Haunted Mercer County?

When you think of haunted places in Ohio, northern Mercer County is probably not the first place that comes to mind. But this area seems to be a hotbed of paranormal activity according to the Internet and some other sources. They identify several haunted places very near here. Legendary places where people claim they have witnessed paranormal activity. And for some unknown reason the majority of these sites are in the Mendon area.

Are these spooky tales perpetuated by teenagers or those that seek out paranormal activity? Or are these places truly haunted?

With less than two weeks before Halloween and a full moon last Friday night, Joe and I decided it would be the perfect time to do a little ghost hunting ourselves. We visited some of the rumored haunts during the day and others under the light of the full moon. Did we see or hear any paranormal activity? Read on.

Palmer Cemetery:

Palmer Cemetery, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cemetery, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This is a small family cemetery on Palmer Road, west of Mendon. The cemetery is in the middle of a field, about 200 yards from the road. A stately old cement arch by the road marks the location of a grassy lane that leads to the burying ground. It is said that two cement lions with green glass eyes once flanked the arch and that the green eyes spooked passing horses. A broken portion of a lion’s claw is all that remains of those statues.

Palmer Cemetery. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cemetery. (2013 photo by Karen)

A stone wall surrounds the family plot back in the field. I was near there one afternoon last week and it was quiet and peaceful. Nothing out of the ordinary appeared. In fact I think the Palmer family would be interesting to research.

Palmer Cemetery

Palmer Cemetery

One of the tombstones supposedly glows in the dark and is visible from the road. We drove by slowly in the light of the full moon, looking for a glowing tombstone. One stone did appear to have a pale green aura, but Joe pointed out that it was actually light from a distant farm night light, blocked by the tombstone, its light glowing around the stone.

Palmer Cry-Baby Bridge:

Cry-Baby Bridge, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Cry-Baby Bridge, Palmer Road, Mendon, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Palmer Cry-Baby Bridge is about half a mile down the road from Palmer Cemetery and spans the St. Marys River. There are a several variations of this bridge’s legend, 1) A father threw his baby over the bridge and killed his wife. 2) A man killed his wife and baby and then hanged himself from a tree at the bottom of the bridge. 3) The devil killed a family under the bridge.

It is said that if you park on the bridge at night, turn off your car engine and lights and roll down the windows, you will hear a baby cry. Then a ghost will appear, enter your car engine and disable it. You will have to push your car off the bridge before it will start again. Sounds plausible.

Cry-Baby Bridge. (2013 photo by Karen)

Cry-Baby Bridge. (2013 photo by Karen)

We followed all those instructions last Friday night under the full moon. Twice. Our car started just fine both times. No ghost. No baby’s cries. I thought I heard a howl once, but Joe said it was just the wind blowing through the trees.

As we sat there in silence I wondered if we would be able to push our car off the bridge if it wouldn’t start. What if it actually would not start? Joe said that he could steer our car if I would push it.

Tomlinson Cemetery:

Tomlinson Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Tomlinson Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

This cemetery is on Tomlinson Road, at the Mercer-Van Wert County line. The remains of Tomlinson Church are across the road. It is said that if someone stands in the middle of the cemetery and another person walks backward around the cemetery, the person standing in the cemetery will disappear.

This is a rather large cemetery and I decided not to walk backward around it. Besides, Joe said he did not want to disappear. And to be honest, I did not want him to disappear either. The legend never explained where the person disappeared to or gave instructions on how to get them back.

Tomlinson Cemetery

Tomlinson Cemetery

Bloody Bridge:

Bloody Bridge, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Bloody Bridge, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2013 photo by Karen)

Bloody Bridge is in Auglaize County and crosses the Miami-Erie Canal south of Spencerville. Bloody Bridge looks a lot like Cry-Baby Bridge, probably because both were recently rebuilt. The Auglaize County Historical Society erected a sign near Bloody Bridge in 1979 that tells its spooky tale:

During the canal years of the 1850’s a rivalry grew between Bill Jones and Jack Billings for the love of Minnie Warren. This became hatred by Bill because Minnie chose Jack. On a fall night in 1854, returning from a party, Minnie and Jack were surprised on the bridge by Bill. Armed with an ax, with one swing, Bill severed Jack’s head. Seeing this, Minnie screamed and fell from the bridge into a watery grave. Bill disappeared, and when a skeleton was found years later in a nearby well, people asked was it suicide or justice.

It is said you can see a woman’s face in the waters of the canal when standing on the bridge. The only thing we saw in the water was an old tire.

