What can you say about a place called Helltown? Helltown is one of Ohio’s most famous horror/supernatural legends. It’s a good example of the way folklore can get really complicated. There is no single haunted farmhouse, no headless train conductor, or ghostly children running around in the woods. Helltown is home to six or seven separate legends, each with dozens of variations. All of which has led this area in Boston Township to be grouped as one haunted site and given an evil-sounding name.
Helltown is actually the northern part of Summit County, encompassing several towns, including Boston, Boston Township, Peninsula, Sagamore Hills, and Northfield Township. The area is often referred to as Boston Mills.
Here are some of the Legends!
“Mutant Town” and “Mutane Town”
These are two alternate names for Helltown. The excellent website Ghosts of Ohio did an impressive job of researching the Helltown stories, and found out that the area was first called “Mutant Town” when the federal government bought up the land in the area in 1974 to create the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. They boarded up most of the houses they bought and put US Government “No Trespassing” signs everywhere because there had been a chemical dump in the area. So naturally everyone assumed there were slimy mutants wandering around murdering people.
“Mutane Town” seems to be a simple misspelling of “Mutant Town,” although on another site I here that some one sent them an e-mail which assured him that there had been a butane plant in the area, which somehow led to this name. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Neither is it true that there was a chemical spill in Boston Township.
Thanks to Ghosts of Ohio for the picture.
The Satanic Church
This one goes with the Satan worshiping made against the entire town. The Church, called “Mother of Sorrows” in the real world, has upside-down crosses on it. People say that all the people in the area worship Satan and that there are animal mutilations and satanic symbols all over the place. All of these things lead to the church which is actually an early Irish Catholic church. I have heard the Black masses are conducted here and also there have been reports of midnight satanic masses held in the basement. However, an investigation has confirmed that the church does in fact have some upside-down crosses on it. The upside-down crosses are just a feature of Gothic revival architecture. There is a larger, more prominent right side-up cross atop the steeple.
There is also a direct connection between this church and the spooky Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, located about two miles from the church. “Mater Dolorosa” is Latin for Mother of Sorrows. The deceased members of this church are buried there.
There are a lot of ghost stories from the scary cemetery on top of a hill. It contains graves dating back to the 1800s. There are stories of the cemetery being haunted and that there are ghosts or spirits around the graveyard. One story is that a ghost sits on a bench in the cemetery at night. The cemetery exists and is worth a trip to see, but don’t expect anything bizarre to happen to you.
Getting back to the story, guess what there’s is no bench, and the cemetery is pretty ordinary. Lately the Boston locals have installed floodlights at the cemetery and patrol it regularly, so if you’re going up there, be careful.
The School Bus and the Abandoned House in the Woods
This one has some creepy elements. A haunted school bus with all the seats removed is said to sit at the edge of the woods in Helltown. Legend has it that the kids it was hauling on its last trip were killed by a crazy killer/bunch of crazy killers. They say sometimes you can see either the kids or their killer/killers inside. If it’s a single killer, he sits in the back smoking a cigarette.
However, as the reliable Ghosts of Ohio discovered, the truth is much more ordinary. A guy who was repairing his home lived in the old bus with his family until they could move into the house. The bus has since been towed away.
Thanks to Ghosts of Ohio for the picture.
The End of the World Road
A steep, winding road with a sudden stop is called “the end of the world” road. It’s actually Stanford Road. Nothing too supernatural here, although you’ll hear some weird rumor or another occasionally. There is a good drop off into Brandywine Creek near the road which creates the illusion that you’re driving next to a much larger chasm.
Old Road – Thanks to Ghosts of Ohio for the picture.
Legend has it that you’ll be chased by a hearse if you go to Helltown. A local guy did own a hearse for a while, but I doubt he chased very many people with it. People claimed to actually have been chased by the spectral hearse, which then disappears. Maybe they mistook another car for the hearse.
The Slaughterhouse and Funeral Home
There’s a slaughterhouse not far from the cemetery, or so they say. The Ghosts of Ohio website reports that it’s just part of an old barn. Over time it acquired a reputation as a haunted slaughterhouse where you would see faces if you looked through the windows at night. People also call this building the “abandoned funeral home,” but it’s not.
Of course, Helltown has a crybaby bridge. The actual story is a little fuzzy on the details but at some point in the past, a child was supposedly thrown off the bridge and died in the Cuyahoga river below.
However, the story is not nearly as important as the experiment itself. The rules of this bridge are the most complicated. The following steps must be followed exactly. If you miss one, and the experiment will fail. Here are the Step by Step directions:
- Bring along a spare set of car keys.
- Go there at night.
- Park the car on the bridge.
- Turn off the car.
