Kent Stage hosts 11th ghost walk event

Lily Nickel

While April is not a month that is often thought of for its paranormal activity, participants at the Kent Ghost Walk Saturday learned that the rising temperatures and fresh blooms are thought to welcome back spirits that have come and gone.

Skeptics and firm believers of the paranormal set out on a ghost walk of downtown Kent as a part of the Kent Stage’s paranormal weekend. The walk started on the corner of Columbus and Depeyster and ended on Brady Street, a short side street that is perpetually lined with “For rent” signs.

Some say it’s due to its dark history and unusual happenings.

Kent Stage co-owner Richele Charlton ventured into the paranormal world due to her fierce curioustity for things that cannot be easily explained.

“I’ve been interested in ghosts and spirits since I was a little girl — my parents actually sent me to a child psychologist because of the ‘friend’ I had,” Charlton said.

Charlton has now organized her 11th ghost walk in Kent, an event that has been held in the fall for its first ten years, but has also been enjoyed in the spring for the last two years.

“April is actually a pretty popular time for the paranormal, especially for practicing pagans and wiccans. The pink moon rises in April, but sadly we can’t see it because we live in Northeastern Ohio and the weather won’t allow for it,” Charlton said.

Charlton has collected and researched stories over the years to incorporate into the walk. The tales range from simple anecdotes from current residents, to the deep and dark history that Kent has swept under the rug.

Ghost walk guides referred to Brady Street as the dark side of Kent, due to the gruesome history it houses.

Clayton Apple, a policeman in the 1920s, lived in 114 Brady Street, a modest and clean cut house that sits innocently in the dark energy it harbors.

Apple saved the life of a young boy after he slipped into the river across the street, only for the boy to grow up to murder two women in Kent. Apple didn’t live to see the impact the life he saved had on society, as he was murdered by bootleggers or “rum-runners,” men who smuggled alcohol during prohibition.

Kent’s dark side thrived during the 1920s, as a heavy mafia presence encouraged gambling, drinking and smuggling. Kent’s dark history can still be felt in the alleys and run down buildings that were once used for illegal and sinister acts. The alley connecting South Depeyster and North Water Street has had reports of unexplainable whispers and shadows, with a hushed voice telling its passerbys “don’t tell.”

The city of Kent is known for its picturesque college town aesthetic, but students walk among streets that were once the home to a different crowd.

“I was really surprised by how haunted Kent seems to be, I grew up in the area and I never knew that history was here, I’m now forever skeptical,” said Ayanna Cole, ghost walk attendee and sophomore psychology major at Kent State. “It definitely makes you think differently about the streets you thought you knew.”

Lily Nickel is the business and downtown reporter. Contact her at [email protected].