Hidden amongst nature preserves and gorgeous woodlands that encompass surrounding waterways and wildlife within a small town is where you can find Middletown, Ohio. The former Poasttown Elementary School stands in all its former glory even though time has truly passed on here. The school shows a history in which it tries to salvage and show off for future generations. Other historically valued occurrences took place in this area leaving Middletown synonymous with tragedy rather than an abandoned school. There are rumors abound that these tragedies compiled and built on the ground of the school leaving an ungodly amount of energy behind from death and despair combined with the happiness and pure electricity from a public school and the children that congregated and learned at the Poasttown School. Not only the owner, volunteers, and guests have encountered strange happenings here, but the owner has opened its doors to paranormal research groups to have more professional opinions and utilize their tools and techniques. Thanks to these groups, a plethora of experiences and theories have built up over time, leaving everyone who visits the building with a fresh perspective and allowing the building to grow and build its ever-growing legend of the Poasttown Elementary.
The elementary school itself holds quite a history, from its’ founding to its’ demise. Thousands of children passed through its doors but perhaps the more intriguing aspect of the school is its property. Encompassing approximately a mile radius includes a haunting history of tragedy, death, and despair. Two major train accidents occurred in this vicinity as well as one deadly and horrific flood. All three of these incidents devastated the area, but combined, they left such a sour taste in most locals and visitors’ physiques.
The first train accident occurred in July of 1891. Following a company picnic for the National Cash Register, a passenger train holding a plethora of families collided with a freight train as they were headed toward Dayton, Ohio. This tragic event caused the death of four people and severe injuries to an additional fifty. The second train accident in the area occurred less than twenty years later in (another) July of 1910. This incident was due to the engineer of a passenger train disregarding his schedule following a track detour. Another freight train collided with this passenger train after this simple misinterpretation of the schedule. After the collision, the two passenger cars closest to the engine were decimated. There were a total of nineteen deaths and many others who were severely injured, some fatal in the long-term leading to another seventeen deaths. The location of the current school was created to be a makeshift field hospital as there were no hospitals nearby. Even though the relief trains were dispatched and doctors from nearby converged on the area, the death toll climbed to thirty-six total, many of whom perished on the school’s site.
Only three years following the last train accident in 1913, a massive flood destroyed the area laying waste to mass amounts of homes and businesses. The flood led to six people drowning outside the small town of Middletown. Following this trio of tragedies, the area opened the Middletown Regional Hospital to help prevent the makeshift hospitals which led to countless people suffering and ultimately dying.
The school itself was officially opened in 1937 replacing the original one-room schoolhouse which was the only school even remotely nearby. While the school graduated countless students, it ultimately had its peak time pass by due to technology and a dwindling population. The elementary school slowly moved its students out to various locations during the late 1990s and finally closed its doors in 2000.
Not long after, banks foreclosed and the county just wanted to rid itself of the property, selling the abandoned building to a married couple of Brenda and Darrell Whisman in 2004 for $189,000.00. Truthfully only a portion of what it was worth although the building was, and still is, in need of many upgrades and repairs. The pair tried to bring the building up to code but with the immense amount of work and limited money and supplies, they filed for bankruptcy and reconsidered for the school.
The couple took a step back and decided to create a new business plan. They opened their doors to many groups to the empty rooms to use at their leisure and particular needs. These rooms have been temporarily transitioned into businesses like a nail salon, a weightlifting gym, and a massage therapist; normal enough. However, some other groups have come in looking for disrepair and abandoned rooms to train for catastrophes and disasters. Police and fire training exercises have found regular homes here, rotating out on a normal basis. A fallout shelter for the community was established here and other abandoned locations have been left to be used by survivalist groups and training exercises to prepare for the unknown and a wide array of apocalyptic scenarios. Above all of these abnormal professions are the vast numbers of paranormal investigators who spend time in the old building in hopes of contacting the dead and lost energies inside the school. As strange, and possibly unbelievable, as this seems, there have been a plethora of teams who have recorded excellent and unexplainable phenomena all around the old Poasttown Elementary School.
