One night while serving diners at the Worthington Inn, Rebecca Bishop experienced something she can't explain.

She had told patrons at her table about the rumor that the "most unhappy spirit in the hotel" dwelled in the basement -- known as the wine room -- as she had done many times before. She then began to take their orders.

While she was speaking, the room's lights flickered, alarming the guests and Bishop herself. She left the room to investigate and said it was the only electrical anomaly in the building. When she returned to continue taking orders, the flickering resumed.

"Every time I spoke, the lights would flicker," she said. "I left the room and came back and the lights were flickering. I said, 'Please tell me it's been doing this the whole time I was gone.' (The table) said it wasn't."

Bishop, now the director of events for the Worthington Inn, is one of many who have reported an odd experience in Worthington that makes them think of ghosts.

With more than 200 years of history to pull from, Worthington has its fair share of legends. Among them, many of the city's most widely shared stories come in the spooky variety.

Mostly centered in Old Worthington, ghost reports have been a regular occurrence within the city, enough that the Worthington Historical Society leads annual ghost tours.

Sue Whitaker, a volunteer of more than 30 years who has helped gather information on ghost reports, said although the historical society doesn't treat ghost stories as gospel, they've become common enough to be a part of the community's history.

"It's kind of a fun alternative to think about what things people have told us," she said. "We think of (the historical society) as the history of people. And if this interests people, it's part of the fabric of (Worthington)."

Due to the age of the buildings that often are the subjects of ghost stories, many alleged hauntings occur in buildings that now stand on land that once was the home of another building.

The former Griswold Tavern stood near the site of a current Huntington Bank location on the 800 block of High Street and was razed in the 1960s. According to Whitaker, historical accounts of the building regularly included mentions of hauntings.

Similarly, the renovated Kilbourne Building, which now houses Sew to Speak and COHatch, has had connections to the paranormal for decades. Whitaker said several people have claimed to see a woman in one of the upstairs windows.

Since Sew to Speak has moved into the building, owner Anita Gastaldo said, she and her employees have heard "all kinds of crazy noises," including one coming from the roof that was witnessed by much of her staff.

"We were here late having a staff meeting, and we just kept hearing this thud on the roof over and over and over again -- thud, thud, thud," she said.

Whitaker said she's even heard several stories from local homeowners in Old Worthington.

"We've never heard of anything tragic happening to anyone," she said. "We just get these rumors of these homes not having people readily leaving them when they're not with us anymore."

But the number of stories that come from the Worthington Inn alone dwarf the rest of the city.

The Inn was built in the early 1800s and has a long-enough history that several locations within the building are said to be haunted. The inn's upstairs bar, lower wine room and a "stairway to nowhere" that came as a result of renovations all have had stories attached to them.

Bishop said "a lot of the veteran servers" at the inn have plenty of stories of odd occurrences and said one from the stairs to nowhere sticks with her.

"Many of our guests have seen a woman walk through the side pub and then up the stairs and never come back down," she said. "They ask, 'Where did that lady go?' and there's no one to be found."

Whitaker might be a Worthington ghost expert, but she has yet to experience a haunting firsthand, she said. She said she remains skeptical, despite working in the Old Rectory, which now houses the historical society.

"All I've ever heard is the scratching of mice," she said, acknowledging the rumored hauntings in the building.

But even Whitaker will admit that the stories are coming from people who were once like her.

"These are people who say they don't really believe in ghosts," she said. "But they don't stick around to find out what happens next."

Regardless of the accuracy of ghost reports, Whitaker said, they make sense in such an old town.

"As tales go on, they probably get a little embellished," she said. "But things have happened (in Worthington), and those who believe know in their hearts that there are still some kind of beings or some kind of reason for these things to happen."

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@ThisWeekAndrew