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Excerpt from Haunted Ohio III: Still More Ghostly Tales from the Buckeye State copyright @ 1994 Chris Woodyard
The Haunted Trunk
Around 1971 Judy and her husband Jim purchased an old immigrant trunk from an antique dealer in Pleasant Hill, Ohio. It was held together with iron strap hinges, had a domed lid make of three individual boards, and it was big enough to hide a man. It dated from 1720-40 and was painted with faded red buttermilk paint.
When the family moved to an 1854 brick house in Champaign County, they cleaned up the trunk and put it in the family room. Immediately Judy found herself inexplicably terrified of certain rooms at night, certain that an intruder was in the house.
Judy's mother, who is blind, came for a visit and complained of Judy walking around all night, up and down the hall and stairs. Then when Judy returned from an errand, she found her mother with her back pressed up against the door. As s joke she touched her mother's arm and said, "Boo!"
"My mother jumped straight up. She had felt a presence going up the stairs. She said to it, 'In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, get thee hence!' The menacing presence forced her back down the stairs."
Jim's sister also asked why Jim kept going up and down the steps all night. She saw a very tall dark-bearded man in old-fashioned clothes. Young daughter Beth saw him too. To the children he seemed very solid, very real and very mean! When Beth saw him striding down the hall towards her she ran to the bathroom, crawled behind the toilet and screamed.
After Jim's sister refused to visit any more, Judy called the neighborhood "white witch." The woman brought in a silver needle suspended from a tripod which she placed on different pieces of furniture. It didn't react to anything until she put it on the trunk. The needle quivered, then went in a circle.
The woman asked questions and the needle moved one way for yes, another direction for no. According to the oracle, there were two people associated with the trunk: a man and a girl. The girl had brought the trunk from Scotland when she eloped with her lover. Her father followed the couple, killed his daughter, and then himself. His violent spirit couldn't rest.
Judy asked the antique dealers if they knew any history of the trunk. The answer came back swiftly: An ancestor of the original owners had brought the trunk from Scotland, they said. And, according to family legend, she had been murdered.
Jim was skeptical. He moved the trunk to the foot of Brian's bed. Then Brian said that he saw the menacing tall man at night, that the man picked him up.
Finally, since she couldn't stand to destroy the trunk, Judy sold it to a friend who laughed at the idea of ghosts. The friend died shortly afterwards and when her husband sold the trunk, Judy lost track of it. So if you find a coffin-size trunk, painted a faded red, at a bargain price, let the buyer bewareyou might be buying a murderer.