“This is not a haunted house,” said Dwight Richardson, Allied Arts Council president, at Thursday’s Kiwanis meeting. “There are no people jumping out to stab you or blood flying everywhere. It is strictly history and mystery through people telling stories.”
Tickets can be purchased either at the Bank of Cleveland’s downtown location or at the Chamber of Commerce. Richardson said tickets can be purchased at the door of the event.
“We would prefer if people would buy their tickets prior to the event,” Richardson said. “This way we will know how many people will be attending.”
Story tours begin at 6 p.m. Every 40 minutes, listeners will be taken into the candlelit Bank of Cleveland basement. Three storytellers will be waiting to enthrall their visitors.
“The Bank of Cleveland has a rich history. It used to be a silent theater,” Richardson said. “If you have never been in the basement, here is your chance. It is quite freaky down there.”
Ticket holders will then listen to three storytellers set up around downtown Cleveland. The farthest act will be beside the Craigmiles Mausoleum behind St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Richardson said “The Bleeding Mausoleum” is the event’s most popular story.
“You will be able to peek inside of the mausoleum as the doors will be open. It is quite impressive,” Richardson said. “Pete Vanderpool will tell the story from the grandfather’s point of view.”
According to historical records, the Craigmiles mausoleum was built in honor of Nina Craigmiles. Nina died in a tragic train accident while riding in a carriage with her grandfather. Red stains, thought to be caused by iron reacting to weather conditions, have spurred many rumors over the years. The most popular created the story of the bleeding mausoleum.
Additional stories to be told are the “Stanford Ghost,” “Uncle Letch and the Coffin Factory,” “A Mother’s Quest” and “The Lineman.”
Richardson described “A Mother’s Quest,” as being gripping and heartwarming. He said an illusion will be seen during the “Stanford Ghost.”
Leigh Ann Boyd, Kiwanis past president, said she attended the event and enjoyed herself.
“People, it is a fun evening,” said Judy Baker, storyteller. “You will have a blast. There will be fun had by all.”
Adult tickets cost $10 and student tickets cost $5. All proceeds will go toward the Allied Arts Council. The council has donated over $300,000 to arts and leisure organizations in the community. Teachers regularly apply for grants to finance arts-based programs.
Tours begin at 6 p.m. The last tour will set off at 8:30 p.m. Richardson advised ticket holders to bundle up, as part of the tour will be outside.
The Chamber of Commerce advises the program is not appropriate for children 5 years old and younger.