Spooky things to do in Marietta

Emily Peters

Marietta, Ohio is rich with history, making it a prime area for ghost legends and stories, and a perfect town to visit to get in the Halloween spirit.

For those who love all things spooky, a favorite place to visit is the Lafayette Hotel on front street. Here, guests can stay the night in haunted rooms and experience encounters with friendly ghosts starting at $52 per night. The hotel even has a book in the lobby where guests can read stories of other guests’ encounters, or submit their own stories during their stay at the hotel.

Alley intersecting Front Street in downtown Marietta. Photo courtesy of Hidden Marietta

“Third floor has the most notoriety for being haunted,” said Melissa Flesher, a Lafayette employee.

Flesher said many people ask to stay on the third floor for this very reason. Guests who check in to the third, fifth, and second floors, respectively, are most likely to experience paranormal activity. One of Flesher’s favorite stories is of a woman and her daughter. The woman checked in to the hotel and decided to go for coffee with her daughter at Jeremiah’s Coffee House down the street, only to come back and find the Holy Bible in their room opened up to the book of Jeremiah when they returned.

“The stories are endless,” Flesher said, though she’s never felt anything negative in the hotel and claims that the ghosts are just “a little bit mischievous.” While they have quite a few guests come to stay in the hotel specifically because it is haunted, there are few instances where guests leave due to paranormal activity.

Flesher said they’ve experienced anything from “full body apparitions and things being moved or thrown” to hearing their names being called though no one was there. The Lafayette even has a paranormal group that visits the hotel often to investigate.

For those who want a broader experience of haunted Marietta, the Hidden Marietta Tour Company does ghost tours of the town from May through October. The Ghost Treks, which are the company’s walking tours of the town, start at 8 p.m. every Thursday-Sunday during their months of operation and costs $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 years and under.

Historic Putnam Street at night. Photo courtesy of Hidden Marietta

On Thursdays and Sundays folks can experience the Front Street Ghost Trek. This walking tour typically attracts around 10-15 people each night and the favorite stop is the Lafayette Hotel. On Fridays and Saturdays guests can get a walking tour of Putnam Street. This tour usually draws in crowds of 20-30 and the favorite stop of the night is usually the Betsey Mills Club.

“Anywhere we go inside is always a favorite,” said Jessica Wielitzka, owner of Hidden Marietta.

Generally, guests on the tours are 12 years and older, with the average age range about 30-50.

“The material we cover can be scary and violent” so tour guides will often “water the stories down a little if there are little children on the tour,” Wielitzka said. They even have special private Ghost Treks specifically for children.

The tour company is busiest in September and October, around the Halloween season. However, tours are mostly well-attended May-October.

Tour guide stands in front of Peoples Bank in downtown Marietta. Photo courtesy of Hidden Marietta

In addition to the Ghost Trek, Hidden Marietta also does public and private ghost hunts, which are a bit more expensive. These are most often attended by out of town groups.

“We have been investigating many locations throughout the area, but the two that seem to be most active are The Lafayette Hotel and The Anchorage,” Wielitzka said.

Wielitzka said they have a lot of interesting stories that come from the ghost hunts. They’ve heard a female voice answer a question out loud and a child singing in the hallways when there were no children in the house.

“At the Lafayette Hotel, the basement is very active, which is why we opened our first tour office there this year,” Wielitzka said.

Wielitzka also shared a story about a spirit of a little boy who has been seen by many guests and enjoys playing with the ghost hunting equipment they bring.

All of Hidden Marietta’s events and services can be found at their website, hiddenmarietta.com. Guests can also visit their office located on Front Street.

After Hours, Community