Wakefield High School

The Wakefield High School where a deadly explosion is said to have taken place no longer stands in its original spot beside the double railroad tracks, but that spot is where you can hear, if your timing is just right, the screams of victims dead more than seventy years echo across the fields.

It was during a basketball game in the old high school's small auditorium, in the dead of an unnaturally cold Saturday night in November. The custodian turned the heat up as high as he dared, then pushed it a little more to accommodate the crowd, placing a heavy strain on the boiler. Two trains happened to be moving by in opposite directions that night, and as they passed Wakefield High School, the din of their whistles was overwhelmed by the explosion of the boiler. Students, teachers, parents, and fans were blown off their bleachers, burned badly or killed.

That's how the story goes, at least. Now you are supposed to be able to hear the screams if you situate yourself in the right place on the right Saturday night in November, when the temperature is below freezing--and the agonized sounds are only audible if no trains happen to be traveling past.



The Journal of the Ohio Folklore Society.