Wittenberg alum returns with ghost tales

Eric Olsen, co-author of “America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Paranormal Places,” gave a lecture Friday at his alma mater where he told students his life was saved as a teen by a dead guitarist who mentored him. He also talked about being paralyzed by darkness in his Wittenberg dorm at the same time that his grandmother dying.

Olsen said he joined a band in high school and as a professional guitarist took he and other band mates under his wing. A traveling professional in his 20s, he had a substance abuse problem and would always say, “No, no, no. Let me do it. You’re doing it wrong.”

About a year later, Olsen learned the man died before a big show and during the show Olsen began choking and nearly passed out after a guitar pick got stuck in his throat.

“All of a sudden something pounds me on the back,” Olsen said. “I’m looking around. Who hit me. Who hit me on the back … Who saved my life. In my ear I hear: ‘No, no, no. Let me do it. You’re doing it wrong.’ … I was saved by the ghost of the guitar player.”

Olsen, along with Darin Hough, owner of the Ghost Hunting Source in Springfield, discussed paranormal experiences in Hollenbeck Hall of Ness Auditorium, which was nearly full. Olsen said his book looks at the 10 most hunted public and semi-public places.

Students such as Crighton Stephens, 20, told the crowd that he had visited the Ohio State Reformatory, which has been said to be haunted. Stephens said while standing in the darkness inside the building with friends, they could not breathe for what seemed like five minutes.

Hough showed pictures of what appeared to be shadows or “ghosts” at various locations and played audio of voices that came while filming in different buildings.

Olsen said his experience in a dorm room at Wittenberg during his freshman year terrified him. The incident occurred at 2 or 3 a.m. He said darkness within darkness in his room enveloped and paralyzed him.

“I literally can’t breathe, I can’t move, can’t talk, couldn’t think,” he said. “It feels like minutes. It feels like hours. I’m sure it was seconds. But this whole time I’m utterly paralyzed and I feel a really deep terror. It’s on top of me. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. It is terrifying.”

He said once the feeling left, he went back to sleep.

The next morning his mother told him that her mother, his grandmother, had died at the same time he had that experience.

“That wasn’t necessarily paranormal, but a psychic connection with family,” Olsen said.

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