Woodlawn Cemetery has long been a favorite among ghosthunters and thrillseekers due to its history as being the final resting place for many of Toledo’s early founders. The giant pyramid in the middle of the place might have something to do with it, too.
Founded in 1876, not 1878 as other ghosthunting sites claim, Woodlawn achieved national historical status in 1998. It’s home to forty-two mausoleums, most of which are for the prominent families who helped Toledo grow and prosper into the city it is today. I’m sure you’ll recognize the names – Berdan, Secor, Spitzer, Snyder, and Stranahan to name a few.
Two notable Civil War officers are buried here as well. Major General James B. Steedman, who fought at Chickamauga, and Colonel Henry G. Neubert, who participated in Sherman’s “March To The Sea,” have monuments erected in their honor.
Then there’s a few strange tombstones. These are most likely the strangest you’re likely to find in the area.
One of them is a granite reproduction of an easy chair. Yes, an easy chair. Carved out of stone. Bessie Ludwig spent the last twenty-five years of her life in that easy chair and, when she passed in 1930, her family had an exact likeness of it carved for her grave. You have to see it to believe it.
And, then, there’s the pyramid. This is the most famous monument in the cemetery and it’s the one thing everyone remembers about their visit to Woodlawn.
The pyramid stands 26′ tall and weighs an estimated 1000 tons. It marks the grave of John Gunckel, the founder of the Toledo Newsboys Association. Many people have claimed to capture interesting, ghostly photos around this monument.
But interesting tombstones and famous burials aside, what really captures our attention about the place are the legends of ghostly goings-on that seem to swirl around the place.
Everyone, I’m sure, is familiar with the rumors of cult activity going on inside the cemetery at night. As far as I know, no one has actually seen this cult activity as it happens, nor knows what such activity may involve, but there are reports of “paraphernalia” and occult-oriented graffiti being found by cemetery grounds staff.
In addition to human strangeness that may be going on, there are also claims of paranormal happenings occurring as well.
Many have reported seeing a ghostly woman in a white dress moving through the cemetery. She is most often seen at night, though some have claimed a daylight encounter. Eyewitnesses say she wanders frequently near the gates leading into the cemetery. There have been a few who say this phantom woman has even spoken to them, asking if they have seen her lost daughter.
No one knows who she is or if she’s even a permanent resident of the cemetery. Many claim to have seen her, or at least glimpses of her, but to my knowledge no one has been able to catch her appearance on film.
Cover photo: Travels Of A Hobgoblin Taphophile
Woodlawn Cemetery is located at 1502 West Central Avenue in Toledo, Ohio.
Lucas County, Ohio Exploration