By Mady Stoner
Posted On: Sep 30, 2022
Ohio has its own history of witchcraft. While the most commonly known witch trials happened in Salem, Massachusetts, Ohio also had its one and only witch trial in the town of Bethel. This spooky season, between cemeteries to visit and castles to see, here's a compiled a list of things to do and see in the area for all of the history buffs and ghost hunters!
History: Nancy Evans was accused of being a witch in 1805. Since witch trials were uncommon in the state, there was no legislation in place. The justice of the peace at the time argued the word of God would outweigh any demonic spirit. They placed a Bible on one side of the scale, and Nancy on the other. If the Bible was heavier, then they would drive her out of town. To Nancy's luck, the scale was in her favor that day.
You can visit the site of the witch trial and learn more about this, along with the rest of the town's history by visiting the Bethel Historical Society Museum. The museum is open the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 1-4PM.
Photo credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Afterward, head to the East Fork Cemetery (formerly the Old Bethel Cemetery) and the Bethel Methodist Church, both in East Fork State Park. The cemetery is the final resting place to John and Sarah Simpson, the maternal grandparents of Union general and President Ulysses S. Grant. The church sits on the same site as the log church that was originally constructed there, which was home to one of Ohio's earliest Methodist preachers.
East Fork State Park in Bethel, photo credit: ODNR Flickr
There are also several hiking trails in the state park, including the 33 mile-long Steven Newman Worldwalker Perimeter Trail – making it one of the longest and most challenging trails.
Around the same time period of the witch trial, urban legends tell a story of a girl named Lucy, who took off on her horse in the heat of a storm at night and ended up drowning in the creek. The nearby Lucy Run Cemetery in Batavia is named after her, and it's said her ghost haunts the area.
Take a break from your ghost chasing to eat and drink at Harmony Hills Winery & Farm. The winery features a picturesque country setting surrounded by their 72-acre wildlife refuge farm. There's also a unique underground wine cave, and its one of only eight similarly built structures in the United States.
If you want to make a full day of adventures, head north about 30 miles to visit the Loveland Castle located right along the Little Miami River. The castle is open every day from 11AM to 5PM and is $5 for anyone ages five and up. There have been ghosts sightings at the castle and its properties - making it a perfect addition to your spooky filled day.
Plan your trip and enjoy a day filled with ghostly adventures!