Simply entering the property, the air seems to feel heavy and an unknown sixth sense of someone watching every visitor with a watchful eye every moment of their stay. Voices have been recorded quite regularly, that of a young girl. She has been highly active with sounds of giggling, whistling, and even intelligent conversation. Unfortunately, her name has never been revealed.
In the sleeping quarters, some guests (including the owners) have experienced the sensation of being tugged and pulled. A security system caught this motion on many occasions as an unseen force has yanked seemingly unwelcome guests out of their bed and slumber.
Throughout the upper floors, there have been strange phantom noises like footsteps, dragging noises, and echoing bangs and clangs; this includes classrooms, hallways, bathrooms. The owners alongside their friends and coworkers, during construction, experienced many of these very unnerving events. They originally thought there were animals throughout the building, but it was closed tight, and numerous people experienced these all too similar experiences which pointed toward some otherworldly activity. These events continued to the extent that they contacted a local paranormal team to investigate and ensure they weren’t (too) crazy.
This local team experienced these somewhat cliché events, but they also captured full-figured shadow figures, poltergeist activity of items moving on their own, and what seemed like animals scampering across the second floor on all fours. After one of these instances, the group mentioned they thought it was an animal running around and captured a clear EVP saying that “Russ will eat it.” This voice has since been traced to an older man and with that EVP, he has been named Russ. He’s been heard all over the building, sometimes welcoming, other times foreboding. Much like everyone else, he seems to get into moods and comes out to speak only when he connects with someone in particular.
With over 100 paranormal groups that have investigated the old school, there have been a variety of theories as to the otherworldly activity. The two prominent claims are that of the disastrous accidents whose victims were brought to the school grounds only to suffer and die and the other of the children returning to one of the locations where they were most fond of during their lifetime. These theories seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum but aside from the grumpy old man, most of the evidence is that of children who are laughing and playing. Most of those who have had paranormal experiences within the school tend to lean toward the latter explanation, especially due to the lack of harmful energy and generally warm and welcoming feeling. The worst activity that had gone on record is a paranormal team member being forced to leave after feeling extremely nauseous.
Regardless of the true reasoning for the haunting, it’s clear that there is something extraordinary left here that likes to make itself known to visitors. The energy and activity are so strong and evident that even the most skeptical of visitors tend to leave with a brand-new perspective and their own paranormal experiences. Whether the spirits of the past are those of happiness of children or tragedy of disaster victims, the Poasttown Elementary School is a hotbed of energy and seems to be a beacon for those in the afterlife.
As we complete our review and breakdown of everything we captured from the night of April 1, 2023 spent at the Poasttown Elementary School in Middletown, Ohio we have not only personal experiences to consider but also recordings, videos, and photographs. This combination has helped lead us to our conclusion that the Poasttown Elementary School is host to a few different energies throughout the entire building, including a few specific locations inside it each featuring a different characteristic. Many of the tales and myths surrounding the building appear to be just that, stories. What we did find out, though, is that there seem to be a few that hold true and that our evidence can back up the paranormal activity inside this former school.
As we arrived and began to haul in our equipment out from the frigid cold, we took in the entire building with deep awe-inspiring breath. After meeting the owner, Daryl, we began our tour of the building thanks to the volunteering local team of POV Paranormal. We were lucky enough to be able to hear not only the basic history tour but also be able to hear another team’s unbiased opinion and personal stories of their own. POV Paranormal were also nice enough to share their previously debunked locations and share some of their past tales with us in hopes of being able to build upon their evidence. During this walk through we recorded the entirety of the stories, facts, and legends of the building. Upon a review we did not capture anything out of the ordinary aside from what sounded like a puff of breath but it was nearly impossible to place any claim of paranormality due to the sheer amount of people gathered in the hallway at that time.
