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The #1 Most Terrifying Haunted Jail in Ohio
The harrowing and dark history of Old Licking County Jail has drawn in several paranormal programs such as Ghost Adventures, Resident Undead and the Paranormal Film, "God Don't Make the Laws."
Experienced investigators and guests have captured full blown apparitions, recorded ghastly EVPs that chill to the bone, encountered disembodied voices, chanting and the slamming of jail cell doors. The horror that was encountered, endured and experienced by many former inmates and Sheriffs has left a residual energy that lurks in the corridors awaiting the living to share their stories.
Through renovations of the Old Licking County Jail there have been areas that have been locked off, many guests have heard cries for help coming from places that no longer exist. Will you be the one to answer their pleas?
The former inmates have been known to be very "hands-on." Guests and visitors have been touched and pushed as the spirits try desperately to gain their attention.
The darkest, most active and frightening area of Old Licking County Jail is the dungeon. Many guests have left fleeing and refusing to continue after spending time beneath the jail.
The spirits that are lurking in the shadows are waiting for you. The secrets that have been harbored within the walls of Old Licking County Jail since 1889 are ready to be revealed. Wherever you venture in your Free Time be prepared to discover the unexpected!
The Old Licking County Jail has had far more than its fair share of horror since its opening in 1889. Within the walls of this fortress there have been many deaths including at least 4 Sheriffs and 14 Inmates.
Many infamous murderers have called the Old Licking County Jail home. This list of dangerous inmates includes "The Hand Saw Slayer," a sweet 72-year-old lady who killed, dismembered and baked her husband. There is also "The 22 Caliber Serial Killers," a pair of brothers who shot and killed 10 people in cold blood. And let's not forget the "The Proposal Day Murder," who apparently couldn't take "yes" for an answer, slaying his fiancé the very same day he proposed.
Another harrowing and blood thirsty death that took place at Old Licking County Jail was the murder and lynching of Carl Etherington, a Dry-Agent Detective. Etherington was being held at the jail for his own protection but the walls were designed to keep inmates in, not an angry mob of thousands out! The mob rammed through the North Entrance of the jail, stormed to the second floor cell block where Etherington was being held and beat him to death with a sledge hammer.
The mob dragged him from the jail and up to the Southeast side of the Town Square where they lynched him to a telegraph pole. It is said that nearly 5,000 people including women and children all came to take a peek at the hanging agent. A ghastly family outing indeed.
Deadly & Infamous Inmates that were housed in the Old Licking County Jail
Lynched in 1910
10 years prior to the nationwide Constitutional ban on alcohol known as Prohibition, the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages was regulated by the county. Licking County was constituted a "Dry County" and therefore it was illegal to own or operate a bar within the county. Newark, Ohio had decided to turn a blind eye to the regulations of Licking County and had 58 bars in full operation downtown as well as several Brothels. Carl Etherington, a Dry Agent Detective, had the misfortune of being sent into Newark to clean up the mess.
It didn't take long for Etherington to discover that the Sheriff, Police Chief and Mayor were all on the take and allowing these places to operate. When he attempted to confront the local authorities, the Captain of the Newark Police Department introduced Etherington to the way the "law" was handled in their town. As the scuffle commenced, Etherington and was beaten badly so he drew his 44 and shot the man.
Realizing what he had done, Etherington fled but was later placed inside the Old Jail in protective custody. An angry mob over a thousand people formed outside the jail and eventually able to force their way inside the jail. Etherington was beaten to death inside his cell and then was dragged out of the jail and lynched to a telegraph pole on the Southeast side of the Town Square.
The Governor of Ohio forced the Sheriff and Mayor to resign for allowing this to happen and the Police Chief was fired. Hardly seems fitting, does it? Perhaps Etherington is still lingering Old Licking County Jail seeking true justice.
