Ohio’s Helltown Urban Legends and History

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Featured Haunted Places

The history of Helltown, Ohio – a small town plagued by rumors of hauntings, mutant snakes, murder, missing people, and chemical spills.

Tales of the supernatural surround the region formerly known as Boston, Ohio. The village of Boston was founded in 1806 and existed relatively uneventfully until 1974, when it became a footnote in American history. That was the year President Gerald Ford signed a bill that gave the federal government’s National Park Service jurisdiction to expropriate land for the establishment of National Parks. The NPS decided that Boston Township would be the new home for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and began buying the properties and forced evictions of its longtime residents. But the town’s history was much more frightening than anyone would have imagined. What was once Boston, Ohio is now known as Helltown.

The Legends of Helltown, Ohio

Helltown park map featuring drawn map and old photo of the town

“Now we know how the Indians felt.” and “No Trespassing”

Notes left on doors of abandoned houses in Helltown, Ohio

The abandoned village has attracted the interest of urban explorers and ghost hunters, who have uncovered strange orbs, lights, and heard disembodied voices. In 1985, a local dump near the village was discovered to be polluted with toxic chemicals. There are also dark rumors of satanic worshipers who frequent the area and use the abandoned buildings for their nefarious rituals, a haunted school bus and restless ghosts in the cemetery.

Helltown Cemetery

The “Boston Cemetery,” one of many haunted cemeteries in the US, named after the original township has many stories. One involves a ghost who sits on a bench, waiting for his family to come back to him. Another legend from the cemetery states that the only souls not forced to leave the area are the dead, and they sit in this abandoned ghost town, looking for their families which have left so long ago.

The Presbyterian church

old white church

A tiny white church in Helltown is at the center of local urban legends. Some locals believe it was once a place where Satanists worshipped, and that those same Satanists still wander the abandoned streets, hoping to entice visitors with tales of their sinister powers.

The abandoned bus

Road Closed sign from Helltown Ohio

A ghostly school bus stands on the grounds of Helltown. One legend says that it was supposed to be carrying high school students on a ski trip, but an elderly woman flagged it down and warned the driver that there was a young boy in her house who was seriously hurt. It was a trap though and all the students were murdered by a serial killer. In another version of the story it was satanists who sacrificed the students. As the legend goes you can see either the ghosts of the killer or his victims still sitting inside if you peer through the windows of the bus.

Toxic Waste and Monstrous Snakes

There was a private dump not far from Helltown owned by the Krejci family. The Dump was eventually sold to the National Park Service in the early 1970s, but it took until 1985 for the agency to take possession of the land. At first, investigators believed the area was nothing more than an old junkyard. They started to report strange odors, headaches, and even rashes. One man became physically ill, and was reported to be vomiting profusely while cleaning up the dump. The Environmental Protection Agency was called in and found there were thousands of drums of toxic chemicals that had been dumped on the land by major corporations over the decades the Krejci family ran the private landfill.

Peninsula Python Urband Legend from Helltown Ohio. Image of a giant mutant snake

The “Peninsula Python” is mutant snake created from the toxic dump left behind at the Krejci landfill. It is known to be up to 19 ft long with a wide track possibly as wide as a car time. It is dark with brownish blotches. It can climb trees and rear up like a cobra. It’s known to raid henhouses.

There are a few sighting reported from fandom.com.

Clarence Mitchell saw an 18-foot snake crawling across his cornfield near Peninsula, Ohio, on June 8, 1944. After several days of effort, a posse that had been formed on June 25 failed to find any evidence other than broken branches and trails leading to the Cuyahoga River. Reports of a large snake were made through August 1 by other residents of the valley, including Pauline Hopko, who said it slithered away from a willow tree in her yard and frightened her cows so much that they broke loose and ran away.

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

Helltown remains a mystery inside of several tragedies. It is a destination for urban legends, ghost hunters and historians alike. The town remains vacant but accessible.

Is it Illegal to Visit Helltown, Ohio?

No, Visitors can see Helltown without fear of breaking the law. The town is in Boston Township, Ohio, just off Rt. 422. Some residents still live outside the designated national park area but the town remains abandoned. The area is open; it’s free; and it’s less than 20 miles from downtown Cleveland. It’s a quick daytrip and although you could probably stay overnight, do you really want to?

Film and TV about Helltown

Helltown Documentary – This Documentary / Docudrama explores the different aspects, theories, facts, contradictions and speculations of what may have really happened in Helltown 1974.

