daily-record - Whether it’s in his quest to learn more about the city he grew up in and its people, or learn more about spirits lurking around, Douglas Myers is sure of one thing: Don’t believe it until you see it.
It’s what propels him in his hobby as a lover of history and a researcher of the paranormal—otherwise known as ghost hunting—outside of his day job as the sole civilian employee of the Wooster, Ohio Fire Department.
“Like the elephant’s child, I’m just full of insatiable curiosity,” Myers said of his love of history. “I grew up with a family that never threw away anything, so we were surrounded by family antiques and collectibles, so it’s just part of my nature.”
A Wooster history buff, Myers has a fascination for the unusual, like his research of Ralph Henderson, the first Wooster police officer killed in the line of duty. Harry Glick, who while in prison for the crime, went on to build Ohio’s first electric chair.
“When it comes to local history I have a fascination for the unusual, the everyday man versus the noble pioneer and Founding Father, because there’s lots more everyday men and women in our 200-plus-year history than noble pioneers,” Myers said.
He said he researches the everyday man in hopes of “giving him credit for his sacrifice, that’s a real satisfaction in bringing these people to light, and their stories.”
Wayne County Probate Court Judge Ray Leisy said Myers’ attention to detail and love of research makes him a great historian.
“When you discuss history you sometimes fall into the habit of repeating not rumors, but popular history about what people say actually took place, but when you start checking the detail at that time, it’s been embellished,” he said. “Doug never falls into the trap. He spends a lot of time going back and checking his sources.”
When writing Broken Banks of the Wayne County Frontier, Leisy passed it on to Myers for a quick review to make sure nothing was amiss.
“I’m glad to say I had it right, I try to do the research he does,” Leisy said.
In addition to local history, Myers is a Civil War history fan. On one notable trip, he and his son, Daniel, went to Gettysburg, Pa., to view battlefields, but also to try and see what they could find at night.
“I kept a very open mind, I didn’t particularly believe in ghosts. I kept a skeptical mind. You needed to show me for me to believe it,” he said.
But walking the field one night with his son, he said they heard a replay of part of the battle, cannons and all.
“In the middle of the field, in the middle of the night, as clear to our ears as it could be—Fire! and boom-boom, boom-boom—and dead silence,” Myers said.
It was one of the more “awkward, bizarre and surreal moments of my life,” Daniel Myers said, but helped to give him “new perspective on things.”
“He is a good person, a wonderful father, as a friend he’s there when you need him,” he said of his father. “He’ll help anyone out.”
So that sparked his interest, and now Myers researches sites of hauntings, even local spots, to see what he can find. He said photographing “death curve,” the 90-degree curve near Wooster Memorial Park, produced three orbs in his photo—signs of possible spirits.
Coincidentally, he said, he came across information about a crash there and three out of four family members died at that site.
Some day, Myers said, he’d love to set up a ghost tour in Wooster. “There’s enough stories to really fill an evening of haunted Wooster as there is in Gettsyburg.”
A lover of theater, Myers has performed in local plays and dinner theaters, including a performance of The Philadelphia Story, where he met his wife, Shelly.
“She played the upstairs maid and I just couldn’t resist a woman in uniform,” Myers said.
Both had auditioned for the play at the insistence of two friends.
“It was just one of those things,” she said. “We met and just kind of clicked I guess you could say.”
Myers said his wife of more than 13 years is “very supportive of all my interests ... tolerates my collection, is extremely, mercifully tolerant of my collections and my outings.”
“He’s just eclectic,” Shelly Myers said with a laugh. “He likes whatever he can find.”
That would include collections like “Death Dirt”—soil samples he collected from historical sites, like the ambush site of Bonnie and Clyde, the area of East Liverpool where Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was killed, or the site of the wreck of the USS Shenandoah.
“I always wanted to see that site,” he said of where Bonnie and Clyde died.
“And what a thrill, it really was. I got there and I am there all by myself, and this abused memorial people had chipped souvenirs off of. I go, I have to bring a souvenir home with me. I thought, oh, how about some dirt?”
Sometimes those collections will be turned into gifts. Like the sample of sand in a Smucker’s jar from Ponte Verda Beach, Fla., where a German sub came to shore given to his daughter, Lauren Chitty.
“He’s all over the place. He likes being funny ... He’s quirky, I’m just lucky he’s the way he is,” Chitty said.
WOOSTER, OHIO GHOST SIGHTINGS
I once lived in a house on Larwell street in Wooster which was definitely haunted. The house was once located behind the Wooster P.D. The house has recently been torn down...Hum
I wonder why. The house was a Tri-Plex when I started seeing and hearing things there it scared the heck out of me. I figured the neighbor would think I was crazy butt it was with a try talking to them about the strange thing I was experiencing little to my surprise they had experienced a lot of the thing I was. There was candles being lit, strange noises, a person saying my name when no one was there small hand prints on the mirrors and vases being moved. Little to say it got so bad I left one night and never came back. I'm just glad the place is no longer standing anymore. Maybe the unrested can finally get some rest. - Misty
The Olde Jail Tavern an old jail house turned into a classy bistro is haunted by the first and only man in the city of Wooster to be hanged. He prefers to taunt young women sitting alone and to spill over your beer if you leave it sitting too long. Ask to sit in one of the ''cells''. That's where he loves to play tricks.