Were there any haunts around Chatt? When I was a teenager we talked about one spot on Oregon Road, near the state line. There were woods on both sides of Oregon Road there and the trees were thick and close to the road. The story was that a couple parked between the two woods and the guy left the car for some reason. After a while, waiting for her boyfriend to return, the girl heard something swishing back and forth on the car roof. She thought it was a tree branch but it was actually her boyfriend’s head hanging from a branch. Maybe some of you from the Chatt area remember this story?

Houck Cemetery, Kentucky. (photo used by permission)

Houck Cemetery, Kentucky. (photo used by permission)

Finally, the photo above was given to me by one of my patients who knew of my interest in cemetery research. The photo was taken in Houck Cemetery, in the hills of Kentucky. They were having trouble locating the back-road cemetery. The entrance was overgrown and they unknowingly drove past it several times.

She said it was a clear, warm, still day but all of a sudden a gust of wind blew some low branches to the side, enabling them to see the cemetery’s entrance. She located her ancestor’s tombstones and took some photos in the cemetery.

When she got her 35mm photos developed she noticed there were opaque white spots floating in the air above some of the tombstones. She saw nothing like that when she was in the cemetery and she is convinced that the spots were ghostly apparitions. Believe it or not…

Even though Joe and I did not see or hear any ghosts or witness any unusual activity last week, we had fun visiting the local spooky spots. Happy Halloween!




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    • kendra on October 25, 2013 at 10:05 am
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    Thank you so much for taking me on a tour of the “haunted” sites. I would definitely be too scared to go there at night! I remember going to Palmer Cemetery at night time when I was a teenager. The lions were still standing at that time. I think that there was something said about walking backwards around the perimeter of the cemetery three times. Someone was to disappear. I am not sure that anyone from our car load got that far! So, needless to say, no one disappeared. I am way too spooked out to do anything like that now. I sure am glad that Joe was with you on the tour. It sounds like he calmed your fears when you though that you heard or saw something. If I would have been with you, we both would have likely been super spooked!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks for sharing your haunted adventures! You remember the lions at Palmer Cemetery? I would love to see a photo of them. Maybe there is an old photo of the arch with the lions floating around out there somewhere. It was a little spooky on the bridge, with the full moon and all, but it was an interesting and fun adventure.

    • Jeff on October 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm
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    Great blog!

    I remember giving crybaby bridge a whirl in high school at some point and nothing happened either. Maybe every time we stop, the baby is well-fed; with new diaper and doesn’t need to cry, who knows? Anyways, Ohio seems to be a hotbed for these cry baby bridges, among other states. You can check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crybaby_Bridge

    Also, I’m glad dad didn’t walk around the cemetery backwards, I’d miss him too 🙂

    1. I didn’t know you had been to Mendon’s Cry-Baby Bridge. I also read that many counties in Ohio have their own Cry-Baby Bridge. Remember the Ridges at Athens? We enjoyed walking through those spooky grounds, too.

    • Ann Heppeard on October 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm
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    Hi Karen,
    I really enjoyed your column. I use to live on Dutton Rd. around the corner from Palmer bridge.
    Clifford Garwick ( deceased ) told me the Lions from Palmer Cemetery were removed by the Keltners. They lived in the house north of Palmer Cemetery. Bob and Brenda Willwarth live there now and may know who has them. I know Keltners have two daughters but I do not know them personally.

    Maybe this will help you locate the lions and perhaps get to see them.

    1. Thank you for the great information! So it sounds like the lions might still be around. Maybe they are still intact with their green eyes. Thanks!

    • Anonymous on October 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm
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    I have lived around mendon for 14 years. I remember the story I heard of crybaby bridge was if you turn your car off at midnight on halloween you would hear baby cry. I heard a few stories after thAt as well. I tried it and nothing. But what I did do is dressed in my overalls and Jason mask and waited in the cornfield beside the bridge for some other inquirer to pull up at midnight.. They did and they got the scare of their life! I can tell you that nothing has creeped me out as much as the Tomlinson cemetery. Every times I drive by it something makes my body have chills every time. I do not like driving by it at night at all. I have never felt this way driving by any cemetery but that one. I have heard things and seen things in my past… This cemetery by far has had some kind of crazy past- I feel it…

    1. We spent quite a bit of time walking through Tomlinson Cemetery–in the daylight. We found it to be a nice quiet cemetery. There are some interesting monuments there and a lot of history. There are some very old sandstone markers and at least one War of 1812 veteran buried there.

