Artistic apparitions

The secret haunts of the Queen City

The Dent Schoolhouse, USS Nightmare, Halloween Haunt: all fun, tame attractions for mild scares. But if one seeks to really get chilled to the bone (and save a few bucks in the process), they should consider the many real-life haunts Cincinnati has to offer.

Cincinnati isn’t just terrorized by the ghosts of devoured 3-ways and the long, dead hopes of the Bengals making the Super Bowl. Many of our city’s go to art sites are home to ghosts, as well as, stunning interiors, symphony orchestras and artistic masterpieces.

Take the Cincinnati Art Museum, for instance, completed in 1886. Aside from 67,000 works by the likes of Van Gogh, Chagall and Monet, our very own “Art Palace of the West” also exhibits a mummy that may not be completely dead. There have been past accounts from security guards that detail a human shaped mist floating up through its wrappings and glass case. Additionally, a tall figure enclosed in a black cloak has been seen standing outside the museum’s reproduction of a twelfth century Spanish chapel, only to float upwards through the ceiling, and a silversmith’s clock lacking any working parks is said to occasionally chime.

Down the street from the museum, scenic Eden Park serves as a tranquil place for families, bikers, and the ghost of a Cincinnati bootlegger’s wife. In 1927, in the midst of their divorce, George Remus shot his spouse, Imogene, in Eden Park for her supposed infidelity and intention to kill him. Today, many have reported seeing a woman dressed in all black (as Imogene did at the time of her death in mourning of her failed marriage with Remus) around the park’s Spring House Gazebo and Mirror Lake, only to have her suddenly vanish.

Downtown’s Music Hall is allegedly home to more than one ghost. Built in 1878, over a former public graveyard and the site of an orphanage, multiple expansions and renovations have unearthed pounds of bones beneath the building. Perhaps this explains the dozens of ghost stories that have come out of the hall. For example, according to the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, one night, a boy asked his father, the hall’s security guard, who the waving man in box nine was, only to have his father look and see no one. Another guard reported hearing music from an indistinguishable source long after the hall had closed for the night.

Downtown’s paranormal hubs aren’t limited to Music Hall. The Lady in Green, the ghost of the widow of a worker, who died during the hotel’s construction, apparently continues to wander the stunning art deco interior of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza hotel. She is said to be looking for her husband, whose body was never recovered. Although her exact origins are unclear and unverifiable, she is usually described as an African American woman in a green gown, and frequents the hotel’s Mezzanine level, Hall of Mirrors, and elevators.

Whether or not you believe in phantoms, rather than paying to be terrorized by random strangers in dollar store masks, consider devoting some of the spooky season’s 31 days to visiting the aforementioned sites. If a ghoul doesn’t end up following you home, at least you’ll leave with something else undead: the rich artistic stories many of our city’s sites have to offer.