It really seems that you cannot go anywhere in the Cleveland area without hearing some tale of ghosts and hauntings. Living close to Willoughby, I have heard countless stories about how the town has multiple ghosts and how there are plenty of other things hidden away, like secret tunnels and speakeasy rooms. Those two seem to go hand in hand. I thought today I would share with you all some of the more famous haunted places around Cleveland. If you feel brave, give them a once over. If you manage to hit one up, drop me a comment below to share your story.
That being said, here are five haunted places in the Cleveland area.
1. The House of Wills
Located at 2491 E. 55th St in Cleveland stands an imposing 55,000 square foot building with a mysterious name. This Cleveland structure has a long and vibrant history with Cleveland’s African American and is the second oldest black-owned funeral home in Cleveland. In 1941, the House of Wills moved to 2491 E. 55th, prior to that the building was commonly known as Gesangverein Hall, a German social hall. Throughout the early to middle 20th century, it served as a meeting place for social clubs, music recitals, civil rights activities, and other black community gatherings. In 2005, the House of Wills mysteriously closed its doors. Nine years later, the business close permanently due to allegations of fraud.
The most talked about room in the House of WIlls is the Egyptian room. Here you will find, what has been noted as, disturbing artwork that includes bodies cut in half. The House of Wills is reported to be one of the most haunted places in all of Cleveland. Most notably is a white presence that has been seen peering out of a second floor window at passersby on the street. There are rumored shadowy figures seen moving between the rooms. The casket room is noted for people seeing a man in a suit as well as voices being heard. Many feel the voices may date back to the numerous deaths and suicides from when it was a hosiptal for Hungarian immigrants.
Want to go for a visit? Tours are conducted for this iconic piece of Cleveland history for the truly brave.
2. Willoughby Coal and Supply
Diving across the railroad tracks on Erie St in Willoughby, you will drive by a small restaurant called Spirits of Willoughby. This is also the location of Willoughby Coal and Supply. Built in 1893, it has been a cornerstone for the town of Willoughby. It has served as a flour mill, train depot, and in current times as a sewer and masonry supply house. Aak any one from Willoughby and they will tell you that isn’t all it has served as.
People come from all over the world to Willoughby just to visit this roadside haunt. It is said to house at least six spirits, including Yukon, a chocolate lab. In a town that seems to have more spirits than people, it is no surprise that this tucked out of the way almost turn of the century buildings holds many surprises, as well. From things moving, EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), to full bodied apparitions, this place has something for every ghost hunter. Perhaps that is why the haunted history of this building has led to it earning a spot in America’s Most Haunted.
3. Madison Seminary
Just out the road from Willoughby stands a building that dates to the Civil War. It has been a school, hospital, and a home for families of those killed in the Civil War. Built in 1847, it is an impressive site to behold. In 1962, the Ohio department of Mental Hygiene and Corrections took ownership of the building and evicted anyone still in residence and turned it into a prison. It operated as the Opportunity Village where female inmates were forced to care for the senile and developmentally challenged women from the area. In 1975, it closed its doors and the building stood empty until it was turned over to private ownership in 1993.
This imposing building has hosted many ghost hunting shows on The Learning Channel, most notably Ghosts Adventures, Most Terrifying Places in America, and Destination Fear. It is said that rumors of the hauntings began shortly after the building was left vacant. The city of Madison even labeled the building as “May Be Haunted” when it was put up for sale. This site is not for the faint of heart of a beginner ghost hunter. Reports state that many people have received wounds for the spectral inhabitants of the Seminary. Two of the most notable spirits in residence are Steve, a child who is rumored to have moved there with his mother, and Elizabeth Stiles, a spy for the Union army who died in residence. There are reports of a far darker presence that resides in the lower levels of the building and is even known to target women. If you decide to visit, I suggest you do not do it alone. Intrigued to have a tour? Click here to book a tour at Madison Seminary.
4. Rider’s 1812 Inn
This quaint little inn was in operation before Cleveland was even a city. Okay that statement may cause some contention, so let me clarify. Yes, Cleveland was settled in 1796 but it did not officially become a city until 1836. The Rider’s Inn, as the name suggests, was founded in 1812 and was a stagecoach stop on the way to New York City. It now carries the moniker of being one of the most haunted places in the area.
The inn was built by Joe Rider and his family and is purported as being a stop for the Underground Railroad. That is over 200 years of history and all of that just feeds into the idea that this place is haunted. Many visitors note that they have felt cold spots or shivers down their spines from the various places in this lovely inn. People also say they have seen energy orbs passing through rooms, objects being moved around, and many lights flickering on/off.
One of the more notable ghosts is Suzanne, who is supposedly the third wife of Joe Rider. Just six weeks after her marriage to Joe, she passed away unexpectedly. Much of her story is largely legend and how she died seems to range from natural causes to foul play. Her death was tragic for Joe. One story goes that Suzanne was a very wealthy woman and attracted the attention of more villainous people. She was a hostess in real life and apparently in the afterlife she is keeping up her duties by checking in on guests and tending to their rooms.
Some people claim to see a soldier on the grounds of the Inn, but as to where he came from is up for speculation. Some claim that he is a civil war soldier, while still others say he was dressed in Revolutionary attire. There seems to be some credence to this as Joe Rider has ties to the Revolutionary War.
So if you are ready to check out Rider’s 1812 Inn, then set your GPS to 792 Mentor Ave, Painesville, OH 44077. If these spirits aren’t to your liking, you can stop by the pub for a few of the spirits behind the bar.
5. Drury Mansion (The Foundation House)
Located at 8615 Euclid Ave in Cleveland stands the dream home of Cleveland’s millionaire Francis Drury. This 52 room mansion with maze-like hallways and an underground tunnel that was built in 1912. The underground tunnel was built in1914 and spans across from the manion, under Euclid Ave, to the Drury theater. Drury was a successful industrialist who wanted to show off just how rich he was with a house that matched. During the time the Drury’s were in residence, there were no reports of any kind of paranormal activity. This all seemed to have changed in 1972.
The Ohio Adult Parole Authority leased the mansion in 1972 as a halfway house for convicts. It was during this time the large amount of activity seems to start. Inmates and staff started reporting the sound of disembodied footsteps in hallways and being watched when no one else was there. Doors and windows would open/close by themselves and even window shades would be raised or lowered by unseen hands. The most famous story of Drury Mansion comes from 1972 where two guards were in charge of guarding the then empty building. During the night, the men became so frightened by the events that they were found the next morning sitting on the floor, back-to-back, pointing their shotguns toward unseen forces.
No ghosts were seen on the premises until 1978 when one staff member reported seeing a woman dressed in white with her hair tied up on top of her hand. She has also been seen in other parts of the mansion, most notably the kitchen. This woman remains unidentified to this day with no connections to the property.
Looking at pictures of this building, I can see why people would assume Drury Mansion was haunted.
This area has had settlers since the mid to late 1700s. It has seen its share of war, death, and massive emotional impacts on people and places, so it is no surprise that there are ghost stories all over the place. Cleveland has been visited by most of the big paranormal tv shows as well, Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, to name a couple. Whether they found anything or not, it is up to you to check these places out and see if you have any haunted experiences.
Do you have any ghost stories of the area? Drop me a line below and share those with me. I will add them to a future post. Who knows, if you have the coolest story you may just get a surprise gift from me. Happy hauntings.