Washington Park is the last stop on my mini-tour of haunted Cincinnati. The park dates back to the 1850s, and hosted such events as The Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States in 1888.
The park is located in the downtown neighborhood of Over the Rhine, and it had fallen into such disarray and was so crime-ridden in recent years that there was almost no trace left of the sophisticated park it used to be. The city has now embarked on a renovation project for Washington Park, with plans to return it to its former glory, and this renovation has uncovered a grisly history.
Before being acquired by the city in 1855, the land on which Washington Park was built held three cemeteries, one of which was a potter's field filled with unknown or indigent people. When modern day builders started digging up the park to build a new parking garage, they uncovered numerous human remains.
The skeletons have been studied by forensic anthropologists, and were featured in an episode of the National Geographic show "The Decrypters."
Among the remains found was a woman with a fetus found under her head, as if she had placed it there herself. Researchers speculate that the woman gave birth prematurely, and died of complications related to the birth.
One of the most puzzling finds was a coffin with two skeletons, one male and one female, buried inside it. The male was on top of the female, and the female's skull was crushed. Researchers found that the woman's skull was fractured by natural forces following her burial, but the mystery of why two people were in the same coffin will likely never be solved.
Most disturbing of the remains was a four year old girl found face down in her coffin. Experts say it could be an indication that the child was accidentally buried alive, something that was unfortunately not that uncommon at the time.
To the horror of those studying the remains, nearly half of them are the bones of children. There are literally hundreds of bones now in storage, and they will eventually be transferred to Spring Grove Cemetery for burial.
I have no idea when the renovation of Washington Park is scheduled to be completed, but I can't imagine ever visiting there without thinking of the remains of these long-dead people.
This story was particularly eerie and disturbing to me, but overall I've really enjoyed learning about Cincinnati's ghosts and ghouls. I'm planning to continue exploring, and hope to post about more local ghost stories once the Challenge is over.