Vietnam Veteran Haunting Lakewood, Ohio
Perhaps some of the best stories told are classified as urban legends. Urban legends have become a part of culture, and a way to tell stories. They can tell us things about ourselves and about how we lead our lives. They serve to entertain us, but can also teach us lessons, such as morals to live by. Urban legends are passed on between generations, and become a part of the oral history of a place. Whether the stories are true or not, urban legends are often taken to hold at least some truth about a culture. No matter how radical some of the stories may be, people often take the urban legends to be true. People may take these stories to be true simply for entertainment purposes, but mostly because the morals the stories teach are important. Urban legends can become a part of the place where they originate, and can help define a culture, and shape its history.
There a number of urban legends from where I live in Cleveland, Ohio, but one struck me more than others. The man who told me the story had attended the same high school as I, St. Edward High School, an all-boy high school, in Lakewood, Ohio. Lakewood, Ohio is a suburb of Cleveland located directly on Lake Erie. It is a small town that does appear to have anything special about it. It was very hard to find an urban legend concerning this small town where I attended high school, but my friend’s father knew the perfect story. He was born and grew up in Lakewood, and so knew the area very well. He had not heard the legend before attending St. Edward, but heard it during his first week of high school. After that, the story became so common, that it did not seem weird to him. The students of the school simply seemed to accept the story as truth, as it was so popular. Even the teachers heard and told the story, as if it were a common piece of history of the school. My friend’s father told the legend with a tone of mystery in his voice, making the story a bit more eerie. Having been a student of St. Edward, he knew the story very well, and left out no detail. The legend is a simple enough story to tell, but has a chilling ending, and a sad moral.
Lakewood Park is located right on Lake Erie, with half of its borders with the lake being cliffs. The cliff is barred off, but with the right motivation, it would not be hard to make the jump. As the story goes, when the Vietnam War began, two best friends from Lakewood, OH signed up to fight. The two had been best friends growing up, but went to two different high schools, Lakewood High School and St. Edward. Both of these high schools are located in Lakewood, mere blocks away. However, only one of the friends returned home to Lakewood, his best friend left dead in Vietnam.
The friend who returned from war was driven into depression, and spent a lot of time by himself. Having lost his best friend, he did not talk with anyone else, nor did he make an attempt to meet new people....