#HomeGrownStories – Piqua Ghost Stories
October is the time when Miami County gets a little spooky! Anna Baumeister and Jim Oda have heard many different Piqua ghost stories. Jim Oda is the Director of the Piqua Public Library. Anna Baumeister is with the Piqua Ohio Paranormal Society and investigates paranormal activity in the area.
Jim Oda, on ghost stories and legends of the Fort Piqua Plaza:
We have had three or four groups come and try to find ghosts. Whether they’ve been successful depends on your point of view. We’ve had some scary things happen here. Did that turn into ghosts… I don’t know. I’m I sure I don’t know everything. There are many local ghost stories and legends surrounding the hotel.
There was a teenage hotel porter who was taking a steamer trunk full of traveling salesman supplies up in an elevator. The trunk was full of frying pans and other heavy items. The salesmen would rent one of the upper floor rooms, put out all their wares and the merchants would come to them. This trunk was incredibly heavy and the young man put it on a two-wheeler and put it on a tiny little elevator. He took it up to the third floor. As he was getting off the elevator, one of the wheels got caught in the little gap between the elevator and the floor. The trunk turned and fell. It pinned him against the wall and crushed him to death. We know that happened.
The ghost stories we have heard came from people later on. They said they heard loud thumps and screams. We’d hear from people about the elevator slowly coming up and then hearing a thump. By that time though, literally, everything that made it run had been taken out. So the elevator didn’t work. Of course, sometimes those later occupants had been drinking a fair amount when they said they heard the noises.
We have a story from when the very first sewer line was being dug. Indoor plumbing came to Piqua with this building. When they bought this corner of the square they forgot to buy enough land for outhouses. So they convinced the city council to dig a sewer line. The sewer line went from out here, down Wayne Street and to the river. They had never dug a sewer line here before and didn’t support the 10-foot pit they were digging. On one Friday afternoon, a guy was down there digging and the sides of the pit collapsed on him. By the time the other workers found out what had happened and dug him back out, he was dead. He’d been buried alive. The ghost story part of it is that about 5 or 6 years later, the city built a concrete block jail. Today that space is our parking lot. We have records of prisoners complaining that they couldn’t sleep because of all the noise that was coming from the basement. Except there was no basement. We have many stories of things that happened here. People ask “Did people die here?” Well, yeah, it was a hotel for a hundred years. People are going to die here, some more spectacular than others. So, if ghosts are real, we probably have ghosts.
POPS is the Piqua Ohio Paranormal Society. POPS has investigated many locations in the Piqua area that are considered to be “haunted”. Most often, if a location is found to be haunted, then POPS will continue to investigate the haunting. Members of POPS have been conducting paranormal investigations in the Miami County area for the past three years. They are a diverse group committed to helping families, individuals and businesses who reach out to them with paranormal concerns. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. They only investigate by referrals.
Anna Baumeister on POPS’s top three Piqua spots where you may encounter a “wandering spirit” this Halloween:
The 311 Drafthouse is one of POPS favorite locations to investigate. Many EVP recordings (electronic voice phenomena – spirit voices) have been collected in the building. POPS investigators have captured photos of what is believed to be ghosts. They recorded personal experiences of ghost interaction on the top floor of the building.
One of the most notable ghost stories related to this location is a lady in red. She walks the hallway on the first floor and mingles with patrons. There is also a story of a little boy who is waiting for his mom on the top floor. POPS investigators have gone back to the 311 Drafthouse on occasion, to leave toys for the little boy.
The Apple Tree Gallery was the original location for the Piqua JC Penney’s department store. POPS investigated the Apple Tree Gallery last year as part of the Piqua Library’s Paranormal Class. The top floor of the building and the basement had the most paranormal activity. On the top floor, participants engaged in the rare phenomena of flashlight play. This is a form of interaction where spirits communicate by turning flashlights on/off to answer questions.
The basement was the employee breakroom area. There are a lot of artifacts still there from when JC Penney’s occupied the building. POPS had not heard of any ghost stories related to the Apple Tree Gallery before the class. Our investigation became a part of a ghost story when “wandering spirits” decided to pay us a visit. The Apple Tree Gallery is filled with antiques, vintage jewelry, and memorabilia from the past. All are things that appeal to ghosts.
POPS investigators keep coming back to investigate the Fort Piqua Plaza. It is, without doubt, one of our favorite haunted places in Piqua. Jim Oda shared many of the ghost stories that we have heard with regards to the history of the Plaza. We spend a great deal of time with Gary Meeks in the Local History Department of the library when we are investigating Piqua locations.
Most of our evidence has been captured on the third floor, yet we have photos from the basement area of orbs and orb phenomena. Jim shared the story of the hotel porter who was helping the traveling salesman and was killed on the elevator on the third floor. During an investigation on the third floor, a POPS investigator completed an EVP session. He asked the porter about the accident that killed him. In the EVP he states that he “suffered”. We have also captured on video an apparition walking down the hall on the third floor.
I would concur with Jim Oda. Whether a place is actually haunted is dependent upon an individual’s perception of their experiences. Our group has had many, many paranormal experiences. We especially enjoy sharing these ghost stories during the Halloween season.
POPS has partnered with Mainstreet Piqua, 311 Drafthouse and the Piqua Library for a Haunted Piqua Tour on October 21st.
Tour participants will meet at the 311 Drafthouse where they will be escorted by Jim Oda on a haunted history tour of Piqua. The 311 Drafthouse, the Apple Tree Galley and the Fort Piqua Plaza are included in the tours.
Tour information can be obtained by contacting Mainstreet Piqua.
Follow our storyteller and interviewer, Courtney Denning, at ThisOhioLife.com.