Travel Channel Episode – Travel Channel explores Helltown.

Lost in Helltown – This looks like the beginning of an indie horror film

Youtube

Sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/helltown-ohio

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2016/05/10/helltown-ohio/

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

http://www.weirdus.com/states/ohio/abandoned/hell_town/

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Ozark Howler – Cryptid Lore

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Date of Discovery

The Ozark Howler sightings date back to the early 1800s in some southern regions of the United states. The earliest legend comes from Daniel Boone’s encounter with this creature. Legends say Boone fired a few shots at the creature, some say he took it home as a trophy, but little evidence supports that. The most recent sightings came in 2015 when a local resident claims to have photographed the Howler at Devil’s Den State Park.

Devils Den State Park

An imposing icon in the Arkansas Ozarks, Devil’s Den State Park boasts beautiful natural scenery and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park contains a system of caves and underground rivers, as well as trails to surrounding forests that offer hikes and horseback riding opportunities. Lake Devil, a CCC-built dam spanning Lee Creek, also attracts fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Ozark Howler

The Ozark Howler “Howler” has racked up a list of names such as Howler and the Ozark Black Howler. Some of these creatures’ lesser-known names are the Hoo-Hoo, the Nightshade Bear, and the Devil Cat. This creature is known to live in remote areas in the Ozarks. Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas are the four states that make up the Ozark area and have the most sightings of the Howler.

The notable howl is described as eerie, violent and loud. A mixture between several creatures but none specific enough to know its true origins.

Physical Description

Ozark Howler drawing resembling a large bear with horns and claws

These creatures are typically a bear sized being, with a thick and stocky build. It’s covered with black shaggy hair, and in some reports has prominent horns near their ears. This “Howler” has glowing red eyes and the cry of a wolf’s howl, elk’s bugle, and the laugh of a hyena. Often some sightings claim this creature is a large ‘’cat-like’’ monster, but the size of a bear. Still have shaggy hair, but the tan color of a mountain lion or puma. This version does not come with horns, however. Also the “cat” version of the Howler as orangey-red glowing eyes, but the growl of a big cat rather than a true howl.

Origin

This creature has origin tales from Arkansas to Missouri, Oklahoman and Northern Texas and back, all pointing to the 1800s as its true origin date. Many believe this was a hoax to fool the cyptid community from early American folklore, while others have determined the Howlers real. Some claim this is a lost branch of the mountain lion line mix with and unknown ‘big cat’ breed. This missing link from Howler to a big cat has scientists scrambling to match the species and close this unknown link.  

The Ozark Howler is not the only cryptid to be likened to other animals such as the Sasquatch, Dogman and many others.

Mythology and Lore

Some legends state the Howler to be a growling demon stalking its prey across the country or mountainsides. Others report the Howler appearing in the distance just for a look at the passer-byes before disappearing again. The 1800s versions of the Howler telltale of people being attacked and killed; while recent tales to match. Most sightings have become passive walk byes with some strange howling or growling.

Scientists have spent years research breeding populations of big cats in the Ozark area, as well as thermal imagery in hopes of catching a reading of this creature. Many large-scale efforts have been brought to sighting location’s in multiple states, only turning up minor evidence the Howler could have been there. Paw prints and dark hairs are the only traces past blurred out pictures and local tales.  This, however, does not stop locals, researchers, and cryptid hunters from searching out the Howler. Many still comb the area in hopes of seeing this creature.

The Ozark Howler Hoax

Adding even more confusion to this creature’s tale in the late 1990s hoax. Convinced this and other legends were a hoax, an Arkansas student made it his mission to prove the cryptid community wrong. This person flooded websites and blogs with outlandish sighting stories of the Howler, as well as other legends. This made researching and proving the truth of the Howler, to be massively difficult. Scientists have since launched full investigations to get to the bottom of the Howler legend. Chad Arment even states in his book Cryptozoology that the Ozark Howler is definitely a hoax, but there is no further evidence presented.

In 2015 News Leader ran a story from a tipster, John Meyers who sent in photos that were meant to be the Ozark Howler. However, the pictures were thought to be heavily photoshopped and barely resemble the Howler legend.

