Julie Antonson

When medieval castles come to mind, Ohio is probably nowhere in the picture. Well there’s an interesting story about the 1/5th replica of a French Normandy and English, architecturally inspired, medieval castle that was built near Loveland, Ohio. It was built mostly by one man, Sir Harry Andrews, and it took him 50 years to finish it.

Haunted Castle in Ohio

(image:JeffHannigan/flickr)

Sir Harry was a frontline medic in WW1. He saved the life of an Earl’s son, who later knighted him for his actions. This was a big dream of his during the war he was one of many who died from cerebrospinal meningitis. His lifeless body was pronounced dead and moved to a morgue, where something incredible happened. Before cutting Sir Harry’s body open the doctors decided to try something new. They injected his heart with adrenaline and then punched his chest. It started pumping again, but he was blind and paralyzed. No one expected him to make it. But he did, and he made a full recovery; with the exception of needing glasses.

When Sir Harry was pronounced dead, word was sent to his fiancé back home. By the time she was notified of his recovery, six months later, she had already married another. So he decided to go on a journey, exploring castle’s in England.

Haunted Castle in Ohio

(image:JeffHannigan/flickr)

After he returned home, Sir Harry Andrews taught Sunday school to a group of boys. He was a firm believer of values and honor in a person. He was driven to instill these principles into the boys that he taught. This is what inspired him to make a sort of boys retreat on some land that he acquired by the Little Miami River. It started with a couple of tents and a lot of ambition. When these two tents were too worn, Sir Harry built two stone tents. This was the beginning of his great project. Started around 1927.

Using stones that he collected from the river he began building Chateau Laroche; his dream castle. When he ran out of stones, he made his own bricks out of concrete and milk cartons. It was rumored that Sir Harry had an IQ of 189 and an education in architecture. He claims to have done 98% of the work on the castle, by himself.

The boys that he mentored were inducted into a group Sir Harry formed, called the Knights of the Golden Trail. In 1955 Sir Harry retired and spent all of his time at the castle, living on site for the remainder of his life. Which ended in 1981, when he suffered severe injuries from a trash fire he had started on the roof of the castle.

Haunted Castle in Ohio

(image:JeffHannigan/flickr)

Sir Harry, himself, claimed that the castle was haunted. He believed that many ghosts visited the castle, but one was always there. He called the entity, Casper Poltergeist. Casper was known to shock people with an electrical current, but only those who made him angry. He also liked to knock on the back door; particularly when there was a fresh dusting of snow on the ground, therefore leaving no tracks in the snow.

The Knights and staff who run the castle believe that Sir Harry is now a regular spiritual presence in the castle. A dark shadow has been spotted going up the spiral stairs to Sir Harry’s old room. One time, a bathroom door slammed shut on its own in the ballroom. When a knight did some investigating, he was led to a septic tank that was about to overflow. On another instance, after a long day some Knights and staff had a gathering where they played some musical instruments around a table. The light above the table started swaying with the music. When the music stopped, so did the swaying. It had preferences, too, because it only swayed to the songs it liked.

The ghost of a Viking has also been seen wandering around the castle, sporting a long robe and spiked helmet. He carries with him a short, wide sword. So be on your best behavior. Sir Harry brought back some Viking, French and English artifacts when he returned from his travels. It’s believed that this spirit might be anchored to one of these relics and not the actual castle.

One more ghost seems to frequent the Loveland Castle. She’s a glowing white apparition that is sometimes seen wandering the garden at night or sitting on the roof. She also has a tendency to float over the river in her glowing white form. This spirit is thought to be that of a woman who lived in the front part of a cave down the river from the castle. She lived with a man whom she made moonshine with. When Sir Harry and his Knights heard the explosion from the couple’s home, they went to investigate. They found that she had been crushed under a whisky barrel that was thrown at her from the blast.

I can understand the appeal of haunting a castle, were I a ghost I might do the same. Especially now that I know there’s one a little more local. A castle in Ohio, who would have thought?

June 2, 2016
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