    • Mandee on October 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm
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    The Kelners ( Evelyn) was who lived there, I used to do her hair at the nursing home in celina, very nice woman. I remember her telling me something about taking them down bc they had gotten damaged by teeneager.. She actually said there was a lot of damage after away to their property.
    I grew up in St Mary’s, we had been out to palmers a couple times but had been chased by the family on four wheelers. I never did any if the scary places, I would even go back I the cemetery behind the bowling alley in SM.
    Thanks fr sharing you experiences

    1. Thanks for the additional information about the lion statues. I could see the remains of a claw at the base of the arch and figured they had probably been destroyed.

    • Mandee on October 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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    What about Rockford..any hauntings in that area

    1. Not that I know of. Have you heard of any?

    • Nate on October 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm
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    What about the mystery of the couple from Ohio City? Not sure how it happened but one was killed with scissors and the other a knife or gun? Their tombstone is in back of the cemetery. I forget the curse.

    I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I’m looking for the name of the family who built my house around 1864 and their history.

    1. The couple in Woodlawn Cemetery at Ohio City are Jane and Philip Kuhl. They have a large beautiful monument with large, nearly lifelike figures of both. I think it is just a tale that they killed each other. It appears that she is holding a sheep shears and he is holding a rope. I heard that they were farmers. About your house, I would go to the Recorder’s Office at the courthouse and see who owned the property in 1864. They probably built the house. There might be a biographical sketch about them in the 1882 Van Wert History. You can also get some information from census enumerations once you know the name of the owners.

    • Sandy Stanfield on October 13, 2014 at 11:05 am
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    Hi Karen, my kids went to Palmers cemetery and came home scared stiff. lol If I remember correctly the car wouldn’t start when they tried to leave.

    1. It would scare me if the car wouldn’t start, Sandy!

    • Carol on October 13, 2014 at 11:21 am
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    Isn’t there a road north of St. Marys that allegedly is always foggy and the Virgin Mary is said to appear?

    1. We have never heard that story. Maybe someone else has?

    • Rachel Schleucher on October 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm
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    Hi Karen,

    I always read with interest the stories about Palmer Cemetery. My mother-in-law actually owns the land (cemetery included). Her parents Bob and Evelyn Kelner owned the house immediately down from the “haunted” Palmer Cemetery. My mother-in-law Jackie Kelner Schleucher and her sister Connie Kelner Stocksdale were raised in that home. The Willraths purchased it from the Kelners when they moved to Celina in their later years. As one person reported, there was much damage and vandalism done to the cemetery throughout the years, especially on full moons and Halloween. What seemed to many as childish pranks or youngsters just having fun, actually created a lot of work, repair and worry for the Kelner family. The lions (that do not have ruby or glowing eyes) were removed by the family to stop further damage. Both lions are on family homes in the Celina area. I have been on that farm for MANY (38 years+) at planting and harvest times, during full moons and Halloweens, rainy and foggy nights, and much to my dismay, there were no spooky, ghostly, sinister happenings or sightings at the Palmer Cemetery. The path back to the graveyard as long been plowed up, so there is no legal or safe way back to the cemetery. This makes farming the land there easier and allows those buried at the cemetery to remain respected and undisturbed.

    1. Thank you for the interesting history and your memories of Palmer Cemetery, Rachel. It is a lovely, unexpected cemetery in the middle of the field amd I understand why they put the lions in a safe place. I am glad the stone entrance and the monuments still remain. I always look there when I drive by, not just at Halloween time. Thanks for reading!

    • anonymous on October 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm
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    The woods? Are you thinking of the one off 19 across state line in jay county? Called spooky hollow road?

    1. I am not familiar with that woods, but it sounds interesting. This one was south of Chatt on Oregon Road, near the state line.

    • Brent Householder on October 13, 2014 at 11:18 pm
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    my mother and grandparents lived right around the corner from Palmer Cemetery on Dutton Road. While she noted no strange or paranormal occurrences, she did note that back in the 1950s or 1960s that a classmate of hers drowned while skating on the St. Marys River close to the bridge during the winter.

    • Becky Binkley Entrup on October 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    I lived south of Tomlinson Cemetery from mid 1960s – 1970s and never heard any of those stories. There were about 8 or so neighborhood kids and we would ride our bicycles in the cemetery and would play hide & seek among the tombstones. We always felt safe and never threatened — of course this was all in the light of day and never after dark.

    • Stephanie Householder Walker on October 15, 2014 at 6:00 am
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    My grandparents lived on Dutton Road (right off Palmer Road), and my mother grew up mere steps from Palmer Cemetery and Bridge. When my mother was young, a female classmate drowned when the ice she was skating on gave way; her body was not recovered for several days. More recently, a man committed suicide on the bridge, leaping to his death into the water. The bridge was also a known area for drug users and dealers and my grandparents made many phone calls to the sheriff’s office over the years, as they could see the bridge from their home. The other legends generally have no basis.

