Well, it took most of the winter, but there is no better time to do research. The punk cat was telling the truth after all. Local newspapers here in the Mansfield area have mentioned The Ghost of 545 plenty of times although nothing specifically by that title. I had to look for stories of strange appearances or happenings along SR 545 and decide if they are related to the apparent ghost stories. I also checked out reports of happenings along the east side of the old Ohio State Reformatory, which just so happens to be next to 545.
One such report appeared in The Mansfield Monthly – October 14th, 1913. After crashing a wagon and loosing his load of milk on the way to market in downtown Mansfield, the farmer reported to investigators his horses stopped suddenly as if the road was blocked. Then the animals bolted just as suddenly as if being terrified by something. They failed to negotiate a curve and both horses, wagon, and driver ended up in a deep trench. One horse had to be put down for his leg was broken. The farmer also reported a woman with a lantern was walking near the accident amongst the broken milk decanters. When he inquired if she was from a nearby farm, and if he may ask her husband for some assistance. The woman wailed sorrowfully and then was no more. Local authorities believe the farmer hit his head in the accident.
I also found this obituary:
Mrs. Katheryn Lapp (Duceman)
October 31,st, 1903 – Weller Township
After an unfortunate accident along Olivesburg Rd. Katheryn Lapp went to be with the Lord. The mother of one leaves behind her husband of 6 months, John Lapp and a son, Jacob, 4 months.
She was preceded in death by her mother Debra Duceman and father
Charles Duceman, a brother Edward and a sister, Edna, all from
Friends and family will lay her to eternal rest November, 6th at
Oakland Cemetery, Mansfield. The Reverend Howard Smith will
In more recent news papers articles, police have been looking for an unidentified “cloaked woman” walking along state highway 545. Many motorists and one motorcyclist complained about almost hitting the woman and having to swerve at the last-minute. Richland county sheriff’s office each time reported the woman was gone upon arrival.
The only conclusion I can come to is that the vision I saw of the spirit woman with the lantern on that cold morning this past January must be The Ghost of 545. Why she is walking these parts and haunting travelers along 545 I do not yet know. I will, however, continue to dig into this matter. It has to do with the “tragic accident” in her obituary. I just know it.
Mark E. Schrull
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