- Put your other set of car keys in your pocket.
- Get out of the car.
- Lock the doors.
- Walk away from the bridge.
- Wait “a while.”
- Go back to your car.
Upon returning, the car will be mysteriously running, and you will find dusty child’s footprints on the outside of your car.
The bridge is located off of Riverview Road, and leads into Boston Township. The bridge that exists there is quite new. It was built in 1999, replacing a much-older covered bridge that was repeatedly damaged by floods and other elements. The new bridge was constructed using the original piers and abutments, which can still be seen around the foundation.
While exploring underneath the bridge, I discovered many suspicious-looking footprints.
Only minutes after I found all the footprints, I came upon this weird find in another section under the bridge. In the sand there looks like a babies bed, or some kids playing in the sand around the river.
I guess we will never know?
What conclusions can we draw? Well, the stories are all easily explained, so it’s probably not a particularly supernatural place. But the presence of so much discarded junk from the recreational area takeover, as well as the tendency of the area to fill up with fog, make it a creepy place. It is also certainly a fascinating bit of local folklore.
I just watched the show Helltown on tv. No one has mentioned the bunkers that they showed. Does anyone know anything about them?
I have lived near the aria of Boston Ohio. I went to Nordonia High school in Macadonia. And I never heard of any thing weird with that town. I use to go there all the time and even at night,but nothing of a supernatural happing took place. I use to have lunch with a friend of mine in that little town I loved it there they had cute little stores and a cute cafay there, Yes I have been all over the little town now called Hell town. Not far from there in Pennsal Is a Indian buriedal mound. It goes back to hunderds of years, It’s on riverview road or close to it. It’s been over 40 years since I
ve been there. so my memory is a little rusty. But believe me it’s there. In fact I use to go to Brandyfalls ski slope. There a gain I don’t know if the ski slope is still there,or if it is still called Brandywine ski slope.
P.S I no longer live In Northfield Ohio. I now live in Gibsonia pa
Joyce nolker 9-24-19
the government took control of the property because they weren’t sure where the entrances to under ground tunnels were located… better to be safe than sorry.
Somewhere off Stanford Rd. is a small pond that must have been part of a farm a hundred years ago. In the 1950s my friend and I would park on Stanford and walk thru brush to get to the pond and fish in it. I was 16. We could not find any evidence of who owned it because it was all over grown. We always worried about being kicked out but there were big bass in that pond. We saw no evidence of anyone else ever trekking thru there so we called it our secret fishing spot.
I lived in this area for the better part of 20 years and although the remoteness and some of the abandoned structures give a creepy feeling, I never (I repeat: NEVER) experienced anything supernatural. The only time I was ever scared in that area was when I was followed closely by two guys in a truck when I was driving alone – I took various twists and turns to lose them and they kept following me for a while, then got bored of it, I guess, and left me alone. But that could have happened anywhere. I think they were just jerks who felt like scaring a young woman driving alone in a remote area.
I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life. What about the “Windago”. No one has mentioned that. WW
I grew up in Lakewood, Ohio and have never heard of this town or anything that had happened there. Been all around this area Richfield and Ritchie ledges…crazy.
The ghosts really keep the place well groomed and clean! cudo’s to them..maybe they could move to Detroit..
If I go to Brandywine Falls Park, can I get to hell town from there? I want to visit during the day. But no issues with locals, police. Little worried about that.
Rachel, Brandywine Falls is right next to it. We actually just went there recently to see Thomas the Train. Brandywine is right by the crybaby bridge. All of it is within a short drive of each other and there are street signs and plenty of parking. It’s definitely now a cute family oriented area.
From the back of the parking lot for Brandywine Falls you can access Stanford Rd/Stanford Trail. Check it out on a map… it loops into Brandywind Trail as well. Several times in the past I hiked all the way down Stanford Rd to the closure (allegedly the entrance to hell, through which I had just walked, lol) without even realizing I was strolling through a place that many people believe is so very haunted. I will concur, however, that the other end of Stanford Trail that goes right by the old Stanford House feels a bit creepier. But not for any specific reason I can identify. I never heard or saw anything out of the ordinary.
We went there a few times in High School. I distinctly remember we were chased out of town one night by a large pickup truck. It had its brights on and was tailgating us. It was quite frightening.
