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DeLena Ciamacco is a well-known, respected Top Producing Realtor in Central Ohio. Her myriad of accomplishments, recognition, and professional credentials as they relate to Real Estate, make her a perfect individual to provide insight to the masses on all aspects of Real Estate sales. Her creativity and honest approach to marketing Real Estate has enabled her to succeed in her career. DeLena’s philosophy is “An educated and well prepared Buyer or Seller is a smart Buyer or Seller”. Her desire is to inform the public, by pulling from her 20+ years of Real Estate sales & Marketing, what is necessary to get to a successful closing in these challenging times.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Ohio (Haunted Houses Part 3)

For the past couple weeks we’ve given a run down on the country’s most haunted homes and their ghastly histories. While it’s easy to shrug off these stories and put them out of your mind, would you feel as at ease if you knew the same thing were going on right down the street? Believe it or not, Ohio has plenty of their own haunted happenings, some of which you’ve no doubt heard of, and some that you might not even believe. Take a look at these “supposedly” ghostly gathering places.

Note: As interesting as these stories may be, we encourage all readers to remember that these homes are just that: homes possibly occupied by owners and family. We absolutely do not condone trespassing on private property, and remind you that doing so can result in hefty legal fines or arrest. We also do not condone the contacting or harassment of owners of these properties. It’s fun to swap stories and pass down legends, but please: common sense.

 Franklin Castle

The next spooky house on our list is our first home from Ohio, and is also reportedly the most haunted house in the buckeye state period. Franklin Castle (also known as the Hannes Tiedmann house) was erected in 1865 and named for its owner, a German immigrant who had moved to the Cleveland area and found success as a banker. His new found wealth allowed him to build the towering 4 story structure resembling a castle for his wife Luise and two children, August and Emma. Sadly, this would be the high point of life at the Franklin Castle for the family. The first tragedy came in 1881 when Emma, then only 15 years of age died from complications associated with diabetes. Soon after, Hannes would lose his elderly mother Wiebeka, who also resided in the castle as well. For the next three years the family would lose a new or unborn child each year, piling on to the despair felt by everyone, but especially Luise Tiedmann. 

To take her mind off of the tragedies plaguing them, Hannes began renovating the home to appear more and more like an actual castle, with turrets and gargoyles added to the exterior edifice. Construction also began inside, and saw the addition of a large ballroom as well as secret passageways, concealed rooms, and hidden doors. Luisa would pass away in the castle just as her daughter and mother in law, on March 24th 1895 from liver trouble, leaving Hannes to care for the castle alone. He remarried a couple years later and sold the house to a family in the brewing business. By 1908 Hannes had outlived his entire family and was left alone, after a divorce from his second wife. He died following a massive stroke that same year.

Years before, stories had begun to circulate among the people in and around Cleveland that much more had been going on behind the scenes at Franklin Castle. Years after the castle became vacant, a new owner made a grisly discovery in one of the many hidden rooms; dozens on infant skeletons were found concealed, and dated to back around the time that the Tiedmann’s would have resided there. Rumors also began to spread of Hannes Tiedmann’s infidelity and supposed taste for violence. According to legend, Hannes had a mistress who attempted to leave him and marry another man. When he found out, he attacked the woman within the house and strangled her to death. Another story is that Hannes killed a maid on her wedding day after she rejected his advances, and that he killed a niece inside the castle in an attempt to put her out of her misery (she was supposedly suffering from an unidentified mental illness.)

 It is unknown if any of these stories are fact or not, but the infant skeletons were definitely found in the mid 70’s by then owner Sam Muscatello. Three others had owned the home before him, a family of 8 that were frightened out of the house by the supposed sounds of ghosts, an ailing attorney and his nurse (who vowed never to step foot on the property again) and the German Socialist Party, who rumor has it were actually Nazis and that several members met their ends in the house at the hands of a machine gun. The most prevalent reports of the supernatural are the sounds of children crying within the house, of voices coming from other rooms, and the sound of footsteps on the upper floors. Some have even reported the feeling of being strangled in certain rooms, leading many to believe the story of Hannes choking his mistress to death to be true. Whatever the case, there definitely seems to be something amiss with Franklin Castle. 

Walhalla Road – The Mooney Mansion

For residents of northern Columbus, tales of Walhalla Road and what might have occurred there years ago are prevalent. The road itself is distinct and unique; while the majority of the surrounding area is flat, the Walhalla area becomes hilly, with large towering houses sitting atop the high ridges that border the street, all seemingly covered by a near impenetrable canopy of trees. Perhaps the geography and overall mood of the street is responsible for the tales of ghosts and ghastly terror, because it is not hard to imagine one of the houses you’re walking past might just be the Mooney Mansion. 

