“They are friendly ghosts,” said Linda Morgan, vice president of the board of directors and program director of the Waynesville Museum at the Friends Home. “It seems like if you are a non-believer, something happens.
“All the stories that we tell are based on factual experiences that people have had and have told us. We have more stories than we have time to tell.”
Ran by volunteers, the museum is located in the heart of the Quaker Historic District of Waynesville, founded in 1797, and was also featured in the book “Ohio’s Historic Haunts,” written by Jim Willis and published by Kent State University.
The museum is formerly the 1905 Friends Boarding Home when retired Quakers and single school teachers boarded. “The original building now houses our museum, which began in 1999,” Linda said.
Most of the furniture was left by the past boarders except for the sitting room and that was donated by Waynesville resident the daughter of Elizabeth Hoel.
“Sometimes we feel the ghost of the little girl, Mary,” said Dolly McKeehan, museum curator volunteer. “We feel her and sometimes she rocks the rocking chair in the first floor sitting area, and we hear her laugh.” Mary has also been seen standing on the front porch of the museum and then she disappeared.
Linda, said things happen that can’t be explained. “Sometimes you are thinking you need something for the house and somebody will find exactly what you need and bring it in. It’s like people are watching over it all the time.”
Milton Cook, Quaker and president of the board of trustees, began in 2000 volunteering. “I was there at the start,” said Cook. “I was on the committee there in the 1980s when it was still a boarding home.”
Milton has a farm three miles away where his South Carolina ancestors settled when all the Quakers moved to this area as a protest against slavery. “There are 6 generations that farmed the same farm and belonged to the same Quaker Meeting.
“There is probably 15-20 Quakers that meet every Sunday. The Meeting house is the oldest continuous use building west of the Alleghany Mountains. It was built in 1811.”
He tells the story about the little girl, Mary. “Jerry Lynch and her husband moved here from South Carolina as a protest against slavery. They first lived on Main Street. They started building a house across the street from the boarding home. This was in 1800 before the boarding home. They both got sick. They had six or seven children, and they sent the children around to different families. The husband died but Jerry Lynch (mother) didn’t die. She found all her children but little Mary. She is supposedly still looking for little Mary after she, herself, died.”
Linda said people sit around on the furniture after the Ghostly Walking Tour and ghostly stories are told. They have to be asked to leave around 11 o’clock. “The people are never in a hurry to leave,” said Linda.
How to go
What: Ghostly History Walking Tours
Where: 115 S. Fourth St., Waynesville
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays in October
Admission: $12 adults; free for children under 12. Reservations required.
More info: Call 513-897-1607 or visit www.friendshomemuseum.org
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