Columbus Alive article
From the Columbus Alive, October 26, 2006


By John Ross
Thursday, October 26, 2006

They frequent cemeteries, theaters, bars, restaurants, and hotels. Most appear once and vanish in an instant; others are tied to a certain place and a daily routine that has passed them by. Many appear dressed in period clothes; others simply manipulate a door, elevator, or light switch without a trace.

Columbus has many historic sites, and some are home to restless spirits from another world. Three local residents caught up with Alive to share stories about the scarier side of the city.

Kelton House Museum & Garden
586 E. Town St., Downtown

Recounted by Lindsay Hoffman

Story: A thunderstorm had overtaken the pleasant summer afternoon of her wedding, when one of Linday Hoffman's bridesmaids climbed the stairs to collect some things from a second-story bedroom.

As she ascended, watching leaves swirl quickly outside the window, she peered into one of the bedrooms, decorated in the style of the 1850s and roped off to the public. She was alone.

Then, she felt a presence, becoming uncomfortable. When she looked up, two ladies appeared from thin air. Dressed in period clothing, the stood calmly by and stared back at her. She felt they weren't harmful, but knew they stayed regularly in the room.

As soon as she headed to the stairs with a friend, the only other person in the house, they heard a loud noise--a blunt sound, as if something heavy had fallen from a table in the room above them.

History: Museum director Georgeanne Reuter has heard many eerie stories during her tenure at the beautiful Victorian landmark. Most often, she hears accounts of the ghost of Sophia Stone Kelton, who built the house with her husband in 1852 and who sometimes appears to new employees and volunteers.

About the non-violent spirit, Reuter added, "Because these [sightings] usually happen when the employees first arrive, she seems to be making sure we still have the house's best interests in mind."

Ohio Theatre
39 E. State St., Downtown

Recounted by Anna Steffen

Story: Anna Steffen had worked at the Ohio for two years, and she had heard the usual sounds of an aging theater. Groans, creaks, squeaks--she chalked these things up to a big old building settling down.

But one late night, while strolling alone through the pavilion, a new portion built in the 1980s, she stopped at one of the doors, looking through the glass at a doorway leading backstage.

There, in the reflection, was a blond man dressed in a white T-shirt, brown pants, and suspenders. She turned quickly, but the image vanished into thin air.

Thinking it might have been Andrew, a stage manager, she called his name.

No answer came. She was alone.

History: Ghost stories, believable and unbelievable, surround many older theaters, but CAPA spokesperson Elizabeth Trupp said it's unlikely that the Ohio has any specters of note.

"The popular consensus around the theaters are that we have no ghosts," Trupp said. "No tragic deaths or murders to spawn an angry spirit or two."

Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus
161 N. High St., Downtown

Recounted by Jeff Setser

Story: Diners had already left the building when Jeff Setser ascended the stairs leading from the back room into the kitchen, which was now dark and silent. After completing a routine check, he began to head into the main room, about to call it a night.

Then, from the corner of his eye, he saw a bright, overpowering light. He was taken aback as the burst of energy made him turn his head, his neck hairs now standing on edge.

It was probably nothing, he thought, heading back to the bar. Definitely nothing to worry about.

But when he entered the main room, a bartender, the only other person there, asked him if he had felt the energy, the feeling that someone else was in the room.

History: Setser, the bar's operations manager, said that he might have encountered the spirit of Colonel Pritchard, a womanizer who frequented Bott Brothers Buffet and Billiards, originally in the Elevator space.

"One of his jilted lovers called [Pritchard] out front," said Setser about the legend. "The next thing anybody knew, he came back in stabbed, and he died on the mosaic tile."

Many employees claim to feel an otherworldly presence, he added. And if it's snowing on the anniversary of the murder, you can see the woman's footprints in the snow leading away from the bar.

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