Blog: Panic in Pickaway 

It starts with a small orange mini-cooper. The car belonged to my photographer Ying, she was driving me to Circleville, Ohio to write a story about the historic murals in Pickaway County. As we rode along the US- 33, our destination was only an hour away. In the company of spicy chips and Korean music, we didn’t even realize when we arrived.  

The town was littered with small multicolored cottages, cozy restaurants and gift shops packed with handmade goodies. We interviewed J.P Pennel, who had been closely involved in commissioning the murals in town. He seemed to know every inch of those artworks. We then went to Ashville on our own and photographed the sleepy town (selfies included).  

On our way back in the quest to find a cheap lunch we got a little off track. We began following the first route our GPS suggested and didn’t really notice, until we were deep into Pickaway County. There were run down tractors, broken RVs, miles of empty fields—every house looked haunted. We drove for half an hour and didn’t see another human being. It was getting dark and neither of us felt safe.  

Ultimately, we decided to follow the GPS back to Circleville. Once we got back on the US-33 and saw other cars milling past us we both heaved a sign of relief. Who would’ve thought going to Circleville is easy but returning from it is a challenge, just like the Underworld we read about in Greek mythology.  


Southeast Ohio strives to spotlight the culture and community within our 21-county region and aims to inform, entertain and inspire readers with stories that hit close to home. Southeast Ohio is the first student-produced regional magazine in the country. Every semester, approximately 25 students enrolled in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism produce an issue of the magazine, which is published in print twice a year. The staff generates story ideas, conducts interviews, writes stories and designs the magazine in only 15 weeks. The magazine has won several Regional Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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