Ghosts of Woodland Cemetery

Grave of Johnny Morehouse, Dayton

Among the earliest articles written for The Pennsylvania Rambler was the story of Johnny Morehouse and his beloved dog. When five-year-old Johnny Morehouse drowned in the Miami and Erie Canal in August 1860, his tragic death would be the basis for a legend that is still a part of Ohio folklore. Since his burial in Woodland Cemetery, visitors have spotted the ghosts of the young boy and his dog playing among the tombstones. Note: More about Johnny Morehouse can be found here: A Boy and His Dog.

Since publishing the article about Johnny Morehouse I have received a handful of experiences from visitors to Woodland Cemetery and want to share two of them.

Note: If you choose to visit Woodland Cemetery, please be respectful of those resting there.


The first email comes from Ashley R. who writes:

“Living near Woodland Cemetery in the late 2000s, I was very familiar with the legend of Johnny Morehouse. My boyfriend and I would often visit the cemetery and on the days I was not working, I spent hours there, walking the cemetery roads, studying the large monuments, reading the information on them and taking in the stone artwork.

I never had an experience there until the October of 2009. That month I had two experiences that left me baffled.

The first happened while jogging near the intersection of Wright Brothers and Lookout Roads. The day was cool and gloomy and I had not originally planned on going out that morning. After a couple cups of coffee, I talked myself into going out for a short walk.

I entered the gates and began my familiar circuit around the cemetery grounds. I was walking along Wright Brothers Road [note: she was headed towards Lookout Road], when I noticed something running among the stones to my left. I paused to stare at the thing making its way towards the road.

I immediately could make out it was a dog of sorts. It bounded onto the road about fifty yards ahead of me. Once on the road, I recognized it as a large golden retriever.

The dog paused on the road and gave me this strange look, as if I was the one who did not belong there.

Without thinking, I called for it. The dog barked at me and bounded off to my right. It jumped off the road and the moment it should have landed on the ground, it vanished. I just stood there in shock, scanning the area to my right, trying to see it, thinking my mind had played a trick on me. But it was gone. I wanted to say it disappeared behind a stone, but I know it didn’t because there were no stones at the spot it vanished.

The second experience happened only two or three days after the experience with the dog. I had made my way onto Spruce Path and started up the hill. As I was walking up the hill, I noticed another walker at the top of the hill coming towards me. I was used to seeing other people walking, so I did not think much about it when I first saw him.

I had gone about twenty yards, when I stopped. There was something about the man that seemed out of place. He was dressed in a gray sportscoat and matching slacks. He had black hair and small, well-groomed moustache.

As I watched him, something else caught my curiosity. The man appeared to be walking, but had not moved. I could see his legs were moving, but he appeared to be stuck in place. [note: in communicating with Ashley she added the figure was “fuzzy-looking” and “out of focus.”]

Curious about what I was seeing, I moved to get a closer look and as I did, it just faded away.

We moved shortly after this experience and I have often wondered why I only ever had those two experiences, both of them happening right before we moved.”


The second letter comes from Denise T. who did a tour of famous gravesites in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, with her roommate who she refers to as “A”. The event she describes took place in the summer of 2019. Denise writes:

A and I arrived at Woodland Cemetery to visit the famous graves there. We hit up all the famous people buried there: the Wright Brothers, Paul Dunbar, Erma Bombeck. If they were famous, we visited their grave.

I could have spent all day there photographing the monuments. We had stopped so I could take pictures of the angel atop the grave of Daniel Slentz. I finished snapping a couple pictures and we were preparing to continue our walk when A asked me if I had taken a picture of the elderly couple in “old-fashioned” clothing.

I asked her “What couple?” I had not seen anybody while we walked through the cemetery except for the groundskeepers and I know I had not seen anybody while I was standing there taking pictures.

“They were walking among the tombstones over there.” A points to the section behind us. There is nobody there. “They were there a moment ago. I saw them.”

A said she didn’t get a good look at them, but she thought they were an older couple dressed in what she kept calling “old-fashioned” clothing. We walked over to where she saw them, but did not see them.

I don’t doubt she saw something. At first, we thought maybe they were reenactors of some kind, but we never encountered them again, nor did we encounter any other reenactors. There are so many large stones and trees, if it would have been real people, they could have been out of sight instantly. If the were real people, why were they dressed in “old-fashioned” clothing? If they were reenactors, why didn’t we see others?

I don’t know what A saw, but she’s convinced it was a ghostly couple out for a stroll. I have my doubts, but I can’t really argue with her, because we did not see them again while there. In our entire trip that was the only thing we couldn’t explain.”

One thought on “Ghosts of Woodland Cemetery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s