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The Winding Staircase is located outside Port Washington, Ohio.
Greg Wells, who visited the Winding Staircase with me in August 2005, was also the first person to tell me about this legend. Here's the e-mail he sent me:
"The winding staircase is a very skinny, bumpy dirt road that goes around and around up a very steep hill. I would recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle just in case you get in to some mud. Now about twenty some years ago there were very active satanic cults that practiced up there, and this was a well know fact around the southern part of the county. I went up there for the first time in 1994 when I participated in a search for an old lady that disappeared from her home in Port Washington that August. I found a lot of old structures that were nothing more than ruins and foundations, lots of clothing items just scattered everywhere, and just an overall feeling of "weird" about it. Looking down in some of the foundations, you could not see the bottom even with a light. DO NOT GO ALONE...take my word for it that place is jinxed....I know from personal experience and thats another story in itself. The cults supposedly have been active up there again, which is somewhat hearsay, but that came from the police department some time ago."
I will agree with Greg, it is a creepy area. And I'm not sure if it's just the stories that make it that way or what - it's really doesn't look scary. When we visited, I thought I heard a little girl laughing in the woods. I thought it was probably just my mind playing tricks on me, but check out this e-mail from Greg:
"Got a little update for you. I was talking to a friend of mine who knows the area of winding stairs well...I told him about the voices and I told him you heard laughing. He asked me if it was a little girl and I told him it was. He said that has been there for years....hair is now raising up on the back of your neck....lol
Any thoughts on it now?!"
Very interesting stuff! In addition to the satanic ritual stories, many people claim to have witnessed wind, thunder, and lightning while driving along the road, even though there aren't any storms in the area. Some people have also claimed to see dark figures rising out of the graves at Centenary Cemetery, which is located along the road.
In April 2006 I received an e-mail from Eric Wiseman with some additional information about the hauntings at the Winding Staircase:
"The things you have posted about the girl laughing I have heard too. I'm not exactly sure why there is a little girl there, but there is. A few years ago a psychic had visited the area, along with a few cops, when they were looking for Mrs. Loader. They gave us a little information about the area. Apparently, there was a little boy dropped in a hole of sorts around the area. Devil worshipers did use the area for their rituals - that is a fact. As for them still using the area, I've not seen or heard of anything lately. As for the Centanary Cemetery, I've never seen anything out of the ordinary happening there. See, the only reason I can say these things is because I use to live on the Winding Stairs with my mom, brother, aunt, uncle, and cousins. My cousins and I used to walk to the cemetery on Friday the 13th and various other times. I've played hide and seek in the cemetery, and we've never seen anything out of the ordinary there...that was one of the few places that never bothered us. The thing that really got us was the top of the Winding Stairs."
In August 2006 I received an e-mail from Nikki regarding the Winding Staircase:
I have lived on the Winding Stairs for 16 years. I have heard all the stories connected with this road. I am not saying that they are not true...SOME of the stories are probably true, but I think they are stretched very far. But I can say for the past 16 years nothing of the sort has happened. I looked at your photos and like shown, the road is closed for repairs. It is starting to cave in and wash away in spots. The animal bones are nothing out of the ordinary for this area, these woods are very populated with animals and they do eventually die which leaves their bones. The NO TRESPASSING signs have nothing to do with the stories - a guy from Canal Fulton owns alot of the property and does not want people trespassing on the land, and he does prosecute trespassers. The trash in the bushes is common on the road. People find it is an easy way to get rid of their trash. We have caught a bunch of people dumping on the road. The stories are just stories anymore - nothing of the sort goes on anymore. The only thing that does go on is the local teenagers who like to pull off the road and drink, and that usually doesn't last because the cops get called and they are dealt with.
As for the graveyard, like my cousin Eric Wiseman said, they did play hide and seek there and never saw a thing. I have driven past that graveyard for 16 years at different hours of the day and night and have never seen ghosts rising from the graves. The only thing I saw were people tipping over the gravestones, which I think is very disrespectful. You are more than welcome to come to my house at night and see for yourself. This is just and old country road with stories behind it. But again, the stories and actions don't happen on this road anymore and I would just like that to be known because people look at me weird when I tell them where I live...the first question out of their mouth is "Do you see any of the things that go on up there?" When you said that you heard a girl laughing, one of the pictures was taken was right past my house and sound travels up here. We hear a lot of the sounds from town. We hear the semis on interstate 77. I have never heard unusual sounds.
In January 2008 I received the following e-mail from Jon K. about his trip to the Winding Staircase:
It was around 1:30 - 2:00 in the morning. Four of my friends and I decided to go check out this Winding Staircase we had heard about. Three of them had not heard any of the rumors, and my friend Robert and I had read about it on your site. So Robert and I told them nothing about the supposed happenings on the Staircase, just to be sure that anything they would see or hear would be genuine. It was a clear night, not a cloud in any view. We started up the Staircase and nothing weird happened until we got about halfway to the top. We made sure all the batteries on the three cellphones and camera were full and they were. About halfway, 2:17 A.M., one of the cellphones started ringing and the caller id would not show up. The person answered the phone, putting it on speaker phone. All we could hear sounded like nails on a chalkboard. Then the phone went dead. This happened once again at 2:19 A.M. to one of the other passenger's phone. The third passenger shut her cellphone off before anything happened. Upon reaching the top we pulled aside, and by the light of the car saw a cross in the middle of the field. One of the people in the back attempted to take a picture of it. The picture came out all black, and immediately after the camera went dead. We tried to turn it back on, but only got far enough to see "Low Battery" on the screen and it once again shut off. This was enough for the passengers, so we decided to continue down the other side. The only thing strange that happened on the trip down was the radio station changing on its own. Like someone had pressed seek, but no ones hands had gone near the radio. This never happened on my car before and hasn't happened since. Once we got to the end and turned off, it stopped right on the station we had it on before. We got to the bottom and turned off to go back the normal road to Port Washington. We tried the camera and two cell phones. They were back to being fully charged. And on the phones, we checked the incoming calls at the times that we had recieved the mysterious calls, and there were no calls showing.
Upon a second trip to the Staircase, it was only my friend Robert, Cody, and I. Cody knew of the staircase and we had told him of our experience. We got to the Staircase, and all the way up nothing at all weird happened. But at the top we pulled aside to get a better view of the cross. And once the light hit the cross something jumped from the cross. What it was for sure, I don't know. But I know it was something I had never seen before. To tell you the honest to God truth, it looked like an El Chupacabra. I can't say it was for sure because of how quickly it was gone. But we all wrote on separate pieces of paper what we thought it resemebled, and all three papers read "chupacabra." It was too small to be a deer and too big to be a cat. It had, what looked like, wings. Now you have been to the Staircase and I'm not sure if you have seen the cross. But if you are ever there again you will notice that from the cross to the embankment behind it is a good 20-30 feet. And for something of its size to jump from the cross, take one bound, and be gone over the embankment in a matter of, literally, only 2 seconds seems physically impossible to me.
A huge thank you to Greg Wells for taking me to the Winding Staircase...he was a fantastic tour guide!!
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