I lived in a farmhouse for 3 years, it was about 6 miles south of Wooster on Jefferson Rd. I really could go on for hours about all the things i witnessed there but here are a few. I once woke up in the middle of the night to what seemed like every door and window in the house slamming at once, it shook the whole house and was very loud. One time I was laying in bed and a large invisible thing seeming like a large dog jumped up on the bed and walked up between me and my husband and then (like a dog) plopped down half laying on me and then just slowly the weight went away. I would be standing outside the kitchen window of the house, or outside hanging clothes on the line,and hear, outside, what sounds like three of four children laughing and playing like they were jumping on the bed and squealing and laughing and then I would hear this thump thump thump thump thump, like footsteps, then mumbling in a low males voice rum rum rum rum rum rum rum, then it was quiet for a minute, then the children's noise would gradually get louder and louder until it was loud again, then the footsteps and the mumbling and quiet. I have heard this a hundred times it just keeps repeating the exact same thing over and over again however long you are out there. I also saw one time while I was in the kitchen cleaning, I glanced out the window, it was the middle of the day, and saw a black snake curled around what was a statue sitting on top a cement cover of an old well. It was as thick as a basketball, and 15 or so ft. long. I ran out and got my son who was playing in the back yard came in and shut all the doors and windows but when I looked out again it was gone. My husband said there are big snakes in the barn or silo but this was HUGE. I never went in the barn again. - Jamie
The fine dining area of the restaurant, in this former Wayne County Jail in Wooster, used to actually be the cell block. The area is located in the basement of the building. The restaurant is said to be haunted by a man who was the first, and only, person to be hung in Wayne County. He was locked up in a cell on the basement floor, but was hung on the third floor. His actions are noticed most late in the evening and early morning hours. Several restaurant managers have made comments about calls being made to the tavern (a separate building that was once used as the jail garage now used as "The Olde Jaol Tavern") from the fine dining phone when there is no one in the fine dining area. Also, flickering lights and banging of steel bars are common occurrences.
I worked there when the restaurant first opened. There were already stories about pictures being taken with fuzzy human-like images in them. But one day, after the lunch crowd had cleared out and the waiting team was setting up tables for dinner, one of the waitresses came into the bar area. Her face was very pale and her eyes were wide with fear.
She said that she had been checking the cell rooms (where some diners prefer to eat and where the actual cells used to be in the basement) and she saw a person sitting at a table. She said he was an average sized person wearing some type of workers overalls (the normal clientele were suit and tie people). When she asked the person if she could get him anything, he disappeared.
There are spots there that seem unnaturally cold and sometimes you hear sounds but there is no one around to make them. It is definitely haunted. - ksheedy
Client was told by landlord that a man that used to live there was murdered about 8 years ago in back bedroom and dragged to the utility closet where he found. Client reports that the utility closet door knob has rattled, loud and vigorously. Client told there was a little girl murdered in the same building about 15 years prior. Landlord would not release the names or exact dates. Client reports cold spot in the room where the murdered was said to take place. He has heard the voice of a man clearing throat "ahem" behind him. Client has found objects moved from one side of the room to another. Client states he witnessed cans flying out of pantry and landing on dining room table located several feet away. Client has found cupboard doors open when he knows they were left shut.
Personal Observations: Apartment windows are at ground level and parking lot is just outside the windows as well as a porch where several residents sit. We could hear walking in above apt. We clearly heard people in hallway and outside talking. People came and went outside all night and in the building, their voices and footsteps could be heard inside the apartment and picked up by voice recorders. A loud conversation from another apartment could be heard while we were in the living room. No knocks, taps or unusual sounds heard inside the apartment. We found the cans stacked in the pantry haphazardly. However simply walking by or shutting doors did not make the cans fall. Cans we purposely pushed out fell straight down. Cabinet doors had magnet latches. All appeared to latch properly except for one cabinet closer to the floor. No cold spots were found or experienced. Nothing unusual was observed by the team. Nothing unusual was documented on video, audio or photos.
We have been unable to verify the murders. - www.ohioghosthunter.com
Many years ago, I lived for a time in a large house adjacent to the cemetery on Madison Hill in Wooster. My husband and I both experienced the “presence” but never when we were together. However, we agreed that we encountered our ghost in the same areas.
We both felt him watching us as we’d get ready for work in the upper hallway and on the stairs. One day (yes day – our ghost was around day and night) we were going away and decided to use the bathroom (upstairs) before leaving. About half way up the steps I tucked my sweater in the railing deciding not to take it all the way upstairs with me. My husband tucked it in further as he came up behind me. When we started back down the stairs my sweater was laying at the bottom of the stairs! Even if it fell off the railing it would not have gotten to the bottom of the steps….
The most alarming incident was on a Saturday morning. I was getting ready to head out to do some errands and sensed I was being watched. At the bottom of the steps I crossed the hardwood floor to the dining table that sat on a large braided rug. I clearly heard two footsteps as “it” crossed the hardwood and then two muffled footsteps as it followed me onto the braided rug. I ran outside right away, and we moved shortly after that.
A Love of History Leads to the Paranormal