Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Otterbein Cemetery - Bloody Horseshoe Grave

It was during the 1840's that James Henry was faced with a dilemma. He had been courting two women, Rachel Hodge and Mary Angle, and could not decide which one he wanted to marry. As the story goes, the final decision was not to be made by Henry, but by his horse.

One night, Henry fell asleep while riding home. When he awoke, he found that his horse had not taken him home, but had instead stopped in front of Mary Angle's house. Henry took it as a sign and he and Mary were soon married. And as a wedding present, Henry gave Mary the very horse that had brought the two together.

By all accounts, the couple was very happy. But that happiness was to be short-lived when Mary died in February of 1845. She was buried in Otterbein Cemetery.

As fate would have it, Henry again starting courting Rachel Hodge. And in 1848, the two were united in marriage. One version of the story actually has Henry giving Rachel the same wedding present he had given Mary; the very horse that had brought Mary and James Henry together years ago.

Rachel and James had not been married very long when the townsfolk noticed something strange on Mary Henry's tombstone; the outline of a horseshoe.

James Henry was distraught. He not only took the horseshoe to represent Mary's displeasure over his new marriage, he also felt that he was now cursed. And perhaps he was. For legend has it that the night after witnesses reported strange noises and lights coming from Otterbein Cemetery, James Henry was found dead in his barn... the mark of a horseshoe clearly visible on his forehead. His death was ruled an accident, as Henry has been alone in the barn. Indeed, the only other living creature that was said to have been in the barn at the time of the accident was... a horse.

Even today, a strange mark resembling a horseshoe is still visible on Mary Henry's tombstone. Some even claim that on certain nights, you can hear ghostly hoofbeats running up and down the road near Otterbein Cemetery.

Authorís note: Our visit to Otterbein Cemetery was a thoroughly intriguing one. There is indeed a mark on the back of Mary Henry's tombstone that resembles the outline of a horseshoe. It can best be described as looking like someone placed a horseshoe on the grave, allowed it to rust there, and then removed it. The headstone is damaged, as evident by the photos. However the portion that contains the "horseshoe" remains untouched.

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