when we ended our investigation. Words alone can not describe the history at the Fostoria Historical Museum. The misery of war, the rewards of public service, the joy of learning, the heartbreak of an untimely death; all of these emotional life experiences are documented at the museum. All that’s left is for someone to discover them and bring them to life.
Prepared by Director Don for Fringe Paranormal
Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2
photos courtesy of Fostoria Area Historical Society