We’re going to check out the weird and maybe creepy this week on My Town Monday.
When I was a little kid, maybe seven or eight, my grandpa took me to Community Golf Course a few times while he practiced putting. After he finished, we always drove around the park, taking in the scenery and sights.
Community borders Hills and Dales Park, a beautiful, historic landmark in and of itself with picturesque trails and picnic shelters. The park was a gift to the community from John H. Patterson in the early 20th century. Patterson Road cuts a winding path between the park and the golf course, and just a little ways north of its highest point sits a small stone tower.
The tower fascinated me as a kid, and I wanted to go inside, but it’s always been locked as far as I can remember. When I asked my grandpa why, he said someone had killed him/herself there. I never got any vibes from it that the place might be haunted, and never really gave it much thought for years after that. But every now and then, I drive past, and wonder, so I decided to do some research.
I always just called it “that tower at Hills and Dales Park,” but it apparently has some much more evocative names. Most commonly, it’s called Frankenstein’s Castle. Some people refer to it as the “Witches’ Tower.” There’s a story behind its closing, too. My grandpa was right about someone dying there, although it’s questionable as to whether or not it was suicide. According to a newspaper article in the Daily Gazette (Xenia) on May 18,1967, a couple of teens from nearby Bellbrook took shelter in the tower during a thunderstorm. The Kettering Police got a phone call the evening before, about someone being injured at the tower. The young woman was found halfway up the stairs, dead, with extensive burns all over her face and chest, indicative of a lightning strike. The guy also had burns on his face, but survived. He couldn’t remember anything of the event, but others surmised he was coming down the stairs behind the girl when lightning struck the tower’s metal gate/door, sending a fireball up the interior steps.
No one seems certain of when the tower was built, but it’s been there since at least the 1930s. Some theorize that it was built by the CCC during the Great Depression, to serve as a lookout tower. (I never realized it had once had a roof until I found the image below!)
And yes, some consider it haunted. There are accounts of people seeing lights in the narrow, vertical windows at night – not like someone’s in there with a flashlight, but small spots in the shape of a ball. The same people also saw a figure on top of the tower, that then ran down the interior steps and outside, then disappeared.
The same people returned a few days afterward, and saw a rope noose hanging out one of the tower’s windows. On another visit, they saw a shadowy figure in white hanging upside down from the noose. Other people report being chased across the road by the woman in white.
I’m skeptical by nature, so have trouble believing any of this. But then, I have never been to the tower after dark, which is of course when the creepy stuff always happens. Maybe I should try it some time?
If you live(d) in the Dayton area, have you ever been to the tower? Do you think there’s any truth to the stories? If you’re from elsewhere, do you have any weird, haunted landmarks like this in your hometown, and do you believe the stories?
Here’s some video of the tower today:
More at the My Town Monday blog
Contemporary tower photo via forgottenoh.com
Historic photo of tower by Rollyn Putterbaugh via fotki.com