The tales of Walhalla Road have been told (and changed around) for years and as a result the scene for the supposed murder of an entire family has long been forgotten. No one knows for sure which house of Walhalla is the fabled Mooney Mansion, just of its supernatural history. One thing that most people do agree on is just what happened there, and trust us, it’s not pretty. Sometime around the 1950’s, a Dr. Mooney moved into one of the Walhalla Road residences with his wife and children. Depending on who is telling the story, they’ll tell you next that the doctor became depressed or was driven to madness over any number of things, including the stress of work, of financial problems, infidelity, or even demonic possession. Unable to cope any longer, Dr. Mooney unleashed his madness on his own family, waiting until nightfall before killing his wife and children with an axe as they slept. Weather he killed himself, was caught, or escaped to prowl the surrounding area is also up for debate amongst storytellers, although almost all warn that the murders are reenacted there every night by the ghosts of the family, with a strange blue glow seeping through the houses windows and doors. 

Another version also exists that claims to have taken place several years earlier, with Dr. Mooney losing most of his money during the stock market crash of 1929. Driven to despair, the doctor killed his entire family before hanging their lifeless bodies from the Calumet Street Bridge that spans Walhalla Road. With his horrific work done, the doctor then hung himself as well. Supposedly, if you walk the road late at night and head for the bridge, you can sometimes still see the ghostly outlines of bodies hanging from it. Another popular feature of the Mooney legend is that the house behind the story includes a nearly life-sized statue in the backyard of a woman which supposedly cries blood on the anniversary of the murders. Whether it’s true that such a statue does in fact exist on Walhalla Road is unknown, but excuse us if we don’t go looking to find out! 

While this story is a favorite in and around central Ohio, further digging on the subject yielded some interesting results. It seems that in recent years, most investigators of the Mooney Mansion legend have identified the house in question on Walhalla Road as a beautiful old home built around 1913 (dig enough and you’ll find the address, we have decided to omit it here for security purposes.) Even more fascinating is the fact that public records reveal that a Dr. Charles M. Mooney, a popular ear nose and throat doctor from Columbus purchased the house with his wife Derrie in 1944. Sadly for ghost enthusiasts, this is where fact and fiction diverge. As it turns out, the doctor and his wife made the mansion their home well into their 70’s, both passing away from natural causes after watching their very much alive sons and daughter grow up, get married, and start families of their own. Several former residents of Walhalla Road who would have been around at the time of the supposed murders have recounted that no such crimes took place during that time frame. Unfortunately for us (fortunately for the family!) this looks more like a case of area residents letting their imaginations run wild with explanations for why no one stays at the property for very long.
Jury is still out on that creepy bleeding statue though… 

 The Thurber House

Almost anyone born and raised around Columbus (or anyone who has survived 10th grade English) can probably tell you about author and cartoonist James Thurber. The son of a civil clerk, Thurber spent his entire childhood and OSU days living at 77 Jefferson Avenue, before going on to a lucrative career as a writer and illustrator for the New Yorker, as well as penning nearly 40 critically acclaimed books in his time. He is remembered for his humor, both written and drawn, as well as introducing the world to lovable characters such as the titular Walter Mitty. But before Thurber could make a name for himself in the world of literature, a very different story was unfolding at 77 Jefferson Avenue involving his own encounters with a ghost. 

Thurber would tell his story later in the pages of “My Life and Hard Times” with a tale called “The Night the Ghost Got In.” In it, he discusses an incident that occurred sometime in 1915 while he was a junior in college, and admittedly, a non-believer of the paranormal. So when James heard what sounded like the heavy footsteps of a man pacing around his kitchen table one night before bed, his immediate thought was that someone had broken into his family’s home; his older brother was sleeping down the hall, and his father and younger brother were currently out of state, meaning it couldn’t be anyone but an intruder. He woke his brother, directed him to the top of the stairs that led down into the dining room, and listened as the steps died away. Both boys were shaken by the noises they heard, but frankly terrified when the loud steps started up again taking the stairs two at a time and heading right for the Thurber siblings. James’ brother bolted for his room, while James himself slammed the door to the second story landing shut just as the steps reached the top. 

Puzzled by his encounter, Thurber decided to research the history of 77 Jefferson Avenue, discovering from area neighbors that this wasn’t the first time that residents of the house had encountered “The steps that go round and round.” Other families had fled the home after dealing with the restless spirit night after night. He also discovered the possible origin of the spectre; apparently long before the Thurber’s moved in, a man living there had discovered his wife was not being faithful thanks to an anonymous tip. It drove him to despair until one night after pacing the floor of the kitchen he bounded up the stairs to the second floor and shot himself in the head. Another interesting fact revealed in Thurber’s story was the date of the incident, which took place on November 17th, 1915; exactly 47 years to the day that the Ohio State Lunatic Asylum had burned to the ground, taking seven people with it. The location of the former asylum? Right where 77 Jefferson Avenue sits today. 

