This urban legend takes place in Ohio and revolves around an orphanage that burned down. It’s also supposedly the most haunted place in the state.
It begins with a married couple by the names of Johann and Katharina Sprunger who originally lived in Indiana. They decided to start an orphanage after their daughter and son mysteriously died. Their first orphanage was called “The Light of Hope Orphanage” but sadly it burned down in 1899 and three orphans were burned alive within the building.
As a way to put this tragedy behind them, they moved to Vermilion, Ohio and started a new orphanage in 1903 which they called the Gore Orphanage, which contained over 100 boys and girls that lived there. Not all was peaceful within the walls of the orphanage, however.
There were many rumors that darkness and despair plagued the place. The child told stories of abuse, neglect, and slave labor. Supposedly Mrs. Sprunger cooked cow heads and lungs to force feed the children and if they didn’t eat it, they just starved. Mr. Sprunger would beat the children with a leather strap until they were bruised and bloody. Supposedly he also would rent out the children to farmers for slave labor.
The children were only allowed to wash themselves once every two weeks and they all had to use the same dirty bath water. Their rooms were infested with rats that would bite them when they slept. Eventually, the children started escaping, going through the Vermilion River and were taken in by some generous people.
In December 1923 the orphanage caught on fire. It’s unknown how to fire initially started. Some say someone knocked over an oil lamp. Others say that Mr. Sprunger started the fire because he hated the children and wanted insurance money. The building burned with the children still inside, and even though they tried to escape they did not succeed. Their screams and cries could be heard until the fire finally took the lives of all the children.
Nothing remains of the orphanage anymore and where it once stood is a vacant field, but people claim that even today during the night you can still hear the cries and screams of the children. There are claims of seeing ghost figures and apparitions where the building was. The air smells like burning flesh occasionally and people have heard doors opening and shutting and footsteps across wooden floors even though there is nothing there anymore. There is an old tire swing that is hanging from a tree nearby the site and people say you can sometimes see a little boy swinging on it silently.
It’s a horrendous incident that took the lives of over 100 children at the Gore Orphanage so many years ago. It seems the children even now just want someone to help them and save them from the awful hardship they went through. May their souls one day rest in peace.