Thirteen REAL haunted houses (and other places) in Northeast Ohio

by on 10/30/2013 - 12:34 pm

Categories: Building & Remodeling, Home Exteriors

By Morgan Lasher

Northeast Ohio homes are known across the nation for their diverse architecture, excellent value—and in some cases, their terrifying pasts.

After extensive research into Ohio's paranormal past, staff members of HGExpo, the online home and garden show, discovered these 13 haunted places right in our backyard.

#1 Franklin Castle

Franklin CastleImage Source:

most haunted home in Ohio

Construction started on Ohio City’s gothic sandstone castle in 1864. Built by wealthy German grocer-turned-banker Hannes Tiedemann, the house contains 30 rooms across four stories, including an unknown number of secret passages and hidden doors.

The Tiedemanns lost their first child, Emma, soon after the house was finished. In the three years that followed Emma’s death, the small family buried four more family members, and Hannes' wife Luise sunk into a deep depression. During that time she insisted on adding gargoyles, spires, and sharp angles to the home, reminiscent of a dark, Bavarian castle.

It is believed to be the most haunted home in Ohio.

The Franklin Castle has changed hands more than a dozen times since the late nineteenth century. (Allegedly, it belonged to Nazi spies in the early twentieth century.) Reports of unaccounted for noises and movements, hidden bodies and child-shaped apparitions have plagued nearly every owner.

You can find Franklin Castle at 4308 Franklin Boulevard in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood.


#2 Squire's Castle

Squire's CastleImage Source:

An energetic city girl forever trapped in the woods

The legendary Squire’s Castle, situated in what is now the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, is just a small taste of builder Feargus B. Squire’s original vision.

Feargus, a founding member of the Standard Oil Company, fell in love with the scenery of the Chagrin Valley, and dreamed of a country castle fit for an oil baron. The Squire’s Castle we know today is actually just the shell of the gatekeeper’s house for the estate he was never able to build.

For a short time, though, the gatehouse was used as a home for Feargus’ wife, Rebecca, while he was away on business. Legend says that Rebecca was an energetic city girl who wanted nothing to do with wooded paths and grassy fields. She grew restless, and her red lantern could often be seen wandering the hallways out of boredom on the especially lonely nights.

What happens next is a point of contention amongst storytellers and "official" city documents. Local legend argues that late one night, while wandering up the hard stone stairs, Rebecca became startled by something outside her window.

In her fright, she dropped her lantern and tumbled to her death backwards down the cold, concrete staircase.

Today visitors report that Rebecca still lingers in the castle's hallways, occasionally showing her red lantern in the window, still longing to leave the countryside.

You can find Squire’s Castle in the Cleveland Metroparks in Willoughby, Ohio.


#3 The Unionville Tavern

Unionville TavernImage Source:

Runaway slaves searching for an escape

Built in 1798 as a log cabin, the Unionville Tavern is a favorite setting for local ghost storytellers. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the tavern had a secret tunnel (literally underground) that connected it to a nearby cemetery. Guests and former employees of the tavern report the same eerie sighting: the ghosts of runaway slaves forever searching for an escape.

You can find the Unionville Tavern at 7935 South Ridge Road, in Unionville, Ohio.


#4 The Drury Mansion

Drury MansionImage Source:

A hospitalized woman bursts into flames

Industrialist Francis Drury built the Tudor revival-style Drury Mansion in 1912 on Cleveland’s once named “Millionaire's Row.” Paranormal activity includes the mysterious opening and closing of doors and the sighting of at least two ghostly female figures.

In the 1970s the Ohio Adult Parole Authority Board used the mansion to house paroled convicts, and one resident reported seeing the apparition of a woman with long, black hair and a large hospital bracelet, who suddenly bursts into flames. Curiously, in May of 1929, a tragic fire at the Cleveland Clinic, just seven blocks away, claimed the lives of over 100 people.

You can find
the Drury Mansion at 8625 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.


#5: The Perkins Stone Mansion

Perkins MansionImage Source:

Five spirits not ready to leave

This 1837 Greek Revival mansion, built by Col. Simon Perkins, Jr. (the son of Akron’s founder Gen. Simon Perkins) and his wife Grace Tod Perkins, is home number five on our list.

And it’s rumored to be home to five ghostly spirits.

One spirit is reportedly Mr. Perkins, himself, whose ghostly figure stays in his bedroom (the place where 9 of his 11 children were born) and refuses to cross the threshold into the hallway.

Other reports of paranormal activity include a seriously spooky 2006 photo at a fundraiser in the home of a ghostly female apparition climbing the staircase, a display mannequin who is mysterious decapitated every night, children playing with a ball in the maids’ quarters, and, in the Alexander room, a lingering smell of baby powder and a rocking chair that rocks on its own.

You can find the Perkins Mansion at 550 Copley Road, in Akron, Ohio.


#6 Gore Orphanage

Gore OrphanageImage Source:

A mysterious fire

The events surrounding the construction, operation, and destruction of the Gore Orphanage are muddled and confusing at best.

While the orphanage is no longer standing, no one is really sure why. Local legend blames a "man from the river" that, after growing tired of the noise the children were making, set fire to their home while they slept.

On the same site, in 1840, a physician named Joseph Swift, who was, quite publicly, a fanatical believer in all-things paranormal built a large Greek Revival home. Historical articles document séances and pagan rituals originating from the Swift home.

Some speculate that the children’s voices awoke and angered the spirit of Joseph Swift.

Whether the river man or Joseph Swift takes the blame, visitors to the ruins of the Gore Orphanage (and the Swift Mansion) report hearing the cries of trapped children.

You can find the site of the Gore Orphanage in the Lorain County Metroparks in Amherst, Ohio.


#7 Garfield House

Garfield HouseImage Source:

The spirit of an ever-tidy First Lady

Former President of the United States and Ohio native James A. Garfield's Mentor home is special. Not just because it was the home of a U.S. President, or because it housed the first ever presidential library. It's special because Garfield's wife, Lucretia, might still be living there, keeping things tidy.

Guards tell stories of lights spontaneously turning on in the middle of the night.

And on more than one occasion, construction crews working in the house left a huge mess of tools and materials, but when they returned the next day, they found that their mess had been tidied and organized.

You can find the Garfield House at 8095 Mentor Avenue in Mentor, Ohio.


#8 Farnam Manor

Farnam ManorImage Source:

The ghosts of a friendly child and a long lost lover

The Farnam Manor in Richfield, Ohio may be the most inviting home on our list. While the Farnam family story is not a pleasant one, present-day visitors to the Farnam Manor describe the atmosphere as playful and mischievous.

Everett Farnam, the youngest of six children, moved to Ohio from Connecticut with his father, a Revolutionary War vet. Everett built the huge manor house on the land he grew up on in 1834. Shortly after the family moved in, Everett's daughter Emily drowned in a cistern after escaping the watchful eye of a nanny. Every year, dozens of visitors claim to see Emily in her white dress giving a friendly greeting.

A local widower and socialite bought the estate in the 20s and turned it into a "social club" that was rumored to have an indulgence for every vice. A young woman who worked at the manor as a prostitute is often seen sitting in her former bedroom, waiting for a lost lover.

You can find the Farnam Manor at 4223 Brecksville Road in Richfield, Ohio.


#9 Akron Civic Theatre

Akron Civic TheaterImage Source:

The show must go on—forever

The Akron Civic Theatre has been a community staple since it was built in 1929. In fact, some locals love it so much, they may forever refuse to leave. A former janitor named "Fred" has been seen and felt protecting the Civic, running off vandals and hooligans who are being less than respectful.

There have also been sightings of a mysterious "well dressed man" who visits the backstage and balcony areas, preparing for a performance that he'll never be able to play again.

You can find the Akron Civic Theatre at 182 South Main Street in Akron, Ohio.


#10 Gray's Armory

Gray's ArmoryImage Source:

Still ready for battle

The legendary five-story Gray’s Armory in Cleveland was built in 1893 as the headquarters for Cleveland’s volunteer militia, dubbed the “Cleveland Grays” thanks to the militia’s gray uniforms.  The Grays fought in the Civil War, and later in the Spanish American War.

This castle-meets-fortress stands near the Erie Street Cemetery, and fittingly, visitors report the ghostly apparitions of men dressed in 19th century military garb, and the sounds of rhythmic, marching footsteps from empty floors above.

You can find Gray’s Armory at 1234 Bolivar Road in Cleveland.



#11 Rogue's Hollow

Rogue's HollowImage Source:

Ohio’s most infamous bridge

Ohio has several bridges rumored to fill the midnight air with a baby’s cry. But the “Cry Baby Bridge” at Rogue’s Hollow is perhaps Ohio's most infamous bridge. According to the legend, after giving birth, an unwed mother was jilted at the alter, and in her despair, she threw her newborn over the bridge and into the icy waters at Rogue’s Hollow.

Rumors suggest at midnight you can hear the baby’s cries, and even see the baby’s handprints on your car’s windshield. And on some nights, the wails of the infant’s forlorn mother echo in the woods.

You can find Cry Baby Bridge on Rogues Hollow Road in Doylestown, Ohio.


#12 Spitzer House Bed & Breakfast

Spitzer HouseImage Source:

Never leaving home

Ceilan Milo Spitzer, a distinguished banker, built the Spitzer House in 1890 for his family, and according to local legends and visitors to the home, some members of his family may still be there.

A rather stern-looking, gentlemanly ghost is rumored to appear in the Ceilan Room and at the top of the stairs, and some speculate it is Mr. Spitzer himself.

It is now an award-winning bed and breakfast, recognized for excellent service, beautiful décor—and the occasional ghost sighting.

You can find the Spitzer House Bed & Breakfast at 504 West Liberty Street in Medina, Ohio.


#13 The Henry House

Henry HouseImage Source:

The Apple Lady reigns

Cleveland carpenter Robert Warner Henry constructed his family home in the 1830s. He, and especially his wife Frances, were gracious hosts to the community, and neighbors remembered Frances at her happiest when riding through the property's apple orchards.  

Frances may still be holding fast to her role as gracious hostess. Visitors to the home (now a popular business) report odd sightings throughout the house, including objects mysteriously misplaced or moved, meticulously made beds suddenly unmade, and doors opening without help from the living.  But perhaps most curiously, visitors report an overwhelming smell of apples.

You can find the Henry House on Pearl Road (Route 42) in Parma Heights, Ohio.


Feeling especially spooky? Use this map to visit all 13 locations this Halloween.

Winking Lizard Deal