Do you like a good ghost story? Especially one with local appeal supposedly based on some semblance of fact? Let me introduce the tale of the “Old McDaniel Hermit Place.”
There exists at least some confusion about the location of this home. Residents know Ghost Hollow as a road on the west side of the Scioto River, and at least one account says the hermit house was at 228 Ghost Hollow Road, where a circular roadway ran around an old farm. The fact that Crowe Hollow in close by may also be relative to the story.
This place was supposedly where a hermit killed himself and where thereafter his headless body would chase people. Ghost-hunter journals place this residence close to the grounds of the prison. Maybe someone else has heard more about this story and even has further written information. Please feel free to add your comments.
This haunting in the Lucasville area dates to at least 1896 when Mr. Frank Crowe, his son James, and Miss Clara McCorkle, an estimable young belle of Scioto County fame, were to spend an evening as the guests of his brother, Mr. Henry Crowe.
After a pleasant evening with euchre and minor games, the group retired to the drawing room, where Miss Clara on the piano, and James on the violin, accompanied by Miss Flora Crowe (Henry's wife) played duets and grand marches. They then returned to the dining room where they ate a delicious supper.
All in all, a wonderful evening, right? Not so soon. The guests started home, exhausted and thinking of a sweet repose in their cozy beds, but while climbing a hill half a mile from home, they encountered a strange and weird apparition of immense size, resembling a man. The monstrous form leapt from the shadows into the path of the traveling family. They hurried from the place of terror, and were said to be “almost scared unconscious and suffering from nervous excitement.”
According to local reports, this was not the first time people had encountered weird cries and frightful sights there. This place, known as the "Old McDaniel Hermit Place,” had been abandoned after the tenants who lived there reportedly had been awakened from their slumbers by groans and death-like agonies, and they had seen headless men roam about the yard “during the hour of midnight.”
Accounts say Mr. Frank Crowe planned to organize a company of "brave men" to find out more about the apparitions. It's not known if the group ever got together and made an attempt to track the ghosts down. But, an article reporting the incident mentioned the guests had eaten "such a portion as will cause one to have hideous dreams.”
The shack where the McDaniel hermit lived is long gone, but that spot is now in the woods surrounding the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. And, as an interesting and possibly related side note, ever since the longest prison riot in United States history, the Easter Riot of 1993, mysterious events have occurred. More than twenty prisoners and guards died in the riot. Five prisoners were sent to death row due to the deaths
It has been reported that guards have since heard doors slamming and have seen strange shadows passing by them in the blocks where the riot occurred. One guard saw a prisoner walking the block after lockdown. The guard went in pursuit of the prisoner, only to find he had disappeared. Perhaps the hermit continues to haunt his old stomping grounds.
Jannette Rae Quackenbush. Ohio Ghost Hunter Guide V: A Haunted Hocking Ghost Hunter Guide