Mary Chase, wife of aptly named Philander Chase, reportedly had an unhappy marriage and a short life, one that ended soon after she arrived in Worthington in 1818.

Mary Chase, wife of aptly named Philander Chase, reportedly had an unhappy marriage and a short life, one that ended soon after she arrived in Worthington in 1818.

Ninety-nine years later, her body was moved from its grave behind St. John's Episcopal Church to make way for the church's expansion. She reportedly does not like her new home under the altar inside the church.

Mary has made her presence known whenever anyone goes into the church late at night. Most who have experienced her wrath never return.

Or so the story goes.

Those stories of grave robbing, disgruntled wives who return to haunt Worthington buildings, and, of course, George Van Loon's haunting of the Worthington Inn formed the wretched core of the tales told last Friday night in downtown Worthington.

The Worthington Ghost Tour was, as usual, a sellout. Nearly 200 people turned out to be scared, entertained and educated by the docents of the Worthington Historical Society and employees of the Worthington Libraries.

The annual tour raises funds for the library and the society, and raises the hair on the backs of many a neck.

Tourists gather at the society's Old Rectory itself said to be haunted and are guided through the dark streets of Worthington, stopping only to be told scary tales of the haunting of local landmarks.

Library employees stationed along the route tell tales that have been handed down, many since the beginning of Worthington in the early 1800s.

Dr. Thomas Morrow, aka Jeff Regensburger, greeted visitors in front of Kilbourne Middle School, the approximate location of the Ohio Reformed Medical College. He was president of the early 19th century school, which was plagued by scandal and closed after only a few years.

The school was accused of attaining corpses for study by paying thieves to rob graves. Though Morrow denied that was the case, the school nonetheless closed after the body of a woman from a local insane asylum was stolen, and a body was found in a shack on the campus.

"You can't close a successful medical college after nine years because a woman's body went missing," Morrow said Friday night.

As he sent a group of ghost tourists across the street to the graveyard at St. John's, he admonished: "If you see any of our students poking around the graveyard, ask them to be discreet."

At the graveyard, Debbie Zimmerman shared the stories of Mary Chase and bits of the story of how the body of Worthington founder James Kilbourne went missing from the cemetery.

It is still not clear if Kilbourne's remains are in Worthington, or at Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus.

Review of records at Greenlawn shows that his body was exhumed from Worthington and, two years following his death, was buried in the Columbus cemetery, alongside his second wife, Cynthia Goodale.

His first wife, the long-suffering Lucy Fitch Kilbourne, died in 1807 at age 37 while giving birth to the Kilbourne's eighth child, who also died.

She is said to be angry that James remarried barely a year after her death and moved on with his life.

That is why she haunts the Kilbourne building on the east side of High Street, which he built soon after her death. She has been seen, naked and with flowing red hair, walking about inside the building.

Tour guide Alison Macrina told this and other tales of the haunting of the Kilbourne building, where shop owners continue to be haunted by the spirits of past Worthingtonians.

"Many of the souls who passed through here have been able to live on," she said.

Or so the story goes.