The Brutal Axe Murder of Katherine Babchak

Tuesday, February 15—Wednesday, February 16, 1949
Warren, Ohio

Katherine Babchak came home on a snowless winter night to the home she shared with her husband Steve and a boarder. The 64-year-old had been at her favorite retreat, the Slovak Club on Washington St. NW, helping out with a mock wedding. Once inside, she walked into her kitchen and before she had the chance to remove her coat, she was ambushed; the light in her eyes forever dimmed.

Steve and Katherine’s home on Youngstown Rd., SE.
The 2,480 square foot house was built in 1890.
This is a private residence.

Katherine, the daughter of Andrew Urbancik, had married Steve Babchak in 1902 in New York, both immigrants of Czechoslovakia. They had come to Warren seven years prior from Redstone Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where Steve worked as a farmer and they raised their six children, Mary, Emily, Joseph, Stephen Jr., John, and Frank. They had come to Pennsylvania from New York where their eldest child, Mary, had been born. While living in Warren, Steve was co-owner at the V.E. Gillette Farm on Warren-Meadville Rd. outside of the city. He spent most of his time away from home, working on the farm.

Charles Ferguson arrived at the house around 12:20 a.m., heading to the upstairs room he rented from the Babchaks. On his way in, he noticed 75-year-old Steve standing in the narrow first floor hallway and only five minutes after Charles walked into his room, he was called back downstairs. Despite the late hour, Charles obliged his landlord by meeting him in the kitchen. There, Steve presented the body of his wife splayed across the floor in a pool of blood. 

Charles immediately called Dr. Hyde Storey, a neighbor, who rushed to the gruesome scene in the hopes he could save her. He examined her and discovered that the blood had spilled from wounds on her head. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do for her. After confirming she was deceased, Dr. Storey called police who arrived at 12:45 a.m. The serviceman on that call were Captain J. Sullivan, Sgt. Harry Thomas, and Patrolman Herbert Rising. They found Katherine with her head nestled on a large white pillow and her husband sitting quietly beside her on the floor. Steve had blood on his hands, slippers, socks, and arms and his pants were wet.

Police probed for answers, but could not immediately discern what had occurred. Charles told them what little he knew, but when police questioned Steve they discovered he spoke very little English. He was taken to police headquarters where Chief Johnson called in the Homicide Bureau of detectives: Sgt. John Lepola, Andrew Bokros, Walter Mackey, and John Stephens. 

Tribune, Feb 16, 1949 8:3

Detective Bokros spoke the Slovak language and was able to communicate with Steve. The questioning lasted five hours and Steve initially denied harming his wife. However, the interrogation ended with Steve signing a statement confessing to murder. Steve said that he and Katherine had quarreled before she left for the Slovak club because Steve was not happy about her leaving the house. She had told him she was going to church, but he became suspicious when she headed towards town and not in the direction of church. She instead went to the Slovak club to participate in a practice for an upcoming wedding. 

Meanwhile, Steve went out to a café and drank a glass of beer and wine. When he was finished, he returned home where he waited for Katherine, but provided little information after that point. As Steve related this account to Det. Bokros, he showed absolutely no remorse and said that he had killed his wife simply “because she came home late”.

Katherine’s body was taken to Southside Hospital in Youngstown where Trumbull County Coroner Michael Cristo performed the autopsy. She had been struck in the head three times by the blunt end of an axe. The blows had opened a two-inch-long ragged cut in the back of her head and she had died from traumatic shock due to a severe brain injury. Her body was then taken to Gillen’s Funeral Home for embalming. The coroner filed the charge of murder in the first degree on Feb. 16.

During an inventory of the home, the short-handled axe used in the murder was found tossed on a pile of newspapers in the basement, flesh and hair attached to its edge. The side of the axe used in the murder was not the sharp end, but the pounding edge on the opposite side. Katherine’s blood spattered glasses were on the kitchen table and her coat was in the bedroom. Her front door key was discovered on the kitchen floor, probably where she dropped them when the surprise attack had been made. All of the evidence was taken to the Cleveland Police Department to be analyzed.

At a hearing held the day following, State Patrolman John Mundrick served as interpreter for Steve who offered more details on the night of Katherine’s murder. He said that Katherine had left for the Slovak Club after 6 p.m. and returned after 10 p.m. Steve was in the bedroom when he heard her come in the front door. He put on a shirt and pants and followed his wife into the kitchen with the axe where he struck her once. She immediately fell to the floor where he removed her coat, taking it to their bedroom and picked up her glasses, placing them on the kitchen table. He then stood over her and issued two more blows to her head as she lay helpless.

This information shows a clear case of premeditation with intent to kill. Steve had not hit Katherine in a blind rage, but had waited for her return home with his axe handy. Not only did he hit her once, but he returned to the body after removing her coat and hit her twice more, perhaps because she was either noticeably still alive or he wanted to make doubly sure she was dead. For someone to do this to a person they had been married to for almost five decades and had six children with speaks of Steve’s cold, unfeeling manner. Did he even offer Katherine an explanation before taking her life? Reprimand her harshly before swinging the axe; a series of terse words on her evening whereabouts or did he creep up behind her silently like a serpent waiting to strike?

Katherine’s body was taken to the family residence where family and friends came to say goodbye. A private funeral service took place Saturday, February 19that Saints Cyril and Methodius Church where Katherine had been a member. At first, the question of whether Steve could attend the services was dubious, but he was ultimately contained behind bars during the rites. It was shockingly a member of the family that requested Steve receive allowance to attend, but Judge Lynn B. Griffith denied permission. Why give Steve the right to attend his wife’s funeral, when he had stolen her right to live?

“I felt that Babchak had no business at the funeral services for his wife,” Judge Griffith commented. 

Surely, Steve’s presence at the funeral would have been highly inappropriate and what, I wonder, was passing through the minds of their six grown children who came from New York and Los Angeles to grieve their mother? In the unspeakable horror, did their deepest fear come true? Had they constantly worried their father would someday hurt their mother to a degree beyond healing or were they instead caught off guard, thinking violence was out of character for their father? Perhaps they had tried to persuade their mother to leave their father, but her Catholic faith frowned on divorce.

This leads to my big question: Did Steve had a history of domestic violence? In most cases of one spouse murdering the other, we see a buildup of spousal abuse through the years, with each episode growing increasingly more violent. I could not find any record of Steve committing domestic violence against Katherine, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. 

