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The Christmas Ghost of Fallsville

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, before we go back to 1942 and the World War II era, in the spirit of the season, let’s travel more than 150 years back in time to visit the mysterious Fallsville Christmas Ghost.

I believe it was our good friend John Levo, who first shared with me this ghost story, which is set in the town of Fallsville, just north of Hillsboro off of Careytown Road. Of course, as most local residents know, the Fallsville Wildlife Area is still there with its picturesque falls, even though the town itself is now a ghost town.

Back in the 1800s, Fallsville had three streets – Mill Street, Main Street and Water Street – and around a dozen families resided in the town.

According to accounts, the corn crop was good at surrounding farmsteads in the community and a water-powered grist mill, making flour and cornmeal, flourished for many years. The Fallsville town elders once boasted that a distillery was to be built along the Clear Creek, but failed due to opposition efforts of its citizens.

So the town had farms, families, a mill – and a Christmas Ghost.

As the story goes, the ghost only visited one family on Christmas Eve year after year, the Clouser family. Simon and Elizabeth Clouser had three children, Charlotte, Susanna and Samuel, and had moved into a home along Falls Lane leading into Fallsville in the early 1800s. Simon was a farmer and local miller in the mid-1800s, his job entailing grinding up the corn and wheat into meal or flour for his customers. The stone house and gristmill were located along the cascading waterfalls of Clear Creek.

It’s been said that Mr. Clouser had a white picket fence surrounding his lot and his property, which consisted of 192 acres. But along with their business and beautiful home, the family also had a mysterious ghost.

Each Christmas Eve, the shadowy figure of a man dressed in Shawnee Native American garb would show up as a dark, ominous figure at the end of the path leading to their house. He would stand there, staring up at the house and just outside the little wooden yard fence. As the family peered fearfully through the windows, he would gesture desperately to them, using hand signals as if trying to communicate to the family.

As the story goes, the Clousers would hover there stupefied with fear, too scared to move until the ghost faded away into the darkness. Each year, this would happen and the Clousers would wait in mortified anticipation, believing perhaps the Native American was cursing them because long ago, his people once freely roamed this very land they now owned.

Time passed before they found out the truth.

Much earlier, a Native American had been murdered on the lush mixture of woods and field near Fallsville. It was rumored he had been followed by thieves, but before he was killed, he buried his treasures somewhere near the location that the town of Fallsville would later stand. The Clousers came to believe the Shawnee was trying to tell them where his treasure was buried. Yet, they could never translate his hand signals, nor decipher his mouthed words that might reveal where his wealth was hidden.

For many years, the ghost came. Susanna Clouser continued farming the land after her father passed on. Her sister remained by her side, both never marrying, but living to be quite old. The sisters continued the ghost story and although they were considered quite eccentric for their views, were beloved in the community.

It’s been said the ghost of the Native American still appears where the old homestead once stood. It is overgrown there now along the old gravel Falls Lane. The town is nearly gone except a little white church and the graveyard where the Clousers are buried. The Clouser home is nothing more than a pile of old stones and posts and the very walkway where the ghost stood, or perhaps still stands every Christmas Eve.

The little town of Fallsville has faded into the pages of time, but perhaps the mysterious ghost, and his treasure, remains.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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