Kings Island

It’s been four years since I worked at Kings Island, but the stories of ghost that haunt the park are even older and still going strong. There are probably half a dozen legends, maybe more, but I am going to talk about two of the most prominent.

 First there is Racer Boy. I had never actually heard of this one, but my old boss at the park, who is now my best friend, worked there for six years and told me with 100 % certainty that it’s bogus.

Apparently, the train cars on the Racers roller coaster ride originally belonged to a ride at Coney Island called the Shooting Star. A long time ago a young boy was found dead on the tracks of the Shooting Star, killed by the train cars. The question is did the ghost of this young boy travel with those train cars all the way to King’s Island?

I logged onto the Kings Island Central website and created an account so I could find out what the obsessive theme park fans had to say about the ghost of Kings Island. I figured if anyone knew the stories and their origins, it would be those nerds. I don’t mean to offend anyone by calling them nerds, but after working at a theme park I learned there is a specific type of person who spends all day at a theme park then goes home to talk about it on a theme park forum. Just as there are computer nerds and video game nerds, there are roller coaster nerds. It’s just a fact of life. Anyways, here’s what one person had to say about Racer Boy.

“Last year I was on the racer in the back right seat on the blue racer. All of a sudden we stop, almost to the top of the lift hill. About three trains pass us and I decide I will look behind too see if anybody was coming. So I turn around to see a little Boy around eight or nine in white pajamas (looked to be). He starts climbing up the lift hill, on the sides of course, and I was very curious. As he gets about halfway up, he almost seems to start disappearing, and as a matter of fact he was! He was walking level up the stairs, slowly disappearing until he disappears just as he gets to our car.” ~ CincinnatiCyclone

I have a few other close friends who are managers at the park, and they all agree. This story is nothing but folklore.

The second ghost story is originates from a true story, but has branched off over the past 20 years into a few different versions.

Back in 1983, on Friday the 13 as ironic as that may seem, John Harter was enjoying Kings Island grad night. After a little too much to drink he decided to climb up the Eiffel Tower. All of that is fact. Now here is where the story takes two turns. One version says he fell down the elevator shaft, while another claims that the elevator wires decapitated him.  Either way, John did in fact die that night.

To this day, people say Tower Johnny haunts both the Eiffel Tower and the Beast rollercoaster. Why the Beast? Well, that’s where the elevator cables that are said to have beheaded Johnny are stored.

 “Well, I was riding The Beast when it was completely dark, there was even some fog in the woods and it just had a kind of creepy feeling. When we went through the second tunnel, you couldn’t even see your hand right in front of your face, but then I saw a whitish/clearish hand right in front of me that came from the left side where I was sitting. Even my friend saw it and it was downright creepy. The only explanation we could come up with was that it had to be Tower Johnny.” ~Anonymous

“I can’t remember a time when Johnny would reveal himself in a way that guests would be aware of him; he certainly wanted the crew to know he was around. His favorite tricks were closing/opening the elevator doors. Sending elevators up/down on their own, elevators stopping during transit. Mostly just the ride performing operations that no one instructed it to and no explanation-even from maintenance.” ~Unknown

I remember my boss taking me for a walk out in the woods behind The Beast to show me the Tower Johnny cables. The cables, just lying in the grass beside the maintenance vehicle roadway, were covered in rust, not blood.

And as for the tower haunting, I worked on the Eiffel Tower a few times and never saw anything unusual. My friends and I have decades of combined years working at the park, and not a single one of us has ever observed anything to put any truth to these stories.

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20 Responses to “Kings Island”

  1. Deanna Oliver Says:

    I came across your page while looking for something on John Hater. I infact have a story for you. My step brother has infact met The Racer Boy. Outside the ride entrance near closing time he saw a little boy in white walking around alone. The Racer Boy never responded to him infact walked away as if he never heard him and then disapeared.
    I have yet to experience anything with Tower Johnny, as he is called that now, but I intend to by the end of this 2010 season.