Steve spent the following months at the Trumbull County Jail, a building of brick and stone so ancient and crumbling that the poor conditions were mentioned at Steve’s arraignment. Steve was represented by attorney M. Francis Connor and the Prosecutor was W.M. McLain. His arraignment before Common Pleas Judge G.H. Birrell occurred April 13thand he plead “not guilty”. Shortly after, Attorney Connor changed Steve’s plea to “guilty” on behalf of his client, waiving the right to a jury trial. The court decided a three judge trial was necessary. 

On April 23, 1949, Judge Arthur L. Cooper of Steubenville was appointed to sit with Judges Lynn B. Griffith and G.H. Birrell at Steve’s trial in Warren, Ohio. On April 29th, at the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas in Warren, the judges observed the elderly man before them and recommended mercy. Without this proposal, Steve could face execution in the electric chair. At last, the judges announced their verdict and Steve was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Steve’s face was void of emotion upon hearing his fate.

Just a few years later on September 19, 1953, Steve died at the Ohio State Penitentiary from stomach cancer. His autopsy also found cerebral arteriosclerosis with senile psychosis. Before the 1960s, senile dementia was thought to be caused by cerebral arteriosclerosis, but this was disproved during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Perhaps Steve exhibited signs of dementia during his incarceration that was not noticeable during the trial. If that was the case, perhaps it would explain why Steve would violently murder his wife simply because she missed her curfew.

Both Steve and Katherine are buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Warren, OH. You may pay your respects here and here.

Other notes of interest relating to the case:

  • Babchak’s crime was the first murder to take place in Warren in four years; on July 4, 1945 George Wheeler killed his son Clifford. In modern day, this length of time between murders would be unheard of in the city as Warren currently has one of the highest crime rates in America.
  • Steve’s defense attorney M. Francis Connor went on to be a municipal judge. 
  • The Trumbull County Jail where Steve was incarcerated while awaiting trial became infamous in the 1950’s and 60’s for the amount of prisoners who were able to break through the decrepit walls and escape.
  • The Slovak Club building on the corner of Washington St. NW and North Park Ave. is no longer standing.
  • Not only was Katherine member of the Slovak Club and Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, but she was also a member of the Altar and Rosary Society of the Jednota. She had a large circle of friends who mourned her passing.


“City Man Charged With Killing Wife” Katherine Babchak, Warren Tribune Chronicle Feb 16, 1949 Front Page Headline

“Admits He Struck Her With Axe” Warren Tribune Chronicle Feb 16, 1949 1:8

“Babchak is Held to Grand Jury” Warren Tribune Feb 17, 1949 1:3

“Funeral is Held for Slain Woman” Warren Tribune Chronicle Feb 18, 1949 6:2

“Babchak Denied Right to Attend Wife’s Rites” Warren Tribune Chronicle Feb 19, 1949 1:6

 “Man Indicted for Murder” Warren Tribune Chronicle Apr 9, 1949 1:5

“ ‘Not Guilty’ Babchak Says” Warren Tribune Chronicle Apr 13, 1949 1:1

“Babchak Will Go On Trial April 29th” Warren Tribune Chronicle Apr 15, 1949 1:1

“Babchak Pleads Guilty to Murder” Warren Tribune Chronicle Apr 19, 1949 8:3

 “Babchak to Face Judges Tomorrow” Warren Tribune Chronicle Apr 28, 1949 34:3

“Deputies at ‘Paper Bag’ Jail Cringe” Niles Daily Times Aug 27, 1960 p.1

Katherine Babchak Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1949 > 09201-12500 > image 3553 of 3598.

Steve Babchak Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1953 > 57401-59900 > image 2643 of 3145.

Hartford, Ohio Hauntings

Hartford, Trumbull County, Ohio

Hartford Volunteer Fire Station

Google Maps image of Hartford Fire Station

I once served on the Hartford Volunteer Fire Association in 2004 and 2005. I was 19-years-old the first time I visited the station and I was quickly left all alone when the volunteers left on a fire call. I remember how uneasy I felt sitting in the empty station not knowing the place to be haunted. Of course nothing happened to me that night, but I was quickly filled in by both Association members and Firefighters alike that the place was hopping with paranormal activity. They weren’t quite sure who could be haunting the fire station, but word was that a firefighter once suffered a heart attack and died in the station decades before.  The original station is on the right hand side if you are facing the front of the building. The original station encompasses the current tanker bay with the radio room behind the tanker bay and the Chief’s office behind the radio room. The new part of the fire station sits to the left and holds the bay for the other vehicles, the bathrooms, and the kitchen. At the time I served, the station sat across the street from the Elementary school before the school was leveled to the ground.

I heard many stories about the activity that went on at the station. The volunteers told me that the cupboard doors in the kitchen open themselves, objects go missing and turn up in the most unlikely places, and the lights turn on by themselves. In one instance, they walked into the kitchen to see all the cupboards and drawers were open. One fire fighter told me right after it happened that he had turned off all the lights and locked up the station before realizing he had forgot his lighter. He went back inside and all the lights were switched back on. He grabbed his lighter, turned the lights off, and ran out as quickly as possible.

Other than that uneasy feeling, I had trouble believing that all of these things were truly happening. For one thing, with so many people going in and out of there, things were bound to go missing and turn up in odd places and lights could be switched off and on and forgot about. I love a good ghost story, but for me I have to see it for myself. Unless I personally witnessed one of these occurrences happening without a proper explanation, I would remain a skeptic. The station’s ghost did me one better.

One Sunday a month, the Association held a pancake breakfast to raise money for the fire station. My job was to take orders, deliver the food, top off coffee, and bus the tables. We started at 5 a.m. so everything would be ready when our customers flooded in at 6 a.m. The fire trucks were parked across the street in the school parking lot and tables and chairs were set up in the empty bay. Rhonda manned the grill while Timmy washed dishes and the rest of the volunteers rushed back and forth tirelessly, eager for a lull in customer-flow. The first lull came at 7 a.m. so without any customers to tend to, I took the opportunity for a quick break in the radio room.

The radio room had a rocking chair facing away from the doorway that pointed at a TV in the corner. I sat down in the rocking chair and touched up my lipstick. I heard footsteps walking through the door and felt the whoosh of air the person brought with them when they walked into the room. I turned, expecting to see one of my friends, but instead I saw a man in a blue uniform with a cropped haircut who was completely transparent! He had walked up to the radio desk and was about to sit down, but apparently he wasn’t expecting me to be there, so he disappeared right before my eyes. I stared in shock at the radio desk, not believing what I saw with my own eyes. That moment, I noticed I hadn’t been frightened at all, but fascinated. Immediately, my legs turned to jelly as I realized I just saw my first full body apparition…they do exist, I thought! 

