The Phantoms of Reno Beach
The secret of Toledo’s success has always been our easy access to major waterways.
Founded on the banks of the Maumee River, Toledo was easily connected to Ohio’s western territories. To the east, this 130 mile-long river emptied out into Lake Erie, which opened the city’s access to the rest of the Great Lakes region and, ultimately, to the rest of the world.
Toledo was home to a variety of thriving industries, but it was the maritime trade which connected them all to the world. Fishing, shipping, and transportation were big business. They were also dangerous. Many a sailor has lost their life to the cruel whims of the water over the years so it’s no surprise that a legend or two has entered our folklore in an attempt to tell their story.
One such story takes place along a lonely stretch of rocky shoreline on Lake Erie’s western edge in or near Point Place, Ohio.
As the story goes, the apparition of a young female has been sighted walking the rugged shoreline near sunset. She wears a white evening gown and goes barefoot as she slowly makes her way along the beach, scanning out the miles upon miles of endless water as if she’s searching for something.
No one knows who she is or why she’s there, but folklore says she can be seen walking the same beach almost every evening at sunset. Was this spot a favorite of hers while she was alive? Did she die here, perhaps succumbing to the weight of the surf during an evening swim? Or, is she merely waiting for someone to return home?
Legend speculates that this woman lost the love of her life to Lake Erie’s depths; that he sailed out one night never to return home. Is that why she continues to walk this shore? Is she spending her eternity in hopes of one last glimpse of the man she loved? And, is she the only spirit who chooses to call this shoreline home?
The ghost of a young boy has also been observed here. He is said to be a friendly child of 7 or 8 who’s always seen wearing a smile across his youthful face. Witnesses say he’s a curious sort of kid who likes to follow people to and from the shoreline. Observers say he means no harm and simply appears as if he enjoys the company and just wants to play.
If you’d like to see these phantoms for yourself, most popular tellings of this tale place the beach in question somewhere in the Point Place, Ohio area. Others say that it’s in a remote section of Reno Beach, which is just east of Maumee Bay State Park, in Jerusalem Township.
According to the Forgotten USA website, the actual location is accessed by going to Reno Beach and parking in the last lot there. From there, you walk over a short bridge and head down a walking trail through the woods. When the refinery comes up on your left, the area of beach where the phantom woman is most often seen will be on your right. There should be a series of rocky ledges which will lead down to a beach clearing roughly 8 feet square.
This is also the area where people claim to encounter the ghost of the happy, young boy. It is said he will follow you down the trail to the beach area and back, but is unable to cross over the bridge. Some witnesses say it is at this point when his smile fades and he looks a little sad about leaving left behind.
The exact location of this shoreline is still in question. Most say it’s in Point Place, Ohio and others claim it’s more eastward, in Reno Beach.