Patterson’s Tower: A Dayton Area Haunting

Frankenstein’s Castle.

Frankenstein’s Tower.

The Witches’ Tower.

Patterson’s Tower.

Patterson’s Castle.

One building in Dayton, Ohio is known by at least five names and has at least as many legends circulating around it. Maybe the building seems so mysterious because so little is known about it, or maybe its because the current owners are so protective of it; whatever the reason, locals love to guess about it.

Located in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, Patterson’s Tower is a powerful piece of architecture in a semi-isolated place. Several homes butt up against the building’s backside, while the front overlooks a golf course. To even find the building, you have to drive down a long and winding road, and are likely to get lost on a side street, unless you know where you are going. Even then, it is entirely possible that you might pass right by it, because it seems to come out of nowhere.

At first glance, it seems out of place; a large stone tower in the middle of nowhere, and the more you look, the more unusual it becomes. The tower resembles a medieval castle, with large stone blocks and metal casings on the wall. Look closer and you’ll notice the holes where a stairway/platform once was, and a thick layer of concrete closing off the entrance. Ask the Parks Department, the current owners, for access to the interior, and you will be denied. Why the secrecy? Some would say it’s to protect people from the ghosts that dwell within.

For every name the tower goes by, there is a legend. Some people claim that they’ve seen lights flashing inside, or worse that the entire interior lit up while they were there. As soon as the lights flash, a face is seen on an inside wall, and always visible through the middle window. Others point out the lack of grass surrounding the building, or claim that the windows change positions. Then there are some that claim to have looked through the windows, or climbed inside the tower, and seen something so horrifying that they could never describe it.

What could have happened to cause such terrifying events? According to the most popular legend, a group of teenagers (or younger children) were at the park during the 1960’s, when the tower was still in use. At that time, a large metal staircase circled around the inside leading to the roof. A sudden storm forced the teenagers to run inside for protection; lightning struck, electrocuting several of the teenagers who clung to the stairs. This theory explains the flashing lights and faces sometimes seen inside. Some also claim that the imprints of their bodies were burned into the wall. Those that refer to the building as the Witches’ Tower, attribute the stories to a coven that practiced in the area; supposedly a pentagram and mutilated cats were found inside the tower during the 1970’s.

At some point, the park system decided to close down the tower. Their first attempt involved screwing metal boards across the doorway and taking down the steps; later the wood boards were replaced with a heavy metal door. Their last action was to add a thick layer of concrete across the metal door, effectively shutting off all access.

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the building is its creation. Due to its look, some people mistakenly believe it is a product of the Civil War, and attribute the legends to soldiers who died in the area. Unfortunately this is impossible, as there were no soldiers stationed in Dayton during that War, nor were there any buildings built by soldiers. Arial maps of the area from the 1920’s show no such building, while it does appear on similar maps from the 1930’s. Most likely the tower was the creation of the PWA of the 1930’s; it has the same style and building materials as other buildings from this era.

The truth of the matter is that the building is nowhere near as terrifying as some claim. There were two documented deaths inside the tower during the 60’s and it was closed shortly thereafter, but the official reason was because no one was actually using the building. As for the stories about dead animals found inside, there has never been any validation to that story.

As a teenager, I often visited Patterson’s Tower late at night, and the police almost always sent us home. A few weeks ago, I decided to go back to the tower after nearly a decade, and I did manage to drive right past it twice before spotting it. My teenage cousin was quite impressed, but as someone has worked as an architectural surveyor, I noticed small things that my younger self missed.

The windows had not changed position; they were in the same place they were ten years ago, and the same place they are in every picture of the tower. I am almost six foot tall, and I couldn’t come anywhere near close enough to look through the windows; they were easily another ten feet over my head. For the stories of people sneaking inside to be true, they would need to carry a ladder with them, and given the amount of police that patrol the area, this is almost impossible. We were there at three o’clock in the afternoon, and in thirty minutes saw two different patrol cars; this only gets worse when it gets dark.

As I stood on the ground, staring up through the middle window that everyone warns about, I spotted something and called my cousin over. She followed my gaze, and saw the same thing; a face staring back at us from the opposite wall. It was a scary, heart stopping moment, and I can understand why people would run after seeing it. But I continued to stare, and the pieces came together. If you do stand on the side of the tower, and look through the middle window, you can see what looks like a face starring at you, but once your eyes adjust, the truth becomes evident; it is simply a crack in the stones, most likely caused by water damage.

In nearly fifteen years of visiting Patterson’s Tower, that was my scariest experience.

If you are looking for a ghostly experience of your own, and want to visit Patterson’s Tower, be careful. The tower is located on Patterson Road, in the Hills & Dales Metro-Park in Dayton, Ohio. The park closes at sunset, and police do patrol the area often and carefully. People who have attempted to hide in the woods, are almost always caught. And if you have any information about the Tower, please feel free to share.

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