Friday, September 19, 2014

The Pirate's Mansion of Ohio

Photo from Touring Ohio

Argh, matey!  T'day be Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Obviously, tales of pirate treasure and ghost sightings often go hand and hand and states all along the eastern coast of the United States are filled with colorful tales of those denizens of the sea still protecting their booty.  However, one does NOT often associate these pirate legends and their resulting ghost stories with the mid-western state of Ohio!

Yep, that's right.  Our very own Ohio, right here in the tri-state, is home to one of the strangest pirate legends I've read in a long time.  Keep in mind however, that the emphasis is heavy on the "legend" part--to date, there's not a lot of really strong historical evidence to back this tale up.  But, enjoy it for what it is and a special thank-you to The Ghosts of Ohio for providing the information for today's blog!

Around 1825, a group of trappers arrived in Delaware County, Ohio apparently coming from the north, via Lake Erie.  One of the men, who went by the name of John Robinson, stood out from the rest.  Although most of the trappers were carrying light loads, Robinson was loaded down with heavy parcels. wouldn't be long until Robinson distanced himself from the rest of the trappers to explore the area on his own.

Shortly after his arrival, Robinson acquired a piece of land overlooking the Scioto River in what is today near Concord Twp in the southern part of the county.  Quickly, Robinson built a castle-like mansion on his bluff and filled it with expensive European furnishings. All of it was paid for with gold coins.

The townspeople were anxious to be invited to this opulent new residence, but Robinson was somewhat of a recluse, and did not welcome visitors to his massive estate, which included its own mausoleum.  The only news of what went on inside the mansion came from the few select craftsmen who were allowed in to do repairs and other work to the home.  The gossip brought forth from this visits did not disappoint!

Tales of the beautiful and expensive furnishings took second stage to the tales of the impressive paintings that decorated the home and of which Robinson claimed to have painted himself.  The one that stuck out most in the minds of the few visitors was a rather large painting of a pirate ship filled with pirates.  Visitors all made the connection that the ship's captain, displayed prominently aboard, bore more than a passing resemblance to Robinson!  Thus, the townspeople put two and two together, and became convinced that Robinson had been a pirate. It wouldn't be long before that rumor expanded to include the idea that he had hidden even more gold coins somewhere on the property.

But...if that weren't strange enough, the weirdness surrounding John Robinson didn't stop there.  Shortly after the completion of his home, another strange personage came to town.  A beautiful woman, with an olive complexion, decked out in brightly colored ruffled gowns was seen sitting outside the mansion with Robinson.  She was also seen rather frequently walking slowly along the banks of the Scioto River.

Over time, she was seen less and less, and finally she wasn't seen at all.  Was she one of Robinson's models for his paintings?  Was she a relative?  Some believed her to be a member of the Spanish royalty.  Whoever she was, the townspeople would never find out.  Sightings of her walking along the river were replaced by the sounds of screaming coming from the area of the mansion and surrounding woods.

The men of the town finally got together to investigate, but when they arrived at the mansion, they found that it was empty...and had been for quite some time.  A small, bloodied hand print and signs of a struggle suggested foul play, but it would be the painting that would forever scar the men and secure The Pirate's Mansion's place in haunted history.

Above the bloodied hand print hung a portrait of the mysterious woman, and as the men gazed at its beauty, the lips began to move.  Before it could say anything, the men ran out, and the home quickly gained a reputation for being haunted.

Pirate's Mansion is long gone now, but its still a favorite story with treasure hunters even in the modern age, some of who still believe that Robinson's gold is still waiting to be found.  It's also a favorite tale in ghost lore as not even the modern buildings that have sprung up in the area have dissuaded the young woman from continuing to take her evening strolls along the banks of the Scioto River.

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