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Franklin Castle: Grim, haunted, abandoned…

Petar Djajkovski
The eerie-looking Franklin castle. Left: Cricchetti - CC BY-SA 3.0. Right: Christopher Busta-Peck - CC BY-SA 1.0
The eerie-looking Franklin castle. Left: Cricchetti - CC BY-SA 3.0. Right: Christopher Busta-Peck - CC BY-SA 1.0

Franklin Castle is a big Victorian manor like house built completely out of stone. Thus the nickname small caslte. Construction lasted almost three years between 1881 and 1883. It was named after the road it is built on, the Franklin Boulevard. Nowadays it is speculated to be the most haunted house in Ohio and naturally it is on almost every list of haunted places in the United States of America.

Franklin Castle is eerie-looking from the front, even on a bright day – Author: Cricchetti – CC BY-SA 3.0

Franklin Castle is eerie-looking from the front, even on a bright day – Author: Cricchetti – CC BY-SA 3.0

The house is built in the American Queen Anne style popular at the time. Plans and works were done by the architectural company Cudell & Richardson. The man behind the plans, the owner of the castle, was a man named Hannes Tiedemann. He was a successful, respectable man, president and co-founder of Union Banking & Savings Co. His wealth was significant, and he could afford far more than this castle. However rich, his life was marred by many tragedies. The first one was the death of his 15-years old daughter in 1891. Just a little while after his daughters death, his mother followed. And in the next couple of years Hannes and his wife Louise buried three more children, who died in infancy.

Franklin castle looks creepy at night – Author: Liveedges – CC BY-SA 3.0

Franklin castle looks creepy at night – Author: Liveedges – CC BY-SA 3.0

In order to distract himself and his wife from the tragic events, he began expanding and renovating the castle. He added a ballroom and decorated it with turrets and gargoyles on the façade. There are some rumors that there were hidden rooms and passages implemented in the house during the time of the Prohibition. But only one hidden stairway leading from the kitchen to the front door was found, which was most likely used by the servants. In 1895 Louise died and later the same year Hannes sold the house to the Mullhauser family. But even after the house was sold, and even today, it is still referred to as the Tiedemann House.

The eerie view of the Hannes Tiedemann House, aka Franklin Castle – Author: Christopher Busta-Peck – CC BY-SA 1.0

The eerie view of the Hannes Tiedemann House, aka Franklin Castle – Author: Christopher Busta-Peck – CC BY-SA 1.0

About two and a half decades later the Mullhausers sold the castle to the German Socialist Party. During the period between 1921 and 1968 the house was used as a German cultural center. Around the end of this era the haunting tales started to flow around. In the late 1960s reports of babies crying and a mysterious woman in black appearing on the main stairway were written. The ghost stories follow the time when the Tiedemann lived in the castle, accompanied by rumors of crimes, such as sexual indiscretion and murder.

How creepy is Franklin Castle – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

How creepy is Franklin Castle – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

In January 1968 the Romano family bought the house and settled in. They also encountered ghosts in the house and even did an exorcism in order to get rid of them. However, it appears that it was not a successful one, as in 1974 they sold the house. The new owner, Sam Muscatello, had an idea to turn the castle into a church. And in the meantime he organized haunted house tours in order to raise the attractiveness of the property. In 1975, a couple of human bones were found in one closet inside the castle. But it was not revealed wheather they were real or the new owner placed them there, thus gaining even publicity for the house.

The Main Entrance to Franklin Castle makes it look like a scary place! – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

The Main Entrance to Franklin Castle makes it look like a scary place! – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

Ten years later, another owner came by to sort the mayhem out. His name was Michael DeVinko, and he had a little different idea about what the castle should be about. He was a musician and entrepreneur, bought the castle, renovated it, and used it solely for fun! Big parties were organized almost daily for about seven years before he presumably got tired and sold the property yet again. Between the years 1994 and 1999 the house set empty as no real buyer was interested. Until Mr. Michelle Heimberger came by, bought the house and almost instantly began to restore it in it’s original, first state. The progress was good and the castle began to look more and more like Tiedemanns left it. However a disastrous fire damaged a good portion of the part that was under restoration and the works were never finished. After this the castle laid abandoned for couple of years.

This sign stands on the main gate this days – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

This sign stands on the main gate this days – Author: Tim Evanson – CC BY 2.0

Until 2004 there was no activity inside the castle or its grounds. Only then a launch of Franklin Castle Club was announced. This meant a new round of renovations would take place, but it didn’t. Only the exterior of the castles, the stone walls, were cleaned and one parapet was rebuild. Since then, the house has changed a fair share of owners, keeping its mystique and majesty untouched. The castle was featured in “Paranormal Lockdown”, a TV series in 2007 and was the inspiration of a book title “Haunted Franklin Castle” written by William G. Krejci and John Meyers.