Franklin Castle: Unraveling the Secret

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.


Situated majestically in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio, the Franklin Castle commands attention with its awe-inspiring presence. Its grandeur and unique architectural features make it an iconic landmark that has captivated the imagination of locals and visitors alike. From the moment you lay eyes upon its imposing facade, you can’t help but be drawn into the mystique that surrounds this enigmatic mansion.

The history of Franklin Castle is as intriguing as its exterior. Veiled in dark rumors and whispers of hidden secrets, the mansion has become a magnet for those fascinated by tales of the supernatural. Its walls have witnessed the passing of time and the echoes of untold stories. With every step, you can’t help but wonder about the mysteries that lie within, waiting to be unraveled.


franklin castle
Hannes Tiedemann

Step into the shadows of the late 19th century and unlock the mysteries that lie within Franklin Castle. Constructed by the enigmatic Hannes Tiedemann, this architectural marvel stands as a testament to Cleveland’s rich history and the enigmatic allure of the unknown.

But behind its grand facade and intricate details, a veil of secrecy shrouds the castle, igniting whispers of hidden passageways, tragic events, and unexplained phenomena. Journey into the depths of intrigue and uncover the untold stories that have captivated imaginations for generations at Franklin Castle.

Constructed in 1864 for wealthy German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann, his wife Louise, their three children, and Hannes’s mother Wiebeka, the stately Franklin Castle has a story tinged with tragedy and mystery. The Tiedemanns experienced a devastating string of deaths within its walls: their 15-year-old daughter reportedly from diabetes, Hannes’s mother, and three more of their children, culminating with Louise’s passing from liver disease in 1895.

However, rumors soon spread that these were not just unfortunate natural deaths. Whispers circulated about the hanging of their daughter Emma in the attic, rather than dying from diabetes. The causes of death for the other children and Hannes’s mother were also strangely never reported, further fueling speculation that Hannes might have been responsible for these fatalities.

Adding to the dubious history, Hannes remarried a younger woman just a year after Louise’s death, and rumors proliferated about a niece’s hanging in a secret tunnel beneath the castle, the strangulation of Hannes’s mistress, and even the suspected murder of a servant girl with whom he was allegedly having an affair.

The mid-80s saw the property in the hands of Michael DeVinko, Judy Garland’s final husband, who conducted renovations and used the building primarily for hosting large parties. Through each change of hands, the enigma of the Franklin Castle endures to this day.

Franklin Castle
Franklin Castle

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Unveiling the veil of secrecy surrounding Franklin Castle reveals a litany of reported paranormal activities that have fascinated paranormal enthusiasts for decades. Here are some of the eerie phenomena associated with this enigmatic mansion:

  • Apparitions: Witnesses have claimed to witness apparitions and shadowy figures, believed to be the spirits of past residents, roaming the halls of Franklin Castle.
  • Whispers and Voices: Disembodied whispers and unexplained voices have been reported, echoing through the empty rooms and corridors, evoking an unsettling presence.
  • Cold Spots: Visitors have experienced sudden drops in temperature, particularly in certain areas of the castle, suggestive of spectral energies manifesting as chilling cold spots.
  • Mysterious Movements: Objects mysteriously moving on their own and doors opening or closing inexplicably have been observed, indicating potential poltergeist activity within the mansion’s walls.
  • Feelings of Unease: Many individuals who have entered Franklin Castle have reported overwhelming feelings of unease, as if they were being watched by unseen eyes or surrounded by an unseen presence.

Read Also: Spring Grove Cemetery

The Tragic Past

One of the most persistent legends surrounding Franklin Castle revolves around its tragic past. According to the tale, the original owner, Hannes Tiedemann, was haunted by a series of family tragedies.

Franklin Castle - Hannes Tiedemann
Franklin Castle | Credit: coco_poopoohead

It is said that several of Tiedemann’s children died at a young age, and his wife passed away under mysterious circumstances. Some versions of the legend even suggest that Tiedemann himself was involved in these tragedies, leading to rumors of foul play and curses upon the mansion.

Curse of Death

Dark omens swirled around the formidable Franklin Castle as tragedies befell the Tiedemann family. In 1881, their fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, succumbed to diabetes, followed by the passing of Wiebeka, Tiedemann’s elderly mother. But the malevolent curse showed no mercy, claiming the lives of three innocent children in swift succession. Wilhelmine, Ernst, and Albert were gone too soon, leaving grief and despair in their wake.

Only August and Dora remained, but their fate was sealed as well. Within the same fateful year of 1906, both met their untimely end, leaving the once-vibrant house cloaked in darkness. Amidst the turmoil, Hannes sought solace through lavish gatherings in the grand ballroom he added to the house. But the eerie turrets and disfigured gargoyles lurking above only added to the haunting aura.

