With the approach of Halloween, Samhain (FYI pronounced SOW-in), All Saints’ Day, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and so on with the end of the year/death/harvest cyclic and symbolic motif humanity has struggled with since we crawled down from the trees, my mind turns to legends and stories of the supernatural. This year I wanted to take a closer look at the ghost stories around my home – Cleveland. I also wanted to include my youngest daughter who is having social anxiety issues. Knowledge has always been fear’s panacea, and I hoped if I could help her be unafraid of what most people are afraid of then it would be easier to lessen her fears of the everyday. “You aren’t afraid of ghosts, so why be afraid of people?”
My, some would say obsession, with the concept of infinity necessitates that I emphasize that I am neither debunking nor substantiating these legends and stories. I will approach them with the all but forgotten art of unbiased journalism. I will give you some of the who, what, when, and where if applicable, but the why is yours to invent and decide upon. True to modern journalistic form though, I will also omit much of the substantial history behind these locations (it would only bore most readers and ruin the fun of the season in some cases). Believer or non-believer, the following are buildings and cemeteries steeped in histories that are worth knowing about. Plus, if you’re nearby stop and take a picture or two as we did. You never know what, or who, may appear in the photo.
Lake View Cemetery, the unarguably historic cemetery on the East Side off Euclid Ave, is the final resting place of such worthy wights as President James A. Garfield, Jeptha Wade, John D. Rockefeller and more. Witnesses have reported lights coming from Garfield’s monument where no lights are supposed to be. One legend claims that on certain nights the spirits of Garfield and Rockefeller utilize Lake View’s many ornate tombstones to play an elaborate game of chess.
The plethora of Gothic and religious statuary at Lake View have led to the creation of countless urban legends, of which there are too many to retell here. If a particular monument catches your eye, I encourage you to do some further research and see which legends speak to you.
Chestnut Grove Cemetery located in Olmsted Falls is the home of Witch’s Hill. Legend has it that the townsfolk burned a witch in their cemetery and refused to place a memorial for her. Instead they fenced off the area with old used millstones to keep her spirit separate from the sanctified grounds. Witnesses claim to have seen odd lights around the grounds. Plus ill fortune and bad luck are supposed to come to any who approach or touch the final resting place of the witch.
Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Valley City is home to the Witch’s Ball (or globe). The Stoskopf marker is said to be cold to the touch in the summer and hot to the touch in winter. The legends surrounding this grave marker are elaborate and dissimilar in all regards as to the association of this gravestone and witchcraft, but if you speak with local youths they will all tell you about a friend of a friend who touched it on a dare and a horrible fate befell them.
Haunted Houses, Castles, and Skyscrapers
The Franklin Castle is said to be the home of many haunts. Witnesses claim unaccountable floating lights and faces, echoing footfalls, and overheard conversations when no one else was supposedly in the house.
The Drury Mansion, stories of phantom footsteps, and random opening and closing windows began when the Ohio Parole Authority took over management of the property in the 70’s.
Grays Armory on Prospect and Bolivar is home to a phantom piano player, echoing footsteps, the random aroma of pipe smoke, and many more.
Johnny Mango’s in Ohio City … Despite being ‘cleared’ by the real life physic that the television show “Ghost Whisperer” was based upon – Mary Ann Winkowski, stories continue among staff and patrons that the eatery is haunted. Especially the women’s restroom.
Squire’s Castle in the Cleveland Metro Parks has been the location of many unaccounted for lights and apparitions. The figure of a woman with a lighted candle has been said to appear in people’s photographs when nobody was there when the picture was taken.
Kohler Hall at Baldwin-Wallace is said to have many wild and at times violent, spirits that haunt the halls of this one time dormitory. Legends claim it was once an insane asylum at one point with a connecting tunnel to the nearby chapel.
The Terminal Tower. Cleveland’s iconic landmark is full of stories from the staff relating randomly flushing toilets and running sinks, phantom footsteps, hostile energies, cold spots, rough phantom coughing and laughing. Plus full fledged apparitions of a man smoking a cigar.
Places and Spaces:
The USS Cod is supposedly haunted by a lone crewman who was once left behind. He supposedly looks over the sub and follows people around when they are on board.
Within the confines of the Rocky River Reservation is the remnants of Puritas Springs Park. Witnesses have claimed to hear the screaming of passengers that crashed in an accident on the Cyclone roller coaster.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to many legends and spooks such as Hell Town (an undisclosed and quite difficult to find place) that was supposedly swallowed up by the park. The much easier to find Everett Road Bridge on the other hand has witnesses claiming to have repeatedly heard pleading, disembodied voices imploring for help.
