But odds are you’ve NEVER heard about this property’s checkered past… and all the chilling things that once took place.
You’re not alone.
In the late 18th century, the property Flannagan’s sits on now was nothing more than a small private graveyard owned by the Oakhursts, one of early Ohio’s wealthiest families. The problem is that Oakhurst Cemetery was far from your run of the mill graveyard. The Oakhurst land was scattered with plots and headstones for the family and their loved ones. Word has it, if you were to dig deeper, just a few feet beneath the soil, would find something much more… unsettling.
It’s been said only a few feet below these plots that you would find a much older chain of underground tunnels leading to a series of crypts and catacombs. It’s assumed the Oakhurst clan is responsible for building this underground sanctuary, but the world may never know for certain. Decades later, after the property had fallen into disrepair, the entire graveyard was cleared to make room for one of Central Ohio’s first mental institutions. It seems in clearing the way for the new property that the underground catacombs were destroyed, crushing and burying the remains and annihilating any link to the site’s darker history. Following construction, all that remained were an odd assortment of bones and dried human remains. Any evidence that the site was once hallowed ground was now gone.
The site would become the Madison Mental Hospital, a.k.a. “The Institution,” a medical tenement that was dangerously crowded with undesirables, sociopaths, violent criminals and the mentally ill. It was easy to see why this was considered the Midwest’s final stop for those considered to be worst human garbage. Beyond that, little is known about the Institution, with the exception to one piece of information…
The founding physician of the Institute, Dr. Charles Madison, was alleged to treat the many patients in a manner that would not to be considered “following protocol.” With little oversight, Dr. Madison was free to subject his patients to all manner of unorthodox, even sadistic, “treatments.” For a time, his brutal and perverted acts were overlooked by society at large, as admission to the Institute for rehabilitation got these unsavory souls out of society’s way.
Rumor has it that his experimental treatments are what led to “The Accident,” an event that gave those in power no choice but to quarantine the site, cutting off all contact with the world at large and eventually leading to the closing of The Madison Institution, which locals would nickname “The Mad Lab.” Following this event, the entire site was left condemned. And while the authorities had done a near immaculate job of covering up these happenings, there was eventually an inquiry into the chain of events that had led to this nightmare. Dr. Charles Madison, however, was never located for questioning.
Many years passed, and the condemned property still stood. This decaying and vandalized hall of detritus was said to be haunted. Over time many interested parties would consider purchasing this land and the deteriorating building that rested upon it. However, every interested party felt compelled to stay away from it. Soon stories began about those that would visit the property and suddenly fall ill after visiting the grounds. This fed to the believe that the site was haunted.
The city eventually tore down what was left of the building to make way for a land development project. However, the project was soon scuttled and the site was left barren. Several years later a traveling carnival had asked the city for use of the space. The carnival troop would lease the land for many years to come. They would return to Columbus year after year, until 1908, when suddenly and without premeditation, the entire carnival troop lunged upon their patrons! Every one of the carnies, from the clowns and sideshow performers all the way to the ringmaster, had suffered a psychotic break. They lashed out violently at the crowd, injuring hundreds and killing several carnival goers. Among the dead were several women and children.
The police were able to round up some of the carnival troop… but most, including the ringmaster, were never found.
So if you suddenly feel a sense of unease… if the air smells just a little bit sour… if everything in your better judgment beckons you not to come any closer… then perhaps it’s because of the dark and shadowy history of these grounds.
But if you choose to press on, then we invite you to FEAR FEST at Flannagan’s to exFEARience the history of the Flannagan’s grounds…