Ghosts? Gays? Gallivanting about with ghosts and gays and possibly gay ghosts? Yup, this is all now possible in Columbus.
The COVID Pandemic brought about some unexpected opportunities for creative and critical thinking, and Nick Post was one of those people that took the shutdown as a sign to restructure and reinvent the way he socialized – and that’s how the Ghost Hunting Gays of Ohio was born.
“For the LGBTQ Community, bars and clubs were the safe haven for us queers, but those didn’t exist during the pandemic. So I got creative. I asked myself, ‘What if we [the queer community] started exploring haunted places, all outdoors?” Nick explained.
Nick and his friends started visiting notoriously local haunts in Columbus together, including Greenlawn Cemetery, Walhalla Ravine, and Fort Hayes, and eventually, they made a Facebook group called “The Ghost Hunting Gays of Ohio.” To their surprise, their posts garnered hundreds of Ohio locals who wanted to be a part of this, too.
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The Facebook group invites members to delve into the mysteries of the afterlife as a collective group instead of individually. “The intimacy of these explorations is what makes it particularly spooky,” said Nick. In the spirit of inclusion, one does’t have to be queer to attend the events – as long as there’s respect for the members of the group and the places visited. As Nick puts it, “Just like any queer space, anyone and everyone is invited to the party. The queens will give you life, and we gay ghost hunters will give you afterlife.”
Among their upcoming events is a ghost hunt and seance scheduled for August 3rd at Fort Hayes. The sight, a former military compound, is rumored to be incredibly haunted. The first time the group visited, they were bombarded with an eerie encounter of over 300 bats raining down on them from the main tower. “It felt like they were warning us to not go closer to the building,” said Nick. The Ghost Hunting Gays want to visit again, this time, getting a little closer than the bats originally allowed them to the first time around.
The group has also had spine-chilling experiences at Greenlawn Cemetery, where all of a sudden, none of their phones would work in the darkness of the night. They were lost and had to eventually use the lit telephone towers to find their way back, but during their excursion, they heard a woman screaming two different times. “We felt like somebody else was there with us,” said Nick. “And not a human.”
Another unexpected destination for ghost adventures is The Walhalla Ravine, where a once-abandoned house is said to be haunted by an evil spirit. Witnesses within the group claim to see a blue light in the attic, and legend has it, that’s the spirit trying to communicate. Nick remarked that while he personally hasn’t seen any spirits, “the vibes are just very off” near the house and bridge. He vows to never walk there alone at night.
For Nick, the joy of exploring with the queer community lies in offering an alternative to the usual nightlife activities centered around drinking. It provides a unique and niche way to have fun within the LGBTQ space. “Also, when you have a gaggle of queer people, and queer friendly people, I have to wonder if there are any closeted gay ghosts that feel our presence and give them a sort of way to move on from this realm. There has to be a gay ghost out there that’s inspired by us,” he pondered.
This Halloween, The Ghost Hunting Gays Ohio are looking for something a little bigger than just Columbus legends. They’re planning on a Mansfield Reformatory tour, and even a visit to the cemetery behind the ridges of Athens that Nick says is specifically designated for plots of deceased serial killers.
As The Ghost Hunting Gays continue to explore Ohio lore together, uncovering past mysteries and experiencing the supernatural, the group embraces their identity. Nick playfully concluded, “We were born this way, and we discover why they died this way.”
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