Featured Haunted History Location: Old Licking County Jail


Every week I’ll now be featuring a haunted location here on the lowdown! I’ll be discussing the history of the location as well as the paranormal occurrences there. In addition to these there will also be a special video attached for viewers at Paranormal Warehouse located on their YouTube account (so start hitting that subscribe button!) with extra footage and information on the locations themselves. I will also be adding several photographs of the exterior and interior of these buildings as well. So without further adieu… This week’s feature will be the Old Licking County Jail located in Newark, Ohio which is the 20th largest city in the state.

Constructed in 1889 the Old Licking County Jail closely resembles a gothic style castle or fortress but beyond its walls is a very different situation, where the walls are lined with cells and ghostly whispers and screams from the past echo within its stone walls. A number of documented deaths occurred there during the nearly 100 years it was in operation and housed several infamous killers (a couple of whom I will discuss of course!). The last use of the jail for actual incarceration was in 1987. After that it was used as office space for the Veterans Administration, Licking County Litter Prevention, and County records storage. In 2010 it was reopened for tours and to spark interest for it’s preservation. Which luckily worked, due to this there is now a preservation society that has been formed. Now countless ghost hunting shows have drawn attention to the facility so other paranormal groups took interest and began to book private and public ghost hunts within the jail itself. If you’re interested in contacting them regarding any information on that their email address is admin@lcgps.com.

When the prison was constructed, the way the system operated in the past was to encourage correction because they believed punishment for the prisoners crimes to be more efficient. Much unlike today where the incarcerated are mostly rehabilitated to be released back into society if at all possible. At the time the Sheriff lived within the same walls the prisoners did regardless if he had a family or not. Unfortunately three of these sheriffs died. There were also several suidices as well among the prisoners themselves. A few of the more famous prisoners that were incarcerated while the prison was in operation were “The Hand Saw Slayer”, “The 22 Caliber Serial Killers”, “The Proposal Day Murderer”, and perhaps the most well known of all was the death of Carl Etherington which was so shocking that it made national news.

Carl was a “Dry-Agent Detective” (anti-saloon league of Ohio) being held at the jail for protection from an angry mob of over 1,000 people who had gathered demanding that he be turned over to them to face their lynch mob so that justice could be served. Dissastisfied they ended up storming the jail and rammed the North entrance of the jail door down before finally gaining entry. They rushed up to the second floor cell block where Etherington was being held, they then held him down and brutally beat him to within inches of death with a hammer, then they dragged his body out of the jail and up to the Town Square where they hanged him to a telegraph pole and his body was left to hang there while nearly 5,000 people including women and children came out to take a peek at him while he hanged on the pole.

Next up is the “Hand Saw Slayer” which caught my attention more so than the others. Here’s why: Laura Devlin was a 72 year old woman who went mad and killed her husband then proceeded to cut his arms and legs off with a hand saw and placed his arms and head in her oven and cooked them. That’s one dinner party I wouldn’t want to have been invited to! Wonder what was for dessert?

So you can imagine what kind of paranormal hot spot this place is I’m sure. Claims I’ve researched are shadow people that peek around corners or outside of cells, screams of agony, and chains rattling. Also many other guests that go to experience this haunted jail have heard cell doors slam, cries for help coming from blocked off or unsafe areas, and some have been touched and/or pushed. Perhaps the most active and frightening areas among the jail would be the dungeon which have frightened so many people they have chosen to leave the jail altogether. With bite marks and scratches, to raspy cursing voices that seem to emanate from next to their ears.

So who wants to go? I know I do! If anyone would like to know more about a specific location we’re open to suggestions. Drop me a message or leave a comment!


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I'm Chelsey but most of you know me as SpookyC. I live in a small town in Pennsylvania very close to Gettysburg. I'm a vet tech by day and experienced paranormal investigator/tech nerd by night with over 15 years experience in the field. I'm very much involved with urban exploration and photography as well as the history behind these locations. I'm a reader, writer, gamer, and absolute lover of all things Halloween and "dark&spooky". I live for autumn nights, and enjoy the little things in life. You can catch me on instagram @ thebeautyin_decay or email me at moxcalton@gmail.com.


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