I stumbled out of the radio room and towards the kitchen where I whispered to my friends, “I just saw a ghost.” They immediately rushed in the radio room to investigate, but of course there was nothing to be found. In any case, my ghost sighting caused quite a bit of excitement that morning. After that, I always hoped to see the ghost again, but that was the one and only time he was seen by anyone. I believe I caught him off guard while he was in the act of duty and he wanted to be left alone to do his tasks. In life he must have been someone who was deeply attached to the station and perhaps spent all of his time there. If anybody knows who died at the Hartford Fire Station many years ago, please drop me a line! Though maybe he didn’t die there, but chose to stick around the station after his death because that was where he loved spending his time? Or if you’ve had your own experiences there, I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you’re in the Hartford area during one of their pancake breakfasts, please go enjoy a wonderful meal at the benefit of the station for without fundraisers and donations, the station wouldn’t exist.

5 Point Country Convenience/ BP Gas Station

Google Maps image of Country Convenience Gas Station
Google Maps aerial view of the five points intersection

While serving on the Volunteer Fire Association, I frequented the 5 Point Country Convenience Store/BP gas station on the intersection of Rt. 305, Rt. 718, and Rt. 318 on the Ohio/Pennsylvania line. My friends knew the owner and employees well, so we often stayed awhile after buying gas to chat. In 2004, Stephen (last name redacted for privacy to his family) was secretary-treasurer of the store while his father was owner and always seemed to be working, taking his position seriously. Despite his strong work ethic, he also had a sense of humor and while working late nights he enjoyed scaring his employees by making noises and jingling his keys when they thought they were alone. Stephen was set to assume ownership of the store on January 1, but tragically, on Sept. 29, 2004, he was killed in a single vehicle crash a few miles away. After his burial, his coworkers continued hearing the same noises that Stephen used to make, only this time he was not there to jump out and laugh. They worked in unease until about 9 p.m. one evening when the employees saw something so frightening that they closed the store early. They watched, paralyzed, while the freezer doors that held the cold beverages opened and shut one right after another. They were so terrified that they chose to not stick around until 11 p.m., quickly completing their closing duties, and locking up.  

I do not know if these activities continue to occur, or if Stephen was just giving his store one last walkthrough before moving on his way. If anyone has anything to add about Stephen and his visits to the store, please get in touch with me.

They Wrote Their Own Ending: Suicides of Trumbull County Ohio Women

It is always a tragedy when anyone takes their own life. Sadder still is the fact that suicides are increasing year by year. Men resort to suicide more often than women and using more violent methods than their female counterparts to dispatch themselves. Women have been viewed as “long-suffering” and strangers to violence then and even now, but for some women in the distant past, living became too much to bear and they took their fate into their own hands, leaving their friends and family to suffer the effects. These are the stories of a few Trumbull County, Ohio women whose suicides once filled the headlines of the local newspapers.

Rosa Sparks
North Bloomfield, Trumbull County, Ohio
March 25, 1879

Twenty-year-old E. Rosa Sparks allowed the disgrace from her passion to drive her to the grave. Reportedly, she ruined her reputation, by giving herself to an unknown man, most likely feeling that she loved him dearly. He must have not loved her enough to marry her, it’s possible she was pregnant or someone discovered the nature of her relationship, so she despaired. Employed at the Ensign Hotel, she must have fallen for another worker or perhaps a customer, who abandoned her. In any case, another worker discovered her body on the bed in her room. She had fashioned a garotte, a piece of clothesline wound around her neck and tightened with a stick that she twisted with one hand until death enveloped her. So little did she struggle that the bed sheets were hardly wrinkled. She was buried in North Colebrook Cemetery in New Lyme, Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Her family and friends were not content with the coroner’s official cause of death as suicide, believing foul play to have played a part. Her step-father demanded her body to be reexamined, thus her body was exhumed and the contents of her stomach sent for analysis to Cleveland. Unfortunately, nothing came of the inquest and poor Rosa was forgotten with the passage of time.

The Ensign Hotel, also known as the Bloomfield Hotel, used to stand on the Northwest corner of the intersection of routes 87 and 46, in the present location of Gallo’s auto sales.

Nellie Schultz
Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio
May 16, 1910

Nellie Schultz decided at the incredibly young age of nineteen that she no longer wished to live. She had only been married to Enos Schultz for a year, having moved to the area from Pennsylvania shortly before the wedding. Six months into their marriage, the couple moved to Niles from Mineral Ridge when Enos took a job as a craneman at the Deforest Iron and Steel plant. The night of Sunday, May 15th, Nellie fell into a state of despair and swallowed a dram of carbolic acid. She suffered through the night and at last gave up her spirit on Monday morning.

Enos and Nellie’s Niles home, built in 1884

Enos remarried the following year to Annie Rapp and returned to his birthplace in Reading, Pennsylvania. The couple had two children together. Once again, tragedy entered Enos’ life when five years into their marriage, Annie succumbed to tuberculosis. He married for a third time to Elizabeth, who outlived him. Enos and his last two wives were buried in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Nellie’s burial place is unknown.

Betsey Pratt Storier
Farmdale, Trumbull County, Ohio
June 21, 1912

At 80-years-old, Elizabeth “Betsey” Storier had enjoyed a long life with a wide circle of friends and family. However, after the death of her husband, she fell into the usual listlessness and poor health of the widowed. Rather than slowly succumb to her fate, she decided to leave this world on her own terms.

Betsey began life in Warren County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of  Ambrose and Parmelia Pratt. Ambrose and his wife had hailed from the east coast, Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively, and settled in Brokenstraw Township, Pennsylvania. Betsey was born in Youngsville, a borough of Brokenstraw. The family moved to Gustavus, Ohio in 1835 where Betsey later met and married John Storier in 1852.

When John passed away in 1910, Betsey was not left alone in her grief. Her son William and his wife invited her to live with them at their home nearby in Farmdale. Through the passage of time, ill health prodded Betsy forth into her despair. One morning, her daughter-in-law came upstairs to wake her for breakfast and found Betsy dead on the floor. Sometime in the night, Betsy had wrapped a rope around her neck, tied the other end to the bed post, and leaned in a manner constricting the airflow in her throat. Her suicide sent shockwaves through not only her family, but her community. 

Betsey was laid to rest in Logan Cemetery in Gustavus, Ohio. 

Sarah Effie Scanlon
Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio
September 6, 1913

Sarah Hammon, a 21-year-old stenographer, married Thomas Scanlon in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The couple came to Niles and rented an apartment in the Daughtery Building on the northwest corner of Mainstreet and Park Avenue. Sarah, a member of the German Reformed Church, had many friends and acquaintances but even her wide support system could not save her from her own sense of doom.