  2. I remember the John Wesley Harter incident well because it happened when I was a kid, and frequenting King’s Island every year. I started going there in 79′ when I was 6. I do remember BEFORE the accident you could walk up to the lower deck level. From there of course was a chained off stairway that went up to the top of the tower. This is more than likely how John got to the top. You can no longer access this lower level. Or couldn’t the last time I was there. I was also told it was where John landed. As far as how it happened. He fell.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/15/us/death-at-graduation-party.html

    KINGS ISLAND, Ohio, May 14

    John Harter, attending a graduation party with classmates of Delaware Hayes High School, was killed Friday night when he fell from the ”Eiffel Tower” at Kings Island Amusement Park.

    I was told by those that worked there at the time, and those that was there that the tower was immediately covered by a large like tarp that fit the tower. As if they had planned ahead if something like that happened.

    Those that worked at the concessions right under the tower at the time said it wasn’t a pretty site.

    The thing is, King’s Island is a pretty safe place. Most of the deaths have been the fault of the customer. Not King’s Island. Although the two electrocution deaths on “Black Sunday” can probably be rightfully blamed on King’s Island because of faulty wiring. Having said that, I believe there was signs telling people to keep out of the water etc.

    There are other death stories that happened there, but they are few and far between,

    • Deanna Oliver Says:

      I rememeber reading about Black Sunday. The lady that fell off of the Flight Commander ride, yes she was stupid for what she did but I believe that it’s also the fault of the park for allowing her to ride alone. I was told on that ride it was two to a seat, no exceptions. But what do I know. I’m only 16 and probably never road Flight Commander.

      As for the men in the pond, I read somewhere that one of them fell in and his friend tried to get him out. A cop/security guy nearby heard about this and though someone said “got shot” not “shocked” and rushed to help. From what I read the security guy and the friend both died but the man who fell in was just seriously injured.

  3. I had talked to one of the older men working on the Eifle Tower last season and he told me something interesting. One night after close when the Eifle Tower was all shut down for the night one of the employees working at Starbucks said they had seen someone up on the observation deck. They called security, by the time security got up there they saw no one. The employees at Starbucks said they hadn’t seen anyone come down.
    I also found a story somewhere online [I can’t rememeber where], someone had reportadly said that at times they would look up at the Eifle Tower after closing and they would see one of the elevators in the middle of the tower [which was weird because when the Eifle Tower is shut down the elevators are at the top because the weights are not being held so they fall to the earth]. The employee had stared up at the Eifle Tower and said, “Let ‘er go Johnny.” And at that moment the elevator released and went back to the top.

  4. My aunt told me a story about a couple who was riding the sky lift that used to cross in front of the tower,as the story goes the woman was leaning against the door when it opened,she fell out before her husband could grab her,she fell near the tower and died.Has anyone heard about this? did this happen?

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  7. Samantha M. Says:

    Was curious about why TAPS would be investigating KI!Excited to see tonight’s episode to see if they come up with anything!I’m pretty sure this is the first Amusement Park they’ve investigated!!!while I was looking up info on the net I came across this page!”Supposedly a little girl haunts the Park?!?!?

  8. David Harbert Says:

    I have heard many rumers about John Harter. once when i was on the elevater I saw someone standing outside og it at the top just looking at me and then dissapered. I thought it was basicky stalking me the whole day because I saw it in my camper that night. Ever sence I have never gone back but I will this year which is 2012. And hopefully it is not Friday the 13th like John’s was. If you ever see this let me know how you like it.

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  10. John was from Delaware,Ohio, my hometown. He was indeed decapitated. He had a little too much to drink, climbed the fence and fell through the elevator shaft, and his head was decapitated.

  11. Brook Harter Says:

    John Harter was my uncle I never meet him bc I am only 21 but from what my dad and other uncles tell me he was a great young man and he was very loved and truley missed! If he is “haunting” the tower he is just playing around he would never want to hurt anyone just a little fun 🙂 R.I.P John Harter we all love and miss you!!

