Oct 25

Haunted Mercer County?

When you think of haunted places in Ohio, northern Mercer County is probably not the first place that comes to mind. But this area seems to be a hotbed of paranormal activity according to the Internet and some other sources. They identify several haunted places very near here. Legendary places where people claim they have witnessed paranormal activity. And for some unknown reason the majority of these sites are in the Mendon area.

Are these spooky tales perpetuated by teenagers or those that seek out paranormal activity? Or are these places truly haunted?

With less than two weeks before Halloween and a full moon last Friday night, Joe and I decided it would be the perfect time to do a little ghost hunting ourselves. We visited some of the rumored haunts during the day and others under the light of the full moon. Did we see or hear any paranormal activity? Read on.

Palmer Cemetery:

Palmer Cemetery, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cemetery, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is a small family cemetery on Palmer Road, west of Mendon. The cemetery is in the middle of a field, about 200 yards from the road. A stately old cement arch by the road marks the location of a grassy lane that leads to the burying ground. It is said that two cement lions with green glass eyes once flanked the arch and that the green eyes spooked passing horses. A broken portion of a lion’s claw is all that remains of those statues.

Palmer Cemetery. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cemetery. (2013 photo by Karen)

A stone wall surrounds the family plot back in the field. I was near there one afternoon last week and it was quiet and peaceful. Nothing out of the ordinary appeared. In fact I think the Palmer family would be interesting to research.

Palmer Cemetery

Palmer Cemetery

One of the tombstones supposedly glows in the dark and is visible from the road. We drove by slowly in the light of the full moon, looking for a glowing tombstone. One stone did appear to have a pale green aura, but Joe pointed out that it was actually light from a distant farm night light, blocked by the tombstone, its light glowing around the stone.

Palmer Cry-Baby Bridge:

Cry-Baby Bridge, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Cry-Baby Bridge, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cry-Baby Bridge is about half a mile down the road from Palmer Cemetery and spans the St. Marys River. There are a several variations of this bridge’s legend, 1) A father threw his baby over the bridge and killed his wife. 2) A man killed his wife and baby and then hanged himself from a tree at the bottom of the bridge. 3) The devil killed a family under the bridge.

It is said that if you park on the bridge at night, turn off your car engine and lights and roll down the windows, you will hear a baby cry. Then a ghost will appear, enter your car engine and disable it. You will have to push your car off the bridge before it will start again. Sounds plausible.

Cry-Baby Bridge. (2013 photo by Karen)

Cry-Baby Bridge. (2013 photo by Karen)

We followed all those instructions last Friday night under the full moon. Twice. Our car started just fine both times. No ghost. No baby’s cries. I thought I heard a howl once, but Joe said it was just the wind blowing through the trees.

As we sat there in silence I wondered if we would be able to push our car off the bridge if it wouldn’t start. What if it actually would not start? Joe said that he could steer our car if I would push it.

Tomlinson Cemetery:

Tomlinson Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Tomlinson Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This cemetery is on Tomlinson Road, at the Mercer-Van Wert County line. The remains of Tomlinson Church are across the road. It is said that if someone stands in the middle of the cemetery and another person walks backward around the cemetery, the person standing in the cemetery will disappear.

This is a rather large cemetery and I decided not to walk backward around it. Besides, Joe said he did not want to disappear. And to be honest, I did not want him to disappear either. The legend never explained where the person disappeared to or gave instructions on how to get them back.

Tomlinson Cemetery

Tomlinson Cemetery

Bloody Bridge:

Bloody Bridge, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Bloody Bridge, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Bloody Bridge is in Auglaize County and crosses the Miami-Erie Canal south of Spencerville. Bloody Bridge looks a lot like Cry-Baby Bridge, probably because both were recently rebuilt. The Auglaize County Historical Society erected a sign near Bloody Bridge in 1979 that tells its spooky tale:

During the canal years of the 1850′s a rivalry grew between Bill Jones and Jack Billings for the love of Minnie Warren. This became hatred by Bill because Minnie chose Jack. On a fall night in 1854, returning from a party, Minnie and Jack were surprised on the bridge by Bill. Armed with an ax, with one swing, Bill severed Jack’s head. Seeing this, Minnie screamed and fell from the bridge into a watery grave. Bill disappeared, and when a skeleton was found years later in a nearby well, people asked was it suicide or justice.

It is said you can see a woman’s face in the waters of the canal when standing on the bridge. The only thing we saw in the water was an old tire.

Were there any haunts around Chatt? When I was a teenager we talked about one spot on Oregon Road, near the state line. There were woods on both sides of Oregon Road there and the trees were thick and close to the road. The story was that a couple parked between the two woods and the guy left the car for some reason. After a while, waiting for her boyfriend to return, the girl heard something swishing back and forth on the car roof. She thought it was a tree branch but it was actually her boyfriend’s head hanging from a branch. Maybe some of you from the Chatt area remember this story?

Houck Cemetery, Kentucky. (photo used by permission)

Houck Cemetery, Kentucky. (photo used by permission)

Finally, the photo above was given to me by one of my patients who knew of my interest in cemetery research. The photo was taken in Houck Cemetery, in the hills of Kentucky. They were having trouble locating the back-road cemetery. The entrance was overgrown and they unknowingly drove past it several times.