Only three weeks into their marriage, Sarah flew into a fit of jealousy over her husband and fell into despair. On Friday, September 4th, she drank a combination of red precipitate and bi-chloride, hoping for a swift end to her pain. Yet the chemicals burned within and sent her into unbearable agony. Despite the intervention of doctors, the internal damage proved too great and Sarah died at 9 o’clock in the morning of September 6th.

Sarah had written two suicide notes, one to her husband and one to her mother, that were later found on the dining table. Within them, she asked forgiveness for her rash actions. Sarah was laid to rest in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Bertha Little Maple 
Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio
July 20, 1933

When a 51-year-old farmer, William Stanley Maple, completed his work in the fields and walked into his home, he expected to see his 54-year-old wife Bertha making supper. Instead, he discovered her limp body hanging from a self-fashioned noose in the stairwell. 

Bertha had been alive after lunchtime when her husband returned to work at 1:30, but she was not well. Bertha had reportedly been in ill-health for some time and despairing of the burden she would be on her family. The country was in the midst of the Great Depression, and though some farmers fared better than other professions, they still suffered along with everyone else. Bertha climbed to the top of her staircase, tied a rope to the balustrade, and placed the noose around her neck. She then leapt forth and plunged downward to her tragic end.

William had married the daughter of George and Sarah Little on March 31, 1907 in Trumbull County. Bertha bore him two sons, George and Kenneth, who were both in their late twenties when their mother committed suicide. Upon her death, she also left behind a grandchild.

Photo copyright Ashley Armstrong

Bertha is buried with her husband at Hillside Cemetery in Bazetta Twp., Trumbull Co., Ohio. William lived to the age of 80.

Despite an exhaustive search, I have been unable to find the location of the Maple’s house because in the 1930’s, rural homes did not have house numbers. I do not know if the farmhouse survives, though many historic homes remain standing in Johnston Twp. If the home is still standing, a deed would exist with William Maple’s name. If the house endures, perhaps Bertha’s spirit dwells in the stairwell, chilling the air on a hot summer’s day.

Lillian Boger Morris 
Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio
February 21, 1940

Lillian Morris arrived at the Esquire Bar where she worked as a waitress at her usual time of 5:40 a.m. The restaurant was owned and operated by her husband, Christ, and was located on the corner of East Market and Pine. Her shift began at 6 a.m., but she would never wait tables that day. She walked behind the bar and grabbed a .38 caliber revolver from a drawer without anyone noticing. The chef and another employee were already at work and watched as she went down to the basement where on any other day she would remove her coat and hat. Instead, she sat down at a table, aimed the revolver at her heart, and fired. The bullet traveled through her body, killing her, and landed in a coal bin behind her. A muscle spasm in her hand caused the gun to go off a second time and the bullet hit the ceiling.

The two men upstairs heard the two bangs but assumed it was a passing auto backfiring. At 6 a.m., the chef walked down into the basement to fetch supplies and discovered Lillian’s bloodied body slumped over the table. He immediately called police.

Friends and family had noticed that Lillian had seemed depressed, but did not seem to have reason to take her own life at the young age of 31. 

Christopher “Christ” Morris, of Grecian descent, married Lillian, the daughter of Marshall Boger and Maggie Bole, on an unknown date. They had no children. In 1927, Christ had been in some kind of trouble, for he was caught giving money to a policeman, Thomas Fagadore,so that he would offer him protection against harm. Perhaps Christ was in trouble again and the fear was too much for Lillian to bear? Or perhaps she simply wasn’t happy with her life for whatever reason? How much I wish she had left a diary behind…or even a suicide note…to tell us what troubled her to the point of casting off her earthly shell.

Photo copyright Ashley Armstrong

Lillian was laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery in Bazetta Twp., Trumbull Co., Ohio. I do not know what became of her husband, Christ, other than the fact that he remarried and was still living in Warren in 1953. Here, you can view a photo of him standing in front of the Esquire Bar.

After some sleuthing, I discovered that the Esquire Bar changed hands and has been known as the Horseshoe Bar to this day. You can still go in for a drink and offer a toast to Lillian. Maybe she’s still there, walking through the restaurant, checking the inventory, observing the patrons and wishing to ask: did they want another round?

Here, you can view a photo of the original Horseshoe Bar after its transformation from Esquire Bar.

Here is a photo of the interior of the Esquire Bar during WWII.

Finally, here is a photo of Horseshoe Bar as it appears today:

Horseshoe Bar on the Corner of East Market and Pine

Hazel Noble
Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio
June 13, 1946

Six years after Lillian’s suicide, another Warren woman took her own life in a similar fashion. Hazel Noble was the daughter of John and Jeanette Hunt. She married Harry Noble and had at least two children, Donald and Jean. She was a school teacher in Ashtabula County for many years before moving to Warren in 1921.

Hazel’s home on Seneca NE built in 1897. It was a law office for some time and is now a private residence.

When Donald went off to war, his parents heard the heartbreaking news that he went missing in action on December 2, 1944. A faint glimmer of hope arrived when the Nobles received a letter from their son that stated he was in a POW camp, but was wounded. When word arrived that 19-year-old Donald had died from blood poisoning on January 24, 1945, Hazel became hopeless and her health rapidly declined.

Hazel pulled herself through life for a year and half before she decided she could go on no longer. One summer day, Hazel brought a .38 caliber revolver down into the basement and shot herself in the stomach. An employee of the real estate office on the first floor heard the blast and went to investigate. After he found the wounded woman, he called for an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. Hazel died a few hours later at the age of 48.

Hazel is buried in Howland Township Cemetery, Trumbull County, Ohio with her husband and son.

The Nobles lived on Seneca NE in an apartment above the Roy Westover Real Estate office. The building still stands to this day and is a private residence. Does Hazel wander the upper floor where she resided or does she linger yet in the basement where she shot herself?


