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By Ginny Tonkin staff blogger
Ginny Tonkin loves traveling off the beaten path, learning about new cultures through food, and everything outdoors. She recently spent eight months teaching English in Vietnam, and loves swapping travel stories.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-464-5589

Ghost Lake: The cure for the common haunted house

I don’t like horror movies. And I normally only go along on haunted house tours unless friends are dragging me.

But I would gladly return to this haunted attraction right in our back yard: Ghost Lake at Conneaut Lake Park.

I couldn’t face Ghost Lake alone; when I visited Conneaut Lake Park during its first open event weekend, I brought my best friend and her boyfriend along for the journey.

Mild-mannered amusement park by summer, haunted attraction by fall.

Purchasing tickets to Ghost Lake allow patrons entry to the “Nine Levels of Terror.” Different iconic park buildings, such as Hotel Conneaut or the Beach Club, turn into haunted houses and mazes guarded and guided by costumed spooks.

Ghost Lake grows bigger and more popular by the year—but the 200-acre park is literally quite large. In it’s forth year, this haunted attraction, put on by the Ohio-based group Mid-America Events, is seeking approval from the Guinness Book of World Records to be the largest in square footage.

We were unimpressed with the first two levels; the spooks weren’t scary and it just felt like we were wandering in an old house with the lights off. But we realized they were just warming us up for the main event—the Haunted Hotel Conneaut—and what came after it.

Annie Rosenthal, Manager of the Haunted Hotel Conneaut, provided the real story: “The great thing about this house is that it’s the only house in the park that’s actually haunted. Elizabeth is the ghost of this house; she died in a fire when the hotel burnt down in the 1800s. She supposedly walks the halls and haunts people. Guests supposedly have seen apparitions.”

If that isn’t scary enough, they’ve added their own crew of monsters committed to scaring the bejesus out of you.

After we departed the hotel, each attraction was better and scarier than the one before. From wobbling through spinning canisters to shuffling along sandy floors, it felt like we were living a horror movie—but we got to exit the park with our heads still attached.

Your visit is not complete without a ride on the Ghoster Coaster, more commonly known as the Blue Streak. Plunging through the darkness on the park’s historic wooden rollercoaster amplifies this penultimate ride’s scare factor.

Although I saw folks carting around children as young as two, I wouldn’t bring anyone under 12. It’s no fun having to wait on the sidelines with an upset child when others are roaming through the houses without you.

As Ghost Lake’s reputation grows, people trek as far as Pittsburgh, despite its Crawford County haunt, to experience the Nine Levels of Terror. I may not have wandered to and through Ghost Lake alone, but with a group, it’s well worth the admission and gas money.

Read this modified post in my column of today’s print issue of

Posted in: Crawford County

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