Halloween might come once a year, but for these eight places, spooky stories and ghost sightings are a year-round occurrence. Whether you believe in ghosts or just love a good mystery, take a creepy tour of gruesome legends and phantom cries.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Franklin Castle
This is probably the best-known of all the haunted spots in Cleveland. The castle was built by Hannes Tiedemann in 1881, and was the site of the mysterious deaths of his wife, mother, and child. Rumors abound of strangled mistresses, hidden passageways, and rooms of bones. Passers-by have reported hearing the cries of a baby through the walls, and seeing the ghost of a woman whose head has been split by an axe. The ghost of a woman is said to haunt the "cold room" - a room which remains colder than any other room in the house.
2. Kingsbury Run
Perhaps Cleveland's oldest and biggest mystery are the Torso Murders of the 1930s. The murders were never solved, and some of the 13 (or more) victims remain nameless. Each victim was beheaded, most dismembered. The ghosts of the victims have been seen wandering Kingsbury Run, where their bodies (or parts of their bodies) were found. Others have seen a ghost they believe to be the killer. The question is, if his victims wander seeking justice, what is the killer wandering for?
3. The USS Cod
Narrow halls, months in confined quarters with no way out, and the ever-present danger of war... This retired WWII submarine saw its fair share of death and tragedy. A soldier, Andrew Johnson, told his crewmates that he would die on board the USS Cod. In the end, he was right, and was later lost to the sea in the course of saving his shipmates from disaster. Since it was decommissioned, visitors have heard footsteps, and reported inexplicable dark blurs in photographs. Soldiers training on board report alarms going off in unmanned sectors. It is said that Johnson remains bound forever, following visitors through the empty halls.
4. Drury Mansion
Tragedies have happened on Euclid Avenue. In 1929, a fire at the old Cleveland Clinic took the lives of 123 patients and carers. Years later, a mansion down the road became a house for recent parolees. Immediately, reports came in of lights flickering, doors locking, and unearthly groaning. Soon, residents in the all-male house reported seeing a woman. She would appear, hospital gown and bracelet hanging from her gaunt frame, and then burst into flame. Now a private residence, Drury Mansion's mystery continues.
5. The Old Crawford Property
In 1866, the small community of Olmstead Falls was shocked by the brutal murder of Rosa Colvin by a boarder in her home. He struck her with an axe, hid her body, and attempted to flee. He was arrested and hanged. Just months after her death, the new residents of the Colvin's shanty house began to report strange occurrences: incorporeal groaning, furniture moving apparently on its own, and the thud of an axe, banging, banging, banging against the wood.
6. The Agora Theatre and Ballroom
All showbiz has its legends. An eclectic past of burlesque, music, and cinema make this theatre unique in Cleveland. But this is not the only history that lives in the theatre. There are stories of something - or someone - draining energy from this place. Phones and cameras mysteriously die, only to come back on outside. Performers report feeling instantly tired, nauseous. One tour group took dozens of photos with mysterious orbs in them. There's even been reports of a man in a raincoat, who appears and disappears out of nowhere.
7. Fairport Harbor Lighthouse
The keeper of the lighthouse in 1871 had a wife, who was very ill. She found comfort in cats, and so her loving husband made sure she had several. Her favorite was an old grey cat. After she died, the cat did not leave the lighthouse grounds. In fact, it's rumored that the cat never left. A modern owner felt her bed dip and the weight of the cat resting against her; visitors to the lighthouse have felt it, winding around their legs. A grey cat has been seen wandering the grounds for over 100 years. A cat might not seem too threatening, but it would definitely give you a fright in the middle of the night!
8. Dean's Bridge
Around 1900, a man hanged himself from the iron truss of Dean's Bridge. It took authorities hours to find his body. No one knows why he hanged himself, but it is said that if you cross Dean's Bridge at night, you might still see the noose, hanging from the truss. The legend says that if you do, it spells your doom: you will die not long after. Pay attention while you cross, because some say that the bridge has a heartbeat. So if you do decide to cross the bridge, pay attention, and whatever you do, don't get out of the car.
9. Light and Hope (Gore) Orphanage
Like every good ghost story, Gore Orphanage has mysterious origins. We know that it existed, and that it burned down. Everything else is history and legend. Substantiated reports of abuse and beatings by the cruel owner or the preacher came from the orphanage. But the legend says that one night, the old man who ran the orphanage grew sick of the boys, and burned down the building, killing every last child inside. While there are no records of this happening, visitors still hear the giggling and wailing of children echoing through the forest. Screams rise up from an old well. Death cries of dozens of boys pierce the night.
We dare you.