Those are the places we visited this autumn ’14. My little ghost hunter and I did not experience anything out of the ordinary, but we did see some beautiful scenery. Perhaps if you are in the area, and you decide to swing by one of these haunts you will have better luck, or poorer luck depending on your perspective, and come face to face with one of Cleveland’s ghosts.
August 23, 2014
I often wonder what I would turn into if I were really rich. I don’t mean wealthy, or simply comfortable. I mean Dick Cheney buying a new heart for himself in his seventies kind of rich. That kind of money. Those of us without that financial scope typically are that way for a reason. Maybe it’s luck, birthright, or plain stupidity. It happens. But some of us aren’t rich because we don’t like what we see when we look at the world’s super bourgeoisie. We see addicts. Junkies that can never get a strong enough hit, jonesing for a fix, and willing to anything to get it. We don’t want to be that kind of person.
But, personally, if I were…well, some of the things I’d do. Wow! I’d be nothing shy of a monster.
Napoleon is often quoted as saying, “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
Perhaps that was true for the bulk of human history. Lately with the ecumenical decline in faith, as one of those super rich, I’d have to turn to other means of keeping the paltry proletarians, the meager masses, and the worker drones from storming my palatial homes and such. I don’t want your filthy hands touching all my Stuff! Hmm, so fear of a hellish eternity just isn’t cutting it anymore…let’s see, what can I do to keep my coffers full and my fat ass alive? Hmm? Keep you puppets dancing to the tune I’m whistling.
Well, if the masses aren’t afraid of a god maybe they should be afraid of each other. Yeah, that could work. Fear will keep them in line. It always has as long as we don’t take away too many comforts. They have their fast food and TVs still. Oh, there’s an idea. Let’s use those. TVs, yeah that always gets their dander up. Offensive. Defensive. Violence. Outrage. Perfect!
Now how do I go about this? Hmm, well so many of them seem to want what I have. Money, money, money, money! Money! Even in small doses. I can toss it out like stale bread to ducks and they just gobble it up! Why don’t I pick a few who are desperate enough and stupid enough (I suppose that last part goes without saying) that I can pay them to stir up social unrest on the old boob tube, eh? Yeah, I like the sound of that! Wait…what should they stir up? Hmm. Oh duh! Race! Always go with color and creed. Set those masses against each other with their differences! So easy! So simple. Pull a string here. Pull another one there. Dance. Dance. Dance. So… Simple…
…Just one fool with one gun and I can keep them all distracted. It’s worked before. It will keep on working.
August 8, 2014
I was recently asked to give my opinion on what I felt was psychologically right or wrong with the Fifty Shades of Grey books.
I had my doubts that my contribution would see the light of day because I did not take what I am sure was the anticipated, belligerent yes or no stance that is the hallmark of inexperience (and, sadly seems to be the mindset de jure). I wanted folks to have the chance to read it, so here goes.
August 2, 2014
Our definition and concept of the word patience varies greatly.
July 14, 2014
I recently returned to my hometown for an evening. I always find it strange to see the hand of time at work.
In a quick conversation with a friend’s mother, we referenced an odd moment of my past. A moment that is nothing shy of laughable to me and the man I have become…but, as a child? that moment accounts as the vector for a huge portion of stress from my adolescence. Offhandedly I deemed it a matter of square pegs and round holes. But later that night, driving home, I thought about how often those cases eat at the world – cancerous, leprous, rotting away at the fabric of society. Culminating in small instances of insecurity for some adults, or going so far as to twist others into violence and malice.
And the asinine cause is – square pegs and round holes. That’s it. Simple. Easy to overcome, but often left to fester.
There’s nothing wrong with the square pegs. There’s nothing wrong with the round holes. They just don’t work together. They’re in the wrong place. But, instead of seeing the difference as blameless, as part of how the universe works, they typically find it’s easier to feel that the reason they don’t go together is the fault of the other. Opposition. That’s how society works, right? That damn dualistic perspective that pits man against woman, black against white, good against evil, the lightside against the darkside, dogs against cats, Ohio Sate against Michigan, heads against tails, and so forth and so on…that perspective keeps people entrenched in a limited world.
The universe is infinite. It’s the limited human mind that sees things in twos. How much and how many do you see? … that’s up to you.