  • Rosa Sparks: Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph in Ashtabula, Ohio, April 11, 1879
  • Rosa Sparks Find A Grave
  • Nellie Schultz suicide: Warren Daily Tribune, May 16, 1910 1:3
  • Enos Schultz Find A Grave
  • Ambrose Pratt living in Brokenstraw Twp., Warren Co., PA, 1820 United States Census,
  • Ambrose Pratt living in Gustavus, Trumbull Co., OH: 1850 United States Census,
  • Betsey Storier Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2021), Betsey Pratt Storier, 21 Jun 1912; citing Kinsman Township, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 35410; FHL microfilm 1,953,421.
  • Betsey Storier Obituary: Warren Daily Tribune, June 21 1912 1:6
  • Betsey Storier Find A Grave
  • Sarah Scanlon Suicide: Warren Daily Tribune, Sept 8, 1913 1:3
  • Sarah Scanlon Cause of Death: Warren Daily Tribune, Sep 9, 1913 1:1
  • Sarah Effie Scanlon Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1913 > 54501-57400 > image 758 of 3319.
  • George Maple and Bertha Little Marriage Certificate: “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch( : 10 February 2018), William S. Maple and Bertha E. Little, 31 Mar 1907; citing Trumbull Co., Ohio, reference 2:3Z3WW26; FHL microfilm 905,554.
  • Bertha Maple Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 March 2018), Bertha E Maple, 20 Jul 1933; citing Johnson, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 43336; FHL microfilm 1,992,879.
  • Bertha Maple Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle, July 21, 1933 1:8
  • Bertha Maple Find A Grave Memorial
  • Lillian Morris Death Certificate: “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 May 2014), Lillian Boger Morris, 21 Feb 1940; citing Warren, Trumbull, Ohio, reference fn 13778; FHL microfilm 2023829.
  • Lillian Morris Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle, February 21, 1940, 1:2 and 8:2
  • Lillian Morris Find A Grave Memorial
  • Hazel Noble Death Certificate: “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 March 2018), Hazel J Noble, 13 Jun 1946; citing , reference certificate; FHL microfilm 2,372,811.
  • Hazel Noble Obituary: Warren Tribune Chronicle June 14, 1946 1-1
  • Hazel Noble Find A Grave Memorial

Reichard Cemetery & Hell’s Hollow

Though most people imagine hauntings to be attached to a building, some paranormal events can occur out in the wide open as if the spirits are attached to the land itself. I have been witness to some unusual activity surrounding Reichard Cemetery and Hell’s Hollow down the road from the burial ground. Before I tell my account of this spooky spot, I will describe the location to the best of my knowledge.

Coordinates for Reichard Cemetery:
Transfer, Pennsylvania 16125
Latitude:         41.3486578
Longitude:       -80.4981224

Coordinates for Hell’s Hollow:
West Salem Township, Pennsylvania 16125
Longitude:  -80.498315

Reichard Cemetery at night

Just over the Ohio/Pennsylvania border in South Pymatuning Twp. (city of Transfer, PA), walking distance from Orangeville, sits an old cemetery at the entrance of South Barry Road. Reichard Cemetery is named for the prominent headstone of the Reichard family that stands in front center, a family that remains in the vicinity to this day.  A cemetery of cultural and historic importance, it appears the first burials took place in 1869. Many of the stones are crumbling and illegible with some in the back of the cemetery becoming lost in the woods. It is a dismal place, but aren’t all old cemeteries places of unease?

The dense treelined gravel road of Hell’s Hollow

Past the cemetery, continuing down S. Barry Rd., you pass through the intersections of Rutledge Road and and Darien Road before hitting a point with a sign that declares “No Winter Maintenance”. This is where South Pymatuning Twp. turns into West Salem Twp. and the pavement disappears as the road turns to dirt. It is inadvisable to venture after this point when it’s wet because your car can become mired. It is all farmland at this area of the road with fields on each side. A wooded section lies where the road winds around a curve before a small bridge. The bridge is directly before a steep upturn in the road and past that are more fields before running into a purely wooded area. Here, homes begin to dot each side of the road and S. Barry Rd. winds through the woods for quite some time before running into Rt. 358 (Vernon Rd). The wooded area surrounding the bridge is where the local kids claim Hell’s Hollow sits.

Now, let’s address some of the local legends surrounding this area:

Local youths say that the cemetery was once moved from another location because it sat too close to a creek and when the water rose, it eroded the dirt and coffins began popping up out of the ground. All the graves had to be dug up and relocated to the present location on the corner of Barry and Carlisle roads. This seems an unlikely story, but if you’ll allow me to segue for a moment, this did happen to my great-great-grandpa’s coffin when he was buried too close to Mosquito Lake in Hillside Cemetery (Bazetta, Ohio), and he had to be relocated up the hill.

Another story is that a little neighborhood girl used to play in the cemetery and was often seen frolicking between the tombstones. One day, she didn’t return home and was discovered dead in the cemetery. I have no idea if this story has any validity or when it was supposed to have occurred, but she is alleged to have been buried there.  

 Many legends surround the spot where the bridge is in Hells Hollow, though I doubt there’s much truth to most of them. Apparently, in the 1800’s, a man was walking along S. Barry Rd. when he spotted his wife riding with her lover on a horse driven carriage as they crossed the bridge. The husband challenged the other man to a duel and so they fought. As the husband swung his sword around to chop off the man’s head, his wife threw herself between them to stop it and was immediately decapitated. In his rage the husband killed the other man as well. In a different version of the story, the husband shot his wife in a house that used to stand near the hollows and left her to bleed to death for two days.

This story could have been a molestation of a true event that occurred in the neighboring township of Vernon, OH on May 27, 1867 when William Holcomb was killed by gunshot. His friend, James Saywer, was present at his death and said that Holcomb had accidentally shot himself while squirrel hunting. However, Sawyer had been seen dallying with Holcomb’s wife the past year while Holcomb was in ill health. They were frequently observed riding in a buggy together as they drove to and from singing school and lyceum. Sawyer’s statement was doubted and he was charged with murder. After a lengthy trial where many friends and family were questioned about the so-called affair, no inappropriate behavior was confirmed, and Sawyer was acquitted. Read my post about the case here.

Another legend about the Hollow was that in the 1920’s, the hill leading down into the obscured gulley was a popular make out spot for the local teenagers. A bachelor farmer lived nearby and was enraged at their antics. After several times of walking into the ravine and yelling at the teenagers to get off of his property, they continued to return, laughing all the while at the crazed lonely farmer. The farmer planned his revenge on prom night when he knew the teens would return to the Hollow to make out. He murdered all of them but was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence. Fingers continued to point towards him throughout the years and he never moved away or was convicted. He had no guilt to flee from and was instead very satisfied with his gruesome crime. 

Yet another story is of the man that committed suicide by hanging himself from the large tree that grows next to the bridge. A more modern account is that of a young woman who crashed her car at the sharp turn before the bridge and was killed when she was thrown from the vehicle. 

Besides the account of the two lovers riding in a buggy (albeit in Vernon, OH and not West Salem, PA), I have not been able to find any data to back up these stories. If anyone has insight on whether these stories have some truth behind them, please drop me a line.

