A portly, jolly spirit walks the corridors of this Dayton landmark

It took two years and nine months to construct the Dayton Masonic Center, according to the center’s website.  The cost to build the Grecian style building in 1926 was $2.5 million.    TY GREENLEES / STAFF
It took two years and nine months to construct the Dayton Masonic Center, according to the center’s website. The cost to build the Grecian style building in 1926 was $2.5 million. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Dayton Masonic Center is home to a ghostly guide, according to legend.

The Gem City landmark, formerly known as the Dayton Masonic Temple, is known today as a venue for weddings and concerts, but it is also home to a friendly spirit.

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“I had a very interesting experience with a ghost there,” Chris Woodyard, author of the Haunted Ohio book series, said. She went for a tour at 573 W. Riverview Ave., led by a man named George.

“I sat down in a chair for a little bit, and he scooped me up by the elbow and led me along,” she recalled, saying that he guided her to a photo of the Masonic’s graduation classes over the years. “He directed me to a specific year, and there he was in the picture. He was a jolly, portly gentleman.”

Major renovations to the Dayton Masonic Center's Schiewetz Auditoriumin in the last few years – new seating and carpeting, air conditioning, the addition of an elevator and lighting and sound upgrades – are just part of the draw as a concert venue. LISA POWEL / STAFF
Major renovations to the Dayton Masonic Center's Schiewetz Auditoriumin in the last few years – new seating and carpeting, air conditioning, the addition of an elevator and lighting and sound upgrades – are just part of the draw as a concert venue. LISA POWEL / STAFF

After the tour, she spoke with some Masonic officials who had brought her there to take the tour; one official in particular asked her stern questions about the areas she had toured. She mentioned the man, George, and the photo; the skeptical official asked her to show him the picture.

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“When we got to the picture, he turned pale,” Woodyard said. “He said, ‘that’s the guy I see around here all the time.’”

Fun fact: Ghosts aren’t necessarily transparent bogeymen.

“When I see them, they look like regular people,” Woodyard said. “To recognize them, you just have a sense about them, or you see them walking through a wall, or wearing old-fashioned clothing.”

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