Local ghosts and goblins among the best

“It’s a dark, cool October night and you find yourself in a haunted cemetery with your cell phone on, recording the questions you and your friends are asking to whatever spirits may be lingering. Your curiosity builds so you decide to play back the recorded sound of the silent autumn evening.”

It’s a dark, cool October night and you find yourself in a haunted cemetery with your cell phone on, recording the questions you and your friends are asking to whatever spirits may be lingering.

Your curiosity builds so you decide to play back the recorded sound of the silent autumn evening.

You hear the eerily joyful faint laughter of a toddler on your phone. Looking around, you see that you are surrounded by adults and the grave of a little girl who died at a young age.

Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing yet?

This is just one example of what you can experience on the Haunted History walks of Canal Fulton.

There will be no theatrics tonight, said Sherri Brake-Recco as she led an all-adult group of thrill seekers through the town of Canal Fulton. You will not have any people in masks jumping out at you. Everything you see tonight will be real.

Brake-Recco guides people through one of the most haunted towns in Ohio, stopping at various locations that have been known to have paranormal activity.

It’s all about energy, she said.

People on the tour are given EMF meters (electro-magnetic field detectors) to read the energy around them.

Brake-Recco is honest to her followers throughout the night and informs them when they are getting a false reading from a nearby electric meter on a house.

She suggests that people bring cameras and audio recorders as well.

Electrical instruments like cameras and recorders are able to pick up fields of energy that humans cannot see or hear, such as orbs, ecto-mist and EVP (electronic voice phenomenon).

The 90-minute ghost hunt through Canal Fulton has 11 stops.

The first stop is the home of an alcoholic doctor who had an interest in performing autopsies.

This house, the former resident of Dr. Disinger, is referred to as the pink house.

By some accounts, the doctor’s tall, slender apparition has been seen in the front window and psychics have sensed the presence of a scared, young boy.

The young boy was rumored to have been under the doctor’s care while he was ill and the boy eventually died. The doctor thought it would be a good idea to dig up his grave and perform an autopsy on him to better understand the cause of death.

Always makes for a good haunting, right?

Another stop is known as Brimstone Corners, the most dangerous intersection in town.

This was once the wild part of town; there were bars and brothels on every corner.

Since this area was an attraction for those who had loose morals and liked alcohol, many fights broke out that ended in murder. You can imagine where this is going.

Adding to the spooky atmosphere, one man on the tour took a series of digital photos of an ecto-mist located outside of the main building on Brimstone Corners.

The fog-like mist moved from over people’s heads in the top left of the photo, then into the crowd before finally moving up to the right and out of the picture.

The mist, however, appeared in photos taken on a clear night.

Across the street is the Century House Restaurant, which is haunted by a woman, a man in a trench coat and a poltergeist.

Another attraction on the tour is the Ohio and Erie Canal.

The canal was dug out by hand in seven years. It was completed in 1832. It is said that for every mile of canal there is a dead Irishman in a shallow grave.

This stretch of land and water is ranked fifth on the list of most haunted places in Ohio.

As the night winds down, you can wander through the haunted Pioneer Cemetery with your equipment.

Find a dark corner where no else is around, ask a couple questions and see what you can record, Brake-Recco said.

This is where Aaron Adkins of Massillon recorded a young girl laughing on his cell phone in a corner of the cemetery. Only adults were on the tour with him.

It was really crazy because no one was around, he said.

If that doesn’t turn a skeptic into a believer, nothing will.

Although this tour was filled with paranormal experiences, ghost hunting is not always exciting.

Ghost hunting is like fishing, Brake-Recco said. You can sit and sit forever and nothing happens.

And then maybe you get a 10- or 15-second bite and it really makes you want to stay there. That’s what keeps you going.

Brake-Recco has studied the paranormal for 23 years. She runs Haunted Heartland Tours, which is rated in the top 10 best ghost tours in the nation.

Her interest in the paranormal is more than just for a scare; it’s scientific.

If we are energy-driven beings and we die, then that energy has to go someplace, if you go along with the laws of physics, Brake-Recco said. Where does that energy go?

Do we end up as a little ball of light that people capture on cameras? Are we a voice that people sometimes capture on tape? Is there a soul?

These are questions that Brake-Recco sets out to answer in her paranormal studies. She does not limit herself to the town of Canal Fulton, however.

Haunted Heartland Tours offers bus trips all over the Midwest to places such as the West Virginia Penitentiary, where Brake- Recco has worked with the Sci-Fi Channel.

The penitentiary is Brake-Recco’s favorite location.

She also likes to mention that Charles Manson’s mother, Kathleen Maddox, was an inmate there for beating a man to death with a pop bottle and robbing him. Maddox was 15 at the time.

There are numerous other locations on the tour, including the Mansfield Reformatory and the town of Zoar, Ohio.

Brake-Recco leads all of the tours, along with the occasional psychic and members of the Massillon Ghost Hunters Society.

The array of events that Haunted Heartland Tours offers year-round can be found on the Web site hauntedhistory.net.

So, for those of you fear fanatics who are tired of having some creep in a Freddy Krueger mask jump out at you, a haunted history tour may be just the spook fix you need this Halloween season.