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  13. LMHS Hornet Class of 1982 Says:

    I was at the Grad night on the Eiffel Tower deck when the incident occurred. The boy did not fall from the Eiffel Tower. We were on the walk up observation deck when a group of teens were talking about a teen boy who was climbing the tower via the maintainence ladder system. He was on the wrong side of the ladder when the counter weight from the elevator hit him, knocking him off the ladder and he landed on the elevator coming back to the ground. His arm was severed by the cable landing on the deck. The tower was not covered by a tarp – only the elevator on which he was laying. He died from the weight striking his head and shoulder areas. It was a horrible and senseless accident by a young man under the influence of alcohol (they had 3.2 beer in those days people for 18-20 yr olds). And that is a true eyewitness account from that very horrible night.

  14. Hello iam Jonathan Wesley Harter please don’t call me tower Johnny. My friends call me Wes. Yes I did infected die that night. Was it alcohol related? Yes of course. Smoking, drinking, taking pills, yeah it’s what we all did. So here’s my story …. I was wondering around alone separated from the gang bored high and looking for adventure. I saw a few friends in line to go up to the top of the tower, so I decided I’d climb up pass the platform and give them a scare. So I did. Trying to hurry and get in place so they’d see me as the elevator passed by on its way to the top, I got up there just in time but looked down and freaked out standing on a narrow beam I jump to the top of the elevator shaft which I rode to the top in smashed my body breaking several bones and decapitating my head I survived for around 13 seconds after the decapitation though no one knew I was there until the elevator started jamming up due to my body parts in the shaft jamming up the cables. And my head tumbled off the top of the elevator from 113 feet up where the elevator stopped and my body was found. I’ll haunt that place for eternity.

  15. Theresa Says:

    I have to comment on the story of ‘tower johnny’ after reading about so many ridiculous ‘sightings’ at Kings island. I went to school with John Harter at Delaware Hayes high school and knew him personally when I was a freshman and he was a junior there. He was a super nice and funny guy and outgoing. Yes, a dare devil, but to think that any ‘ghost’ stories could have developed from this tragic accident is beyond sad and disrespectful to him and his death. He made a mistake that grad night in ’83, but his legacy should not be reduced to being remembered as ‘Tower Johnny’.

  16. I was there that night .he was decapitated.his head landed on elavater and stopped it and landed on lower level of the tower with in min they closed the tower

    • It can’t say that  bye   From: Debunking Cincinnati To: lisadawnwillimas20@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, August 17, 2015 4:51 PM Subject: [New comment] Kings Island #yiv9517040325 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9517040325 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9517040325 a.yiv9517040325primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9517040325 a.yiv9517040325primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9517040325 a.yiv9517040325primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9517040325 a.yiv9517040325primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9517040325 WordPress.com Bill commented: “I was there that night .he was decapitated.his head landed on elavater and stopped it and landed on lower level of the tower with in min they closed the tower” | |

  17. I think it’s true

  18. My family has season passes to every Cedar Fair park. As a person that has been to King’s Island multiple times, I have a story to tell. It was actually last year, in the Halloween Haunt days of 2015. I was walking around with my family. I’m not sure why, but I had the urge to look up at the tower. As I looked, I swore that I saw a young man looking right at me. At this time, I had not heard the Tower Johnny story, so it only struck me as peculiar. I pointed him out to my mom, but she didn’t see him. Although I couldn’t see exact details, I knew he was a young man, and he was looking right at me. A couple months later, while I was writing a report on local urban legends for my English class, I searched “theme park ghosts” and came across this story. I clearly used it for my report, and then I realized that it had to have been Tower Johnny looking at me from that eiffel tower on that day. Please no disrespect to the family of the deceased. I just wanted to share that in my eyes, John’s spirit does haunt the park.

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