John was quoted in News Leader saying “Met some family in Devil’s Den State Park this weekend for some camping,” the tipster wrote. “We were up near Yellow Rock trail head this morning and saw this thing chase a squirrel up a tree and I have never seen anything like it. It had short black fur, a broad nose and horns like a young deer but it moved like a cat and had a long tail. Don’t know what else it could be but the Howler.  It was yelping and scratching at the tree and I got this pretty good photo when it stopped and turned to look at me. Wish I had video or more photos but it disappeared too fast….You can give me a call I’m an electrician so usually available to talk for a minute.” 

The Search Continues

Today many still search for the Ozark Howler across the States, others have written this creature off completely. Unfortunately, we will have to make our own choice as to what we believe over this creature’s truth. Hopefully, in a few years, the cryptid community will be able to say for sure what is truth and what is false information. Thus giving Howler hunters a set origin and behavior to match the creature they so long to capture. This is one creature that real or not, has dug deep into American folklore of the Ozark region. It is doubtful the Howler will ever be free from humans searching it out, but it is a fun, albeit potentially dangerous, way to spend your time traveling the Ozarks.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature about the Ozark Howler

Movies about the Ozark Howler

Index

Fandom
Explore Southern History
Unlock the Ozarks


Is there anything we missed about Ozark Howler? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Phantom Hitchhikers and Vanishing Vagabonds

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Indie Horror

Phantom hitchhikers, or vanishing hitchhikers are most popular as an urban legend, or ghost story within the continental United States–typically a young woman stranded on the side of the road who desperately needs to get home. This original story based on the phantom hitchhiker legend is a typical account of what is to be expected if you were to pick her up on the side of the road.

Upon a Lonely Road…

Lightning cracked, the electricity streaked across the sky in brilliant resonance, lighting up the dismal drowning mountainous landscape. The rain was suffocating his windshield, even with his wipers at their highest speed, he could barely see the road ahead of him. The man’s hands tightened around the steering wheel and his knuckles blanched as the road began to twist angrily down the lonely mountain road—walking in on his wife in the throws of passion with another man was just the start of his bad luck it seemed, now he felt as if he were going to careen off an icy road into a dark deep ditch. He sighed, his heart ached deeply and the song on the radio mirrored the depth of his pain. He truly didn’t know where he was going tonight, but it was better than where he had come from.

Phantom Hitchhiker on the road

The patter of rain against his windshield was deafening as he rounded another treacherous turn and he flicked on his high beams—it was at that moment he caught sight of a woman walking down the side of the road. His brow furrowed, she was dressed too poorly for the weather and there weren’t any homes that he knew of in the area, he couldn’t imagine the type of luck she had that would land her in the situation that she was clearly in. He slowed his truck to a stop just as he had passed her by, his blinker clicked steadily, matching the beat of the music that droned on in the background. He reached over and opened his door for the woman as she approached the cab, then shivered as the cold air pulled him into its tight embrace. His breath blurred his view of the woman as she stopped in front of him, “are you going towards town?”

“Yeah, I’m in no rush though, where are you headed?” The bedraggled woman slid into his truck and closed the door, her white dress had her soaked to the bone—he turned up the heater for her, then pulled off his own jacket, offering it up to her.

“I live downtown, if you don’t mind, I can give you directions?” The man nodded and she accepted his coat graciously and pushed her wet hair out of her face. He didn’t know if he ought to ask her what had led her to be on the side of the road at this hour, in such awful weather, but he figured that it really wasn’t any of his business, so decided against it. He pulled back onto the road and felt the awkward air that had taken over the entire truck. Her hands twisted uncomfortably in her lap, his coat hung limply over her pathetic and grief-stricken figure. There were no words that could be spoken now, anything he thought of uttering left his mind just as soon as his lips moved to speak the words. The road continued to be treacherous, but she seemed unbothered by anything, his eyes drifted to her face briefly, her lips formed an unconscious pout that drew him in.

He hadn’t noticed when she had gotten in that she possessed such beauty, but he didn’t linger on it long, the road finally evened out as they reached the bottom of the mountain and his mind wandered to other things. The woman maintained her painfully silent demeanor, her exhaustion was apparent and it was clear she wasn’t much of a conversationalist.

They made it downtown without incident, she only spoke briefly to tell him where to turn and finally they made it to their destination—he brought his truck to a stop in front of the house she had indicated and turned it off. He turned to wish her luck, but his eyes landed on an empty, drenched seat. He blinked, dumbfounded, she couldn’t have possibly have left without his notice—but in her place there was a small, damp leather-bound book. He picked up the book, then thumbed through it realizing it was her journal and somehow felt dirty, as if he had stolen her secrets.

