Boo! The Haunted History of Punderson Manor
The historic English Tudor-style house claims ghost sightings and spooky unexplained events
As October ushers in images of ghosts and goblins and Halloween decorations, a storied and haunted history of historic Punderson Manor in northeast Ohio emerges.
While Ohio State Park Lodges such as Deer Creek, Salt Fork, and Mohican feature unique draws for visitors, Punderson Manor has a special appeal in the fall.
The history of Punderson Manor dates back to the early 1800s when Lemuel Punderson and his wife Sybal settled on the land. After their deaths, the property was sold to W.B. Cleveland and eventually sold to millionaire Karl Long in 1929. Long started construction on a towering 29-room manor house for his wife, but he lost his fortune in the Great Depression and the couple died before the home was completed.
The Manor House, about 30 miles from downtown Cleveland, was eventually turned over to the state of Ohio and transformed into a dining and lodging resort in 1956. There were several renovations over the years including a major expansion known as the new section that opened in 1982, with hotel-style rooms. The original portion of the English-style Tudor manor, the old section, with its elegant boutique rooms, still resembles that design today.
As the Punderson property changed hands over the years, strange happenings began to add a certain character and reputation to the manor house beyond its grand facade.
The first recorded ghost sighting at Punderson happened in 1978 when a band of gypsies that used to camp on the grounds each year suddenly stopped making the trek. When a park ranger inquired why they never returned he heard about a presence that they saw near the water one evening. They reported that the dark image emerged from the lake, covered in seaweed, and then moments later disappeared back into the darkened water. It turns out that a teenage girl reportedly drowned in the lake the year prior.
Employees and guests of the 29-room lodge have shared stories that range from footsteps in the hallways and flickering lights to hearing pounding on doors when no one is there and figures walking through walls. There have been several separate reports from custodians who said they felt a sudden and distinct chill in the hallways followed by a womanâ€™s laughter.
Most of the supernatural encounters on the property have been reported in the old section of the estate. Several specific areas seem to have the most activity.
- The Windsor Suite. The sprawling suite with a lavish Jacuzzi is said to be the most haunted room in the estate. Often booked as a Honeymoon Suite, couples have reported many unexplained events and figures seen in the connecting rooms.
- The grand spiral staircase. A number of ghost sightings of a figure reminiscent of the Civil War era have happened on the entryway staircase. One guest, while taking a photograph of the empty staircase, discovered a shadow figure in the developed picture. The photograph remains in a display case in Punderson Manor along with other historical photos.
- The Tower. Staff members working late at night in the Tower in the old section have reported ghost sightings over the years. At least one psychic who has been to the Tower reported making contact with a spirit there. The psychic said the ghost, a man, claimed he was looking for a rocking chair and would continue to haunt the property until he found it.
While the ghostly tales at Punderson are part of its history, most guests who stay leave only with the stories and memories that they create with their families. The pristine property offers plenty of hiking, swimming, golf, boating, and other activities to keep guests occupied during their stay. The elegant Punderson Manor recently became one of only three hotels in Ohio to be included in the Historic Hotels of America collection.
For guests who are looking for a unique October getaway, Punderson Manor is hosting psychic and paranormal investigator Laura Lyn on Oct. 28, 2016 for a group dinner and gallery-style reading. Guests will also get a tour of the Manor House with more in-depth stories about the supernatural sightings on the property. Reservations are required.
For more information, visit pundersonmanorstateparklodge.com or call 800-282-7275.
For more travel experiences available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.
Written by: Anietra Hamper
Ohio resident Anietra Hamper is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in covering outdoor activities.