She said it was a clear, warm, still day but all of a sudden a gust of wind blew some low branches to the side, enabling them to see the cemetery’s entrance. She located her ancestor’s tombstones and took some photos in the cemetery.

When she got her 35mm photos developed she noticed there were opaque white spots floating in the air above some of the tombstones. She saw nothing like that when she was in the cemetery and she is convinced that the spots were ghostly apparitions. Believe it or not…

Even though Joe and I did not see or hear any ghosts or witness any unusual activity last week, we had fun visiting the local spooky spots. Happy Halloween!




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  1. kendra

    Thank you so much for taking me on a tour of the “haunted” sites. I would definitely be too scared to go there at night! I remember going to Palmer Cemetery at night time when I was a teenager. The lions were still standing at that time. I think that there was something said about walking backwards around the perimeter of the cemetery three times. Someone was to disappear. I am not sure that anyone from our car load got that far! So, needless to say, no one disappeared. I am way too spooked out to do anything like that now. I sure am glad that Joe was with you on the tour. It sounds like he calmed your fears when you though that you heard or saw something. If I would have been with you, we both would have likely been super spooked!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Karen

      Thanks for sharing your haunted adventures! You remember the lions at Palmer Cemetery? I would love to see a photo of them. Maybe there is an old photo of the arch with the lions floating around out there somewhere. It was a little spooky on the bridge, with the full moon and all, but it was an interesting and fun adventure.

  2. Jeff

    Great blog!

    I remember giving crybaby bridge a whirl in high school at some point and nothing happened either. Maybe every time we stop, the baby is well-fed; with new diaper and doesn’t need to cry, who knows? Anyways, Ohio seems to be a hotbed for these cry baby bridges, among other states. You can check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crybaby_Bridge

    Also, I’m glad dad didn’t walk around the cemetery backwards, I’d miss him too :)

    1. Karen

      I didn’t know you had been to Mendon’s Cry-Baby Bridge. I also read that many counties in Ohio have their own Cry-Baby Bridge. Remember the Ridges at Athens? We enjoyed walking through those spooky grounds, too.

  3. Ann Heppeard

    Hi Karen,
    I really enjoyed your column. I use to live on Dutton Rd. around the corner from Palmer bridge.
    Clifford Garwick ( deceased ) told me the Lions from Palmer Cemetery were removed by the Keltners. They lived in the house north of Palmer Cemetery. Bob and Brenda Willwarth live there now and may know who has them. I know Keltners have two daughters but I do not know them personally.

    Maybe this will help you locate the lions and perhaps get to see them.

    1. Karen

      Thank you for the great information! So it sounds like the lions might still be around. Maybe they are still intact with their green eyes. Thanks!

  4. Anonymous

    I have lived around mendon for 14 years. I remember the story I heard of crybaby bridge was if you turn your car off at midnight on halloween you would hear baby cry. I heard a few stories after thAt as well. I tried it and nothing. But what I did do is dressed in my overalls and Jason mask and waited in the cornfield beside the bridge for some other inquirer to pull up at midnight.. They did and they got the scare of their life! I can tell you that nothing has creeped me out as much as the Tomlinson cemetery. Every times I drive by it something makes my body have chills every time. I do not like driving by it at night at all. I have never felt this way driving by any cemetery but that one. I have heard things and seen things in my past… This cemetery by far has had some kind of crazy past- I feel it…

    1. Karen

      We spent quite a bit of time walking through Tomlinson Cemetery–in the daylight. We found it to be a nice quiet cemetery. There are some interesting monuments there and a lot of history. There are some very old sandstone markers and at least one War of 1812 veteran buried there.

  5. Mandee

    The Kelners ( Evelyn) was who lived there, I used to do her hair at the nursing home in celina, very nice woman. I remember her telling me something about taking them down bc they had gotten damaged by teeneager.. She actually said there was a lot of damage after away to their property.
    I grew up in St Mary’s, we had been out to palmers a couple times but had been chased by the family on four wheelers. I never did any if the scary places, I would even go back I the cemetery behind the bowling alley in SM.
    Thanks fr sharing you experiences

    1. Karen

      Thanks for the additional information about the lion statues. I could see the remains of a claw at the base of the arch and figured they had probably been destroyed.

  6. Mandee

    What about Rockford..any hauntings in that area

    1. Karen

      Not that I know of. Have you heard of any?

  7. Nate

    What about the mystery of the couple from Ohio City? Not sure how it happened but one was killed with scissors and the other a knife or gun? Their tombstone is in back of the cemetery. I forget the curse.

    I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I’m looking for the name of the family who built my house around 1864 and their history.

    1. Karen

      The couple in Woodlawn Cemetery at Ohio City are Jane and Philip Kuhl. They have a large beautiful monument with large, nearly lifelike figures of both. I think it is just a tale that they killed each other. It appears that she is holding a sheep shears and he is holding a rope. I heard that they were farmers. About your house, I would go to the Recorder’s Office at the courthouse and see who owned the property in 1864. They probably built the house. There might be a biographical sketch about them in the 1882 Van Wert History. You can also get some information from census enumerations once you know the name of the owners.

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