Columbus Ohio has its fair share of urban legends and spooky ghost stories. As the autumn season and Halloween approaches, the veil between the living and the dead is supposedly rumored to thin down, which causes supernatural presence to become more and more prevalent. One such rumor is of a demonic presence lurking deep within Greenlawn cemetery which is located directly next to I-70. The cemetery entrance can be reached by going West of Greenlawn Avenue until you reach a dead end (it is next to the Ohio Psychiatry Hospital).
It was a warm and pleasant autumn day back in 2004 when I had first heard rumors of such an evil and demonic presence lurking within Greenlawn Cemetery. It was the beginning of the quarter and a friend of mine whom I had attended Ohio State University with were taking a break from class. My friend James at the time was indulged heavily into local occult research and had shown me a tattered diary of what appeared to have been a man diagnosed with schizophrenia at the Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry, which is right next to Greenlawn Cemetery. During a trip to the cemetery one day for a photography project, James had discovered a worn out journal lying in the foliage of dead bushes and trees near the cemetery entrance. The contents of the journal contained bizarre ramblings of a man who claimed (among other things) to have located a stairway or door within a certain tomb or mausoleum somewhere within Greenlawn Cemetery. This door or stairway, supposedly lead to a portal where demons could travel back and forth between our world and theirs.
James had mentioned to me that he had in his possession other, strange and rare books on such forbidden subjects, but he did not allow me access to them. Even the contents of the journal were kept hidden from my eyes, though James had explained quite a bit about its contents to me. That same night he had asked me if I had wanted to explore Greenlawn Cemetery with him. At first I was reluctant, dismissing his findings as the ramblings of a demented madman, but James had explained in a very convincing argument that people like this man were often diagnosed as schizophrenic simply because they were able to see things that no one else could see, which in his defense, was a valid argument for the man’s supernatural findings and documentation. I agreed; perhaps this man was not crazy after all, but just simply appeared crazy because he was able to see things that no one else could see. I suppose my curiosity and general interest in both the occult and the supernatural got the better of me and I agreed to embark on this quest to find the “stairway to hell”.
By the time we had reached the entrance to Greenlawn cemetery, I became rather reluctant to go in. Perhaps I was indeed afraid, not necessarily of stumbling upon some demonic force, but more so because we were technically trespassing and I did not wish for any encounters with police. Lucky for us, the area was rather run down and it did not appear as if there would be too many police patrols in the area. James had handed me a tire iron, telling me to keep a weapon ready. When I asked why, he simply explained that there was the possibility of cultists in the cemetery. This had me worried, as I had never dealt with such people and did not know what to expect.
For the most part the night was warm and calm, but as we approached the central area of the cemetery, the winds started to pick up and we felt a slight bit of rain. Fortunately for us, it did not rain and but it sure did get cold and windy from time to time and I would often feel an unnatural chill and coldness surrounding my face and there were times when I felt numb. James was however, stoic about it and we continued to press onward into the cemetery until we found what we were looking for…
“Find the boy who will never become a man and give him an offering (there is a grave of a young boy and it is often covered with toys, so I’m sure there may have been others who have attempted to find the portal). He will appear at the witching hour and lead you to the man who lies waiting for his true love who will never come back to him (I assume it is one of those graves that were meant to be made for a couple; the wife is dead, but was probably buried elsewhere) and he will guide you to the man in black who will show you the way to the otherworld.”
Note: We left the boy an offering, but he never appeared; we had waited for at least an hour after 3AM so we proceeded to look for the grave that could possibly belong to the man in question, but never found it. We searched the entire night, but could not find anything and by early morning, around 5AM we decided to call it quits since we had both agreed that the care taker would most likely be up by then.
Though it was still dark, it became a bit less eerie as the morning sky emerged. James had explained that based on his research, all the spirits within the cemetery would be resting by now which was why we no longer felt that unnatural coldness. Unfortunately we had never returned to Greenlawn and James had long since moved to Atlanta Georgia and I had not heard from him since he graduated in 2005 so there is no way to actually confirm the contents of the diary again.
All I know is, that every time autumn approaches, it makes me remember this event back in 2004 and it often makes we wonder whether or not such a portal could ever exist.