We all know the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by author Washington Irving about a vengeful headless apparition, but there are stories of other headless apparitions that appear in pretty much every state. Tales of headless ghosts seeking revenge or just simply looking for their missing heads litter the country. The legend of The Wickerham Inn is Ohio’s less violent version of Sleepy Hollow.
Opened by Peter Wickerham in Adams County, Ohio in the late 1790’s, The Wickerham Inn became almost an overnight success. The inn played host to many stagecoach drivers looking for a place to lay their heads after a long day’s work. Not long after opening, one stagecoach driver that may have had a bit too much to drink, sat around bragging about the large sum of money that he was carrying. Some unsavory types overheard the stagecoach driver bragging.
The next morning, the stagecoach driver did not checkout as scheduled, so an inn employee went up to check on him. What the employee found can only be matched by a Wes Craven splatter film. The employee found the room soaked in blood, and on the carpet lay a bloody outline of a headless body, but the body was nowhere to be found. Fearing bad publicity for his inn, Perter Wickerman ordered new trimmings for the room and had inn employees clean the blood from the floor. No matter how hard they tried, the bloody outline would not fade. Employees burnt the majority of the room’s contents.
This event would be swept under the rug for decades until a very heavy renovation in the 1920’s. During these renovations, a more modern heating system was being installed in the basement of the inn. In order to make room for the new heating system, the basement’s stone floor had to be removed. While workers were removing the floor, the faded remains of a man were discovered. The skeleton was completely intact, but it was missing one vital piece, the head. The entire basement floor was removed, and the head was never recovered. In hopes of putting the spirit of the man to rest, the workers gave the remains a proper burial. This did no good, reports came flooding in of a headless man peering out the upstairs window. Did the men doing the renovations cause the haunting by unearthing the remains of the stagecoach driver? No one knows.
Today, The Wickerham Inn is Adams County’s oldest brick home, and quite possibly it’s most haunted. The inn is located halfway between Peebles and Locust Grove along Rt. 41 near West Union along the historic Zanes Trace road. The home is now privately owned. Neighbors still report seeing the shadowy figure of a headless man peering out of the windows. No violent attacks have been reported, so maybe this headless man is just looking for one thing, his head.