Local Haunts

While working as a freelance writer, Charles Cassady compiled a “black folder of doom,” brimming with stories collected over the years about local haunted houses, Bigfoot and the Lake Erie monster. So when Cassady saw an ad seeking authors with strong local connections for a series of ghost books, it made perfect sense that he use some of that information. Cassady shares his favorites from his new book, Cleveland Ghosts.
The most haunted place in town?
If you believe mediums and tourists: PlayhouseSquare. Supposedly, there are so many ghosts there that not even ghost buster Mary Ann [Winkowski] could vanquish them. A photographer once reported seeing a figure descending the staircase without a head or legs, and advised PlayhouseSquare to warn people that they’ve got these ghosts wandering around.

What’s the oldest story you’ve got?

The oldest one that made the newspapers was about a railroad ghost out near Seneca that got a write-up in 1887. Shortly after a terrible train accident killed nine people, a phantom woman in white was reported to stand on the tracks waving a red lantern, stopping trains that appeared to be in similar situations.

Any lesser-known local legends?
The Rocky River Library has had hauntings. One evening, a staff member thought he saw a woman at the top of the stairs. He first thought it was someone lingering after closing, but then she just disappeared. A janitor was there, but he couldn’t see the spot from where he stood. That story just missed having a very rare thing in ghost legends — an independent collaborative witness.

Cleveland Ghosts is available now. Order it atschifferbooks.com.
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