Travel Channel aired a film yesterday titled Helltown. Helltown originally aired on Destination America in 2017. If you saw the movie on the Travel Channel, you might have wondered whether the story is real or fake.
Here is what you need to know.
Is Helltown a real place?
Helltown is the nickname given to the abandoned area of Summit County in Ohio that included Boston Village and Boston Township. The area was abandoned in 1974 after President Gerald Ford’s administration issued an evacuation order. People who have visited the eerily deserted and ghostly township since 1974 nicknamed it Helltown because of the ghostly atmosphere.
Questions about why Helltown was abandoned subsequently gave rise to speculation and rumors that spawned the dark urban legends about the location.
The most popular theory about why Helltown was abandoned is that the federal government ordered the evacuation after a dangerous chemical spill. The spill caused mutations among the human residents and animals in the area. One of the reported products of the mutations was a monstrous python known as the Peninsula Python.
Another story claims that Helltown was abandoned due to persistent and disturbing paranormal activities involving spirits and ghosts. Some claim that an old abandoned church building in Helltown was the base of a satanic cult that terrorized the residents.
An abandoned school bus in Helltown is said to be haunted by the ghost of a serial killer and a group of school children the serial killer kidnapped and murdered. A different version of the story claims that the children were abducted and killed by Satanists in a mass sacrificial ritual.
The truth about Helltown
Boston village, founded in 1806, and Boston Township, were abandoned in 1974 after the federal government expropriated the land to create what is currently known as Cuyahoga National Park.
The government forced the original residents of Helltown to sell it their properties. President Gerald Ford signed a bill in December 1974 that empowered the National Park Service to take over their lands to establish the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. Boston Township was part of the area in northern Ohio designated as Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.
Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area was re-designated a national park in 2000.
The decision to take the land was due to rising concerns about rapid deforestation. However, the area remained an abandoned township since the residents left because the government has not implemented the original plan to demolish the houses and to develop the area into a park as proposed.
Is Helltown mockumentary real or fake?
The Helltown story is not real. The film is a mockumentary that offers a fictional treatment of the urban legends surrounding the ghostly township in Ohio.
There is a disclaimer at the end of the film that reads:
“Any similarities in the film to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental… Though certain events in film are fictional, the town of Boston, Ohio, was real, and was forcibly evacuated by the United States Government in 1975.”
Although the producers avoid being specific about which “events in the film are fiction,” there is no record of a teenage girl killed in the area by a wendigo.
So what is a wendigo?
A wendigo is a mythical, forest-dwelling, cannibalistic, humanoid creature or evil spirit that was originally part of the traditional folklore of the Algonquian language-speaking First Nation tribes of Canada. The tribes include the Ojibwe, Abenaki, Siksika, Mi’kmaq, and the Innu.
The supernatural being was supposed to be native to the forests of Canada’s Atlantic coast and the Great Lakes region of the same country.