LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Vandals are proving when it comes to crime, there's no such thing as sacred ground.
For many, the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church serves as a symbol of freedom.
"This church is reported to be the oldest black church west of Pennsylvania," local historian Chris Saunders said.
It was a stop in the 1800's on the Underground Railroad.
James Hale says his family was involved with the church from its beginning.
Hale discovered in the past month someone had spray painted satanic symbols on the walls and pews.
"I came in and saw this, I nearly hit the ground," he said.
The number 666 and an upside down cross were painted on the floor, and a pentagram with 666 was painted on the wall and on a pew.
The church is now abandoned. Saunders says its isolated location on Burlington-Macedonia Road has made it an easy target for vandals, but this latest case is disturbing on a deeper level.
"To think people first tasted freedom here, and someone would just stomp on that memory, it's just unbelievable," Saunders said.
Hale has been painting over the vandals' work. He says it’s a form of disrespect that's left him sickened.
"I know it's children or somebody completely ignorant of what they're doing, because they're trying to open a door into something they don't even know the consequences of," Hale said.
A ghost was painted on one of the windows, and stick figures were painted on several pews.
There were also some pictures stolen from inside the church.
Saunders say this hasn't been reported to police yet though, because there've been various forms of vandalism at the church over the years, and no one's ever been caught.
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