The Dent Schoolhouse (built in 1894) is one of Cincinnati’s most popular haunted houses, drawing huge crowds every Halloween season. Thanks to the attractions made up backstory, some believe it to be haunted for real.
Any online search you do about the place will give you the same basic story, saying several of the School’s students disappeared between 1942-1952. The legend goes that people noticed an odd smell coming from the basement of the School House, but the School’s janitor, Charlie McFree, convinced them it was backed up pipes. Things calmed down, but then the smell started again in 1955, after 7 more children disappeared. This time a mob formed and broke into the basement, finding the rotting corpses of the missing students. Charlie the Janitor was immediately suspected, but he was never seen again. The School is now reportedly haunted by the ghosts of the murdered children, with Charlie still around looking for more victims.
But again, that’s just the made up back story for the haunted attraction. The problem is, a surprising number of people believe this to be a true story. Even the FAQ section of the Dent Schoolhouse website claims it really happened. I’ll admit, I’m too lazy to actually go to the library or elsewhere and do further research on it, but a little common sense and critical thinking can tell you the story is fiction.
Something like this would have been a BIG story, not something that could have been easily covered up, as some have said. There would have coverage on the news, in the papers, etc. Charlie would have become the local boogie man, everyone would have grown up worrying he was under their bed. There would be SOMETHING in the archives of legitimate media about the murders, but there isn’t a word…anywhere!
And what about the families? There would likely still be brothers and sisters. Classmates? Childhood friends? There would be someone out there who would have protested them using the story of their dead friends and family for a Halloween attraction, especially here in Cincinnati. Sure, it was a schoolhouse up until the 50’s when it shut down, but it wasn’t the site of mass child murders.
The Dent Schoolhouse is a great haunted attraction, but don’t confuse fantasy with reality. Charlie the janitor is a fun story, but he never existed.
The Dent Schoolhouse is located at 5963 Harrison Ave. Check out their website HERE.
Can you visit this location?
This is a privately owned business, open to customers during hours of operation. They have started doing ghost hunts, so contact them for info