CLEVELAND (WJW) – There’s something unique about October — the leaves turn to hues of red and orange, the days grow shorter and an ominous chill fills the air.
It’s also a time when more people become intrigued by the unexplained. For those living in Northeast Ohio, you don’t have to travel far to find something a little extra eerie this Halloween season.
Whether it be personal stories, old legends or visits by nationally-recognized paranormal investigators, Ohio is no stranger to reports of ghostly sightings and spooky spots.
Here are some of the reportedly most haunted places in Northeast Ohio.
Settled in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Franklin Castle is believed to be one of the most haunted houses in the state.
Also known as the Tiedemann House, the Victorian home stands out behind its black iron gate on Franklin Boulevard with its stone walls, red-lined door and windows and a sharp spire near the front.
The historic house was built by German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann in the late nineteenth century in what was, at the time, among the most upscale areas of the city, according to Cleveland Historical.
The house was sold in 1896, one year after Tiedemann’s wife died there. According to the Cleveland Historical, the home passed through several owners before suffering substantial damage in an arson in 1999.
It has undergone restorations over the years, with the latest owners buying the home in 2011 and recently letting guests spend the night there.
Over the years, ghostly rumors started to spread about the spirits of Tiedemann’s wife and their daughter Emma, who died before the house was built, still residing in Franklin Castle.
According to the castle’s website, people have reported hearing a young girl crying and footsteps throughout the house, as well as items being moved and a “faceless spirit” showing itself on the third floor.
Skeletal remains were even found inside the castle in the 1970s.
Franklin Castle appeared on an episode of “Ghost Adventures,” where host Zak Bagans called it the “most haunted structure in Ohio.”
Learn more about tours, paranormal investigations and overnight stays here.
Erie Street Cemetery
You’ve probably seen it while leaving a ball game at Progressive Field. In the heart of downtown Cleveland is the city’s oldest existing cemetery.
Erie Street Cemetery, housing thousands of burials, was built around 1827, according to the City of Cleveland.
In recent years, author and investigative historian Bill Krejci says people believe the cemetery is haunted by Joc-O-Sot, a Native American chief also known as Walking Bear, who died in Cleveland in 1844.
But while researching lost ghost stories in his new book, Krejci learned stories of an “Erie Street Ghost” that reportedly stalked the area of the cemetery between 1861 and 1863.
“It was described as this colossal phantom being between 10 and 25 feet tall, usually white with a pointy hat. Some said it had antlers protruding from its head,” Krejci said. “That’s a story that’s been forgotten for about 150 years.”
The cemetery is nestled on East 9th Street, but it was formerly known as Erie Street. It’s rumored to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in Cleveland.
Cleveland Grays Armory
Next to the Erie Street Cemetery, the oldest independent armory in the United States has been watching over Cleveland for more than a century.
The Grays Armory was built in the late 19th Century by the Cleveland Grays, a volunteer militia company established in Cleveland to help protect the city after the War of 1812.
According to records by Case Western Reserve University, the Grays also served as a military unit in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I.
The armory now serves as a museum and venue for public and private events. Members continue preserving this piece of Cleveland military history, but some believe the facility is also home to spirits.
FOX 8 toured the armory with Cleveland Grays president Bill Roediger, who shared some otherworldly stories from members over the years.
One of those stories involved an exterminator who was working in the basement, near the firing range.
“He’s down here by himself and the staff hears him scream. He comes running up the stairs and says, ‘I’m not coming back,'” Roediger said. “He felt someone behind him touch his shoulder and could feel their breath on him. He didn’t come back for four or five months.”
In another case, members were holding a meeting when they heard the piano start playing.
“They go upstairs and at the piano there’s a guy in an old military uniform. He turns around and looks, stops playing and disappears,” Roediger said.
Not long ago, a staff member was walking across the drill floor when they smelled cherry vanilla smoke.
“Lou, who was a member for 50 years and lived in the back, smoked cherry vanilla pipe smoke, so they felt that was his spirit and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was still around,” Roediger said.
People have also reported seeing the spirit of a woman in white on the third floor.
“She would be up here looking at her grave in the cemetery across the way because this was a safe place, if you want to use that term,” Roediger said.
While researching the area, Bill Krejci learned that there used to be a neighborhood at the site before the armory was built.