The confusion that he felt in that moment would never match his need of an answer for what had happened—how she had suddenly vanished from his company, there had to be a reasonable explanation of what he had experienced. He stepped out of his truck and approached the house, uncertainty was the only thing he knew anymore, but perhaps she had just slipped away without his notice. He found his finger on the door bell and briefly entertained the idea of running from what he might find out here, but before he could follow through, a woman answered the door.

“Hello, can I help you?” The woman looked drained, as if the night had been a long and deeply harrowing experience for her as well.

“I… I just gave a young woman a ride here, she left her journal in my truck?” He handed her the book and saw a change in her expression.

“This must be a mistake… This can’t be,” her voice caught in her throat as she opened the journal’s cover, “perhaps you should come inside, I’ll get my husband.” The man stepped inside the home cautiously, he felt like an imposter, but he needed to know what was going on. The woman led him to their sitting room, where the walls were covered in pictures of what looked like family and friends. Just as he took his seat, his eyes caught a picture of the woman who had answered the door hugging the young woman who he had picked up on the side of the road.

“What’s going on?” He almost knew the answer, but he didn’t dare speak his own truth, “where is she?”

The woman whimpered under her breath and once her husband came into the room, she handed him the journal. “This man brought us Heather’s journal,” was all she could get out before she became noticeably upset and walked quickly out of the room.

The man began talking, trying to detail everything that had brought him to their house tonight—he didn’t care how wildly untrue it sounded, or if his crazy story made him seem like he was completely out of his mind. The husband listened intently, his face remained calm and there was an eerie ease that settled the man as he finished his story. “I’m sorry, I know how all of this sounds, I’m just a stranger—I—I can let myself out.”

The husband raised his hand to stop him, “no, please. I know what it sounds like, I know you probably feel like you’re going insane, but… you’re not the first person to try to bring her home.”

The man’s breath caught in his throat, “I—what?”

“Heather has been trying to come home on the anniversary of her murder for the last six years, but we’ve never gotten anything like this before,” the husband’s hands clutched the journal gratefully. “They never found her killer, but… this may give us some closure. I know my wife wasn’t able to say it, but we appreciate your time.”

The man’s heart was beating much too violently in his chest and he couldn’t stand it, he had to get out of here, he had to put some distance between himself and what had happened tonight. There were so many questions that he had, but he knew he could never ask them. The man got the name of the young woman from her mother and father, then made his goodbyes—he knew his next stop would be at the closest dive bar he could find. It would be too much to ask for this to all be a weird dream, but seeking numbness on his own from the bottom of a liquor bottle might make him forget about what he had experienced.

The next morning greeted him with a headache that mimicked the after effects of a concussion—he sat up from his uncomfortable position in his truck and rubbed his eyes to find that he had driven himself to a cemetery after he had left the bar the night before. He was grateful he wasn’t waking up to a tree through his windshield and was about to start his truck up and drive away before something strange caught his eye. His eyes narrowed and he stepped out of his truck, the gloomy, overcast day gave him something to be grateful for, no sun to shine in his eyes between the thumps of his throbbing head. He approached the tombstone that had captured his attention, and realized that what had drawn him there was the fact that his coat was draped so gently over this particular stone. It all came back to him at that moment, the hitchhiker, her parents—the lack of explanation of what had really happened—he picked up his coat and saw her name chiseled into the stone.

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Seven Gates of Hell Urban Legend

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

You’ve heard of the Nine Circles of Hell and Johnny Depp was in a movie about Nine Gates of Hell in The Ninth Gate. But it turns out the number seven also has its place in supernatural significance. The Seven Gates of Hell is an urban legend with two different versions, but both are located in York County, Pennsylvania and both versions lead you straight to hell.

Regardless of which version of the lore you have heard they both end the same way. There are Seven Gates, only one of which is visible during the day. At night the other six gates appear. If you pass through all seven gates you will be taken directly to hell.

It is rumored that no one has ever made it passed the fifth gate and returned to tell about it.

York County PA

York County, Pennsylvania has some serious historic moments. It was there in 1777 that Americans adopted the Articles of Confederation, officially forming the United States of America. This town is now both a historic location visited by history buffs worldwide and also by paranormal investigators looking for one of America’s other firsts…a portal to hell. Notably, this urban legend has also attracted some cults due to its connection to the underworld. It is in this historic and quaint town, somewhere deep in the woods, that seven gates might appear and lead you straight down…down…down…

V1 of the Seven Gates of Hell Legend – The Insane Asylum

possibly the 1st gate of the 7 gates of hell

In this version there was a mental institution for the criminally insane that was located on Toad Road, or Trout Run Road, in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania. Trout Run Road appears to be the only mapped road to date. We can’t rule out local’s names for roads as this dates back to the 1900’s. So maybe there was a Toad Road.

