Dayton Ghost Stories: The Legend of Staley Road and the Haunted Barn
Growing up in the area around Dayton, Ohio, we always heard stories about the “bloody barn” and the haunted Staley Road. Nearly everyone knows at least one version of this scary story, and many people know multiple versions of the story. The main legend surrounds the creepy road and the barn sitting on the side of that road.
Haunted Staley Road
Staley Road is the type of road that you do not feel comfortable driving on even in the middle of the day. The trees grow up and over, blocking the sun from reaching the street. If there is even a hint of leaves blossoming on the trees, some drivers even turn on their headlights to see the road in front of them.
There are many homes on this road, but one stretch of the road has a noticeable lack of homes. On either side of the street are large fields. In the 1970s, the bodies of two people were found in the field. Local legend says that the ghosts of those two people now roam the field, occasionally wandering onto the road itself.
One local legend says that a group of Satanists practiced in the area. They lured two teenagers to the field and brutally murdered them on the spot. Many people claim to hear the sounds of people chanting or see dark figures dressed in black robes darting through the field.
I even heard one story from several people about driving down the road and seeing someone sitting or lying in the middle of Staley Road. They slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting him, only to see him disappear or float off to the side of the road.
The Bloody Barn
The bloody barn is one of the more popular stories told in the Bethel area. Growing up in the Bethel school system, I heard multiple versions of the story, including two different stories from my own older brothers. One version claims that Old Man Staley lived on a farm and went crazy one night. He lured his family into the barn where he killed them with his own bare hands.
A second version of the story claims that Staley acted as the pied piper of Bethel. He walked through the area one day, convincing a group of children to follow him back to his barn. Once there, he killed each one with rusty instruments he kept in the barn. The blood of the murders spilled over the walls of the barn, and remains there today.
The stories about what to expect at the bloody barn vary depending on the person behind the story. Some claim that if you drive down the road slowly, you can see the eyes of people staring back at you from the barn. There are also stories told about the killing instruments still hanging in the barn and the bloodstains still visible on the walls. One of the most popular stories claim that electrical systems frequently short out on the road.
My Staley Road Experience
As a teenager growing up in Bethel, we frequently traveled down Staley Road hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the resident ghosts. We never experienced anything too odd near the barn. The only odd experience came when we left in two different cars. As we drove down Staley Road, we noticed that the car behind us turned off their lights. We assumed that they were trying to scare us, so we drove onto a friend’s house nearby.
The second group were directly behind us, still with their lights off but their emergency lights flashing in the night. Just as the group started down the haunted area of Staley Road, their headlights went out. One of the boys in the group turned the flashers on, and they pulled onto the side of the road. They turned the car off and back on, but the lights refused to work. No matter what they did, they could not get the lights on and they could not get the flashers to go off.
Our friend’s father came outside and noticed the problem. He too attempted to turn the headlights on and turn the flashers off, but nothing worked. He finally had to get into the car’s system to get things straightened out. Oddly enough, the next morning the car worked fine. Many people believe this was just a coincidence, but many other people experienced similar things on Staley Road.
Is the Bloody Barn Haunted?
The owners of the bloody barn experienced some odd things over the years, including a would-be arsonist who attempted to burn the barn down. It’s no wonder that they don’t want people driving by or stopping at the barn late at night. They even painted the barn a new color to get away from the bright red color it had before.
In my opinion, Staley Road is far creepier than the barn. The barn itself is gorgeous for an architecture nut like myself. It is part of one of the oldest gristmills in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “Old Man” Staley never killed anyone, and actually raised a family and lived to a ripe old age.
The owners are not above calling the police if they see someone snooping outside, and on at least one occasion, they chased a car to a neighboring city. My advice is to avoid the hassle and just check out Staley Road during the day. Even if this road isn’t haunted, the creepy atmosphere is worth a drive by.