As if bound by an unforgiving force, the curse claimed more victims. Luise, Hannes’ beloved wife, joined the restless spirits in 1895, leaving him adrift in sorrow. The castle’s walls whispered the tales of anguish and loss, as each tragedy etched a chilling legacy. Even after the house passed to the Mullhauser family, the curse’s grip held firm, forever tainting the mansion’s history.

Emma Tiedemann’s Eternal Haunting

Once a dream home, now shrouded in mystery, Franklin Castle holds the eerie tale of Emma Tiedemann’s lingering spirit. The Romano family’s ambitious renovation plans unleashed unsettling encounters, leaving them questioning the mansion’s dark past.

As renovations progressed, strange occurrences gripped the Romano household. Their children spoke of a “sad girl upstairs,” prompting Mrs. Romano to investigate. The chilling truth emerged—Emma, the young Tiedemann girl, had met a tragic end due to diabetes, forever tethering her spirit to the mansion’s halls.

Mrs. Romano faced her own chilling experiences. A dark figure lurked in the corner of her vision, and a haunting woman in black appeared before her eyes. This enigmatic figure was believed to be the Tiedemann family’s devoted maid, eternally bound to the house she once served. Forever haunted by the ghostly legacy of Emma Tiedemann, the Romano family left behind the once-beloved Franklin Castle, where mysteries echo through the mansion’s walls.

Women In Black

In the eerie confines of Franklin Castle, the legend of the “Woman in Black” unfolds—a spectral enigma forever tied to the mansion’s chilling history. This mysterious apparition, believed to be the family’s former maid, Rachel, met a tragic end at the hands of the mansion’s philandering owner, Hannes Tiedemann.

As the story goes, Rachel valiantly resisted Hannes’ advances, which only fueled his anger. Their final confrontation played out in the ominous “tower room,” where Hannes’s hands closed around Rachel’s throat, silencing her forever. Today, visitors to this room report an unsettling sensation, as if an unseen force were squeezing the air from their lungs.

The haunting presence of the Woman in Black adds to the chilling allure of Franklin Castle, leaving an indelible mark on those who dare to venture into its haunted halls. Amidst the tales of love, betrayal, and tragedy, Rachel’s restless spirit roams, forever entwined in the ghostly legacy of this infamous Cleveland mansion.

A Tale of Mysterious Tunnels and Skeleton

Rumors of hidden passages and secret tunnels swirl around the castle, making it a favorite Prohibition-era hideout. Allegedly, even members of the Nazi Party found solace within its walls, adding an air of sinister intrigue. Whispers of a gruesome massacre at a party meeting only deepen the chilling lore, though historical records remain silent.

Over the years, Franklin Castle changed hands, but its eerie aura persisted. The discovery of a partial child’s skeleton within the mansion’s confines added an unsettling twist to the haunting narrative, leaving questions unanswered.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The alleged hauntings within the castle’s walls have led to multiple appearances on paranormal television shows. It notably featured in the series “Paranormal Lockdown,” where the hosts spent 72 hours within the castle, reporting various eerie occurrences.

The castle’s enigmatic aura and its lore have found their way into literature as well. The book Haunted Franklin Castle” by William G. Krejci dives into the castle’s history and the ghost stories associated with it.

Tours of the Franklin Castle have become popular among locals and tourists alike, who are drawn by the tales of secret passages, hidden rooms, and the numerous tragedies that have supposedly taken place there.

The Franklin Castle, with its blend of architectural grandeur and supernatural lore, continues to captivate the public imagination, contributing to its enduring status as a cultural landmark within the realm of the paranormal.


Franklin Castle, with its rich history and rumored paranormal activities, stands as a captivating enigma in the heart of Cleveland. As visitors explore its shadowy halls and delve into its murky past, they become entwined in the mystique of this iconic mansion.

From apparitions to whispers, Franklin Castle beckons the curious to peel back the layers of its history and embrace the chilling aura that emanates from its very core.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Franklin Castle

Q1: Where is Franklin Castle located?

Franklin Castle is located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Q2: When was Franklin Castle constructed?

Franklin Castle was constructed in the late 19th century.

Q3: What paranormal activities have been reported at Franklin Castle?

Witnesses have reported apparitions, whispers and voices, cold spots, mysterious movements, and feelings of unease at Franklin Castle.

Q4: Is Franklin Castle open to the public?

No, Franklin Castle is currently privately owned and not open to the public.

Q5: What is the significance of Franklin Castle?

Franklin Castle is a historically significant mansion with an intriguing history and rumored paranormal activities, symbolizing Cleveland’s rich heritage and fascination with the supernatural.

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