Explore Haunted Ohio: Click on a county below to find your local Ohio ghost stories!

Delaware County Ohio Ghosts and Hauntings - O’Shaughnessy Reservoir


The Old Haunted House of Delaware Entombed in a Watery Grave Underneath the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

Delaware & Powell, OH 43015
The Old Haunted House of Delaware Entombed in a Watery Grave Underneath the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir
Just off Riverside Drive, between the cities of Delaware and Powell, Ohio, and along the rambling Scioto River, there was once an old haunted house. Little remained of it but a skeleton of stone and brick, faded fresco paintings on its ceiling and walls, and a small tomb nearly hidden in the brush of the yard. People who traveled to see it would often feel a certain unease as they peered into its interior and took a sniff of the dusty air. Some were bolder and would light a lantern, enter, and nearly get lost in the black depths of room upon room filled with shreds of peeling wallpaper, broken furnishings, and windows long gone of their glass.
Then in some dark corner, they might see a young woman, shaking and quivering while she squatted on the floor. As they blinked wildly at their find, she would fade a moment, reappearing in a bent position that made it look like she would dart off, which she did. Then, finally, there would be a pitter-patter of feet, and she would vanish into the blackness. Some would bolt to the safety of the front door. Others searched her out, although they could never find her.
In the late 1800s, many picnicked next to the old house. The romantic generally agreed that the man who built it was an Englishman who had come to the isolated area in 1834. He had knocked upon the farmer’s door who owned the property and stated he wanted to buy a piece of his land near the river. Not expecting the outsider to buy it, the farmer, not used to strangers, set an exorbitantly high price on the property. However, upon producing the amount in Spanish gold coins, the farmer could not disagree that the land would be perfect for this strange man.
Those in the tiny community watched curiously as an enormous and extravagant home was built with tapestries and wallpaper and beautiful paintings on the ceilings. There were stairways and room upon room dressed in the finest furnishings. Once it appeared there could be nothing more added to the grand home, the man left for some time, then returned with a beautiful girl most believed was the Englishman’s wife. He also brought several servants.
For many days, the man, girl, and servants lived reclusively within the home, keeping to themselves—no one living in the house went outside the property, and nobody in the neighborhood was invited within. It was not long, though, that those passing on the old rutted road by the house heard screams and cries when they passed by. But if they dared go near, the sounds would disappear as if someone was guarding the area and whoever made the pitiful sounds was hushed swiftly.
One night, the farmer who had sold the property returned home late from the local mill. He was somewhat surprised to come upon a group of horsemen riding toward him. Not knowing who they might be and thinking they could be thieves; he slipped into the brush and hid while they passed. However, as they went by, he could see that it was the Englishman and his servants, and between them, the young woman who was supposed to be the Englishman’s wife was tied to her saddle, weeping and begging not to be killed. The farmer stayed quiet and was able to hide until they were gone, then made haste to his home.
However, the next night as the man was riding back after completing an errand, he saw the same group returning from somewhere unknown. The woman was not among them. As he tried to secret himself in the brush again, his horse tripped on a root, and he was thrown. The cluster of men quickly surrounded him and, through questioning, found out what the farmer had seen the night before. Instead of killing him, they made him sign an oath of secrecy and gave him a leather sack of gold to seal the pact.
The stranger lived in the home for nearly twenty years. Then during a cool October, hunters found the house abandoned. The furnishings and those within were gone. It appeared the home was ransacked but tossed upon the floor were papers that revealed the Englishman had been a pirate. When he had amassed a great fortune, he retired and chose this place as his home. But only weeks before he left the seas, he had come upon a ship with a high-ranking Spanish family aboard. He killed them all but one beautiful child, a girl he sent to a French convent until she was sixteen. Then she was brought to the home along the Scioto River and lived and perhaps died by the pirate’s hand.
Years passed, and a happy family bought the home. However, they quickly fled, saying a young Spanish woman haunted the place. But, of course, nobody would stay there, and it was eventually abandoned and left to only picnickers who sowed the story of the pirate, his captive, and the ghost. Then in the 1920s, the O’Shaughnessy Dam was built on the Scioto River. Its overflow waters made the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, and as the waters rose, they embraced the old, haunted house and its spirit and pulled them down to its dark, cold watery grave.


Perkins Observatory