4 Bizarre Cleveland Crimes to Remember this Halloween

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Cleveland has some chilling, often creepy historical murders that not everyone knows about, or at least they don't know that they happened in our city.

October 31st being Halloween, right now seems the perfect time to dip a toe back into these unsettling cases...

The Franklin Castle Murders and Haunting

Franklin Castle, which you can see in Cleveland’s Ohio City at 4308 Franklin Boulevard, is often called Ohio’s most haunted house – and that should come as little surprise, considering four children died there in just a few short years in the 1890s.

We should first point out that Hannes and Luise Tiedemann, the parents of those ill-fated children, were never charged with killing their kids.

That did not stop the rumors from running rampant, though, especially when three of them died three years in a row. Afterwards, the Tiedemanns began adding gargoyles and turrets to the home, supposedly constructed secret passages, and generally turned it into Weirdsville. Neither parent lived much longer, though.

The house was sold in 1895, and over the decades many owners have tried to turn it into a home, only to move out shortly thereafter.

The Torso Murders

In the 1930s, a maniac sometimes called the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run tormented Cleveland by chopping up at least a dozen of the city’s residents.

And we do mean chopping up. All the victims were decapitated. Many were cut completely in half. Males were castrated.

Yes, it was a messy business, so messy that the famous Eliot Ness, the man who took down Al Capone, came to Cleveland to help with the investigation.

The killer, alas, was never caught. Maybe that reclusive old guy down the street has a dark past …

The Real Life Fugitive

Remember that awesome movie where Harrison Ford jumps off a dam while Tommy Lee Jones looks on in frustration?

Well, turns out it and the show it was adapted from was loosely based on the story of Dr. Sam Sheppard, a Cleveland surgeon wrongly convicted of killing his wife.

The real killer was (probably) Richard Eberling, Sheppard’s handyman and a killer convicted of another murder (Ethel May Durkin) and suspected in several others.

Most of the evidence against Eberling didn’t begin to surface until late in life, however, and when he died at 68, the cases he was tied to were unofficially closed.

John O’Mic, Cleveland’s First Execution

Native Americans in Ohio sided with the British during the War of 1812 in part because of the hanging of John O’Mic.

O’Mic was part of the Massasauga band of Chippewas, and in April 1812 he was accused of murdering two trappers, Buel and Gibbs. O’Mic became the first Cuyahoga County man found guilty of murder and was hanged in Cleveland’s Public Square before a crowd of excited onlookers – but not before causing a big scene and demanding to be given whiskey before his hanging.

His executioners obliged. He got his whiskey. And then he was hanged.

On that note...Happy Halloween!

10 Things You Might Not Know About Cleveland

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We don’t have to tell you that Cleveland is pretty cool, right? Because it is. Heck, it might be the most underrated city in America.

It’s also a pretty interesting city. As proof, here are 10 things you might now know about our gem on the lake:

  • Cleveland almost went to war. In 1836, the still young city was only on the eastern banks of the Cuyahoga River. A conflict erupted with nearby Ohio City over a proposed bridge between the two cities, and it came close to turning into a violent conflict. Now, of course, Ohio City is part of Cleveland.
  • John D Rockefeller is perhaps the most famous rich guy in history, and his company, Standard Oil, was one of the world’s largest and most controversial. And Rockefeller founded the company right in Cleveland in 1870, before moving it to New York 15 years later.
  • Lots of American cities defaulted on their debt during the Great Depression, but that trend ended when the Depression ended ... until 1978, that is, when Cleveland became the first city since the Depression to default on its debt. D’oh!
  • For two straight decades, the Cleveland Clinic was the top heart program in the United States. A healthy Ohio is a great Ohio!
  • If you love shopping malls, you have Cleveland to thank for them. The first indoor shopping mall in the U.S. opened in Cleveland in 1890. The Cleveland Arcade, as it was called, is no longer a mall, but the building still stands today.
  • You might already know the first electric streetlights came from Cleveland, but did you also know that X-Ray machines and full-body scanners were also invented here?
  • Euclid Avenue was once called Millionaire’s Row and was considered one of the most elite, desirable places in the world. This was in no small part because Rockefeller called it his home.
  • Famed Olympian Jesse Owners, who won four gold medals in 1936 in Berlin right in front of the world’s biggest bigot, Adolph Hitler, was from Cleveland.
  • Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo! Arsenio Hall is from Cleveland, too. He’s not a big deal now, but for a time he changed the way talk shows worked.
  • Lake Erie is both the warmest of the Great Lakes and also the most shallow.

Naturally, we could go on and on and on. Maybe we will in a future article, too. But for now, we hope this helped you get to know the city a little better!

5 Absurd Auto Insurance Claims You’ll Never Believe Were Real

It stands to reason that when you’re filing an insurance claim, something out of the ordinary has happened. That’s what insurance is for, after all. To be there when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

The following real, verified cases are more than just unexpected, however. They are downright absurd. We’re sure you’ll agree!

This Is Not Santa’s Coal

Delaware’s Nicolas DiPuma thought he had a brilliant plan to commit insurance fraud: he’d toss buckets of burning coals into his car, claim it was an accident, and collect a payday.

Unfortunately for DiPuma, the police saw through his ridiculous plan almost immediately. It didn’t help that he concocted an absurd story that included tripping with his bucket of coals and accidentally tossing it into his open convertible, torching his car. He got five year’s probation for fraud.

Bumper Lickin’ Good

According to The National Underwriter magazine, a fisherman who had recently returned from a lengthy fishing trip to the coast filed a claim when his herd of cattle licked his vehicle so much they caused it damage, including chewing up the rubber.

As the story goes, the cows were attracted to salt buildup on the car from the ocean air. If true, that’s as absurd as they come!

… But You Can’t Hide

The northwest is known for being a bit quirky, but this was a little weird even for Seattle. In December 2011, a couple driving an SUV had strapped a mattress to the roof of their vehicle when (predictably) the mattress came flying loose and caused an accident.

After multiple cars stopped to help, the SUV driver fled the scene – without the passenger. The onlookers left the scene as well, but when one got a few miles down the road, they noticed someone in their back seat: the missing passenger from the SUV! Turns out the SUV was uninsured and both were trying to flee.

Yes, they were caught.

At Least The Tank Was Clean

According to British insurer Elephant, they once had a claim from a woman who said she mistook a large container of shampoo for gasoline. She proceeded to pour it into her tank and ruined her car.

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em

Block and Hyland Inc. once got a pair of strange claims from one client that stretched credulity. First, after a hail storm, the client filed claiming that the auto had been damaged in the storm. The adjuster was skeptical, though, since all the dents were perfectly symmetrical and were all the same size – the same size as a ball peen hammer head.

Seemingly caught in the act of fraud, the client then filed a police report claiming an unknown man attacked his car with a ball peen hammer and, based on the report, filed a new claim!

Sure, the insurance industry is usually a pretty dry, by-the-book field devoted to giving people peace of mind, but as the above stories show, sometimes it gets a little weird.