Courier Tries: The Pataskala Haunted Forest

While building the Pataskala Haunted Forest, workers discovered several artifacts with the name “Murdock” or the letter “M” engraved into them. After several unexplainable occurrences, such as light bulbs burning out and the sounds of voices, one of the workers brought in a psychic medium to determine the source of the disturbances.

The medium confirmed that the spirits of those buried in the woods were angry, and they would not stop until everything that had been removed from the land was returned. The workers were unable to do this, as a medallion had gone missing and could not be returned. Thus, the story of the Murdocks was born.

To this day, the same strange occurrences have been happening, without any explanation other than the old ghost story.

The Pataskala Haunted Forest is open from 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. every Friday and Saturday from Sept 29— Oct 28 this year. It is located at 8838 Refugee Rd Sw Pataskala, Ohio 43062. Admission is $15, and the parking is free.

The attraction is run by volunteers. All ticket sales go to local youth athletic programs.

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, the Courier staff headed to the Pataskala Haunted Forest to see what this haunted attraction really had to offer. Upon reaching our destination, we were already excited and afraid for what we were about to experience.

“There was not a specific sign for the place. There was no grand entrance. There was just a lit up parking sign and a dark and deserted parking lot,” junior designer Gwen Throckmorton said. The walk to the actual forest was short and eerie, and we were able to hear the distant screams of those who came before us.

Illustration by Molly Cooke

Once we were admitted onto the trail, we were led by one guide in front and two guides in the back.

“I really liked how they had a guide for us. First of all, he was really cute, but it was also good to know he was there. I felt safe and trusted we wouldn’t get lost,” senior writing editor-in-chief Lindsey Lenhart said. The guides

led us along a path through a series of small buildings, where most of the scaring took place. “I got exactly what I expected — to be scared — and my heart rate definitely reflected how well they did. My resting heart rate is 64, but immediately after the trip, it was 142, according to my FitBit,” junior copy and web editor Hannah McDavid said. “The vibe beforehand topped any indoors haunted house I’ve been to. Having it outdoors, in the dark, surrounded by the looming trees really upped the anxiety.” Overall, the Courier staff enjoyed the trip, while others view it as a traumatic experience. For some, features like the really tight tunnel were too much. “People should have been warned if they were claustrophobic because it was really tight, and I thought someone was going to come touch me,” junior design editor Brooke Little said. “There were times when I was scared, and a lot of the people who went were pretty scared, but it wasn’t too overwhelming,” junior writer Jacob Fulton said. Other staff members, such as Little, considered the attraction a bit cheesy, but still fun. Pataskala Haunted Forest was not overwhelmingly terrifying, but it satisfied all of our needs for a spooky, scary experience."

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