Don Helbig had heard the stories of “the little girl in the blue dress” long before he became Kings Island’s spokesperson.
The legend appears to be as old as the Mason amusement park itself, which opened in 1972, and each account bears a remarkably similar tale.
“I’d always heard the stories from different people and park employees,” said Helbig. “You look at the number of people who’ve claimed to see the little girl in the blue dress over the past 40 years and they all have the same description. You think, maybe there is something here.”
Local paranormal groups have investigated the claims through the years, said Helbig. Now, Kings Island’s friendly ghost will be the subject of investigation on the season premiere of the Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters,” which airs tonight at 9 p.m.
Paranormal investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson spent the week of Nov. 14 at Kings Island investigating sightings of the ghostly girl. Helbig appears on the “Roller Ghoster” episode, but says investigators were left on their own overnight, so he doesn’t know what — if anything — they found.
“They were pretty intrigued by the location and thought it would be an interesting place to investigate,” he said of show producers. “It’s the first time they’ve ever shot at an amusement park or even investigated one.”
- Quiz: What’s your Kings Island I.Q.?
- Photos: Archived photos of KI’s construction
- LIKE MasonBuzz on Facebook for the latest KI news
Not much is known about Kings Island’s ghost. Helbig says most accounts describe her as a young girl, dressed in a period blue dress that appears to be from the 19th century, and that she roams the park’s parking lot, front gate, admissions and International Restaurant areas.
“It’s almost like a friendly thing, she’s not threatening or scary,” said Helbig, who’s never seen the ghost himself. “She’s just kind of there.”
Internet websites and messageboards are rife with lore about the girl in the blue dress — and other ghostly sightings at the park.
One website says employees alternatively call the ghost “Tram Girl,” for sightings by tram drivers after closing time. Several websites report unverified accounts claiming that a girl drowned in a lake on the property and that her body was buried in the cemetery at the north end of the parking lot entrance off Columbia Road.
The historic cemetery, known as the Dog Street Cemetery, dates back to the early 1800s. The Warren County Genealogical Society counts nearly 70 grave sites in the cemetery, although little more than 50 headstones still stand today.
According to the “Ghost Hunters” episode description, investigators say the ghost is believed to be that of a girl known as “Missouri Jane.” Warren County Genealogical Society records document a grave for a Missouri Jane Galeenor, who died in 1846 at the age of five years.
Other supernatural lore at Kings Island carries accounts of ghosts known as “Tower Johnny,” a teenage boy reportedly seen near the Eiffel Tower, and “Racer Boy,” a boy dressed in white who reportedly haunts the Racers roller coasters.
“Ghost Hunters” also investigates claims of hauntings arising from the nearby 1890 King Powder Co. explosion, which killed 11 men, women and children. Here’s a link to a 1933 story about the powder mill explosion, and another by Randy McNutt in 2004 for The Enquirer.
“Roller Ghoster” repeats at 11:15 p.m. tonight, and at 9 a.m. Sunday.