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the bellman I want to tell you a story

Franklin Castle:
A Voyage Through Time

Or: Unlocking the Archives of The Bellman []

In appearance, Franklin Castle is a Victorian stone house from the front and sides, yet the rear of the structure has a more minimalist design with tall, narrow windows. This magnificent mansion took over two years to build and was completed in 1883. It is a testament to the creative talents of the architectural firm of Cudell and Richardson.

A sizable carriage house, repurposed from a barn that had been in the rose garden since the 1860s, was erected at the same time as the castle. Because it is out of sight from the public and concealed behind the castle, very few people know about it.

The castle is located in the Ohio City district of Cleveland’s Franklin Boulevard which was once widely regarded as Cleveland’s most prestigious residential avenues. The castle today has more than fifteen rooms [not including secret chambers] with designated purposes and titles, and sixty windows spread over four floors.

It is reported to be the most haunted house in Ohio.

Once upon a time...

there was a man with a dream

Johannes and his wife Louise, German immigrants themselves, shared the home with other homeless Germans who had also made the journey to America.

After multiple death in the house, including the loss of their daughter Emma in 1881, Johannes and his family moved to their summer home in Lakewood, where he has the first vision of building a castle.

It would take several years of planning and another two years of construction before moving into what is now known as Franklin Castle with his wife and children. Meanwhile, tragedy would strike again when all of the Tiedeman children and his mother Wibke would pass away within a short amount of time. In 1895, after Louise’s sudden death, Johannes is left to fend for himself. He travels back to his hometown of Süderau, and a year later, he returns to the castle with his new wife, whose faith is unknown. Johannes Tiedeman dies 1905.

It is important to note that the Tiedeman family’s history is shrouded in mystery, and whose past is so entangled with myth and truth that it defies easy dissection. It is here where the legend of the Franklin Castle begins.

The castle has gathered and will continue to collect and update some of the stories and historical events for you, drawn from old records, notes, and other written materials we have here in the castle library. Keep on reading then…

the dark times

the castle on fire

Like Ronald DeFeo’s experience at the infamous Amityville House, many paranormal researchers claim that Franklin Castle is permeated with a sinister spirit that may alter a person’s state of mind.

In 1999, a fire at the castle prompted the local fire departments to respond. When they arrived, they found a man who had seemingly wandered off the street and began setting small fires inside each of the rooms. Even though he had no ties to the property, when questioned why he would possible do such a thing, he simply said:

, “I had to burn down the castle because it is pure evil.”


human bones found

in 1975, behind a wall on the second floor. At first, it was thought that a new owner had put them there to get attention for his ghost walks of the property. Years later, it turned out that this wasn’t true. 

More News:  In 1982, the castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places; thanks to the Romano family who resided in the castle from 1967 to 1974.

The Time Machine


The First House

The Wolvertons, four brothers from Canada, come to Cleveland to attend school. They build a two-story wooden house that they call Bachelor’s Hall. The Wolvertons enlist with the Union Army at the onset of the Civil War. Only two survive.


The Tiedemann Family

German immigrants Hannes and Louise Tiedemann purchase Bachelor’s Hall from Alonzo Wolverton and move in with their family. The Tiedemanns had six children in all, though only August, Emma, and Dora survived infancy.


Emma Tiedemann

Following the sudden death of 15-year-old Emma Tiedemann in January of 1881, Hannes Tiedemann moves his family to their summer home in Lakewood. He tears down Bachelor’s hall and replaces it with the mansion that we know today as the Franklin Castle.


Death of Louise Tiedemann

In March of 1895, Louise Tiedemann dies at the Franklin Castle at the age of 57. Hannes Tiedemann remarries the following year and in 1897 moves permanently to his summer home in Lakewood, where he dies in 1908.


The Prohibition Era

After being occupied by a widow from Virginia and a prominent local physician, the Franklin Castle is sold to a German singing society called Bildungsverein Eintracht, who use the castle for meetings and performances. It is also at this time that the house is used to produce illegal liquor. A whiskey still would be found in a hidden room two decades later.


The Romano Family

The house is purchased by the Romano family. Though being experienced for more than 50 years, reports of the haunting of the Franklin Castle are made public for the first time.


Human Bones in the Walls

While knocking down a wall in January 1975, Sam Muscatello makes the grim discovery of a partial human skeleton concealed in a void within the castle. Muscatello were using the house as a Universalist Church at the time. Some speculate that the bones were planted.


Michael DeVinko

After showing a few years of interest in the property, Judy Garland’s last husband, Michael DeVinko – aka Mickey Deans), purchases the Franklin Castle. Under his ownership, the house would host wild parties – and undergo magnificent restauration.


The Castle On Fire

In the Summer of 1999, the Franklin Castle is sold to Michelle Heimburger, who begins a huge renovation project. That November, the house is broken into and is set on fire by an arsonist, causing extensive damage to the structure and almost destroying the fourth-floor ballroom . In 2000, a new roof is put on the building, but for the next 11 years, the Franklin Castle would sit boarded up and in an advanced state of disrepair.


Kitt & Pascal

the current owners which came from the old world to rescue the Franklin Castle from its sad and miserable state. Brave knights of the european Beat Templars, an international music society playing rare beat music from the 1950s and 1960s, they treated this ancient historical landmark with respect, mended its wounds with infinite Faith to bring it back from the grave. The restoration of Franklin Castle will take 9 years, one floor at a time.

After being outraged, burned, gutted, and boarded-up in funeral attire, the genius loci gratefully gives back a lot of energy to those who enter. The castle has been observed to act as an energy amplifier over the past years. Many visitors have reported feeling recharged, full of creativity and hope as a result of some kind of magnetic power emanating from within.

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