Franklin Castle is known today as one of the most haunted places in Ohio. It was built in 1865 by a German immigrant and investment banker named Hannes Tiedemann. He lived there with his wife, his children and his elderly mother.
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According to the legend, Hannes Tiedemann was a vicious and brutal man who ruled his house like a tyrant. There were rumors that he violently abused his wife and children. His entire family died under mysterious circumstances within a short period of time and many people believe that Hannes Tiedemann murdered them all.
It is said that the murders began with his eldest daughter, Emma. She died in the house, under suspicious circumstances in January 1881 and the family claimed it was from diabetes. Some people said that Emma’s body was actually found hanging from the rafters in the attic. She was only 15 years old. When Tiedemann’s elderly mother also died in the house, just a few weeks later, rumors began to spread around the area that there was more to these deaths than met the eye.
To distract his wife from her grief, Tiedemann decided to remodel the house. Franklin Castle already had close to 30 rooms and a grand ballroom that spanned the entire fourth floor. Outside, he added features like turrets, gargoyles and a wrought-iron fence, which made the home look even more like a castle. Inside, he added marble fireplaces and intricate carvings. What Mrs Tiedemann did not know was that her husband also added hidden passageways and secret rooms all over the house.
Then the other children began to die. Over the next three years, the Tiedemanns buried three children. One of them was just eleven days old. Suspicions grew among the local community.
Whispers started circulating through the town that more babies had been murdered inside Franklin Castle, but that Tiedemann had hidden their deaths from the public, storing their dead bodies in a secret room in the house.
According to legend, the secret rooms and hidden passages were designed so that Tiedemann could commit his horrific crimes without being detected. They say he murdered his teenage niece after he caught her kissing a young servant boy. He hung her corpse in a hidden passageway off the ballroom.
Tiedemann also murdered a young servant girl named Rachel because she rejected his amorous advances and became engaged to someone else. She came to see him, on her wedding day, to tell him she had gotten married and would be leaving the house. He flew into a fit of jealous rage and supposedly hacked her to death with an axe in front of one of the bedroom windows in the turret.
According to another story, Tiedemann had affairs with many different women. He used the secret passageways to make sure his wife never found out about his mistresses. When one of his girlfriends told him she was leaving him, he was said to have tied her up, gagged her and left her in a hidden room. When he returned hours later, he discovered that the gag had accidentally suffocated her.
Tiedemann’s wife passed away in 1895. He told his neighbors that she died from liver disease, but many of them quietly suspected that Hannes was responsible for her death. Shortly afterwards, he moved out of Franklin Castle and married a young waitress. When Hannes Tiedemann died of a stroke in 1908, he had outlived every member of his family and most people who knew him believed he had gotten away with mass murder.
As the years passed, the house was bought and sold a number of times and many people have reported seeing ghostly apparitions roaming the halls Franklin Castle.
In the 1970s, Franklin Castle was being renovated. Legend has it one of the owners accidentally discovered a small, hidden room that had been sealed off. Inside, he found the skeletons of at least a dozen babies. Some say these are the bones of the missing Tiedemann children.
A nurse who was staying in one of the rooms reported being terrified at night by the sound of a small child crying. She left the next morning and swore she would never set foot in the house again. Many more have heard the voices of sobbing children and others have heard the sound of babies screaming and crying in the walls.
One family, who bought the home said their children had a strange encounter. The mother sent her children upstairs to play, but a little while later, they came back down and asked if they could have a cookie for their new friend, a little girl who was upstairs crying. The mother followed the children back upstairs, but the little girl had disappeared.
A few years later, the owner came across a hidden panel in one of the walls in the turret room. When he opened it, he was shocked to discover human bones secreted inside. They are believed to be the remains of the young servant girl who was hacked to death in that room. For years, in the windows of the turret room, many people claim to have seen the shadowy figure of a woman dressed in black staring out at them.
One young boy who was delivering newspapers claimed that, when he knocked on the door, he heard a voice telling him to come in. As soon as he walked through the front door, he saw an apparition of a woman in black, gliding down the staircase before she disappeared through a closed door.
When a woman visited the house, she entered one of the rooms and immediately complained of feeling like she was being choked. This was the same room where Tiedemann’s mistress.supposedly suffocated to death.
The restless spirit of a young girl haunts the 4th floor ballroom. The secret passageways around the ballroom are said to be where Tiedemann hung his niece. Her ghost is often seen in a third floor room known as “the cold room” because it is always ten degrees colder than the rest of the house. Her ghost is often described as tall and thin and eerie. In the ballroom, there is a large, bloody red stain on the marble floor that cannot be removed.