If the stories do have some truth to them, perhaps it would explain the legion of ghosts that haunt the Hollow. I have heard accounts of people who braved going there and heard voices and fell into trances. Everyone has a different experience there at each visit. It is described as such an evil place that it could be a gateway to Hell, hence it’s name. Without further digression, this is my story about Hell’s Hollow and Reichard Cemetery:

When I was 18-years-old, I spent almost every weekend night at the local Perkins Restaurant with my best friend Theresa drinking coffee and chatting. We quickly made friends with a group of individuals our own age that were from Hartford Twp., OH. Our common interest was ghosts and the Hartford kids mesmerized us with the stories of Hell’s Hollow and Reichard Cemetery. Hartford is on the OH/PA border and adjacent to Pymatuning Twp. where Reichard Cemetery lies. West Salem Twp. is the township north of Pymatuning where Hell’s Hollow is located.

At this point in our young lives, Theresa and I had never before seen a ghost, despite reveling in a good ghost story, and we had never been ghost hunting. I had been in plenty of so-called “haunted” buildings and never experienced anything, so would require evidence to become a true believer. One night in late February of 2004, the Hartford group invited us ghost hunting and we accepted without hesitation, the thought of a thrill shivering down our spines. We left the restaurant sometime after midnight and piled in our vehicles, setting off on the thirty-minute drive to eastern Pennsylvania. 

Outbuilding on farmland in Hell’s Hollow

On our first visit, we did not venture into the cemetery, but drove down a curving hill amongst a heavily wooded area and parked on a bridge that ran over a creek. We nervously stepped out of the car into complete darkness but for the glow of the moon as the ravine ran steeply below us. We stood there uneasily and I never felt such a feeling as I had in visiting all the other “haunted” spots I had before. My legs immediately weakened and were shaking as if my muscles had turned to jelly. I pointed my camera off of the one side of the bridge and the flash lit up the whole area, blinding all my friends. Our new friend Steve said he felt as if someone was watching him and we all agreed that we had the eerie sense of being watched. We turned and faced the other direction and our new friends pointed out how something didn’t look right. It was simply an uneven, wooded ravine with spots of snow. But something wasn’t right; the Hartford group and Theresa saw a spot that glowed brighter than the snow and knew that it wasn’t snow. I was the only person that couldn’t see it. I lifted my camera the same as before and shot it, but something must have not liked getting their picture taken. The moment after my flash went off and I moved my eye from the viewfinder to look upon the landscape, I saw a white filmy streak race up the side of the tree and disappear into the branches. It wasn’t an animal as it went too fast and was floating parallel to the tree. It was not even a second that this happened, but we all witnessed it and knew it wasn’t the camera. We were so terrified, that we returned to our cars and went home.

Under the bridge

We revisited the Hollow the following night with five of us in one car. This time the atmosphere seemed surprisingly calm and nothing frightening took place. During our visit, flashes were going off every second as we all took photos with our cameras and phones. We walked in circles, going up both hills from each end of the bridge, scouring the area.

The creek

Afterward, we returned to the car and drove the short distance to Reichard Cemetery. Being young and ignorant, I had no clue that it’s illegal to enter a cemetery after dark, so I do not recommend doing the same. Of course we had great respect for the cemetery and had no thoughts of causing damage or any harm; we were simply there to ghost hunt. The cemetery felt incredibly eerie and the air was thick and heavy as we continued taking pictures. 

I felt unbalanced and I tripped over myself several times. We were only there a few minutes before we left and went back to Perkins to review our photos. I had a film camera, so I wouldn’t see my evidence until I had them developed. Our new friend Jeff showed us the pictures he had taken on his phone and what we saw was beyond belief. Almost every photo had something in it; smoky coils in places that we had not seen originally. In the cemetery pictures, Theresa pointed out something that I said realistically, “Oh, that’s just the light reflecting off of the tombstone.” But Theresa showed me another picture of the exact same angle and there was no tombstone, just the headstones in the background. I looked at the weird picture I had thought was a tombstone and as I looked closer I realized that I could see right through it. Also, as we examined it more closely, we noticed how oddly it looked like a close-up of a torso. The other pictures had oddly shaped curls of mist way up in the air and no one had been smoking. One odd photo caught our attention when we realized we could see a face in the mist! Looking closer, it appeared like a skull to me. I gawked at it, frozen in shock. I saw a grinning face, details appearing like nasal-labial folds (the creases running from the nose to the corners of the mouth), prominent cheekbones, a visible jaw line and even a brow ridge. The eyes were sunken hollows, empty and threatening, but that eerie smile was like the skull was taunting us.

Anomaly on upper left of photo
Anomaly on right side of photo

We were “freaked out” —the expression we used repeatedly to each other while we sat at Perkins shaking in our boots. While we talked excitedly, three nearby booths full of kids heard our story and begged us to lead the way to Hell’s Hollow. We were crazy to comply given the long drive, but gas was cheap those days and we had nothing better to do. Our group piled in one car and we led an entourage of three other cars through the uncanny back roads of eastern Ohio. When we arrived at the Hollow, we parked our cars on the dirt road before the hill that dipped down into the actual hollow. Before we got out of the car, Lenny, who was driving said, “My car doesn’t do that,” and we noticed him holding his key in the air with the engine still running. We knew such a thing had happened before to others visiting the Hollow, so we just guffawed as he put the key back in the ignition and shut it off. When we walked out into the darkness we noticed that there were many young adults, around twenty. The atmosphere was as calm as it had been on our earlier visit, but we watched in horror as the group of kids stood on the bridge cussing and throwing down their cigarettes, simply being loud. 

From there, we drove to the cemetery, but a few of us hung back and stood on the road while everyone else went in. That cemetery felt evil at that hour of three o’clock in the morning and I did not want to step foot into it. While we had behaved solemnly on our earlier trip, the new kids were the opposite, acting very loud, cussing more, smoking more, throwing their cigarettes down carelessly amongst the graves and just carrying on far too much. One husky kid was slashing a sword into the ground, making quite a racket. They definitely angered someone or something…very much. Jeff called us into the cemetery for a group picture, so we reluctantly trudged up the steep ground up into it. After he took the photo, the husky kid began having a conniption and told everyone to leave as quickly as possible. 

Theresa and I remained in the back of the cemetery by the time almost everyone else made it to their cars. We were cool and calm, just taking our time coming out and were laughing at how the husky kid was seeing things. About twenty feet in front of us we could discern our friend Ben walking with his girlfriend Amy. 

Suddenly we heard Ben screaming bloody murder. He shouted, “Lenny! Get over here right now! We have a downer!” 

