Marion County Cemetery

This cemetery is home to what has come to be known as the “Mysterious Merchant Ball,” a 5,200 lb. stone ball which marks the grave of C.B. Merchant.

What makes the Merchant Ball so mysterious is the undisputed fact that it seems to rotate all on its own a total of two inches every year!

Credit: Weird U.S.

Credit: Weird U.S.

When news of its strange movement began to get out, scientists from all over converged on the cemetery to study the phenomenon and, to this day, no one has been able to explain how or why it happens.

While some see a perfectly natural explanation to its odd movement, others with a little more imagination believe the answer resides somewhere in the supernatural realm.

News of the Merchant Ball gained widespread attention in 1970 when Toledo Blade reporter, Paula Miner, wrote her article, “Ghosts Still Haunt Area Graveyards.”

From that article,

A giant monument was erected on a grassy knoll in Marion County Cemetery in 1896. On a three-tiered marble pedestal, engraved with the name, C.B. Merchant, is a huge charcoal-colored ball, 36 inches in diameter. Although many of the markers in the old cemetery bear the ostentation of the Victorian era, this one takes the cake.

People who visited the monument out of curiosity when it was first erected used to admire the ball’s highly polished texture. Then, one day, a rough spot began to appear on one side. It seemed that the tombstone was rotating on its horizontal axis in a rotation from north to south.

As rumors about the stone began to spread, scientists came in to Marion to investigate the phenomenon. One theory was that the ball became more heated than the base, giving rise to creeping. The later contraction of the ball was not sufficient to take up the displacement of heat caused earlier in the day.

According to a Marion County history book published in 1907, the highest point reached by the moving spot was 22 inches from the socket in the base. Soon after, it crept eastward and downward another 20 inches. It has been moving in a similar pattern ever since.

Charlton Myers, a Marion attorney and president of the county historical society, said that scientific explanations may be valid, but few people will always blame the Marion County curiosity on something supernatural.

“After all, nobody around here has ever actually seen the thing move, but everyone knows that it does,” Mr. Myers said. “If science is wrong, then it would either take some pretty heavy machinery to move it, or someone with superhuman strength – that darn ball weighs 5,200 pounds.”

An interesting tidbit from the Grave Addiction website, a visitor sent in information that there are two other known “moving” monuments – one in Claridon and the other in LaRue. All of these monuments, including the Merchant Ball, are located on the same 40 degree latitude. Isn’t that interesting?

Marion County Cemetery is located at 620 Delaware Ave. in Marion, Ohio.

Ghosts Still Haunt Area Graveyards,” by Paula Miner, October 31 1970, Toledo Blade

Marion Cemetery, Grave Addiction

The Rolling Stone of Marion Cemetery, Weird U.S.

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Christopher Tillman

Author | Filmmaker | Speaker Christopher Tillman has been actively exploring claims of the paranormal since 1993. He currently resides in Toledo, Ohio.

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