Gunn Road near Holland is haunted by the ghost of a young boy who was hit by a car and dragged to his painful death years ago. Supposedly, if you stop your car on the spot (which is marked by a sign), it won't start up again until you push it off the spot.

Or so the story goes. My friend Hoss and I investigated this Toledo-area ghost legend in March of 2005 and found it extremely difficult to pin down. For one thing, the sign isn't there anymore (if it ever was), which makes determining which spot you're supposed to stop on very difficult. We tried several places at random, using Hoss's Ford pickup, but it reliably started every time.

According to several e-mails I've gotten, the ghost of Gunn Road is known locally as "Chalky," since the outline of his body--originally done in chalk--had been re-done in spraypaint many times on the surface of the road, though always in the same place. They even say that the outline redoes itself, emerging even after fresh pavement has been laid. Unfortunately, it looks this last paving took, at least for the time being. So we were unable to test the stalled-car theory in the proper particular spot.

This is what one person had to say:

I lived in Maumee throughout my highschool/college years. I actually lived in a neighborhood off Garden Road, about a mile from Gunn Road. I heard the story of "Chalky," which is how we refer to the spraypainted outline marking the supposed spot of the child's death. We have been there many times, parking off to the side of the road. My friend's car did have problems starting there. I had his girlfriend and her friends in my car and they got scared so we took off. Apparently "Chalky" died on the road after being hit by a car. Supposedly his house was at the corner of Gunn Road, and now is incorporated into the new housing neighborhood being established. I think it is Apple Blossom Estates or something like that.

Gunn Road is undergoing some major changes. When we visited they had broken ground on the housing development. The road itself really lacked the isolated feel that I assume it once had, as the outer Toledo suburbs begin to absorb it. Aside from there being no sign, there was no body outline to show us where Chalky ended up after his fatal accident.

Only the shorter section of the road seemed rural enough to be scary at night. It dead-ends at the I-475 freeway embankment and runs alongside what appears to be an apple orchard. This was late winter, which means the apple trees still had that wicked bare-branch look; an entire field of them was sort of scary-looking.

Cars do fail above Chalky's death-spot--at least according to Angela Wallington Zimman, who says:

I am currently a PhD student at BGSU, but I grew up in Holland, and of course we all heard the tale of Chalky, and shivered with eerie delight at the thought of Gunn Road. It must have been October of 1987, my sophomore year of high school, when me and my friends decided to leave the homecoming dance early and head out to Gunn Road. It was cold and dark, of course; what fun would it be otherwise? Still dressed in formal attire, we parked there at the end of Gunn Road and there he was: Chalky. Probably drawn on there, no doubt; we laughed it off. Soon we were ready to head home, not wanting to break curfew - and of course, the car wouldn't start. What's surprising about this is that I never heard until years later, that part of the legend is that cars won't start at that spot on Gunn Road. None of us knew this; we just figured the battery died, and assumed that sooner or later some other kids would come to the spot and we could get a jump, which we did, arriving home only a few minutes late as a result. But yes - the car died on that very spot.

Another brief message comes from Austin:

It is true. Me my buddys and girlfriend went and parked on the bridge. Waited 10 seconds and the car didn't start. It took three tries for the car to start again. We didn't push it off the spot but it still started.

For a long time, this story was under investigation, because it was mistakenly listed by many people as being in Clark County, near Springfield. As you'll discover if you try to find Gunn Road in Clark County, there's no such thing. It's in Lucas County, just off Garden Road, west of Maumee in Holland, Ohio. Check it out for yourself and let me know if your car breaks down.