The spirits of Cleveland’s famous skyscraper, The Terminal Tower, reside actively inside the 771-foot tall tower. Overlooking the shimmering blue waters of Lake Erie, The Terminal Tower was once the second-tallest building in the world. Its construction was a gargantuan effort of man, steel, and mechanics that led to the tragic death of two unlucky workers.
The tower was raised in 1928, and in its wake, an entire neighborhood, full of many historic buildings, was swept away. Cleveland’s Union Terminal may have found a new home, but at what cost?
The spirits of Patrick Toolis and Patrick Cleary, two workmen who lost their lives during construction, and those of the former Champlain Street area now haunt the iconic building.
Talks of constructing a modern railroad terminal in Cleveland were growing at the turn of the 20th century. Ohio had become a skeleton of interurban railroad lines with a total stretching out some 2,000 miles.
The initial idea was to replace the cumbersome and smog-heavy steam engines with modern electric vehicles upon reaching the metropolitan area.
To execute the forward-thinking beautification process, the city had to make room for the new rail lines. Champlain Street and many of its iconic buildings were cleared out; the Cleveland Telephone Company Building and the Cleveland Police Headquarters were two among many that were lost to time.
The displacement of this neighborhood and the disaster during the construction set the stage for a paranormal hotspot.
To begin construction, Cleveland’s soft clay ground had to be dug up to locate bedrock. Large pits were dug out, each reaching depths of 100 feet or more. Workers had to meticulously shovel out dirt from these pits and slowly fill them up with concrete when bedrock was found.
Two workers, Patrick Toolis and Patrick Cleary, were at the bottom of one of these dangerous pits. Next to them was another hole recently filled with fresh concrete. The wall between these two shafts was no more than 2 feet thick and not enough to contain the dense concrete.
The retaining shaft adjacent to their pit broke, and concrete quickly flooded into the hole. Although help came, the two were unable to be recovered.
Their bodies were recovered after the concrete had dried. They were both 40 feet down and frozen in time. Cleary, who had only been on the job for three days, was found standing upright with his arms lifted high, trying to reach a chain that could pull him to safety.
The spirits of Cleveland’s famous skyscraper make their presence known to all in the renovated luxury apartment building. The old hotel is gone, and the new luxury apartments now take precedence, but the spirits know no better.
The two most active are the cyclical apparations of Patrick Toolis and Patrick. Clearly, their souls are forever trapped in torment. The sounds of muffled screaming can be heard on the bottom floor at the same time of day. The residual trauma from their death has left them forever trapped in the old skyscraper.
Some have seen apparitions of men wearing overalls, the same kind worn during the construction of the building. While a recent interview with Building General Manager Stephen Bir revealed at least one of these sightings to be a hoax—a prank set by painters decades ago— reports of the men in overalls have continued all over the building.
There are also sightings of a man smoking a cigar, a holdover from the days when the Cleveland Police Headquarters once stood here. His apparition disappears as soon as someone comes to close.
Take a trip to the top of Cleveland’s skyline, and you might get more than you expected. Play it safe on the ground, and you still might encounter something unusual. Cleveland’s most haunted places are everywhere and waiting to be discovered.
Itching to read more about haunted Cleveland? Read our blog for more information on the most haunted locations around the city and the US.