    My husband and I, in 2003, went adventuring. We both had a fascination with the paranormal and after spending so much time at my grandparents’ home, I was curious to see what would happen if we went to the Palmer bridge in the middle of the night. I should preface this to note that my husband is extremely scientific. He has a degree in Biology and believes in concrete, solid evidence.

    On this night, we pulled our car off to the side of the road, just past the bridge, and exited the car. It was dark, the weather was calm, and it was deserted. We talked softly and walked around the area for about 15 minutes. Suddenly, we heard a loud car or truck engine. Although I could not see any headlights, my husband and I got in our car, ready to move if a truck or car suddenly came upon us. There was nothing. It sounded as though a vehicle had passed us on the bridge. It was loud. But all we saw was darkness. No cars. My husband turned the key in the ignition and we hurriedly left.

    A week later, we returned. We parked. The weather was calm, it was dark, and no traffic. We stood on the bridge. After about a half hour of sitting on the bridge, loud music started to play. It sounded like the music from the 1930s and 1940s; the big band music. The Kelner property nearby was empty, the Garwick place was dark, and the remaining houses nearby were either vacant or dark (including my grandmother’s home). It sounded as though it was coming from the river–somewhere near the bridge. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “Do you hear that music?” It was unusual and we could not locate the source. We brought a recorder with us and attempted to record the music we heard, but the batteries in the recorder did not work.

    My husband and I are both logical, critical thinkers and have advanced college degrees and education. However, neither of us have any explanation for the car sound, which seemed to be roaring toward us, or the source of the big band music.

    1. Well that certainly is interesting–and chilling. Some logical explanation? We will probably never know…

    • Kasi on October 14, 2017 at 9:24 pm
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    Have you ever heard of the house on Dibble Road in Mercer County?

    1. I think I have heard of it but I don’t really know anything about it. Is it thought to be haunted?

    • JIM on July 10, 2022 at 4:07 pm
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    I remember making deliveries in the area a long time ago in the 80s. And was struck by Mendon. Never saw people walking around and never saw traffic (it was summer). It had the strangest vibe of anywhere I can think of!

    1. That would be strange. Must have been a slow, quiet day. Thanks for writing!

    • Randall Agler on October 9, 2023 at 9:01 pm
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    I listened to you speak at the Willshire Alumni a year or so ago. I just read about the Tomlinson Cemetery and was wandering if you ever ran across the list of persons buried there around 1860. I have searched and researched to find my Great Great Grandfathers site and I was told by a cousin that they were buried in the Tomlinson Cemetery . It would be Conrad and Margaret (Wagoner) Agler . My information said they died 1860 time.

    1. Good question, but I am afraid I do not have a good answer. I looked through the 1988 cemetery inscription book for Tomlinson Cemetery and their tombstones are not listed in there. It appears Conrad, Margaret, and family lived in Liberty Township, Van Wert County in 1850, enumerated in the census there. I looked through 1992 cemetery inscription book for Liberty and Willshire Township and their tombstones are not listed there. Looking at their children in the 1850 census, it *appears* their son John (c1824-1907??) may be buried in Ridge Cemetery, Liberty Township, Van Wert County, IF this is their son. Also, possibly another of their children, Josiah/Joseph (1835-1907) may be buried at Greenbriar Cemetery. Again, IF this is their son. Also buried at Greenbriar is Josiah/Joseph Aglers’s son, Conrad Agler (1857-1880). If Conrad and Margaret are buried in this area their tombstone may not have survived. I see Conrad and Margaret in the 1850 census but not in the 1860 census. They either died during that time, moved, or their name is not indexed as you would expect. I do see their sons Joseph and John Agler in the 1860 census, living in Liberty Twp with their families.

    • Kelly Nash on April 7, 2024 at 1:08 pm
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    Thanks for these fun little stories. I found your site today when Waze routed us through here back to Michigan from Florida. I saw that strange cemetery on Palmer road and had to look it up. I read these stories of Palmer cemetery, Palmer cry bridge and the Tomlinson cemetery to my family in the car. My husband chuckled and said Joe is a hater of these legends! Lol

    Anyway, thank you!

    1. Good to hear that you saw and learned a little about Mercer County on your way to Michigan. That was a fun blog to research. My husband is a very good sport and always up for a road trip. Thanks for writing!

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