Part of the mystery surrounding the stone tower that looms over Dayton’s Community Golf Course is who built it and why. The popular belief is that it was designed to serve as an observation tower. But others believe that it was constructed by a man named John D. Patterson, which is why the tower is often referred to as Patterson Tower.
Perhaps due in part to the tower’s foreboding appearance, over the years more macabre names have been used to refer to it, including Witches’ Tower and even Frankenstein’s Tower. As for the ghosts that are said to haunt the tower, they were first reported after a tragic accident took place there in the 1960s.
According to legend, a group of teenagers were enjoying themselves near the tower when a violent thunderstorm suddenly rolled in. The teenagers quickly ran for the tower, believing the solid stone the tower was constructed of would protect them. What they failed to notice was that the tower stairs came equipped with a long metal railing.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck a portion of the rail at the top of the tower. The metal rail allowed the electricity to race down the railing towards the teenagers. Two members of the group were leaning against the railing when the lightning struck. They were electrocuted and died almost instantly.
It is said that for weeks afterwards, visitors could still see the charred outlines of the teenagers on the tower wall. Officials ordered metal plates secured to the tower’s openings, but that did little to deter the curious; they simply pried the plates loose. Over time, though, visitors became less and less frequent. In fact, the tower may have faded into obscurity save for one thing; the ghosts.
Legend states that on dark and stormy nights (sorry) shadowy figures said to belong to the teenage victims are seen at the tower. It is said that if there is a sudden and violent bolt of lightning, the figures will illuminate and glow as if they have just been struck by lightning. After which, they will once again fade into nothingness... until the next storm.
Today, due largely to repeated acts of vandalism, "no trespassing" signs have been placed around the tower and the entranceway and lower windows have been more permanently sealed. But that has done little to stop the popularity of the tower and its ghosts. Indeed, in recent years, new stories have begun circulating that claim a woman hanged herself in the tower. There is even a story that claims the real reason officials sealed off the tower was because a young teenager decided to investigate it one night and in the darkness, fell to his death.
So is Patterson Tower haunted? It is hard to say with any certainty. While our equipment picked up nothing during our visit, The Ghosts of Ohio web site continues to receive e-mails on a regular basis from people who claim they have spotted darkened shapes moving about within this foreboding structure. So perhaps it is simply a case of us being in the right place at the wrong time. Or that maybe the spirits of Patterson Tower were dormant during our visit, preferring to wait for the next dark and stormy night to make their presence known.