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Capturing Urban Legends

Front view of Music Hall after dark. People say there are ghost inside of this building... so I took pictures of the outside. A good photographer must always be able to think on their feet!
Front view of Music Hall after dark. People say there are ghost inside of this building... so I took pictures of the outside. A good photographer must always be able to think on their feet!

Capturing Urban Legends

Part One - Haunted in Ohio
With so many things to photograph in the tri-state and so much to see, have you ever thought about capturing shots of the things you can't see? Not like the wind, that's too easy, no what I am talking about is not only referred to as breath-taking… but these photo opportunities can actually take your breath away. In this article we will look at some of the most talked about "believed to be" haunted places in this area…

If you build it, they will stay…
Starting with the beautiful, medieval looking Music Hall. Yes, you guessed it, lore says it is haunted by several different ghosts. Apparently some people just can't get enough of the performances held here, so they keep coming back for more. But seriously, the really creepy part of this story is why the ghosts are here to begin with. It is said that Music hall is built on the exact spot of ground that the first public hospital in Cincinnati once stood upon. The conditions of this hospital were so deplorable that when patients were dying they were sent to a special part of the building thats only purpose was to house the diseased and near death poor souls. Upon passing these bodies were dumped in mass graves in the hospitals grave yard. These final resting places are still there and Music Hall was built over them. "How scary is that?" I'm not sure about the lore, but after seeing this building in the dark, you might be willing to admit that it is kind of a frightening looking spot, yet it is so big and grand, even if it's nothing more than urban legend it’s worth a few shots.

The art is “to die for”

Next up, the Taft Museum of Art. Reports of ghosts blocking doors and a lady dressed in pink, believed to be a former owners wife, along with other sightings makes this a shot that would be a conversation piece. Oscar Wilde once said that "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." but in the case of the Taft Museum, the art world and the underworld evidently sometimes collide.

Allegedly built on top of an old hospital cemetary. Is it hallowed ground or haunted ground
Cincinnati Music Hall picture : By Beth Steinhilber

Exiled from Eden
Now on to the Gazebo in front of Mirror Lake in Eden Park. It seems a lady in black haunts this landmark. Her story is that her husband forced her car off the road here and then shot her to death in the gazebo on the way to divorce court. Apparently "Anger Management” help was not yet available.
Once again remember your tripod for such evening shots. A wide angle lens should also be considered so that the lake can also be captured along side of this beautiful gazebo. If nothing else it would make a beautiful piece of art framed and shown in your home. All of the above are located in Cincinnati and all just minutes from the river.

Part Two – Creepers in Kentucky
Moving on to the other side of the Ohio we have the old Booth Memorial Hospital. Imagine an old hospital, opened in 1914, right next to the cold dark water of the Ohio River. Yes a hospital where many people lost their lives due to illness and injuries. Hmmm, who could have seen that one coming? It’s no longer a hospital, having been converted to condominiums, yet even today doctors tell tales of seeing spirits still walking these halls.

Crossing over
Cody road railroad bridge is next on my list. It is said that a woman was hit by a train on the railroad bridge during a flood when the road below became washed out, and she was killed (which would happen to a person if hit by a train… right?). So, so far this story could be true then. Numerous area residents now swear that they’ve seen the ghost of a woman all dressed in white walking on the bridge after dark (you’d think she’d have learned the first time).

No Bull?

Last, but not least, is probably the most famous haunted place in the tri-state, the legendary Bobby Mackey's night club. Talk about great location shots. Not only do you get what you see through the lens but sometimes you might get more… When you take pictures of this establishment, look very carefully at the photo after the shutter clicks. Is there anything else in the shot that you did not see while you were taking the image? Bobby Mackey’s has a reputation for the evil that is said to be inside. There was once a slaughter house here many years ago, and in the back of the building is another structure adjacent to it that they call "Hell's Gate". It got its name from the ritual sacrifices reported to have once been held there. If you frighten easily however you might want to skip this trip….

In conclusion
This area has many allegedly haunted buildings and landmarks, each of which has its very own urban legend to accompany it. All of these pictures could be taken in the light of day or in the depth of night. This all depends on how much you really want to capture in your photos (and how brave you are!). As you will see all the pictures in the slide show were taken on a still, cold winter night. You might find it helpful to use a telephoto lens so that you don't have to get too close to the buildings (if you are faint of heart). Remember to bring a tripod, and if you have a lens that reduces image shake (in case of nervousness) that would also be helpful. But even if all you have is a point and shoot, you should really check out a few of the tri-state’s haunted locations, after all you never know. Keep in mind the slower your shutter speed, the more chance you’ll have of catching something extra in your photos. Have fun, stay safe, and remember the words of Little Orphan Annie – “the goblins will get you if you don’t watch out!”.


  • CincyShutterbug 5 years ago

    Another great article, more great pictures. I'll tell you, stuff like this really makes a person wonder. Thanks for the photo project idea, but I think I'll have to leave the ghost chasing to braver folks than myself. You've got guts, that's for sure!

  • Julie B 5 years ago

    Cool story now I want to go to back to Bobby Mackies... lol

  • Lyndi 5 years ago

    I like it, you really did good on this one. And now I want to go to Bobby Mackeys too.

  • Nathan 5 years ago

    Since I'm not from Cincinnati, I had no idea about these places, but after reading your article and the other stuff you linked to I'm starting to think that Cincinnati is a pretty spooky place! Thanks for the info.

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