Morgan County Courthouse

The ghostly happenings at the County Courthouse in McConnelsville are connected to one object: a revolver which has taken at least two lives. The door to the genealogy room in the county archives swings slowly shut on its own so persistently that they have to block it with a brick. It's the room where the gun is stored.

The gun's deadly legacy began in 1905, when a paranoid Wood Stuard shot and killed town marshal Horace Porter in a fit of paranoia. Rather than put him to death, the court found him mentally unfit to stand trial and remanded him to the care of the state hospital in Lima.

Francis Parsons, the county prosecutor, found the gun in an evidence safe and took it for himself, keeping it in his office at the courthouse. On a Sunday afternoon in October 1909, Parsons walked to his office, took the gun out of its drawer, and blew his brains out with it--for no apparent reason. They blamed it on the stress of a trial he was prosecuting, "a fit of melancholy," but no one really knew why a seemingly healthy professional, only thirty-four, would kill himself.

After that the gun stayed in the courthouse and ended up in the historical archives, where a picture of Parsons accompanies its display. And it's long been known as the source of a number of eerie occurrences. People tend to shun the archives after dark, and no one likes to work there alone. Is the ghost Wood Stuard, Horace Porter, or Francis Parsons? It's hard to say for sure, but the gun itself seems to be cursed by its bloody history.



Harden, Mike. "Lethal Legacy Leaves Impression on Small Town." Columbus Dispatch, 14 July 2002.