Girl in Blue

by Kaylah Stroup

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in cemeteries, ghosts and all things macabre. In middle school I remember pouring over Haunted Ohio books, and day dreaming about visiting all the spooky places Ohio has. Many years later I’m still interested in these types things except with a little (okay, a lot) less emphasis on the haunted, I’m a big fraidy cat. But I still love cemeteries. I love looking at all the old headstones, figuring out how old people were and pondering what they were like.

I found Heather’s blog Mortuary Report a little while ago when she commented on a photo of my mine on instagram. I was instantly smitten with her blog and read through a lot of it. While browsing I found a post about the girl in blue.

“For sixty years, the young lady who had been hit by a train near aboarding house in Willoughby was simply known as “The Girl in Blue.” No one knew who she was, where she was going or who to contact about her death on Christmas Eve 1933. She carried no identification, only 90cents and a ticket to Corry, Pennsylvania. She wore a blue dress andblue shoes.

McMahon Funeral Home adopted this young lady’s funeral arrangements. Local donations paid for a headstone and flowers. More than 3,000 local residents went to McMahon Funeral Home to bid farewell to a girl they never knew.

Her identity remained amystery of national interest until a local newspaper story commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of her death sparked a reader to contact a title agency that researched records from the sale of properties in Warren County, Pennsylvania. State authorities determined that Josephine Klimczak was The Girl in Blue. Lake County records, however, have not changed the death certificate; she is still listed as The Girl in Blue” -from

When I read where this headstone was – I had to visit! Willoughby, Ohio is only a short jaunt away from my house! I set out that week to find the girl in blue. It was so stinken hot that day! I had read on some review site (yep, people review cemeteries!) that the headstone was in one of the far corners of the cemetery. I hunted and hunted for it until finally realizing I couldn’t spend all day out in that heat looking. I got on my phone and found a photo of the headstone and picked some identifying features around it so I could try and spot those. After a few minutes I found a tree with three trunks and sure enough right under it – there she was!

Judging by the pennies, and mint I’d say she’s well visited! I see in other pictures of her headstone that there used to be flowers but when I visited there were none. I’d like to go plant some soon!

I wonder how I went so long without knowing how close I was to something so neat! I went to the book store afterwards and grabbed a big stack of books about strange things in Ohio to plot some trips to make in the future. I’m so excited to visit all the other awesome things I didn’t even know that my state housed.

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