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Walhalla Road: Murders, Bloody Statues, Haunted Bridges and Heavy Fines

The road known as Walhalla occupies a unique geographical niche in north Columbus, which is for the most part as flat and unremarkable as any other part of the glacier-packed central Ohio plain.  Most of the journey down Walhalla Road is pretty uneventful. In fact, it appears to be nothing more than your average, run-of-the-mill city suburb street. But as you draw nearer and nearer to High Street, things start to get a little creepy.

Continuing on past the "No Outlet" sign, Walhalla drops you down into a tree-lined ravine and suddenly, you feel miles away from civilization. A short distance later, Walhalla turns into a one way road. It's at that point that you realize you've discovered the first ingredient in your urban legend recipe; a spooky, isolated road. Now all that's left to do is to mix in a violent murder, fold in a few vague rumors, mix well and viola—the legend of Walhalla Road.

No one is quite sure when the stories started, but all of them seem to center around a husband and wife who lived in a house along Walhalla Road in the 1950s. One night, the husband lost it and ended up chopping his wife up with an ax in the family attic. When he finally came back around and realized what he did, the husband tried to hide the body by burying it in the front yard. After not seeing the wife for several days, concerned neighbors started showing up at the house and it wasn't long before the husband's dark secret was revealed. The man was arrested, tried, and convicted. But it wasn't until shortly after his execution that people began reporting seeing the dark figure of a man pacing back and forth in the attic of the now-abandoned house.  To neighbors, there was no denying that the murderous man's ghost had returned to the scene of his crime. That's the basic legend of Walhalla Road, but over the course of time, many different variations have popped up.

While it stays true to the main legend, this version adds a new element; a bloody statue. Supposedly as a wedding gift, the husband gave his wife a ceramic statue in her likeness for their garden. After the murder, the statue was not packed up with the rest of the family's belongings and was left in the garden, where strange bloody markings began to appear on it. The bloody marks were said to closely resemble the wounds the wife received when she was murdered by the husband.

Another variation states that the husband not only killed his wife during his violent outburst, but he did in the wife's dog as well. As a result, the dog's ghost was condemned to roam the property forever. Rather than looking as it did in life, the dog always appears as pure white to the point where it seems to glow. In some cases, the dog appears to be completely translucent.

The most popular variation is the one that incorporates the bridge over Walhalla Road into the epilogue of the story. What happens is that after killing his wife, the husband marches out to the bridge and commits suicide by hanging himself from one of the beams.

If you hear this version, be prepared to be told that driving under the bridge at night might result in you catching a ghostly glimpse of a noose hanging from the bridge. Better yet, if you time it just right, you just might see the ghost of the husband hanging up there.

Far and away, the strangest of all the Walhalla Road tales is the one about Mooney's Mansion. For years, the name Mooney was given as the name of the husband in all of the previously mentioned legends and variations. Mooney's Mansion, the house where the evil deed (in this case, the wife is decapitated) took place, is said to have been marked and as such, no one is ever able to stay in the house very long. So it has remained abandoned for long periods of time.

That's the basic story of Mooney's Mansion; mere details to the original story. Over the past few years, however, the name began to become incorporated into its own variation, which was clearly designed for the fool hearty. In this version, if you walk up to the front of Mooney's Mansion, the place where the murder took place, and knock on the door, you will hear the wife's severed head come rolling down the attic stairs. In some versions, the head actually rolls out the front door and down the hill the house is said to sit on top of. 

Great stories, huh? But are they true? Not really. Despite the increasingly popularity of the tales and even the fact that some unscrupulous Web sites have gone so far as to post pictures of "the house,” there's no concrete evidence that anything more than overactive imaginations are at work on Walhalla Road. On top of that, all of the houses on Walhalla are currently occupied and have been for some time—something to keep in mind before you decide to go knocking on someone's door in the middle of the night. And remember; heads are said to roll in this legend. And if you're not careful, it might be your head that does the rolling.

Freaked Out On Walhalla Road

I had a freaky experience one night on Walhalla Rd. In 1987, I was working at a convenience store on High Street near Walhalla. I got off work one morning at 5AM. I had to walk to Indianola to catch a bus. I was walking on Walhalla when I heard something moving in the brush to my left. I stopped and looked around and saw nothing. I started walking again and I heard something moving through the brush again. When I stopped, it stopped. I drew my knife and issued a challenge, but nothing answered.  Whatever it was, it paced me all the way to Indianola. That was the last time I walked alone on Walhalla in the dark. –Letter via email

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