Writing a Ghost Story

I started working for the Wapakoneta Daily News around 1986 and I covered stories ranging from the local council and school board meetings to special edition stories for the newspaper.  There were those stories that took on a life of their own and one, in particular, made it to a nationally published book, Haunted Ohio.

When searching for a new story one day I decided to investigate into the reported hauntings at the apartment building in Fryburg, Ohio.  I had met Major Rich Strong, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, several years before.  He was in charge of the psychic phenomena reports and I called him to talk about the problems in this small Ohio town. He agreed to come up and brought with him Findlay native, Kathy Cook.   Two of the residents of the apartment building agreed to let us into their apartments to see if anything was happening there or just rumors.

To say I was a little apprehensive about walking in and having a medium and psychic investigator stirring up the “natives” would be an understatement.  I had heard the stories of the horse saddle floating off the second story rail to the main floor and the little girl waking up in a wet bed, but she was dry and so was the bed sheets under her.  The little girl also talked of an old man.  The back apartment complained of the cold spot in front of the stove, no matter the time of the year or if the oven was on.  So, this was something they wanted to find out.

When we went in none of the residents were there.  Strong and Cook wanted the apartments to be free of outside influences and wanted to move about freely.  Now in 1987 most people had no problem leaving their doors open for someone to come into their homes, which these days would never happen I am sure.

They visited both apartments and I took notes during the entire process.  An Indian girl was found in the house looking for her baby.  I still smile as I remember a little African American boy dressed in purple pantaloons who had gotten lost on the underground railroad, which ran through Fryburg.   There were stories told which I knew, but neither Strong or Cook had that information.  They gave me the descriptions of each of the people encountered in their visit.

Now many of you may just not believe any of this.  The problem with disbelief is you have your eyes closed to so many possibilities.  In order to corroborate the stories told during the visit, I went to the son of the former owner of the building, when it was a general store and not an apartment building.  I asked him questions about the general store and he gave me the same information uncovered during the visit from the medium and Rich Strong.  He told of the large wooden barrel holding pickles and merchandise being sold in the store, all of which was told to Cook and Strong by the spirits who came forward during the visit.

I turned in my story along with pictures and we ran the article in the Wapakoneta Daily News on August 19, 1987.  Major Strong asked if he could have a copy of the article to submit to people he knew.  Those “people” ended up printing the story in the first Haunted Ohio book, page 13.

Looking back I wish I had kept copies of the newspaper articles I wrote and pictures from the radio stations I worked at.  Last week I did visit the Amazon site and purchased the Haunted Ohio book, so I now have a copy of the book. I contacted the Wapak Daily and they have a copy of the article.  My next project is to get a copy of that story to include with the book.

Everyone has things happen in their lives they remember like it was yesterday and did things they are proud of.  I would love to say I lived a simple farm life in west central Ohio, but when I look back at the experiences I had and things I was able to do, I feel blessed.  Don’t be afraid to take on new experiences and enjoy life.  You only get one shot at this life so make it the best you can.

Have a wonderful week!

Pam Egbert



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