Graveyards, monuments and bridges: haunted locations in Cleveland

Anna Giubileo, Staff Reporter

Halloween may be over, but there are still many places in Cleveland that are known for year-round spooky occurrences. Below are some of the spookiest sites in the city.

Just a short walk from campus, the Lakeview Cemetery is not only home to the graves of many people important to Case Western Reserve University—including Leonard Case Jr., Winfred George Leutner and Charles Franklin Thwing—but is also known for many unexplainable events.

Watching over the grave of Francis Haserot, a wealthy businessman from the 20th century, is a bronze statue of an angel clutching an upside down torch. Even creepier than the Dr. Who “Weeping Angel” vibe of the statue are the actual tears that the statue cries. Visitors have reported hearing sobs from the general vicinity of the grave, and trails of black “tears” can be seen on the face of the statue—and no one can explain where they came from. 

Just three short miles down Euclid Avenue stands the Agora Theater. Built in 1913, rumors circulate of a man in a yellow raincoat that has been seen on the stage, in the balconies and on the catwalk, even warning one raving attendee against taking ecstasy pills. Workers at the theater have taken to calling him “John.”

However, any students interested in meeting John may be in for a disappointment; Psychic Sonya performed an exorcism last year and since then, employees have noticed a marked decrease in the number of paranormal sightings. 

Tower City is often a popular stop for students who want to explore off-campus without having to travel too far. However, just a few steps from Tower City stands the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument honoring the Cuyahoga County veterans of the Civil War. Constructed over 100 years ago, visitors have reported hearing phantom footsteps in the tunnels underneath the monument, as well as finding unexplained figures in group pictures.

One mile from campus is the Foundation House, formerly known as Drury Mansion. Originally built in 1912 as the dream home for millionaire Francis Drury, it was leased by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority in 1972 as a halfway house for convicts. During that time, inmates and staff reported feelings of being watched, in addition to the accounts of doors and windows opening and closing on their own and even window blinds sliding up and down unexplainably. 

Two police officers charged with guarding the then-vacant house were found one morning sitting in the middle of the floor, back-to-back, clutching their shotguns in terror. 

A little further from campus is the story of the Ashtabula River railroad disaster. In 1876, in the freezing December weather, the Pacific Express No. 5 was crossing the Ashtabula Bridge when it suddenly collapsed. After the railcars fell 70 feet to the freezing river below, lamps and stoves inside the train ignited an uncontrollable fire. According to the local lore, you can still hear the screams of those who were caught in the inferno. Lights have also been spotted hovering where the bridge once stood. 

Amasa Stone, namesake to Amasa Stone Memorial Chapel and re-founder of the university after the move from Hudson to Cleveland, was originally blamed for negligence when his company built the bridge. However, later modern analysis of the situation led to the conclusion that it was a third party’s faulty casting of iron lugs that lead to the collapse.  

Finally, for those who might not be as adventurous when it comes to ghost hunting, there is the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse. Though it has many reported instances of otherworldly experiences, some are more wholesome than others. The lighthouse is occupied by the ghost of the grey cat Sentinel, an old friend to the keeper of the lighthouse in 1871. When construction was done in 2001, workers actually found the remains of the cat, who was said to have disappeared after its owner died.