Note: We hope you like this story about the Salem House, but we also hope you don’t actually go out to the Salem House. We hate the thought of any of our readers getting hurt and/or arrested out there!
First things first: The Salem House and the Mongoloid House are not the same place. A lot of people (including me) have confused the two places over the years.
The Salem House is actually a collection of buildings located, unsurprisingly, on Salem Road just north of Marion Cardington Road East. It occupies a place in local lore as a ‘haunted house,’ though how it got that reputation is unclear.
Facts about the Salem House are few and far between. According to the Marion County auditor’s office, the property is owned by a Mr. Kramer of Powell, Ohio. A note attached to the property file states that, “All buildings are…in very poor condition.” Furthermore, the house on the property burned almost to the ground at some point, and it was later razed completely.
Spook stories about the Salem House, however, are fairly widespread in Marion County
One of the more common stories surrounding the place goes like this one, courtesy of Kari Hall.
The man was a Civil War veteran and he and his wife couldn’t have kids. Suddenly she got pregnant and they ended up having two kids. During a fight they were having, she told him the kids weren’t his, and so he killed them in the barn with a shotgun and then killed his wife in the basement before killing himself.
Likewise, the following story, which an anonymous reader submitted, clearly has a lot in common with the one above:
When we went to the house on Salem Road, one of my friends told me the story about how a Civil War veteran had owned the property (in the 1800s) before going crazy and murdering his wife and children and then hanging himself in the barn. In the 1950s another family moved into the house, and the spirit of the soldier remained and didn’t want anyone living there so he drove the new father mad, and he, in turn, killed his family and then himself.
[When we went out there] we walked into and through the first story of the house. There were a lot of odd things spray painted on the wall, most of them negative towards Jesus and God and glorifying Satan. This was 11 or 12 years ago. In any case, we didn’t see anything supernatural.
So what’s the source of these stories?
Long before this web site, Andy Henderson posted a little piece on his excellent web site, Forgotten Ohio, about the Salem House (though he also confuses it with the Mongoloid House):
The story goes that a Civil War veteran who lived there killed his wife and children and then hung himself in the barn. Today if you visit the barn you might hear the strange noises which many report. The house is also said to be haunted, although it was merely built on the site of the murder house and is not original.
Andy, who isn’t from Marion, told me he received his information anonymously and has no idea about its origins. Obviously, the story on his website shares similarities with the stories above. This begs the question: Were people in Marion first telling the story about a murderous Civil War veteran before someone submitted it to Forgotten Ohio? Or did Forgotten Ohio publish the story first, and then people in Marion started repeating it? It’s hard to say.
There are other stories that are not variations of the one appearing on the Forgotten Ohio website, though they, too, have a supernatural bent. Take, for example, this story which someone submitted anonymously:
Some people claim that if you drive out on Salem Road, turn off the engine and sit there, these people/spirits would come and rock the car and try to get in. The car wouldn’t start back up until they left or decided to leave you alone.
Other people have talked about their personal experiences at the Salem House. Heather Ingle, for example, says:
I went the house in around 1994. The house was standing and walls were all intact. There was graffiti on the walls like “Leave while you can.” and “This is hell.” I looked around [and was] scared out of my mind. I remember there being a basement but no stairs [leading down to the basement] and none [lying collapsed below] in the basement.
Then in 2009 I went back to the house. At the time I didn’t know it was the [same] house. We were just out with friends and told us they knew where a haunted house was. So we pulled into the driveway, and I told everyone I had been there before. We didn’t get out but just took pics. When looking at the pics [later], we could see orbs.
For others, their experiences at the Salem House were much more mundane. Take this example, courtesy of a woman who went there in 1997:
I attended Pleasant High School and some friends and I were bored (like always around those parts). I had just moved to the school, so I hadn’t heard of the house. My friends wanted to show me, so we went to Salem Road.
The house hadn’t burned yet. It was kind of unimpressive, really, but it gave us something to do. I remember the walls having stupid things written on them, probably intending to scare people. Nothing happened while we were there, but some of the other girls got scared so we left.
Nicholas Peer, who visited the property back in February of 2011, had this to say:
We went out there on February 21st at around midnight. We pulled up in the driveway, turned off the car and walked out to the barns. We went through them, but nothing happened until we went into the basement of the house. That’s when we saw a head peaking through the window and I heard a noise. We freaked out and ran back to the car. Before we got to the car, I turned around and saw a black figure by the barn. My buddy tried starting up his car quite a few times, but it wouldn’t start. We had to push it down the road and then it started.
In the end, it’s easy to dismiss stories like Nicholas’ as nothing more than the product of overactive teenage imaginations. However, in early 2014, I received an e-mail from Mike Z. with an intriguing photo attached. The image appears to show a face staring out at him from the ruins of the burned-out house. Regardless of whether or not one believes the Salem House is haunted, the photo is pretty darn creepy.
– Josh Simpkins