The Asylum, as they were back in those days, was erected in a remote location so that the townsfolk would not be exposed to the insanity within. As it is with many horror stories, a fire broke out. This remote location proved difficult for help to arrive in a timely fashion, so multiple inmates and staff died in the flames.

In the Asylum version of the Seven Gates of Hell, the gates were built by the local search parties to trap the remaining patients. The search party was reported to have beaten to death escaped inmates they found and the gates were simply another way to trap and kill the unwanted.

It remains unclear why the search party created gates to hell to capture the inmates but assuming they did that is as good a way as any to rid your town of the criminally insane.

V2 of The Seven Gates of Hell Legend – The Physician

Some tourists have labeled this under-passing as one of the 7 gates to hell

In the Physician version of the story, the gates were built by a physician in the early 1900’s. This physician was known to be eccentric, although there are versions where he is labeled as psychotic as well, and it was he who owned the property and the one gate known to exist. In the Physician version the gates lead ever deeper into the woods as they progress. His motivations are unknown but the mystery has become local lore for over 100 years now.

The Seven Gates of Hell in York County, Pennsylvania has shown up in several books as well as a horror film from 2013 titled Toad Road.

Toad Road horror movie poster

Rereferences

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Shaman’s Portal of Beaver Dunes Park

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Oklahoma has been a human settling spot for millenia, since sometime in the interglacial Holocene epoch over 11,000 years ago. Before becoming a part of the United States in 1803 (due to the Louisiana purchase) it was explored by the Spanish and claimed by the French. Eventually it became Native American territory until 1888, wherein it was opened up to legal settlement by other American citizens. The word “Oklahoma” comes from a blend of Choctaw language meaning “red people,” which was a blanket term used to describe Native American tribes. 

Oklahoma is no stranger to myths and urban legends, from The Friendly Ghost of the Stone Lion Inn, to the Tulsa Hex House and The Haunted Chalkboard of Bird Creek School, though none are as infamous and deterring from its more rural spots than the mysterious Shaman’s Portal of Beaver Dunes Park. 

Beaver Dunes Park

Oklahoma greeting card

Located in Oklahoma’s panhandle region on US Hwy 270 in Beaver, Oklahoma, Beaver Dunes Park sits on what is lovingly referred to as “No-Man’s Land” or “The Neutral Strip,” which encompasses over 300 miles of Oklahoma’s extreme northwestern region. Drenched in the paranormal, the dunes have been home to enough human disappearances, secret military excavations, and “Men in Black” sightings to earn it the title “Oklahoma’s Bermuda Triangle”. 

Shaman’s Portal

Coronado with native americans

It all began in the 1500s with the Spanish explorer Coronado. When Coronado’s men vanished mysteriously from the dunes in a blast of strange, green light, he described the phenomenon in his diary as “the work of the devil”. That’s not to say he wasn’t forewarned, however. Native American guides who had aided him so far in his journey warned Coronado and his men not to wander into the Dunes. They said it was an evil place, though Cornoado’s lust for New World gold spurred him on. It appears the guides were not far wrong. 

“The Shaman’s Portal” title was coined by these very natives, and the place has been suspected of a string of disappearances from that fateful expedition to this very day. As time went on, less and less of these disappearances have been verified, and none in fact proven to have any connection to the alleged portal, though the combination of history and superstition here is enough to deter many from straying too far in. Some locals report that they have encountered military excavation sites under the cover of darkness. Dr. Mark Thatcher, an Oklahoma State University archaeologist, spent three years in the nineties studying the area before suited individuals with military credentials shut his operation down.

So is the area a portal to another dimension, as the natives believe, or could there be some credibility to the electromagnetic disturbances recorded in the dunes? Some say that an ancient alien spacecraft is buried deep below, while others surmise that the explorers were merely incinerated by green lightning or fell victim to some heinous native magic meant to protect the gold the greedy Europeans sought after. Coronado didn’t heed the warnings and whatever happened to his men, they were gone for good. Between sudden disappearances, hardened government suits, and scientifically unexplainable phenomena in the air and soil, this may be one to miss on your next outing.

References

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