Is The Franklin Castle Haunted?
About 100 years ago, rumors of ghosts and unexplained occurrences began circling around the "castle" that stands at 4308 Franklin Boulevard in Cleveland. This imposing Victorian structure has been lived in, torched, renovated and used as a tourist destination throughout its long life. Now it's the subject of a new book, "Haunted Franklin Castle," which details the house's many owners and the rumors of spirits, secret passages and human bones found behind a wall.
You can meet authors William Krejci and John Myers on Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. in Lakewood’s Main Library Auditorium. Copies of "Haunted Franklin Castle" will be available for sale and signing at the event.
Between 1881 and 1883, architects Cudell and Richardson designed and constructed the Franklin Castle for Hannes Tiedemann, a German immigrant, on what was then an upscale residential avenue. Having made a fortune in business and banking, Tiedemann wanted a grand home for his family and a place for other German emigrants to stay when they arrived in Cleveland. Many of the stories of hauntings date to his ownership of the house. Legends have painted him as a murderer and a philanderer and suggest he installed secret passages and concealed rooms while living there. As it was for many people in the nineteenth century, death was a constant companion for Tiedemann's family. By the time his wife died in 1895 at the age of fifty-seven from liver failure, the couple had already buried most of their children. Soon after, Tiedemann sold the house and by 1908, he and his entire family had passed away.
The Franklin Castle changed hands many times over the years, and rumors of spinning lights, the sound of a child crying and apparitions of a woman in black began to circulate. An owner in the 1970s sold tours of the "haunted" house, and there are anecdotes from people who lived and worked there during the twentieth century of ghosts and strange occurrences.
Krejci and Myers debunk some of the stories in their book. Tiedemann did not murder his three infant children in the house, and trap doors and secret passages turned out to be simply entry points to storage spaces. However, bones really were found in the house in 1975, but whether they were put there as a publicity stunt or were the remains of a murder is still a mystery.
As to Krejci’s own experiences, he remains firmly on the fence about the existence of ghosts, saying he hasn’t seen any, but he has witnessed unexplained movement of items in the house, doors opening and lights turning themselves on. A working historian, Krejci is a park ranger during the summer at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay. When the current renovations on Franklin Castle are complete, he plans to give tours of the house and curate a museum collection of its history. Krejci’s co-author, John Myers, is a retired Lutheran pastor and an avid researcher and genealogist.
Join these two authors at Lakewood Public Library on October 26 to find out whether Franklin Castle is truly a haunted house.