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As temperatures cool and leaves begin to drop from the trees, the holidays loom. First up is Halloween, and there’s no time like the month of October to enjoy a good scare. Don’t miss these haunted locations as you consider where to go for this year’s annual fright fest.

Franklin Castle

4308 Franklin Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 631-CLUB

Long known as the most haunted house in Ohio, Franklin Castle has a dark and mysterious history. Built in the late 1880s by banking executive Hannes Tiedemann, the structure features 30 rooms and several alleged secret passageways. Rumors of a curse started early with the untimely deaths of the Tiedemanns’ daughter and Mrs. Tiedemann’s mother. Before Hannes Tiedemann himself died in 1908, his entire family, grandsons included, had all passed away. In the ensuing century, strange occurrences have plagued every new owner of the house, from the voices of children and organ playing to apparitions and the shaking of light fixtures. It was even reported that in 1975 a human skeleton was discovered by the owner at the time in his search for the secret passageways.

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Gray’s Armory

1234 Bolivar Road
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 621-5938

Gray’s Armory was built in 1893 as a headquarters for the Cleveland Greys, a volunteer militia that was the first Cleveland group to leave to fight in the Civil War. The sandstone castle still stands not far from Erie Street Cemetery in downtown Cleveland, and it is rich in social history as well as military, being the site of the first ever Cleveland Orchestra concert and Metropolitan Opera performance. Not only this, but the armory is also reported to be haunted. Visitors and staff alike have claimed to hear footsteps in the halls when no one was present and to have seen apparitions from the Civil War era. Fortunately, the ghosts have always appeared to be friendly.

Squire’s Castle

River Road
Willoughby Hills, OH

The fact is not quite so creepy as the fiction when it comes to Squire’s Castle. Built by Standard Oil Company executive Feargus B. Squire in the 1890s to serve as a gatehouse to a larger country estate, Squires simply lost interest in the estate after his wife’s passing and sold it off. Legend has it, though, that Mrs. Squires never liked the country. She was scared by the sounds of animals in the night and would wander the halls with her red lantern exploring rooms and checking locks. Nightmares kept her awake to the point of insanity. One evening, she became so frightened that she fell and broke her neck while attempting to flee the sight of one of her husband’s trophy animals. They say you can still see the red glow of the lantern of her ghost roaming the halls of the castle at night.

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Old Fairport Harbor Lighthouse

129 2nd St.
Fairport Harbor, OH 44077
(440) 354-4825

The lighthouse at Old Fairport Harbor has been a safe haven over the years, not only to sailors but to refugees traveling the Underground Railroad as well. The old structure was replaced in 1925 and is now open as a museum to the public. The lighthouse is also said to be haunted by a gray cat a former caretaker owned. The purpose of this haunting remains a mystery, but when the remains of a dead cat were discovered in a sealed staircase in 2001, believers were not surprised.

Mansfield Reformatory

100 Reformatory Road
Mansfield, OH 44905
(419) 522-2644

Mansfield Reformatory is the stuff nightmares are made of. Built in 1896 with a gothic design intended to inspire inmate reformation, the prison was cited for its inhumane living conditions as early as the 1930s. Over the years, it was reported that several inmates and guards died during their stay at Mansfield, whether from disease, suicide or murder. Ultimately the facility was forced to close in 1990. To this day, tour guides and visitors to the prison will report voices, apparitions and feelings of deep sadness inside the condemned walls and cells of this forlorn structure. Schedule a tour and see for yourself.

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Joshua Lawson is a husband to Sarah and a father to Joshua, Hope, and Allison. Once upon a time he was a halfway decent basketball player, but his dream since becoming a father has gone from playing in the NBA to one day getting a full night’s sleep again. Joshua lives in Portsmouth, OH. His work can be found at Examiner.com.