Laura Belle Devlin
The Handsaw Slayer
Time has a way of working on the mind and conscience. According to Laura Devlin, she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband as well as multiple attempts on her life by the man who swore to love and cherish her "Until Death." At the age of 72, she'd had enough.
Devlin killed her husband and apparently wanted to make sure he stayed dead. She cut off his arms and head with a handsaw. But that wasn't enough. Devlin placed his dismembered body in the oven and tossed his torso in the backyard.
Newark Police found the the torso and the handsaw in the backyard. Devlin did not deny killing the man. She was arrested and booked at the Newark Police Department and then taken to the Old County Jail to be incarcerated. She was later sent to Lima Ohio for Psychiatric Evaluations and died there of Pneumonia.
If Devlin is still wandering the halls, I'd be suspicious of any food she offers. You never know what she's been baking.
Walter Benjamin Robertson
Proposal Day Murderer
Walter Benjamin Robertson asked his longtime girlfriend Della Crottinger to marry him. Crottinger must have been quite besotted with Robertson because did not delay in answering, "yes." A decision she would soon regret.
How soon? How about later that same day. Robertson brutally murdered his fiancé. He confessed to the murder on the grounds of insanity. He was extensively interviewed by the County's physicians and found to be quite sane and more than able to stand trial for the vicious murder of Della Crottinger.
Rather than revealing his motive, he took his secret to the grave when he hanged himself in his cell at the Old Jail. If this shady character is still lurking around the cell block, perhaps you'll be the one to unveil his hidden secrets!
Thaddeus and Gary Lewingdon
The 22 Caliber Serial Killers
Between 1977-1978, no one in Ohio was safe thanks to the Blood Brothers, Thaddeus and Gary Lewingdon. Their murderous rampage began in Newark, Ohio at Forkers Cafe with the murder and robbery of Joyce Vermillion and Karen Dodrill. Wherever the brothers went, they left a trail of blood in their wake.
Before their killing spree across three counties ended, 10 victims lost their lives over the greed of the Lewingdon brothers. When Gary attempted to use a credit card of the final victim he was arrested on the store's property and the brother's admitted to all the crimes. They did a brief stint at the Old Jail before being transferred to prison where they spent the rest of their days.
If you visit the Old Licking County Jail, be wary of the blood thirsty brothers looking to pick up a little pocket change.
Louis Angel & Harmon Cordray
The Route 40 Hitchhike Slayers
Who knows what goes through the minds of two 18-year-old boys when they decide to abandon their posts as United States Marines? Louis Angel and Harmon Cordray went AWOL from a Naval Hospital in South Carolina in 1952. The two young men hitchhiked West and found themselves in Ohio.
Perhaps they were making their way to Cordray's home in Mooresville, Indiana, but their story doesn't end with a happy homecoming. On an early Tuesday morning in March, the young men were hitchhiking along Route 40, East of Kirkersville. Unfortunately Allen Drake, a taxi driver, took pity on the pair and stopped to give them a ride. This would be the last thing that Drake ever did.
Angel and Cordray were convicted of Drake's murder and both spent time as residents at the Old Jail. Will you run into the killers who committed this senseless crime? Make sure not to take them for a ride.
It's not uncommon to be dissatisfied with a drive-thru experience, however it is rare for these experiences to end in cold blooded murder.
George Washington Burton, a man with a noble name but not such a noble story. On a visit to the Ten-Twenty Pizza and Sandwich Shop in the small village of Jersey, Ohio he ran into 26-year-old Wanda Peterman, much to her dismay.
Peterman took Burton's order for a milkshake, he paid and started to leave. Everything seemed to be mind-numbingly normal. But Burton realized that his milkshake had not been filled to the line, he was one very dissatisfied customer. Burton informed Peterman that she had cheated him on his milkshake and he'd be back with his gun.
Unfortunately for Peterman, this wasn't an idle threat. When Burton returned, she was standing outside the Pizza shop. He raised his shotgun and fired, killing Peterman with a single shot to the chest.
