I’ve been real quiet lately, sorry. I seemed to have become a lurker again, but, in an effort to get things moving along again, I thought I’d share the story of what has been called “The most Haunted House in Ohio.”
Franklin Castle is a brooding stone mansion which sits in the Ohio City area of Cleveland. Not the best part of town certainly, and the Castle looks out of place there. (I used to have a photo of the place taken by my brother back in the ’70’s, if I can find it, would you like it to be posted?) It LOOKS like it ought to be haunted, and the few times I’ve stood outside it gazing up at the turret, I got the sense it was ‘waiting’ for something. Its not a friendly place, but I would love to get inside there and look around.
It was built in the mid-nineteenth century by one Hannes Tiedemann. Tiedemann was an immigrant from Germany, who worked first as a tradesman, and then went into banking where he made his fortune. There is still a Tiedemann road in Cleveland, in fact. Anyway, he built this Four story mansion and moved his family into it.
Every surface of the interior is said to be ornamented, and there are some twenty or more rooms. There are also secret passages (no, really! ) that run throughout the house. They may not have even found all of these passages yet. Some of these passages remind me of the descriptions of the Winchester Mystery house. There is one which you get to through a trapdoor, and it runs between the floor and the ceiling, and stops suddenly. No outlet.
The family was wracked with tragedy, Several children died very young. One of the older daughters did as well. The Matriach of the family passed on. Tiedemann’s died after a long fall into alchoholism.
Anyhow… the hauntings. Neighbors claim to occassionally see a woman in black staring down at them from a tower window. It is said that the Ballroom on the 4th floor is haunted by a young girl. Visitors have occassionally heard whispers and mutters coming from behind the walls. A Local radio personality came to do a story on the house and as he was ascending the large staircase to the upper levels, something snatched the tape recorder from his shoulder and hurled it down the stairs where it shattered. Residents of the house have also had encounters;
Once the children of a family came to their mother and asked if they could have a cookie for their little friend, a girl who was crying. THey described her as dressed “funny” in long dresses and spoke with a strange accent.
A paperboy knocked on the door and heard a voice say “Come in”. He entered into the foyer and saw a woman in a flowing white gown float down the stairs and out through the closed door.
Other visitors have reported seeing faces in the stone and woodwork of the house, or feeling presences entering into them. One former owner of the house said she felt there was a secret there which the ghosts wanted the owners to keep secret. They wanted no one to find out what the secret might have been.
Secrets?? Oh yes, there are plenty of those in Franklin Castle. While I was growing up, there was a discovery made there that I still remember seeing in all the papers. They found a new secret passage which led to a hidden room. the room was filled with bones. Human bones, and very old ones. Some people say they were the bones of infants and children. I remember seeing pictures of them in the paper. Very disturbing to say the least.
There are other legends of this house. That in another secret room a still had been set up during prohibition. Yet another secret room was said to have been the site of a mass murder; 20 or so German Socialists were machine gunned in a political dispute. Some people say there was Nazi propaganda literature and a radio there as well…
All this sounds pretty fantastic, I realize. I don’t know the truth of the legends. I can vouch for the fact that a secret room of human bones was found there in the 1970’s. And plenty of people seem to have encountered spirits there. All is apparently quiet theser days since one of the more recent owners spent millions restoring the house. But who knows. Perhaps it spirits are just waiting still… hoping that whatever secret they guard isn’t accidentally discovered.
Franklin Castle (2)
A little update on Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio.
It was recently purchased by Michelle Heimburger, a native Clevelander who has been living in San Fransisco for the last few years. Heimburger made a lot of money when the YAHOO! stock she owned went through the roof. She had wanted to live in Franklin Castle since she was five years old, when one day driving with her family on Cleveland’s West side she saw the house, and told her father she would like to live there one day.
Her father informed her a couple of months ago that the house was for sale, and she bought it. She moved in about a month ago. She still spends a lot of time in California, but when not in town she has freinds of hers that stay in the house and watch it for her. Heimburger’s intention is to restore the home to as close as it’s original condition as possible, and use it as her primary residence. She plans on doing most of the work herself.
The interior of the house is in suprisingly good shape. The plumbing and electrical need to be repaired but the structure itself is fine. Even the intricate and beautiful wood paneling and trim that covers the interior of the home is in mostly immaculate condition. It is in need of a lot of painting and cleaning, but otherwise remarkably well preserved. Her father is presently carefully searching the backyard carriage house for the entrance of a tunnel leading to the lakefront that is supposed to be there: A leftover from the days of the Underground Railroad.
A few secret passageways have been re-discovered, but so far none of them have led to anywhere.
On May 30th 1999 Heimburger held a “Castle Warming Party” under the Full-Moon for friends and family to check out her new home. A grunge band played throughout the evening in the “haunted” fourth floor ballroom, while hundreds of candles set up for light illuminated the rest of the interior of the house for the several hundred guests who attended. No ghosts were spotted, though motorists driving down Cleveland’s Franklin Blvd where greeted by partiers waving sparklers from the front lawn of the home, and other revelers travelled through secret passage ways to enjoy a view of the sunset from the castle’s roof, turrets and balconies.
However the night preceeding the party, a guest staying in the home overnight fled in terror at 3:00AM when he began hearing strange sounds, including a baby crying. Heimburger has herself spent about a month living in the home, but says she hasn’t heard or seen anything YET that she hasn’t been able explain logically.
I covered the party event as a photographer for a west coast paper, and carefully checked all my negatives: No (bummer) ghosts showed up on any of my shots, though my camera was acting unexplainably funny at certain times during the evening (really, honest!)
Camels & Cocktails,
Jamie-Andrea Yanak email@example.com
Franklin Castle (3)
I love your web-site and all the true stories that you post. I think my interest began when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I visited the Franklin Castle in Cleveland, OH which my uncle owned at the time. I have seen pictures taken in the castle by people who visited and walked through the castle and I have seen the strange ghostly shapes in the pictures and I am still fascinated with the stories/encounters my uncle and his family experienced in the castle. They did not live there while they owned it, but opened it up for tours and rental. While I don’t have any personal experiences in the castle, I remember playing there and feeling a little uneasy to be too far from the adults. There were a lot of stories connected with the dumb waiter and the top floor. The cloak room was a major cold spot where really strange figures were seen. It seems as though there was a lot of sadness in the house. I hope the new owner can change the climate!!
Franklin Castle (4)
Hi, I wanted to let you know that you need to update your website. Charlie Milsaps owns the Castle now and is trying to turn it into a castle club. Which is completely beyond me? Who knows, it might be worth it, but it will take away from its history of the famous castle.
Email me and I can give you the scoop