Even before we managed to set up and begin our investigation we had begun to receive some strange communication between pendulums and Walkie Talkies. Once we began recording and shooting some footage, this communication seemed to stop. After we settled and reset ourselves, we simply tried to make whoever seemed to be with us more comfortable and officially made our acquaintance. This did not lead to communication but it did provide us with a loud knocking noise coming from either the hallway or the wall behind us. We were unable to track this down nor were we able to debunk this.
As we truly began our investigation here, we seemed to gather a slew of activity which made it difficult to pinpoint just one or even two main sources. Our activity began with simple bangs and knocking noises which we originally chalked up to old building and mechanical noises but these did not match up with any of these known sounds. Following these moments early on we experienced Rempod activity as it was set up in the doorway. It appeared as though someone may have been peering in on us. This led to more shuffling sounds which ultimately charged, unseen, at Derrick. Fortunately, we snapped a few pictures as this occurred and we appeared to capture this phantom energy in our pictures. We determined that there was someone watching us from the hallway and either didn’t want us to move toward it down the hall or keep us in that room. Our next step was to attempt verbal communication, this occurred through a Phasma Box. This gave us an odd combination of intelligent and residual communication. We did seem to record some conversations almost between multiple unseen forces and even recorded a phantom train whistle. This culminated in some off putting phrases of “Wake up” and “First aid” more than likely being associated with some type of past energy left over from the train accidents. At the same time, all throughout our time here, our flashlights would turn on and off as if giving us intelligent responses to yes/no questions. Our verbal responses ultimately led us to believe that there was a young girl who was intrigued by the lights and just wanted to play. During this timeframe, footsteps and banging noises continued to echo from the outside hallway. More unknown entities seemed to step forward and even give names at this time. The names of ‘Drew’ (not ‘Andrew’ as we learned) and ‘Peter’ were both heard. Not much came of these nor do we know who of a ‘Drew’ associated with the building but the name ‘Peter’ did strike a cord. Peter Jennings was the name of one of the engineers who was injured during the incidents but more interestingly the engineer of Peter Slance was a conductor of the passenger train who was found guilty of gross negligence and even was once said to be part of an attempt to illegally stop the train for malicious reasons. This name was not indicated at any other time of the night nor was it indicated who this ‘Peter’ was in relation to the property. We also tied this together with words stated by the same voice of “Accountable,” “Brake lines,” and “Conductor” as if all of this pointed toward Peter either being with us or being blamed unjustly for the train accident.
With all of the electrical interference in this room, as it appeared to be a utility hub for at least a portion of the building, we could not utilize many of our tools as the EMF would be too sporadic and interfered with in most cases. At the very beginning of our time here, a loud banging noise was heard. The three of us present all heard it and we even radioed up to the group on the top floor to check and see if they had moved something but they were not to blame but strangely they didn’t even hear this sound. Even stranger, neither our recordings nor our videos captured this very loud bang. Aside from this occurrence, our communication and evidence was minimal if not non-existent. What we did record and experience were phantom footsteps out in the hallway as if someone was pacing back and forth with us inside that room as if nervous. It’s also possible that this was a distraction technique and this did in fact work at one point as we did try to follow this sound but to no avail.
Early on, even before we managed to run our camera and recorders, our Paralight began to be alerted. Even though this area is difficult to get readings being so close to an electrical panel, our Paralight was able to be calibrated to the energy field and pulled away from the area in question. This seemed to be in reaction to simple yes or no questions asking if someone was with us and if their name was Amos, as if confirming his presence. During this time, we trained our laser grid paired up with a stationary camera in the opposite direction we were giving our attention. This did help confirm some of the shuffling noises and footsteps we heard in person. After we were convinced that there was someone with us, we opted to rely on our Spirit Box for further communication, which it did provide. We do believe that we made contact with Amos who initially told us his name but seemed to grow annoyed and frustrated with our endless stream of questions. At first we were given answers to questions like his favorite beer (Miller Lite) and if this used to be his chair (it was according to his answers). Ultimately we heard some words like ‘Go’ and ‘Bye’ which slightly pushed us out the door onto our next location.
