The Legend of the Haunted Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio
Imagine a place so terrifying, so horrifying, the mere mention of the name sends tremors down your spine.
Think of a place so scary, the owners only open the doors for one month out of the year.
Picture a place so terrifying that the owners offer a full refund for anyone who makes it all the way through.
Imagine a place where the admission costs $50 per person, simply because so few are willing to tempt fate - the kind of place where those who have made it through are too terrified by what they've seen to speak of it again.
Do I have your attention? Good, because it doesn't exist.
The legend of the "Haunted Attraction" that is too scary to finish has its roots in the Midwest, particularly in Ohio, with variations in Michigan, and Indiana. In Ohio, the legend always centered on a "Haunted Hospital", a supposedly real haunted hospital that was only open for exactly one month each year, beginning October 1. The admission ranged from $25-50 depending on who told the story, and its location changed frequently.
The reason the haunted hospital changed locations often was, according to some, because it wasn't an actual haunted place, but the owners practiced black magic to create the horrors and moved to avoid prosecution. It was in Dayton, Ohio, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Florence, Kentucky, in Covington, Kentucky.
How could you not want to see a place like that?
In 1996, I became obsessed with finding this place. As a teenager living in Dayton, Ohio I wanted to be one of the lucky ones to make it all the way through the haunted hospital, and wave my $50 bill as proof. Unfortunately that year was the same year that a local radio station did their own investigation, and found the closest attraction to that description, was a school for deaf and blind children that operated in a former hospital, and ran a haunted attraction. Experts flocked to the hospital in droves, eagerly handing over their $10 admission fee, only to end up disappointed.
The same legends of a Haunted Hospital, or Haunted House that was too scary to finish, has swept across the Midwest for years. Occasionally the story turns up in other areas, but it is almost always centered in the Ohio/Kentucky area. And while some learn the story is nothing but an urban legend, others insist that it is true.
Just this last season, while driving down the road in Ohio, I heard a caller on the radio asking about the Haunted Hospital. "I heard it was somewhere in Cincinnati..." It seems like this is a story that will never die. Someday when my nieces and nephews reach their teenage years, I fully expect them to come home with stories of a Haunted Hospital in Cincinnati too scary to finish...