Here's What You Need To Know About Cleveland's Most Haunted House
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Politics and Activism

Here's What You Need To Know About Cleveland's Most Haunted House

Cleveland has more to offer than just the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Superman's birthplace.

Here's What You Need To Know About Cleveland's Most Haunted House
Carlos J. Roman

Cleveland is home to more than just the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Superman, and an ability to breeze through all four seasons in less than one week. It is also home to what is rumored to be the most haunted house in Ohio. Notorious for bizarre occurrences by a number of people who’ve entered the home, Cleveland’s west side Tiedemann House, also known by most Clevelanders as Franklin Castle, has stood on the north end of Franklin Boulevard in silent witness of Cleveland life for the past 125 years.

The house was built by Hannes Tiedemann, a German immigrant and former grocer turned banker. This was during the 19th century, when Franklin Boulevard was one of the most upscale areas in Cleveland, just behind Euclid Avenue’s Millionaires’ Row. Tiedemann constructed the home in order to provide a better home for his family (his wife, Louise, and their children, August, Emma and Dora), and also to provide temporary housing for friends and family emigrating from Germany when they arrived in Cleveland.

The Tiedemann family lived in Franklin Castle until 1895, shortly after Louise died in the house from liver failure.Tiedemann was also notoriously a loud, harsh, and difficult man. Those in his community thought him to be abusive towards his wife and children, and they intensified after the deaths of his wife and child. It is also rumored that he murdered his niece and a servant girl, Rachel, but these claims are not backed up.

There have been reported rumors of odd voices heard from empty rooms, the whimpers of crying children when no children were in the house, bursts of cold spots, images seen in the woodwork of the house’s frame.

While under ownership of the Tiedemann family, legends say Hannes had hidden rooms and secret passageways built inside the house, supposedly for the purpose of taking Louise’s mind off of Emma’s death. Others will tell you that these secret passageways and rooms were constructed in order for Hannes to commit outrageous crimes. Supposedly, one of these hidden rooms was where Tiedemann’s niece was killed.

A third rumor suggests that Louise Tiedemann had them made so she could escape her abusive husband. Rumor has it that a tunnel ran from either the basement or the carriage house over to Lake Erie. Because an old moonshine still was found in a secret room by a future homeowner, there was speculation that this tunnel used during Prohibition to run alcohol to and from the castle.

The alleged rumors went quiet upon Tiedemann’s selling of the castle, until 1913, that is. Franklin Castle was sold to the German Socialist Party, who would own the house for the next 55 years. Not much is known about the activities down during this time. Reportedly, the castle was only used as a space for meetings and parties. However, word escalated that the Germans were actually Nazi spies. Supposedly, these Nazis killed a group of about 20 people in the secret passages.

In January 1968, the German Socialists sold the castle to one James Romano.Promptly after moving in, Romano’s family began experiencing odd phenomenon. James’ children would speak of a new friend they would play with in the ballroom on the fourth floor of the house. Supposedly, either Rachel or Tiedemann’s niece haunts the ballroom. They would also ask their mother for extra food for this friend. Mrs. Romano made claims of feeling the presence of another being, possibly Mrs. Tiedemann, in the home. Organ music could be heard coming from different areas. After several years of odd, possibly paranormal phenomena, the Romano family decided to sell.

In 1974, Sam Muscatello eagerly bought the house, hoping to find something true among the rumored hauntings. He would allow media members in for walkthroughs and interviews. He began searching the house extensively from top to bottom. During the raid on his new property, Muscatello found a pile of human remains behind a panel in the tower.

Some will say that this finding was proof that Hannes Tiedemann was involved in murder, and others will argue that Muscatello but the bones in the castle as “proof” that the place is actually haunted. When he was unable to find the evidence he was searching for, he sold the house to then Cleveland Chief of Police, who owned Franklin Castle for less than a year. In 1984, Michael DeVinkopurchased the house, and over the course of a decade, would pursue major renovations of the house, spending close to a million dollars.

It would sit empty from 1994 until 1999, when Michelle Heimburger would intend to pursue a complete restoration of the house, when a series of fires broke out inside. Cleveland firefighters found an unconscious man inside. In a weird set of events, this man was eventually arrested, charged, and convicted of setting the fires that destroyed most of the fourth floor ballroom. Coincidence? I don’t know.

The Tiedemann property was sold in August 2011, with owners listed as Oh Dear! Productions LLC.The company is reportedly owned by a European woman who is having the castle restored as a residency.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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