Staying calm during a ghostly encounter

Hoover Auditorium, Lakeside, OH by Bruce Stambaugh
Hoover Auditorium, Lakeside, Ohio. This picture was taken July 3, 2010, the day I saw the ghost in the huge hall.

By Bruce Stambaugh

I wasn’t going to say anything about the ghost I saw last summer. But with the ghoulish season of Halloween upon us, and the details of the experience still fresh in my mind, I decided to share what I saw.

First and foremost, I am not a fervent believer in ghosts, especially the horror kind put forth each Halloween season. I have watched with skeptical interest the ghost hunter shows on television. Once I saw how excited they got after showing video of some supposedly spectral orb, I was more convinced than ever that such adventures bordered on silliness.

Nevertheless, I had occasionally wondered how I would respond if I had encountered a ghost first hand. Last July 3, I found out. I just sat there watching, calm and unafraid, taking in every detail.

I was hardly alone when the apparition appeared. More than 2,000 others were in their seats two-thirds of the way through a lively, if not loud, concert in Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside, Ohio.

During one of the songs, something caught my attention directly above the stage. I looked up, and I saw the bluish-white shape of a man walk across the catwalk that held the lighting and speaker systems for the performance hall.

I say “appearance of a man” because that is all I can logically conclude that it was. I watched as the man, dressed in period work clothes of the early 20th century, casually walked across the catwalk from stage left to stage right. He bent down as if to pick up something, and then simply disappeared. I glanced to the stage where the band continued to belt out its Celtic vibrations, looked back up, and saw only darkness.

I knew right then and there that it would have been impossible for a human being to actually walk across that purposed bridge. The crisscrossed steel structure had no stairs that led to it. In fact, the structure wasn’t designed for anyone to ever walk there. The horizontal frame was simply lowered by a system of ropes and pulleys.

Convinced of what I saw, the next day I headed to the Lakeside Historical Museum to see what I could discover about ghosts and the construction of Hoover Auditorium in 1928-1929. Neither the young museum curator nor the senior archivist blinked at my story. Neither did they laugh at me.

After an exhaustive search by the three of us, we had come up empty on both the report of previous ghosts in Hoover, and the report of any serious accidents or deaths during its construction. The one interesting fact I did discover from old blueprints was that the scaffolding that was used to erect the large meeting room was exactly the height of the structure that held the speakers and lighting.

Hotel Lakeside, Lakeside, Ohio by Bruce Stambaugh
The rear of Hotel Lakeside in Lakeside, Ohio. Guests have occasionally reported seeing ghosts there.

I also learned of reports of ghosts in the Hotel Lakeside and in the museum where I had begun my search. I appreciated the fact that both the curator and the archivist dived right in to help me find whatever facts we could.

Unfortunately, the facts were few, but the personal encounter was real. If anyone else in the audience saw anything, they never said so. It wasn’t like seeing the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and it certainly wasn’t the commercial and entertainment-driven ghoulishness currently being spewed out.

I know I saw this man in clunky work boots, old-style work pants, a thick leather belt, and old-fashioned work shirt and slicked back hair. I just don’t know why.

Decorated cottage at Lakeside, Ohio by Bruce Stambaugh
Peaceful, attractive cottages like this one abound in Lakeside, Ohio, making it an attractive, fun and safe vacation destination for families.

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

22 thoughts on “Staying calm during a ghostly encounter”

  1. I do believe in ghosts, but when I see commercials for the ghost hunting programs I can’t help but think they are fake.

    Great story!


  2. Great….glad you shared. Sorry I did not see it but then I was listening to the music and often close my eyes. jv


  3. In my lifetime at Lakeside, I’ve never had the chance to experience anything like that..including the summer I worked at Hoover and Orchestra Hall. I’ve always hoped I might, though, so I’ll have to be more observant from now on! I’ve always thought that, if I did have to spend eternity as a ghost, Lakeside would be the place I’d want to spend it. 🙂


  4. Interesting, I’ve always had a strange suspicion that the Hotel Lakeside was haunted.

    Anyway, the ghost you saw might not have been someone who died there, it may have been someone who spent a lot of time working there. Not all ghosts are concious beings, some are sort of left over energy. So the person could have just spent enough time working on that scaffolding to leave his imprint there.

    He also could have been coming back to finish his job, or because he liked it there, or felt comfortable, etc. I guess if I was stuck on Earth after I died I would want to spend eternity somewhere nice.


    1. Carly,

      Thanks for your post. I was told by both the Lakeside historian and archivist that there have been several reports of ghosts on the third floor of the hotel. But mine was the first at Hoover. I agree. I we would have to spend eternity on earth, Lakeside would be a great place to do it.

      Take care.



  5. hilltop cabins/annex are haunted too! i have orb pictures and the girls kept getting poked and things go bump in the night. lakeside has some history!


  6. My friends and I broke into the supposedly haunted school that was closed down in the 50s. We didn’t see anything, but I’m not a skeptic. We led when we saw aspestus in the sealing


    1. I did the same thing! We didn’t see any ghosts, but we heard sound from inside after we left. I need help with finding the real reason it closed down. apparently it was closed down from a sense of students. But it wasn’t. And the missing information on why it was Closed makes me uncomfortable. If anyone finds anything email me subject:lakeside schoolhouse


      1. Ann,

        Before I approve this comment to be posted, can you please explain why you are uncomfortable about “missing information?” And, what do you mean by that, “missing information?”



  7. I spent many family vacations at Lakeside in the 80’s. I saw a similar apparition to what you described -a bright blueish white outline of a man, in the cottage we had rented. It appeared at night and woke me up , the whole room lit up. It scared the daylights out of me, but I only saw it that one night.


      1. The cottage was on Oak St., I don’t recall the exact address. I told my parents, but they told me I was just dreaming.


      2. I can imagine that would be their response. I probably would have said the same thing to my own children. How old were you? Do you remember what the cottage on Oak looked like or what numbered street it was close to (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)?

        Thanks, again,



      3. I was 10-11 at the time. The cottage was past all of the numbered side streets close to the lake. If you’re facing the lake, the house would be on the left. It was basically a two story square.

        The thing that stood out in your description was that it was bright blueish white man, exactly what I saw. I couldn’t make out the clothing though. Most people talk about “orbs” , which I’m skeptical.


  8. Loved your article Bruce. I have doing the historic tram tours of Lakeside for the past ten years. I’ve lived here all my life and went to the old stone school. While I have never, personally been in the presence of ghosts I hear stories from time to time from those who come on my tours. My husband’s house at 162 Vine was haunted. His first wife saw a ghost of a relative there and renters in that house felt their presence.
    Maybe it’s time to do a ghostly Lakeside tram tour!


    1. Carol,

      I’m glad you liked the story. Were you in Hoover that night? Neva and I have taken your wonderful tour and you go right by Maxwell Hospitality House, where we stay. In fact, I took a pic of you last week as you spoke outside Hoover. I’d be glad to send it to you. Just send me an email via After this story first appeared, I spoke with Kevin about it, and he was glad to meet the kook who wrote it. He told me that he has been contacted by TV producers to do a show on ghost hunting at Lakeside. Apparently there are several “hot spots” in Lakeside. I hope to here back from you.



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