The abandoned village now colorfully known as “Helltown” is purportedly teeming with crybaby bridges, spooked school buses, mass human sacrifice scenes, and a mutant python for good measure.
The extreme folklore surrounding the region formerly known as Boston, Ohio is ironic since the only verifiable legend about the town is that it is deserted for a very frighteningly tragic reason. Founded in 1806, Boston Village’s original claim to fame was its standing as the oldest village in Summit County. Boston’s relatively uneventful life took a turn for the worse in 1974, when it became the unlucky victim of nationwide anxiety over the country’s disappearing forestland. Using the laws of eminent domain, President Gerald Ford signed a bill that gave the federal government’s National Park Service jurisdiction to expropriate land for the establishment of National Parks. The NPS decided that Boston Township would be the new home for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and began buying the properties of its longtime residents.
The sentiment among citizens who had no choice but to leave their homes was expressed in a message scribbled on the wall of one of the houses: “Now we know how the Indians felt.” The empty homes were boarded up and adorned with U.S. “No Trespassing” signs. The government quickly fell behind on its plan to create the park and the village sat neglected. The remaining buildings, remnants of a “vanished” town, have created a fertile soil for the innumerable urban legends that have popped up over the years.
There are a number of myths surrounding the vacant properties but some have been a bit more durable than others. There is the Presbyterian church which is said to have been built by Satanists complete with upside down crosses. The abandoned bus is said to be host to lingering ghosts and, maybe most outlandish of all, there is talk of mutants who were created by a chemical spill, including a monstrous snake known as the “Peninsula Python.”
However, most of the myths have been conclusively refuted. There has never been a chemical plant nor toxic spill in the area. The upside-down crosses affixed to a local church are part of the building’s architectural style and have no roots in satanic activity. The “haunted” bus was the temporary home of a family awaiting house repairs. These explanations, of course, don’t diminish the public’s enthusiasm for legends of unusual occurrences in Boston, Ohio. For instance, the city still celebrates “Python Day” in honor of the legendary giant snake.
Update November 2016: All abandoned houses, etc. were torn down in the summer of 2016 and most of “Helltown” is now part of the national park nearby.