Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Franklin Castle - Chapter 9c

Table of Contents
Floor Plan

Chapter 9c

Other than the deposition, which did not surface for many years, the public did not hear tales of the house until the American Socialist Party sold the house in 1968. James Romano, his wife, and six children moved into the house. Mrs. Romano loved the gothic ambiance of the house a perfect draw for a restaurant. She admired the house her whole life and jumped at the chance to purchase the house when available.
The admiration for the mansion was short lived, and it did not cool due to the scope of the restoration effort.
Their first day in the house, Mrs. Romano gave her children milk and cookies and sent them up to their room on the third floor to play while she worked. Soon, the children came back downstairs and asked her for another glass of milk, as their new friend, the little girl in the long white dress, cried in the upstairs bedroom.
A curious Mrs. Romano followed her children upstairs but found no mysterious new friend. She found the children very sincere, not just on this occasion, but on many other instances when their friend came to play.
Many other events unnerved Mrs. Romano. She often woke in the middle of the night to pipe organ music in the house. I found no records that showed a pipe organ ever existed in the house, not to say one did not exist at some point.
When Mrs. Romano walked onto the second floor landing to the ballroom, she heard the soft sound of voices and the clink of glasses. When she walked through the doors to the ballroom balcony, the sound stopped.
Heavy footsteps stomped through the halls at night and stopped when they opened their bedroom door. She noticed the sound at its loudest on the second floor, where her two grown sons resided. At first, she thought her sons made the noise to trick her. However, even when out of the house the event continued.
A friend visited for dinner one night. After the meal, the women sat in the circular section of the parlor. Through the open doors to the foyer, they witnessed a wisp of smoke on the first landing of the stairs. A strange thing, it was summer and the fireplace closed and unused for the season. Neither the Romano’s nor their guests smoked. They ascended the stairs towards the cloud, just before Mrs. Romano reached it, the mist moved up the stairs to the second floor. With her confidence buoyed by her friend’s curiosity, they followed the apparition up the stairs and down the hall towards the rear of the house before the independent stroll through the house ended. The incident amazed Mrs. Romano. The incident also planted a firm notion in her mind; this was an intelligent entity and not random knocks. She wondered if she there was anything to be concerned about, perhaps this was simply a harmless spirit.
Mrs. Romano’s resolution appeared short-lived. The mist began to move again, passed through her friend’s body, and disappeared into the wall behind her. Her friend’s face turned a grey color and she fainted and fell to the ground.
The feeling as the entity passed through her body so frightened her friend, not only would she not visit the house again, she also never spoke to Mrs. Romano again either.
A practical family, the Romano’s could no longer ignore the signs. They believed their house possessed by an evil spirit. A Catholic priest visited to bless and exorcise the house. The priest spent a half hour on premises unaccompanied and emerged from the house after he completed only a partial exorcism. He claimed the spirits were too powerful and evil, and he was not strong enough to vanquish them. He advised the Romano family to leave the house and never return.
The two grown sons wasted no time and left right away. Mrs. Romano learned later the ghosts tormented her sons every night, and left them exhausted. Each night something pulled the covers from their beds while they slept and violently threw them to the ground.
The family attempted to rid the house of the terrors a last time. They contacted the Northeast Ohio Psychical Research Society. NOPRS agreed to research the house, just as we are doing tonight, except without the fancy equipment and the high attitude. Before the first night ended, half of the research team left the house. Before one of the psychics left, she told the Romano family she connected with the spirits who slammed the doors on the third floor. She identified the ghosts as the mother, Luisa, and the youngest daughter, little Emma.
The Romanos lived in fear of the house. Towards the end, Mrs. Romano refused to step foot on the second and third floors. She forbade the children to play up upstairs, and they were not to associate with their spectral friend anymore. The clan began to sleep downstairs in the ballroom.
The house mystified her in other ways. Mrs. Romano, a certified electrician, found the house needed constant re-wiring. She fixed one electrical problem, merely to find the same issues resurface a day later. Light bulbs burned out in a few days and fixtures caught fire.
The final Halloween in the house, Mrs. Romano received a call at midnight. The voice shook her to the bone. She described the voice as “other worldly” and froze her in a grip of fear. The chilling gravel voice asked her if he could sleep with her tonight. Keep in mind, the public still had no knowledge about the events that happened in the house. The call may have been a prank. Afterwards, she refused to answer the phone again.
A few nights later, Mrs. Romano awoke in the middle of the night on the floor in another part of the master bedroom. As she started to get up, she heard a mumble close to her ear. She recognized the voice as the same voice from the telephone call.
Prior to their move to the Franklin Castle, Mrs. Romano’s health never concerned her. However, during her stay, she her health declined with symptoms of lethargy, headaches, and ulcers.
After six years in the house, the family gave up.
The Romano family sold the house to Sam Muscatello. He intended to turn the house into the Universal Christian Church. It did not take long before he experienced things first hand; the earliest was the sight of a woman in a long black dress on the stairs. He claimed he heard constant chatter of strange voices in the house. Objects moved often. He set his keys down in one spot, only to find them in a different part of the house later.
Sam Muscatello researched the history of the house. He concluded Hannes and his dead family haunted the house, based on the alleged crimes perpetrated in the house. As he needed to raise money for his church, Muscatello began to publicize the history of the house and conducted tours. People suggest he enhanced the legends to increase profits.
To increase the foot traffic of his tours, Muscatello brought in a local radio and television stations to broadcast a live Halloween show in the house. The live portion of the show lasted ten minutes before all the transmission equipment mysteriously fell off the table and smashed to the ground in front of their eyes. The crew filmed the movement of a chandelier that twirled on its own, stopped, and turned the other direction.
During the evening, the radio personality walked up to the second and third floors alone. After several minutes, he returned, visibly shaken. He said he heard a woman’s voice, and she called his name. When he reached the top of the stairs, he found no one. He climbed to the third floor, where something happened to him. He refused to talk about specifics to what happened.
In 1978, Muscatello sold the house to the Cleveland Chief of Police, Richard Hongisto. I have little information about his stint in the house. He sold the house a year later to George Mirceta.
Mirceta lived alone. Because of the all the publicity Muscatello received, Mirceta subjected himself to many interviews about this home. He claimed nothing paranormal every occurred in his house. However, Mirceta offered tours of the mansion. At the end of each tour, he asked the patrons to write down anything that happened during the visit. Many people wrote they saw a woman in black in the turret room, others wrote of a woman in white. Some heard the sound of children, others felt breezes, and some were unable to move. Many accounts detailed the how the chandelier swayed and doors slammed.
The house has changed hands several times over the next twenty-five years, with no one living in the house for more than two years before they vacated or sold. The stories continued to exaggerate as the years pass.
Most recent, the house remained vacant for several years before Mr. Archer’s purchase. I spoke with a friend of mine on the Cleveland police force. He said Cleveland is like many other large cities and have problems with empty rundown buildings. These husks become crack houses or a haven for homeless to live.
My friend on the force posed a fact that interested me. In all the time, the house sat empty, the homeless never took up residence and the drug dealers never used the house for business. A few homeless people told him they tried to squat, but no one stayed.
Not even the homeless could live with the spirits in the Franklin Castle.

Go to Chapter 10
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