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Summit County Ohio Ghosts and Hauntings - Lonesome Lock


Between 1825 and 1832, Irish and German immigrants dug by hand a 328-mile inland water route through Ohio’s wilderness to connect Lake Erie in Cleveland to the Ohio River at Portsmouth, named the Ohio & Erie Canal. Boats were pulled along the waterway by a team of horses or mules walked by drivers along a path. At certain points where the water was less navigable, typically because the land was not level, watertight chambers with entrance and exit doors were added to fill with water from a nearby stream while a boat rested within. The boat would raise or lower (depending upon which direction it was heading) with the water, and then a worker on the far side opened the exit door so the boat could enter back into the canal. These devices were called locks. Along the canal were the thriving towns of Peninsula and Boston. Between the two, via the canal path and in a remote section, was Lock 31, also known as Lonesome Lock.
More than just canal boat drivers walked its course because the towpath provided a straight footpath from town to town for residents as well. Unfortunately, in the more isolated areas like Lock 31, where the surrounding area was swampy much of the year, it was also a place for thieves to secret themselves and prey on those who passed by stealing money, mules, and horses.
Sometime during the canal’s operation, a man taking the towpath was ambushed and beheaded by robbers at Lock 31. Afterward, his ghost would roam the lock area searching for his head. Many a canal boatman refused to go through the lock after dark and would tie up at docks at Peninsula or Boston for the night, then go through the next morning.
Now over 80 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canalway has been restored into a trail by Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A section passes by Lock 31, Lonesome Lock. And if you hike the trail, you might see the headless ghost that the boat captains saw many years ago!


Deep Lock Quarry Park

Along the canal trail

The lock in days of old