Theresa and I stumbled upon a body just laying on the ground in the thick darkness. It seemed so out of place that we were shocked and confused at the same time. How could a corpse have gotten there and remained unnoticed? Theresa and I looked at each other in absolute bewilderment, each thinking the same thing as we called one another’s name.  At first we thought it was an apparition. However, when Lenny and the other kids rushed to the scene, shining their phones through the darkness, Theresa and I realized it was Amy passed out cold on the ground. She had been walking with Ben before she suddenly fell to the ground and he tripped over her.

Lenny was an EMT and so knew what to do. He turned her over onto her back and said, “Amy, can you hear me?” 

She moaned, opening her eyes halfway, but suddenly shot upright, eyes wide open. The same second she sat upright, she slumped right back over onto the ground unconscious. Lenny turned her back over, noticed she wasn’t breathing and remained calm. He tilted her head back to open her airway so that she could start breathing again. Amy was half-conscious as Ben and Lenny lifted her up and carried her to her car. Theresa and I stood helpless and began to cry uncontrollably, from both shock and relief.

In a few moments Amy came to and was fully conscious so Ben asked her what happened. She said she felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to the back of her head and the only people walking behind her were me and Theresa, but we were pretty far away and would never harm anyone. We had not seen it occur having thought we were stumbling over a dead body. 

Theresa and I tearfully got back in the car and road back to Perkins with the husky kid. As we drove back, the husky kid said, “Omigosh, I saw a freaking little girl running around the cemetery right before Amy got hit. That’s why I freaked out and told everyone to get the hell out of there. I saw a white streak and hair flying out behind her.” 

I replied, “What? You saw the little girl? She used to play in the cemetery but one day they found her dead.” 

He became even more upset and said he didn’t know anything about a little girl. It was so distressing that I immediately began crying again. I later wondered out loud if perhaps the little girl had died by getting thunked in the back of the head by someone or something.

The next morning after a very restless night, I got my pictures developed. There was nothing, absolutely nothing at all on the pictures. They were just pictures of the dark woods, no odd shapes or anything and I wondered how real our experience was or if there was some explanation. 

We returned to Hell’s Hollow and Reichard Cemetery several times that year, but it was quite some time before I had another experience.  

Ruins of a structure in the wooded area behind the cemetery

In the fall of that same year, our friend Jeff claimed to have had an odd occurrence during a visit to Reichard’s cemetery a couple of weeks before my return there. He went with his girlfriend Jen, his best friend Frankie, Frankie’s girlfriend Anne, and their psychic friend Chris. They walked through the cemetery and took photos, but nothing happened, so they went home. In the car, both girls began having trouble breathing and were on the verge of fainting. The following day, Chris called Jeff and told him that he sensed a ghost had followed them home from the cemetery and stayed with Jeff and Jen. This thing stayed with them all the following day, apparently as they ran errands. Chris was able to tell them exactly where they had gone to that day including a particular store and that the ghost was with them. Chris had never been told that they went out much less what exact store they went to. 

Chris had Jeff, Jen, Frankie, and Anne meet with him later that day and informed them that the spirit was after Jen. Apparently Chris was extremely clairvoyant and could pick up details that no one else could. He said the spirit was an old man in a top hat and long coat who carried a cane. His eyes glowed red when looking at Jen but when he looked at Anne his eyes were green and he liked her because she was a virgin and Jen was not. The spirit never entered any buildings the group went in but stayed outside. He never followed Frankie and Anne but was attached to Jen. Chris said that the spirit wished to return to the cemetery but had lost his way and the only way for him to go back was for the group to take the trip to Reichard cemetery. Chris said that the spirit hovered over the car and never entered the vehicle. The group returned to the cemetery and the spirit was gone. 

It’s an interesting account and spooky at that, but I was not there to witness any of it and therefore cannot vouch for its validity. The same applies to the following account:

In November, Jeff’s group returned to Hell’s Hollow. He apparently took a video camera to the Hollow and recorded a strange incident that our group watched soon after. The video was a play-by-play of Jeff, Jen, and Anne as they walked through the graveyard. They then drove to the Hollow where mere minutes after stepping out of the vehicle did they hear a huge, horrible noise that mysteriously did not record on the video tape. They described it as a high whistling trill, the same sound made from a rope when a person is hung. Jeff then recorded the huge tree off the side of the bridge do something that a tree could never do just by itself. The large branch close to the bridge bent down at a powerful angle all the way to the ground without snapping. It was as if a huge weight had yanked down on the end of it. Was this proof that the legend of someone hanging themselves in the hollow was true? Immediately the camera shook wildly as the group jumped in the car, breathing heavily as they booked it out of there. I personally couldn’t make out much from the video because it was so dark and I couldn’t hear anything other than their terrified voices, but they swear it actually happened.

The apparent hanging tree next to the bridge in Hell’s Hollow

That same month, I returned to the Hollow late one night with Lenny, our friend Steve W., Lenny’s sister and two of her friends. We passed by the cemetery and got out of the car briefly in the Hollow. The air felt as uneasy to me as it always had, but nothing of interest happened. We got back in the car and Lenny continued to drive along the narrow, winding dirt road. It curved dangerously up and down, the sharp turns around cliff-like hills not as frightening as it had been the first time we had travelled down the road in mud and ice. 

Apparently, when the group of kids from Perkins had visited previously, two of them had spotted a ghostly Indian. As we discussed this, a dog suddenly bolted out in front of us and refused to move as it barked ferociously at the car. Lenny tried to move forward but the creature refused to budge for five minutes. In that five minutes, the people in the backseat turned around and they all saw something strange. Some of them saw the filmy figure of a girl while others saw a shadow that appeared human like. As Lenny crept the car forward, the dog was nudged to the side of the road and we took off. At the fork in the road ahead, the dog sprinted forward and charged in front of the car again, forcing Lenny to slam on his brakes. After awhile, the dog backed off and we were able to make it to the main road with no other occurrences after that. 

On a subsequent visit to the cemetery, I had a brief experience that caused me to wonder if something was truly there. The cemetery sits up on an incline and while walking into it with the ground rising up from the road, my legs became heavy and my chest tightened. This is a rare feeling I now recognize when I know I’ve stepped into a very haunted location. At the time, I thought it felt like walking through a barrier. The air felt thick and suffocating as if something didn’t want us there.

 One of our last visits to Hell’s Hollow and Reichard Cemetery was especially interesting and we had a large group with us that night. We met at Perkins as usual and piled into Lenny’s Bonneville and made our way out to the Hollow. We passed the cemetery and continued down Barry Road, past the bridge, up the hill into the field where Lenny turned around. Unfortunately, his car became stuck fairly deep in the mud and three of the boys got out and pushed the front of the car while I steered. Finally, we parked down on the bridge and got out to take pictures. It was calm and quiet, so we headed back to the cemetery. 