Years later the Thurber family would move out of 77 Jefferson Avenue, which was converted into a boarding house. Renters would also hear the ghostly footsteps in the kitchen and on the stairs, further reinforcing the idea that the building was haunted. The house would stand empty after that, until Thurber’s fame had spread far and wide enough for owners to convert it into a museum and non-profit writing center. The lower floors serve as the museum, while the third floor is often occupied by a Writer-in-Residence. Several writers would also report strange occurrences, like seeing the dark outline of a man through an upstairs window, the security alarms going off in the dead of night when no one else was present, and of course, those steps pounding up the stairs. One writer even mentioned in an essay on her stay that her dog would growl at something sitting on the couch, something that only the dog could sense. Today, you can tour the house every day of the week (excluding major holidays) from 1 to 4 PM at no charge. Guided tours are held on Sundays for $4 for adults, $2 for children. 

 The Kelton House

Continuing our exploration of well-known and possibly haunted homes in Columbus, the Kelton House located at 586 East Town Street might give the Thurber House a run for its money. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, The Kelton House is supposedly home to as many as four ghosts; all members of the prestigious Kelton family, who occupied it for well over a hundred years. 

The home was built in 1852 by Fernando Cortez Kelton, a fervent abolitionist from Vermont who made his fortune as a drygoods wholesaler. It was their dedication to the abolishment of slavery that led their eldest son Oscar to join the Civil War as a member of the 95th Ohio Infantry, and later become a First Lieutenant.  Sadly, Oscar would not live to see his efforts realized, or the end of slavery; he was killed in the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads on June 10th 1864 when he was only 18 years old. It is perhaps this tragic end that leads many to believe that Oscar still roams the property of the Kelton House, as a young man in Union blues has been spotted several times within the house and in the yard. 

Both of Oscar’s parents are also rumored to be present at the home as well; Sophia, Fernando’s wife and Oscar’s mother has been seen in period dress with a veil over her face, gazing out the window of her former room, which is rumored to possess the most spirit activity. Fernando himself has also been spotted as a man in a flannel shirt who is seen and then disappears seconds later. 

The final ghost belongs to the last member of the Kelton family to occupy the home, Grace Bird Kelton who died there on Christmas Day 1975. Once a renowned interior designer who studied at The Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute; Grace’s biggest claim to fame was in assisting Jacqueline Kennedy with the redecoration of the White House in 1960. It is perhaps this attention to detail and design that lead to some spooky activity in 1976 when the Kelton House underwent renovations after her death. Workers reported a number of strange occurrences, such as tools going missing and turning up in locked cabinets, furniture being moved to their original spots, and cleaning supplies being left out for others to tidy up. Supposedly this activity still occurs today, and staff members are careful to “listen” to what Grace is telling them. 

Today the Kelton House is home to the Junior League of Columbus, who uses it as their headquarters. Eighty to ninety percent of the furniture and objects within the home are all original pieces owned by the Keltons, and you can tour the property Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM. The Kelton House is also available to rent out for events and celebrations; several wedding receptions are held there every year. Just keep an eye out for unenvied guests in period dress (as is reported to happen.)  

 Scwartz Castle

Standing tall at 3rd Ave. is the Scwartz Castle, the highest building (and probably most recognizable) landmark in German Village. This unique property has a couple different tales associated with ghosts, the most noteworthy being that of the building’s creator, Frederick William Scwartz. Scwartz was a German immigrant who arrived in Columbus sometime in the mid-1800’s and opened up a successful pharmacy down on Main Street. The story goes that Scwartz was awaiting the arrival of his fiancĂ© who was still in Germany, and who professed a desire to be wed inside a castle. In an effort to make her dreams come true, Scwartz used a portion of his substantial revenue to construct the building, which included a turret similar to that of a castle. However, things would end badly for Scwartz and his labor of love; his fiancĂ© would later contact him after the building’s construction to inform him that she had selected a new groom and would not be coming to America. 

According to the accounts of people living in the area at the time, Scwartz was driven mad by the breakup. He began construction of a number of secret passageways in and out of the building, as well as 5 full stories submerged in the basement. He became a vegetarian over-night, refused to shave or cut his hair and drank only rainwater collected around the property. He would only wear wool against his skin, jogged barefoot 365 days a year, and sometimes sunbathed naked on top of the castle. This strange behavior continued for the rest of Scwartz’ life and almost became a source of entertainment among the area residents. When he eventually passed away, he did not specify any relatives or friends that he wished to leave the building to, and as such it became property of the city. Soon after Scwartz death however, neighbors began to report ghostly apparitions of the castle’s former owner; still milling around the property, jogging barefoot, and even climbing the old ladder to the roof. 

This would not be the only brush with the paranormal to grace Scwartz castle however; after the city took control of the property, the basement area was converted into apartments. Supposedly, an unidentified man hung himself in one of the apartments and still dwells there today. Another story is that of two brothers who shared an apartment on the 2nd floor of the basement; they became involved in a drunken argument one night which turned violent and left one dead from an apparent stabbing. Legend has it that you can still hear them quarreling, their cries coming from that same 2nd floor basement apartment. Whether or not these stories are true, you can be sure that the tale of Frederick Scwartz is authentic; he truly built and owned the home, and participated in a list of odd behaviors in German Village, which he supposedly still performs to this day. Let’s just hope he gave up on the nude sunbathing.
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