The Ridges Cemetery

The Ridges was a formal mental health hospital and it has a place were they buried the deceased patients. Locals say that there are two or three asylum cemeteries at the Ridges. Yet the most famous of them is the one located at the rear corner of the grounds of the asylum. It is the only part of the Ridges that is still in the property of the state Department of Menthal Health.

What is extremely strange about this cemetery is that the gravestones bear no names, but numbers instead. Very few of them have been substituted with some stones that are engraved with dates and names. This only happened when some relatives of the deceased decided to bear the expenses for the gravestone. The state only offered the deceased persons a white stone with a number and that was pretty much all that was on it.The hospital records keep the record of the names that are connected to each number and this is the reason several unmarked stones have some metalic veterans’ plaques.

The Ridges graveyard is the home of many Civil War veterans because at the time it was built there was a whole county full of veterans. There are some missing records between 1 to 63 in the male patients so their identity remains unknown.

Approximately two thousand individuals were buried on the grounds of the cemetery before 1972. Men and women were recorded separately. Apparently the Ohio University buried the unidentified corpses used in the medical classes in this graveyard, but it is an unknown fact if they were assigned particular numbers.

The Ridges cemetery has a well-known reputation of being haunted, which might not be that surprising, taking into account the horrible conditions the patients lived in the asylum. Most of the morbid stories center on the strange circle of graves that is taking up the corner of a tombstone layout. Perhaps there was a center stone in other times, but all that is distinguishable today is a ring of graves. The local legends say that witches make use of this circle for holding séances in. The official Ohio University explanation is that the circle was created by some pranksters several years ago and this might be the most feasible explanation.

The place is also reputed for being visited by ghosts, especially at night. In the cemetery there is a weird section that includes a handful of graves of a little creek to the right of the main cemetery. There is a bridge made of wood and on the other side of it lie several graves hidden in the woods. People were reported to have seen strange lights and heard screams in the cemetery at night.

The main asylum building is inaccessible now, but the graveyard has always been there and pretty much is accessible by anyone. It is definitely a terrifying place to visit after midnight. If you feel real adventurous, you can head up the hill and after that across the driveway to take a look at the Tuberculosis Ward, the single one abandoned building that was left untouched on the property grounds.

One Response to The Ridges Cemetery

  • Chris says:

    Indeed, the cemetery by the old TB Ward site, and Cottage “M” is haunted without a doubt. When I attended OU from 1998-2002 I would venture up to the cemetery alone at night. Looking back it was probably a stupid idea, but I wanted to get proof that ghosts actually do exist. I took with me a small micro tape recorder on several occasions to create EVPs. Around 1-3AM, I would place the running tape recorder on a guard rail at the edge of the cemetery and walk away for several minutes. The results of the experiments were incredible. In one recording it sounds as if someone is tapping the recorder to see what it is. TAP, TAP-TAP-TAP! In another, a man is heard wailing; crying out “Baby, my baby!” In yet another, a conversation can be heard between a man and a woman. It’s muffled and few words can be made out, but it’s still very spooky. I’ll never forget these and other experiences I had while living in Athens and the surrounding areas. It’s definitely a place that has a paranormal side, and if you be still and wait, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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