“In 1884, there was a woman who accidentally mistook a bottle of ammonia for her medicine and drank it. It killed her,” he said.
A similar tragedy happened involving another victim in 1869, Krejci said.
“Two girls about the same age, separated by 15 years, died in almost the exact same manner on the site. I’m not going to say that’s who the girl in white is, but hey, that’s our first clue,” he said.
Back in 2016, in an episode of “Ghost Hunters,” the manager invited The Atlantic Paranormal Society to investigate the armory. During their investigation, TAPS reported hearing footsteps and being touched on the shoulder.
People have also reported seeing strange smoke and shadows through the facility.
Learn more about how to tour Grays Armory or hold events there right here.
The Death Car (Midwest Railway Preservation Society)
In the industrial flats of Cleveland, the Midwest Railway Preservation Society is home to many pieces of locomotive history, but one of the most famous (or infamous) has to be a vintage Pullman heavyweight passenger car often called “The Death Car.”
Back in August of 1943, an 11-car Lackawanna Limited, carrying more than 500 people, was heading to Buffalo, New York when it collided with another train stopped on the tracks.
Several cars derailed, and steam and scalding hot water escaped from the other train engine and filled Nickel Plate Railroad 62 through its open windows, killing many people inside.
Eighteen passengers died at the scene of the crash while 11 others died at the hospital. Most victims were inside car #62, later known as “The Death Car.”
Sold in the early 1960s, “The Death Car” now resides outside the old B&O Roundhouse station, where the nonprofit Midwest Railway Preservation Society works to preserve Ohio’s railroad history.
FOX 8 spoke to Ken Yandek, a board chairman with the preservation society, who said guests and volunteers have reported being touched on the shoulder and seeing shadows in “The Death Car.” There are also reports of the windows slamming shut on their own.
Years ago, during a tour, a woman raised her hand and asked when the man dressed up at the back of the train car would have a chance to speak. It turns out, there was no one there.
Many paranormal investigators have checked out the place for themselves. In fact, it was featured on an episode of “Ghost Hunters,” where TAPS came back with recordings of voices and footsteps inside the facility.
You can learn about tours and upcoming events at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society on their website.
Gore Orphanage Road
It may seem like a normal stretch of road on the edge of Lorain County, but Gore Orphanage Road is home to one of the most well-known urban legends in Northern Ohio.
For decades, stories have floated around of children haunting the area where an old orphanage used to stand.
Historians say legends surrounding dozens of children dying in an orphanage fire in the early 1900s are untrue, but according to the Vermilion Historical Society, the real story is also a grim one.
Reverend Johann Sprunger opened the Light of Hope orphanage on Gore Road in 1902.
The historical society says the orphanage, which housed up to 120 boys and girls at a time, came under investigation in 1909 after runaways would claim abuse, neglect and outright horrific conditions at the facility.
Some of the stories alleged that children were beaten and fed sick cattle while living there, and their rooms were infested by rats and the boys had to share bath water, the historical society says.
Historians say nothing came out of the investigation since Ohio lacked the necessary regulations at the time, but Sprunger died two years later and the orphanage closed for good in 1916.
Ghost stories and legends surrounding the orphanage and a nearby mansion, built and later abandoned by farmer Joseph Swift, continued to spread and skew over the years.
Even today, visitors to the area have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, orbs and, in some cases, child fingerprints left behind on vehicles.
Ohio State Reformatory
No list of spooky places in the state would be complete without mentioning the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield.
Many say, including reports by BBC, it’s one of the most haunted places in the country.
First admitting in 1896, the Ohio State Reformatory was used to hold and rehabilitate inmates “too old for juvenile corrections but had committed offenses more minor than those that sent others to the Ohio State Penitentiary,” according to the facility’s website.
According to the website, the state started converting it into a maximum security prison in the early 1960s. The reformatory shut down for good in 1990 after inmates sued the state over conditions at the deteriorating facility.
Fast forward to today, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society works to restore the old prison and offers tours to guests.
The massive building has become a hot spot for reports of paranormal activity and hauntings. Guests and tour guides have reported seeing shadow people, hearing voices and footsteps.
Others have reported being grabbed or feeling like someone was watching them.
A ghost hunt manager broke down some of the most active spots in the prison.
Check out the reformatory’s tours and ghost hunts right here.
The reformatory has also been used for films and music videos, the most popular being “The Shawshank Redemption.”