Our group walked calmly through the gravestones and for the first time, I wasn’t feeling sensations of dread. It was quite warm out for November and the moon was so bright that it was almost as bright as daylight. My friend Rachael said she felt very drawn to a particular old stone with most of its engravings worn away. After wandering around for some time, I stood in the old section of the cemetery next to Jeff, who suddenly turned away, noticeably upset.

Lenny ordered all of us out so that he and Jeff could investigate without interference.  The rest of us stood in the roadway, watching them walk around the cemetery and disappear into the darkness near the rear of the graveyard. I chatted with Theresa and Rachael before Rachael remarked that as she watched the grave she had been drawn to, she saw someone dart through that section of the graveyard. I thought: the last time somebody saw something running through the cemetery a girl was knocked unconscious. Lenny finally emerged from the cemetery with Jeff trailing behind. I watched Jeff drag himself down the hill, sobbing, before he nearly fell over in a spasm of coughing and spitting. Lenny caught his arm before Jeff stumbled back up on his feet and walked towards us. 

I asked him if he was okay as I put my hand on his arm. He looked at me with glazed eyes as if he had never seen me before. 

He blinked and squinted several times before offering a confused, “Wha-what?” He began rocking himself, lamenting over and over, “I’m okay. I’m okay.” He was acting completely out of character.

There was silence on the drive back to Lenny’s house with nothing but the sound of Jeff crying. When we arrived there, we stood in the garage and goofed off in an attempt to lighten the mood. As we laughed, I heard Jeff muttering to himself and his eyes were closed. Lenny leaned forward, listening and Jeff looked up at him to say, “Something about spirits floating around…I dunno…spirits floating around us?” 

He continued muttering while Lenny told him, “That doesn’t sound right.” and “No, that still doesn’t sound right.” 

Finally, Jeff said something like, “Open my eyes so that I may see.” 

The rest of us decided that the conversation was between Lenny and Jeff and therefore did not intrude. As I drove Theresa back to Perkins, we concluded that they must have heard a voice. 

The next day, I talked to Jeff and Lenny, but neither offered much information about what happened and refused to talk about their experience.  All Lenny would say was that something happened that they couldn’t explain. I asked him why he ushered us out of the cemetery and he said because he did not want us to get hurt. The only information Jeff would offer was that he was was feeling much better.

It wasn’t until later that Jeff would talk about his experience and this is what he said in his own words: 

 “I believe that there was something in me at the graveyard. I felt it leave when I fell out into the road. It just left this sadness in me. [When] we all started walking into the graveyard, nothing really happened to me. [But then] I stepped on a spot near the big tree and instantly my legs disappeared. My legs usually go numb but not that sudden. I stopped and I got a sharp pain right under my left rib cage. I could breathe and all, but it was hot air, like if you turn the stove on when your body is cold and you take a deep breath of the heated air. I closed my eyes and tried to catch my normal breath. I started walking but it felt like my legs weren’t moving. I could see everything and everyone. It looked like if you were sitting in a movie theater and all you can see is the screen. Everything outside of the screen was black. I saw Theresa, Rachael, Ashley, and maybe Steve standing at one grave. I started chanting something. I felt like I was screaming it but no one looked. I believe I walked past the group and went towards the back. I took a right and walk towards the little girl’s grave then took another right from it. Still my legs weren’t moving by me but they were walking me. All of a sudden, I walked right into Lenny. I didn’t see him at all. I just saw everything else. I stopped chanting and looked up at Lenny. All of a sudden, I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness and started to cry. It felt like I had to go somewhere and Lenny stopped me…someplace important. Then Lenny instructed everyone out of the graveyard and we walked around. We watched the back right corner and I could feel sadness. I couldn’t stop crying. Both Lenny and I could see a white house there. It was brightly glowing with light. I could see the details from the door to the two windows. We walked to the tree where I started to feel different. Lenny pointed out a single streak of ice drifting down the one side. Lenny touched it and said he felt cold. I placed my right hand on the ice and it was burning. I placed my other hand on the tree and closed my eyes and placed my forehead on it. Again, the sadness came back stronger. I started crying. Lenny soon escorted me out of the graveyard. I stopped right at the edge of it and I couldn’t move forward. In my head, I couldn’t hear a voice but something told me, “Don’t go”. I looked at everyone standing by the cars. You were all looking at me with concern. I could see everyone’s eyes looking into mine. Then I thought loudly in my head, “But I want to go”. Again, I felt it say, “Don’t go with them! Don’t!” and then I screamed in my mind, “No! I want to go to them!” All of a sudden I coughed and hunched over. I was trying to push myself forward and out of the graveyard. I felt something leave out of me. It was like you were laying in a bed on your stomach and someone rips the heavy blanket off of you fast. As soon as that happened I fell forward out of the graveyard. I tried to catch myself and Lenny caught me by my arm. As soon as it left my body, I felt like a big piece of me was taken out. It was as if we were one and it left me. I could feel the hole in my body and all that was left there was sadness. We got in the car and left. I was trying my hardest not to cry in front of everyone in the car. But I still cried. Then later in the garage, Lenny asked me what I was chanting. I tried to think as hard as I could but suddenly a massive headache took over.  The right side of my brain felt like a giant black void was on it applying huge amounts of pressure on it. That night while I was trying to sleep, I kept thinking about what happened. After several replays of the event, I now strongly believe that the reason why I couldn’t feel my legs moving was because it was trying to lead me somewhere and I cried because Lenny stopped me.”

 He said he had felt the spirit directing him towards the large tree that had ice running down it.  Theresa said that she had followed him, curious about what he was picking up. She said she also went to the tree and when she touched it for a few minutes everything went silent and all she could hear was her own breathing. As she continued following Jeff, she said he wasn’t talking at all, but he claims he was chanting and his voice turned into a scream that no one could hear. 

He believes that in that moment, he experienced psychic awakening—when a sudden surge of psychic energy that has slowly manifested in someone is quickly brought to the surface.

That was 15 years ago and though we returned to the spot a few more times, we quickly outgrew it. Because it was so long ago, I base much of our experiences on being young and easily excitable. Someday I will go back and get a more mature read on the place to judge whether there is truly something there and will provide a follow up story when I do.

If anyone has anything to add about Hell’s Hollow or Reichard Cemetery, knows the true history behind the spots, or has an experience they would like to share, please contact me!