Cincinnati, Ohio is known for many things. First, it has the biggest Oktoberfest in the whole United States, it is Steven Spielberg’s birthplace, it is home to America’s oldest baseball team, and many more.
An aerial shot of Cincinnati. (Link: https://www.wlwt.com/article/cincinnati-buildings-to-light-up-blue-in-support-of-frontline-workers-amid-covid-19/32093376)
Another thing that makes Cincinnati, Ohio unique is that it houses one of the most haunted places in the country. The citizens, the staff, and visitors all claim that the Cincinnati Music Hall is haunted. Do you want to know why?
A photo showing the facade of Cincinnati Music Hall. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnati_Music_Hall)
History of Cincinnati Music Hall
The Cincinnati Music Hall is a classical music performance hall in the area. In the year 1818, the City of Cincinnati purchased a land from Jesse Embree. By the year 1821, the Ohio State Legislature wanted to dedicate the land as the site of a commercial hospital and lunatic asylum for the state of Ohio. Later, this plan materialized. However, during the Cholera outbreak in 1832 that brought many deaths, the land was used as a pauper’s cemetery. However, because property owners started complaining about the area, which they referred to as the Pest House, they asked it to be relocated. Eventually, such was relocated and the Elm Street Park was built.
In the year 1876, the lot was turned over to the Music Hall Association. Before the Cincinnati Music Hall was constructed, the Exposition Hall or Saengerfest Hall was put up in the lot. It was a huge wooden structure and the roof was covered in tin. During one of the performances at the 1875 May Festival, a thunderstorm took place. Accordingly, the rain on the tin roof was so loud that the chorus was drowned out during the performance. One of the audience members at that time was Reuben R. Springer, who is a wealthy citizen. He decided that Cincinnati had to have a better structure for such performances.
Springer then used his experiences and exposure to different music festivals and industrial expositions he attended to come up with the Cincinnati Music Hall. He donated money to the city and asked the citizens to raise funds for this project as well. The construction of the Cincinnati Music Hall started in the year 1876 and ended in 1878.
An old illustration of Cincinnati Music Hall. (Link: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Cincinnati_Music_Hall)
The first ever performance at the Cincinnati Music Hall was on May 14, 1878. Around 6, 000 attendees went to see the opera “Alceste” by Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Since then, it served as the home of many organizations like the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, May Festival Chorus, and many more.
The Ghosts of Cincinnati Music Hall
Because the land where Cincinnati Music Hall stands today used to be a pauper cemetery, there have been many human bones excavated during the construction of the building. Because of this fact, it is believed that the ghosts that haunt Cincinnati Music Hall belong to them.
One of the employees of the Cincinnati Music Hall, the late Cincinnati Pops Music Director Erich Kunzel, shared once in an interview that there were many nights he spent time alone at the building and he definitely felt their presence. However, he pointed out that they were mostly friendly. He urged those who did not believe him to be at the Cincinnati Music Hall at around 3 to 4 A.M. so they can see, hear, or feel what he is talking about.
Inside the Cincinnati Music Hall. (Link: https://cincinnatiusa.com/things-to-do/attractions/music-hall)
Cincinnati Opera CEO and General Director Patricia Beggs also shared an employee’s experience sometime in the 1990s. She said, “One of our employees came down here one day during our season when we were dark and he brought his little three-year old son Charlie with him. They went out on stage and Charlie was enjoying pretending like he was performing and all of a sudden he looked over and said ‘Daddy, who’s that man in the box?’ That was (then Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director) Jesus Lopez-Cobos’ box, which is box 9, and his father Tom said, ‘There’s nobody in the box, Charlie.’ ‘Yes there is. He’s waving at me right now.’ And so with that, they packed up and left very quickly.”
Performers at the stage of Cincinnati Music Hall. (Link: https://www.citybeat.com/arts-culture/classical-music/blog/21143043/cincinnati-symphony-orchestra-and-pops-reimagine-a-free-fall-season-livestreamed-from-music-hall)
A Boy Tugging On An Employee’s Shirt
Another employee, Terri Kidney, also shared another employee’s experience. She said that one of their box office employees worked at the window and there was a bell outside that people can use to call the employee’s attention. The bell reportedly kept on going off but no one was outside. The employee then went outside to see what was wrong and when he went back inside, the bell went off again. The employee went back outside and that was when a little boy was tugging on his shirt. The boy was not just a boy because it was wearing period clothing.
The entrance of Cincinnati Music Hall. (Link: https://www.cincinnatiopera.org/about-music-hall)
Music In The Elevator
A night watchman at the Cincinnati Music Hall, John Engst, said that he was making his usual rounds one evening when he heard some music. He could not find the source but when he re-entered the elevator and closed the doors, he heard the music again. He stepped out of the elevator to go to another hall and there was no sound. He returned to the elevator to go to another destination and heard the music again.
He said that although the music was beautiful, it definitely sent chills down his spine. He added, “For nearly two weeks I could not approach (the) elevator shaft on the first floor late at night without my whole body tingling.”
Inside the Cincinnati Music Hall when no one is around. (Link: https://friendsofmusichall.org/history/features-of-music-hall/is-music-hall-haunted/)
Other paranormal activities that staff and visitors have reported include someone angrily whispering in the elevator. Another is the sense of being followed then watched by an unseen presence or shadowy figures.
A lovely female voice also heard in the Cincinnati Music Hall although no one was there. People laughing were heard in the Music Hall Ballroom by some workers although no one was really there. In the same area, apparitions of men and women dancing wearing 1800s formal clothing were also spotted.
Outside the Cincinnati Music Hall at night. (Link: https://friendsofmusichall.org/history/features-of-music-hall/is-music-hall-haunted/)