There are many tales of ghosts throughout the city of Barberton. The Crying Woman downtown, the Devil Dog near Portage School and so on. There is one area, a completely forgotten or unknown part of the city, that seems to be home to more than its share of spirits and apparitions. Whether forgotten or just unknown to most of the town, this area is most definitely Haunted Barberton.
Tucked away in the northeast section of town, sandwiched between the State Street Bridge and Woodford Elementary School, lies a small neighborhood comprised of the northern most part of Fairview Avenue as well as Highland, Milo, Grant, Macy and Grace avenues. It is in the tiny section of Barberton that is often visited by Ghosts. Some of these Specters are benevolent and mischievous while others have revealed a darker side.
Among the most common seen Ghosts are “The Workers”. There are always two of them and they are called “The Workers” because it is unknown if they are farm hands, miners or perhaps worked on the Ohio canal. They have been seen on every street in the neighborhood as well as in the Homewood trails, on the banks of the Tuscarawas River and even the playground of Woodford Elementary School. They don’t seem to be aware of their surroundings and just wonder aimlessly throughout the area.
There is one house, on Grant Avenue, that seems to channel more than its share of the supernatural. This house is home to at least five different spirits and possibly more. Witnesses have reported sightings over the course of many years. Despite the witnesses not knowing each other, and the sightings being many years apart, the descriptions are always identical.
First, there is “The Little Girl”. The Little Girl was seen once for sure and may be responsible for the general mischief that regularly took place in this house. The one eyewitness account was by a young lady who was visiting and staying the night at the house. While sleeping on the couch, this young lady was pestered constantly by something that she could not see. Finally, after about 20 minutes, the Little Girl appeared. She is said to be about eight years old and was described as being dressed from the 1930’s, “Like Shirley Temple”. The little girl was not scary or threatening in any way and after about an hour, she disappeared.
Another possible encounter with The Little Girl was with an elementary school aged boy who lived in the house. One day, the boys favorite game came up missing. The boy searched and searched for his game but to no avail. Then, about three weeks later, the boy returned to his bedroom after dinner, and there, right on his bed, was his game. Was this the work of the mischievous little girl? There were also reports of small, faint knocks on the front door. The knocks of a child?
Next, there is “The Pretty Lady”. Seen twice outside and once inside, The Pretty Lady was said to be dressed in a classy 1890’s style dress complete with a small hat, purse and parasol. The first witness encountered her outside. She didn’t speak but smiled softly. The second witness reported the exact same thing even though the two encounters took place more than a decade apart. The third sighting was inside and The Pretty Lady seemed to be drinking a cup of tea. Like the little girl, The Pretty Lady offered no kind of threat.
Then there is the married couple. A depression era looking couple that were reported to be seen at least six times. They do not appear to be conscious of their surroundings and just are going about their business. The man was seen in the basement and appeared to be working on something. The woman was seen apparently cooking in the kitchen. Routine, daily activities. The Married couple are the most frequently seen of all the specters.
Last but not least is the Evil Presence. Seen several times and heard many other times. This evil being does not want anyone in this house. It was seen peering out of a window at a visitor though its facial features were difficult to make out. Another time it appeared menacingly in a hallway to one of the residents. On another occasion, a teenaged resident was home alone with his girlfriend when they heard loud footsteps coming from one area of the house and then footsteps stomping aggressively up the basement steps. Others reported an eerie feeling in parts of the basement or the feeling of dread in one of the bedrooms.
While none of this can be proven without doubt, the fact that multiple witnesses many years apart are claiming the same thing leads a bit of legitimacy to the claims. One thing is for certain, if you are ever in this little known neighborhood of Barberton after dark, look twice at that shadow. It may not be a shadow at all.
(Note: The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous, in hopes that the residents on Grant – the living and the dead – can retain their privacy.)