This area first called our attention to the Principal’s Office and its associated back room. We’re unsure why but there just seemed to be a strange draw to it. During our time here we did feel that familiar sensation of anxiety and the reported feeling of being watched from a distance. Aside from those feelings we did not incur much evidence or experiences here but rather were distracted and pulled out of the room, toward the hallway. This first began with a lighting up of the flashlight which was placed just outside the Kindergarten Room prior to our interactions. From here, our group split. Half of our group headed down the hallway where footsteps were being heard, the second half went into the Kindergarten Room where some flashlight communication was experienced. The most activity we received ultimately came from the end of the hallway as shadows were being spotted moving but more predominant, and captured as evidence, were the shuffling of footsteps and odd knocking noises. One of these noises seemed to come from nowhere right next to us as we were sitting in the middle of the hallway. This again led us to believe that we were being followed and watched from a safe distance.
We made multiple attempts to communicate with (hopefully) Sara in this area. Unfortunately we did not have any success in communication with her but we did get a very sad emotional connection as if we could pick up this negativity which occurred here so long ago. To our surprise, when we left a recorder just rolling statically we did manage to pick up some odd noises which we could best make out as breathing and a similar but definitely separate sound of shuffling feet. To note in this timeframe, there were only three of us remaining on site and we were all together in the Breakroom.
Included in this conclusion are our personal experiences which helped guide us into creating this opinion. The most predominant and shared experience is the sensation of being followed and watched no matter where we turned or spent time. This paired up with our recorded evidence as well as some of the paranormal tales. This mainly occurred in the hallways, every one we ventured down no matter in a group or individual. Another action was a moment when one of us was rushed in the hallway just outside the Mean Teacher Room. This occurred just as we heard footsteps in that area. This experience could not be thoroughly documented although there were a few images that we associated with it. We were also able to detect a changing of atmospheres mainly different in the basement and Sara’s Stairwell.
On a different note, the captured evidence backed up these physical experiences and feelings as well as helped confirm some of the stories shared with us from POV Paranormal. Our evidence provided a few different telling features of these energies. The first helped back up the claims of someone watching from a distance. The sounds of footsteps and shuffling of feet plus the visual photographs as if we were rushed from the Principal’s Room Hallway helped add to this theory. The basement seemed to hold a heavy atmosphere much different than the rest of the building but as we attempted to pursue communication in this area we did feel as though we made contact with the spirit of Amos, the former janitor. He did not seem to want company of any sort as we were ultimately instructed to leave by a seemingly irritable voice. The Mean Teacher Room appeared to hold a slew of different energies and paranormal activity. We do believe that we communicated with a child, unknown name, but who only wanted to play with the tools and not necessarily answer questions. There is a high possibility that we also captured some type of residual activity here as we recorded some actions which would have occurred during the train accidents as well as names associated with both of those accidents.
We can positively conclude that there is a high level of energy left inside the Poasttown Elementary and more than likely all across the property. The collective of evidence gathered and physical interactions which the group and individuals experienced have helped us corroborate stories of the old school that have been compiled over time and even add to some of these paranormal phenomena. Through these instances we have been able to confirm the energies who are said to remain here in the afterlife and even verify some of the overarching sensations of being watched and followed all throughout the building. With only one night of research, gathering evidence, and debunking false readings we feel as though there is plenty more ground to cover and even more truths to unlock. Our intention is to help add to and grow the documented paranormal experiences which occur at the Poasttown Elementary School. The hope would be for other like-minded groups (much like the POV Paranormal group) to pick up where we left off and build off of our documented phenomenon. The long term goal would be to be able to paint a more clear picture of who’s energy is left here and continue to document the combination of residual and intelligent communication and hauntings with a mind to find the truth buried inside the halls of historic elementary school in Middletown, Ohio.