My informant grew up in Kent, Ohio, attended Bowling Green State University, and spent over ten years after graduation living and working in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a self-professed lover of cities and turn-of-the-century architecture. She considers herself every bit a midwesterner, though she now resides in California.
My informant told me about the Franklin Castle while discussing her plans to visit Ohio this summer.
The Franklin Castle
The Franklin Castle is a mansion-sized Victorian stone house in Cleveland, Ohio that is commonly believed to be haunted. My informant told me that the story she heard is that the man who built the Castle in the 19th century was a twisted, evil man who would kill travelers that he would allow to stay in one of the house’s many rooms. The many rumored ghosts haunting the place are supposedly the spirits of those the man killed.
The Castle is full of hidden passageways and storage places that were likely used by servants. Apparently a recent renovation attempt did uncover bones in one of these hidden compartments in a wall. Tests done on the bones showed that they were very old, however my informant puts more faith in rumors that the bones were planted there by the current owner in an attempt to revive interest in the haunted building.
My informant is more interested in the Castle because its a fascinating looking old building than because of the rumors that it is haunted. She suspects that the rumors that the man who built it were evil stemmed from the fact that he was, in fact, a wealthy banker, and was likely not well liked in the community. “He probably foreclosed on a couple of people and suddenly its going around town that you’re evil. And everyone comes up with their own idea of what that means.”
Cleveland itself has been in recent years viewed as a dying metropolis. The city itself is an amalgamation of incredibly old buildings like the Castle (which have faded from their former glory and now comprise the poorer, more run-down parts of the city) and large modern skyscrapers, bars, clubs, and museums. Though the newer entertainment and shopping districts have not brought the population or reputation of the city back to what it once was, expansion and modernization are considered the only way to revive the city. Stories about spirits lingering in the old buildings mirror (and encourage) the fear of the older, poorer sections of the city.