Punderson State Park

Punderson State Park in Newbury has a lake haunted by a teenager who drowned there in 1977. Gypsies saw her in 1978--a black girl emerged from the lake covered in seaweed, walked down the shore, and then walked back in. They never went back. Can you blame them?

I recently heard from a guy whose dad witnessed a drowning at Punderson Lake sometime in the mid-1970s. The lake, by the way, is one of the very few natural lakes in Ohio. Here's his story:

In about 1975 or so my dad bought a new fishfinder, which at the time was really pricey, so not many people had them. My dad went to Punderson to try it out, and put his boat in.

He noticed two teenagers out in a canoe, and that they weren't wearing life jackets. So my dad rowed out, fished for a while, and then heard the canoe flip over. As it turns out, only one of the kids could swim, and the other one drowned. The police came with a small boat to try to locate the body, but had no luck. The cops noticed my dad's fishfinder, and asked him to help. In those days, the fishfinders made a beep when you were over a school of fish, and didn't have a screen or anything, just the deeper the beep, the bigger the "fish." So, gliding along the lake, my dad hears a low beep, and waves to the police who are dragging a net to get the body. Nothing.

A few "low beeps" later, they locate the body. As they pull it up, my dad's fishfinder goes nuts, beeping like crazy, until it finally shuts off. He has only been on a boat in that lake once, when he still had the old fishfinder. He got out to the deep part (where they found the body) and it made a series of low beeps, and shut off. He hasn't been back since.

The Punderson Manor House, however, is the site of most of the hauntings. The Manor is an English Tudor country home which was renovated in 1982. The ghosts tend to haunt the Tower, the "old section" of the building. They especially like to bother winter caretakers. One caretaker was alone when there was a knock at his door. Opening it, he found nothing but the sound of footsteps going down the hall.

Laughter is heard here; cold spots are felt. A man with a beard roams the building, disappearing into wall and appearing in rooms where people are asleep. A woman in old-fashioned dress with a blue-grey bonnet also haunts the building. The ghostly sounds of children playing are heard here. Also present are a man dressed like a lumberjack, and a man who looks like Teddy Roosevelt, with the same mustache. Karl Long, who built the place in 1929, is rumored to have hanged himself here; he could account for one of the ghosts. The children might be those who died in a fire at a tavern on the opposite shore of the lake in 1885.

A secret network of tunnels was discovered under the Manor House a few years ago, and employes explored them, but one night the blueprints disappeared. A session with a ouija board indicated that there were no less than twelve ghosts at Punderson. Stop by and maybe you'll see one.