My friends and I have gone exploring there many times and unfortunately have never found anything everything has been torn down. There are a few abandoned houses still there (we only saw three) but the bus was towed away and the church I haven’t looked hard enough for. When I say it’s a hike to actually find a house it is a hike. There was one house at the beginning of our hike right before the road closed sign that was abandoned. There was also a barn that was extremely creepy because you could tell homeless people would squat there on the regular. There’s another house all the way past the second road closed sign at the top of the third hill, it’s huge and boarded up honestly looks like a brand new house. What we found was so strange is that at the second road closed sign if you walk to the path on the left there’s a trail that leads you to a large creek, there looks like there once was a bridge there it was taken down and moved to the side. I’m not sure why it would of been removed it honestly look like it was new too. My only guess is that whatever is on the other side could lead to some more missing details to these stories. We’ve been wanting to go back but have not yet.
Hello to all, I am a born and raised Ohioan, lived all over Ohio for 30+ years of my life and I have heard various versions of these stories being a boy scout many years in my youth… I am no longer living in Ohio, but I do visit home as much as possible. I am now a photographer and I would like to know if I were to go there in the daylight hours, would I have to worry much about the locals and or police? I am absolutely serious, but very curious about this place!
Hey Drew (and Ferris),
There’s really not much to see (spooky wise). Most of the legends were based upon houses and buildings that are long since torn down/burned down.
First- yes you can see/explore this area. Most of the land is part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park now. The only thing you must be cautious of is respecting people’s private property as there are still inhabited houses throughout the park. So no worries about locals or police unless you trespass on what will obviously be private property when you see it. Seriously, you can’t screw it up unless you are a complete moron.
I can direct you to two locations:
1) “End of the world” part of hell town. Just google “Stanford House Hostel.” It is on Stanford Road in Boston, OH. Just park at the nearby visitor area of “Boston Store” and hike up Stanford Road. Go past Stanford House and you will come to the road closure. You can hike past the road closure and take it all the way to Brandywine Falls if you want. It is sort of a spooky road since it is cut off but the reality is the road is used occasionally by other hikers, horses and I believe they use part of it for a nature run from time to time.
2) Jaite/Burned Down Papermill. On Google Maps find the intersection of Vaughn Road and Riverview Road near Peninsula OH or Boston OH. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Headquarters is here and there is parking. Hike East on Vaughn Road towards Brandywine Ski. Right after crossing over the river you can turn right (South) onto the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. After about a quarter mile, in the woods off to the right are the remains of Jaite Paper Mill. You’ll have to hike through the woods a little bit off of the trail to find it. Just study the area on google maps and you should be able to see the open area in the woods, just off the trail.
Can some give me directions? It sounds awesome
im new to the area and love checking out old abandoned places, been somewhat of a hobby, i would love to go to helltown but cannot find a map to it as well as finding other places and their locations, anyone have suggestions plz email me at email@example.com
That’s cool enough to make me want to take a trip to Ohio when we take our last trip to Johnstown Pa. for my mother in laws burial when she passes. Never knew Ohio was so interesting
Theres a tombstone up in Boston mills Cemetary that has a guitar on it. Someone said you can hear a guitar playing at night up there.
Probably should be noted that according to NPS folks and people going out that way, a majority of the buildings have been torn down.
Jo johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
I find the facts interesting. However not to doubt anyone but I think if you believe hard enough you could hear and see anything.
you should call the ghost adventure team and have them investigate it it would be awesome to see on tv
Visiting here has haunted me for longer than i can remember. As i drove through this area, nothing seemed to weird until i got to the abandoned houses. It was mid afternoon, and it was raining. Out of an old house with windows broken came a shrill scream and a face appeared at one of the upstairs windows. I started to drive away but heard another scream and turned around slowely to look. A small little girl was walking across the road in front of me. She appeared to be crying, and looked very upset. She was dragging a little toy behind her. I blinked, and she was gone, but her toy was still lying there. I still have it, but i am never going back again.
I BELIVE IT DOSE HAVE GHOST THERE I WENT THERE AND THERE WAS SOME ONE TALKING IN ONE OF THE HOUSES AND WE SEEN THINGS THERE TO ITS NOT A PLACE TO GO AT NIGHT I WILL NEVRE GO BACK AFTER WHAT I SEEN A RILL BELIVER
I live in Sagamore Hills, there is nothing haunted about the place. “Helltown” is Boston Mills, as mentioned. And that is not haunted either. As a (stupid) teenager, my friends and I would drive around there a night and the only thing that chased us out was the cops. They patrol pretty good at night, so I wouldn’t get any ideas about going there a night and doing any experiments with your car on the bridge. You’ll probably get arrested. It’s a great place to go hiking, biking, fishing, sightseeing. There’s good skiing in the winter at Brandywine. Don’t miss all the fun stuff while looking for the ‘haunted’ things.
…..wow! Interesting stuff. Neat site.
My parents grew up on farms in Noble County….some scarry stories come out of there also.
Dude can you tell us any of those stories!!!!!!!!!!