If you run into George Burton, don't cheat him on his milkshake, he takes his dairy very seriously.
The Rum Crazed Trailer Murderer
A lot of people commence with drinking on Saturdays but very few of those incidents result in homicide. Bernice Butler found herself drowned in the drink on Saturday, March 8, 1952. In a Rum induced craze, Butler grabbed her .25 handgun and shot her husband in the forehead.
There was no denying her crime because her young son and friend were there to witness the whole drunken debacle. When the police arrived on the scene, Butler was clawing at her husband's face and embracing him. Her remorse came a little too late to save the man's life.
If you run into Bernice, make sure to duck and cover.
The Love Slaying
Unlucky in love? Perhaps you're the lucky one. It was a Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1951 when Frank Rizzo would have been far more fortunate to be single.
Rizzo's girlfriend of 5 years, Joanne Thomas, went to see the 30-year-old at work. Thomas walked into the Produce Market on South 5th Street in Downtown Newark. Rizzo worked at the fruit stand so he's loving girlfriend made a beeline to his station. Without a word, Thomas shot and killed Frank on the spot.
Those happily in-love should probably avoid the tormented spirit of Joanne Thomas.
Harold E. Shackleford
San Quentin Parole Murderer
Life is full of second chances, but we don't all take advantages of them.
Harold Shackleford did a stint at San Quentin Prison in California for beating a woman within an inch of her life. After his parole he made his way East, perhaps to get a fresh start. But old habits die hard.
It was a Sunday morning in September of 1956 as Mary Dunn was on her way to church when she came across the deadly path of a drunken Harold Shackleford. When her 51-year-old body was found, Mary had been strangled to death and beaten beyond recognition.
Even if the claims that Shackleford was "Crazed by liquor" were true, nothing could save him from the Electric Chair at Ohio State Penitentiary on June 24th, 1957. Women should be wary if you pass his disgruntled spirit in the cell blocks of Old Licking County Jail where he was detained before his execution.
Child Rapist & Murderer
There are a few people that deserve a more vicious kick of justice than the likes of Donald Moreland. Charged with the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl, he did time at the Old Jail before the Prosecutor accepted a Plea bargain of Manslaughter.
No doubt his spirit is still lurking in the darkness filled with a remorse that can never be quenched.
Four Mile Lock Inn Double Murder
Former employees have been known to disgruntled after being fired, Mark Heck was no different--except for the murders, of course. A previous employee of the Four Mile Lock Inn near Hebron, Ohio, Heck returned to his old place of employment on November 3rd, 1938.
He was greeted warmly by his previous employer, Mattie Nies. She fed Heck dinner and the two had polite conversation, but when she made a move for the cash register, he made one of his own. Heck fired off rounds into Mattie's head and chest. She wasn't the only victim, Donald Hatfield was fatally wounded as a stray bullet entered his liver.
When Sheriff Hague and Deputies arrived on the scene, they began an immediate manhunt only to discover Heck close by in a field. He had already disposed of the gun in a muddy creek but he had forgotten about the empty .22 casings in his pockets.
If you see him around Old Licking County Jail it will likely be in solitary confinement where Judge Slabaugh ordered him to placed every November 3rd to reflect upon what he had done.
Murder in the House of Ill Repute
When a man goes looking for love in all the wrong places, sometimes he ends up dead. In the town of Newark, Ohio at the turn of the 20th century, brothels were commonplace. On April 21st, 1909, George Prikogan came knocking on the door at 28 East Street looking for a little entertainment of the feminine persuasion.
Prikogan was invited into the brothel and joined in conversation for a little under an hour. When he was asked to leave so the girls could get some sleep, he didn't take so kindly to his escort. Matt Hurley was a current boarder who walked Prikogan to the door to bid him farewell. Prikogan drew his handgun and shot Hurley in the side. Matt Hurley died shortly after.
Watch out for the man looking for a little love!
Your ghost hunt at Old Licking County Jail includes the following: