Variety Theater at top of Cleveland's "haunted hot spots" after 19 spirits & specters spotted

CLEVELAND - With a city so rich in history, it isn’t surprising to find spooky sights all over Cleveland.

One person who knows the haunted hot spots better than most? Chuck Gove, owner of Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours. For 12 years, Gove was a Cleveland Police homicide detective and is still with the police department. But by night, he leads tours to the scariest spots in town alongside Beth Richards.

This Halloween marks 20 years since Gove began the tours.

“When I started this, I was more of a historian, I loved the history,” Gove said. “But doing it over the years, it has made a believer out of me.”

One of the newest stops on the tour is the Variety Theater on W. 118th Street and Lorain Avenue. A newer stop but an older haunt. Built in 1927, the theater was one of the most popular places on the West Side. Now, it sits decrepit, with only glimpses of its former glory still visible.

But what you can’t see.. you might feel.

“For me, it is very haunted. I can tell you I know of now 19 spirits that roam,” said Patrick Colvin. He’s held the keys to the building for the last decade. “Most of the spirits here, I would consider them like Casper the friendly ghost. They are more mischievous than they are malevolent.”

Colvin said there are the obvious signs — lights turning off and on, doors closing and opening, loud noises and voices throughout the building. He said he knows eight or nine of the spirits by name and greets them every time he enters.

“I mean people think I’m crazy and that’s fine, I’m a good crazy,” Colvin added.

Other haunted hot spots include Franklin Castle, of course, Erie Street Cemetery, Playhouse Square theaters, and Grays Armory.

Spirits and specters — whether you choose to believe in that or not, know this. History and haunts go hand in hand in our fair city.

You can find more information about the Haunted Cleveland Ghost Tours here. Happy Halloween!

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