Helltown, Ohio Lives Up To Its Name With Its Unsettling Past

Helltown is the name given to an abandoned town in Ohio that gave birth to legends of ghosts, satanic cults, and a mutant python. The town — officially called Boston Township — was founded in 1806 and prior to that was known as Range 11, Town 4 (via Boston Township). The first railroad station was built in the late 1800s, and paper mills were established in the area. For several decades, life in Boston Township was quiet. However, that all changed in the 1970s. At that time, Boston Township had residential areas, agricultural land, and industrial zones. The U.S. government had growing concerns about deforestation, and President Gerald Ford signed a bill that gave the National Park Service the power to purchase and establish national parks in areas they see fit.

Boston Township was heavily affected by the legislation. As reported by Colonial Ghosts, a large portion of the town officially became a National Recreation Area. However, the new law also allowed the government to purchase land and properties. Many of Boston Township's longtime residents were forcefully evacuated from their homes as a result, much to their displeasure. Residences and community buildings were left abandoned, and what once was a thriving community became a ghost town.

The birth of Helltown

The government had plans to build a park in Boston Township, but it fell through. The town sat abandoned and neglected, which created an eerie atmosphere. Buildings were boarded up, and "No Trespassing" signs were erected, but that didn't stop the curiosity of some people. One of the buildings was The Mother of Sorrows, a small Presbyterian church. As noted by The Vintage News, there were reports of Satan worship that took place in the abandoned church, and animal and human sacrifices allegedly took place. However, there's no concrete evidence to support the claims. Upside-down crosses were found in the building, which many associate with anti-Christ sentiments, but that's far from the truth. In the Catholic faith, the upside-down cross is known as the Petrine Cross or the Cross of St. Peter, who asked to be crucified upside-down, as he felt he was unworthy of dying in the same manner as Jesus Christ. Thus, the upside-down cross became a symbol of humility (via Catholic).

Another legend born out of the abandoned town stemmed from a school bus. According to lore, schoolchildren who rode the bus were murdered, and their ghosts were allegedly seen inside. According to Atlas Obscura, however, the story isn't true and the bus was once a temporary shelter used by a family while extensive repairs were being done in their home. These legends of ghosts and satanic activities made people refer to the abandoned location as Helltown.

A chemical spill and a mutated python

One of the areas the government acquired was a private dump located near Helltown. It was once owned by the Krejci family and known locally as the Krejci Dump. In 1985, park rangers began complaining of headaches, rashes, and other illnesses that prompted an investigation. As reported by Colonial Ghosts, the Environmental Protection Agency conducted testing and discovered that large companies were using the location as a dumping ground for toxic waste, and chemicals that weren't properly disposed of. Efforts were done to clean up the area, but it was never fully decontaminated.

The toxic chemicals reportedly caused the mutation of the Peninsula Python. The Peninsula Python was reportedly discovered in 1944, and it is said that it escaped from a truck that carried circus animals. According to Monsters of Ohio, the python measured about 18 feet. No one has found it dead and it was never caught, and legend has it that the python was affected by the chemical spill and still lurks in Helltown to this day.

Helltown today

For years, the abandoned Helltown became the interest of paranormal investigators and curious visitors who wanted to see a glimpse of ghosts and mysterious beings allegedly haunting the eerie location. One paranormal researcher shared that they saw the ghost sitting on a bench at the town's cemetery. "Helltown is not truly abandoned. It does have residents, but they are a strange and frightening breed," they said (via Colonial Ghosts).

Most of the buildings and structures that sat empty for years in Helltown were demolished in 2016, and the town that was once bustling with life is now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as reported by The Vintage News. As for the stories of hauntings, Rebecca Jones Macko, a ranger for the park who is knowledgeable in history in folklore, said, "What it would be haunted by is the fact that they've lost so many of their neighbors when the land was bought up. And it's haunted by late-night teenagers looking for Helltown thrills and driving through the town at great rates of speed," per WKSU.