Abandoned Brewery Encounter in Nelsonville, Ohio…
This ain’t fiction. This happened to me and three of my high school buddies. it goes back to 2000, my sophomore year. My three friends and I for the past year had taken to visiting (and trespassing) abandoned warehouses, prisons, factories, and the like. We did not have the intention of looking for the paranormal. Some of the places we visited in the night were freaky to be sure, but we felt safe being a group of four.
Our hometown in Logan, Ohio is small and offers little for teenage boys to do, but Hocking and Athens’s county is littered with abandoned buildings to explore. We took interest in an old brewery near my buddies house in Nelsonville, where there used to stand the old “Hocking Valley Brewery,” built in early 1900’s but demolished not long after our terrifying visit. You can google Nelsonville, OH Hocking Valley Brewery to see some pictures of what it used to look like. The exact day I cannot say but it was a cold night in February, sometime after midnight. We crawled through a small gap in a boarded-up garage. The roof of the place had caved in and I remember seeing the fresh snow on the first floor. We’ve run into other people before on other excursions, which can make you nervous, not knowing what intentions others might have, so when we saw no tracks in the snow around and inside the building, we felt confident we were the only visitors that night. We immediately went up the first flight of stairs in the pitch dark, no light save the light from our flashlights.
The stairs were eroded and creaked loudly as we advanced upwards. One dude in our company, whom I’ll call Aaron was not the most agile. He had already fallen on the ice and crashed into a metal canister which made a loud “THWONG” on the first floor. But while going up the stairs he had stepped on a particularly eroded step which gave way under his weight. My buddy; Terrance managed to grab his belt before he fell through. That killed his desire to go up any further, so Aaron and our youngest companion Derrick stayed on the second-floor landing while myself and Terrance climbed the rest of the way.
Terrance and I shared a “bromance”, we revelled in the growing list of abandoned places we’ve visited as we looked out the third-floor window down onto the quiet little town. While reminiscing we heard the guys down below us making some noise, scuffling and bumping into things. We thought we better get down before Aaron decides to fall again. We reach the second floor landing where the guys are and we noticed they are both sitting on the landing and haven’t moved since we left them. “Why were you guys so loud?” I asked. ” Derrick said, “We haven’t made any noise, it came from below us.” Great, someone else in here with us, now we need to be careful; don’t know if they’re like us having harmless fun or someone dangerous.
We get back to the first floor and the only footprints we notice are our own. Strange… Whoever it was made a lot of noise without leaving any obvious signs of being there. We move to finish our exploration with only two rooms left, a front office and the cellar where the alcohol was chilled….Front office first.
As we walked in we noticed it was where the city had been keeping their Christmas decorations. In the middle of the room were all the wreaths and greenery that was hung just a few months before. On the walls, however, were many Satanic symbols such as an inverted star, cross, and pentagram written with what looked like a sharpie marker. No big deal…. Graffiti is a common sight in places like this….One room to go the cellar.
The cellar descended only a few steps into a long room with no windows all concrete. The first room was walled off with a doorway leading to the actual cellar that kept three or four large tanks in the middle of the room. The tanks sat in a depression of a depth we could not tell because the area was flooded and iced over. But a walkway wrapped around the tanks towards the back of the room which seemed to be a dead end. Huge coils like on the back of a refrigerator snaked its way up the ceiling from the floor, which did not impede us from passing as long we as were able to press our bodies against the side of the wall to make our way through. Stepping sideways with our backs pressed to the wall we made it to the dead end.
The water was not iced over like the front and a black mold had grown on the surface and reach up the tank to the ceiling. All four of us are at the dead end, the farthest away from the single point of entry or exit which is now on the other side of these huge tanks and narrow walk way. Then Terrance heard the scuffling again…at first a knock. “Cup the flashlights guys!” We cupped our lights to listen. Who else is in here?
It’s got to be nearly 3 am now…After a few moments in the complete darkness, a heavy slow dragging sound seems to make its way down the stairs on the other side of the room, the same stairs we descended earlier. This is the first time I’ve ever had tremors up and down my whole body with this kind of fear! There was no light coming from the direction of the noise. No flashlights. No other voices. Just this freaking awful dragging sound that slowly grew louder! The sound now having reached the bottom of the stairs began to sound like heavy dragging footsteps. The sound was much heavier than a sound I could make with my own feet.
The sound grew impossibly loud as it made its way into refrigerated portion of the cellar and continued in our direction. The sound continued like this for MINUTES until it seemed to have stopped suddenly within a few feet in front of us. Silence…. No one un-cupped their flashlights, we stood silently in the dark for several moments. “What was that guys…” Me: “If there is someone else in here we need to get out of this room fast.” Terrance then suggested that we try to “make scary noises” as we make our way to the door; a suggestion I didn’t consider the logic of at the time but didn’t care. We were all scared to the core. So we brandished our swords (yes, swords) and clanged them against the metal coils and we moved along the edge. I could hear Terrance making his raspy zombie breathing noise (Which actually he was pretty good at). We made it past the coils, into the first room, up the stairs, and back into the first floor area where we first saw snow. No other tracks. How could something that big not leave any kind of physical sign? We didn’t stay to investigate, our pace quickened back to the small hole in the garage. We all made it through much quicker than getting in. Once we were out of the building it was a bee line straight to my car parked not far away. Im pretty sure, everyone’s hearts were still racing, nobody said anything for a few minutes.
Story isn’t done.. Back on the road now, driving through Nelsonville’s main strip, I see cop lights in my rear view mirror. Sweet. I pull over in McDonalds parking lot. It’s after 3 am, and we have swords! Cop walks slowly up and asked what we’re doing out so late. “Sled riding” I said. Pretty sweet story considering we have no sleds in sight. Cop says, “I pulled you over because your headlights were off.” So apparently we peeled out of the brewery so fast I didn’t even turn on my head lights. After cop runs my ID we’re good to go.
We drive. After a few minutes we start talking about what just happened. “I think I soiled myself.” Someone said. “Not in the car, dude” I said. ” Any idea what that was?” Aaron said. “No clue man. Just loud heavy dragging steps coming our way, scared the crap out of me” I said. Terrance looks at me and said, “What you talking about? Heavy footsteps?” I said, “What, you didn’t hear the insanely loud heavy footsteps coming down the stairs?” “No” Terrance said. ” Well what did you hear?” “Dude… I heard what sounded like a young boy and girl laughing and giggling.” Every strand of hair on my body stoop up!
I’m writing this 17 years later and it still gives me goosebumps. It turns out, Aaron and I heard the same thing, footsteps, but Terrance and Derrick heard children’s laughter. The place was later demolished in 2008, but the memory of that night will always make it seem like that building and whatever we encountered will always be there!