Itís hard to look at the Drury Mansion, built in 1912 by Francis Drury, and not imagine it being infested with ghostly spectres. This foreboding wooden structure boasts over 50 rooms and comes complete with spiraling towers and maze-like corridors. And sometime after 1914, a secret tunnel was constructed which runs under Euclid Avenue to the Drury Theater. But perhaps the most enigmatic aspect of Drury Mansion is its ghosts and just who they are.
A successful industrialist, Francis Drury wanted to create a building that reflected his immense wealth and he spared no expense in constructing his dream home. But there are no reports of paranormal activity taking place during the time Drury and his family occupied the house. Indeed, by all accounts, the building was ghost-free.
Throughout its history, Drury Mansion also served as a home for unwed mothers and a boarding house. Today, the building operates as a private meeting facility. But it was shortly after 1972, when the property was leased to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority for use as a halfway house for convicts, that reports of ghostly activity began to filter in.
The most widely known story concerns two police officers who were in charge of guarding the then-vacant building in 1972. It is said that then men became so frightened during the night that the following morning they were found sitting on the floor back-to-back, clutching their shotguns.
Inmates and staff alike have reported the eerie feeling of being watched and of hearing footsteps when no one else was present. Doors and windows open and close by themselves and even window blinds have been known to slide up and down, apparently moved by unseen hands.
There are no accounts of anyone actually seeing a ghost until 1978, when an employee caught a glimpse of one standing on the main staircase. The worker described the figure as that of a woman with her hair tied in a knot on top of her head. This mysterious woman has also been seen in other areas of the house, including the kitchen.
To this day, no one has been able to identify this woman or her reason for being as Drury Mansion. Perhaps she is one of the unwed mothers who once occupied the house or a former boarder. Or maybe she is simply a wayward spirit who, like so many others, caught a glimpse of the gothic structure known as Drury Mansion and decided it would make the perfect home for a ghost.