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Real Haunted House

The Collinwood School

Cleveland, Ohio

Now a state monument, this school was the site of a huge fire in the early twentieth century. Over one hundred people died because the doors in the school opened inwardly rather than outwardly, preventing escape. Residents that live near the school have reported seeing a light come on in one room, traverse the hall and go back from whence it came. Police investigated and found no one living in the building.

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Chris says:

March 18, 2006, 7:03 pm

That isn’t possible. First of all, the school burned down to the ground. A new school was built next to it, but that was later shut down and sat empty for years.Then, they tore that one down and built a brand new one in the same spot as the old one before it. A memorial sits in the exact spot where the school sat, and has been there for years!

Crissy says:

May 10, 2006, 5:07 pm

Once my roomate was doing research on this fire. We went to the memorial on the anniversary of the fire. I was furious at all the garbage laying everywhere. So I started cleaning it up a little bit. Once I was finished I stood looking att he area for awhile and suddenly it felt like several pairs of hands were touching me. Next time I’m there I plan on taking pictures to see if I find anything.

Lisa says:

June 19, 2006, 6:02 pm

Dude! The hands touching you…Creepy! The light may be the aliens coming.

My Brother: Dude if i felt the hands i would like totally start screaming” TAKE ME TO YOUR MOTHERSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Nicole says:

September 17, 2006, 8:35 pm

it’s true about this i lived right around the corner from this site for years and i used to see ppl walking on the roof and inside the building. and now there is a rest home there not a memorial.

patti linville says:

October 28, 2006, 6:05 pm

your wrong about the memorial being gone. i live right there and its still there where the original school stood . then another was built next to it and torn down 2 or 3 years ago and i got a chance to go thru that building. just alot of orbs and a creepy feeling but nothing else.

Vinny says:

December 21, 2006, 6:55 pm

the school used to be at E. 156th and Lucknow Avenue in the Collinwood neighborhood which is a pretty bad area. They tore it down in 1996-97 so this is either fake or defunct now.

theresa says:

February 5, 2007, 7:12 pm

my mother used 2 live around there..thats scary!!

your mom says:

February 18, 2007, 5:30 pm

This is crazy. I have never been there. I am balling. :]

Annie says:

June 15, 2007, 2:53 pm

Wow I live Pretty Close but I’ve never been there. My House is really old but still there has been anything like that. I want to go! It would be so much fun. If I ever go these people will be the first to know!!!!

brooke says:

July 9, 2007, 6:01 pm

Initially, it was believed that those killed were trapped by the building’s vestibule doors, which opened inward, not outward. Doors to the building were equipped with common door knob latches, not the more modern crash bar type latch. While panic leading to the crush of a large number of students in stairwell vestibules contributed to the death toll, students also died as a result of smoke inhalation and the fire itself. Some children died jumping from second and third story windows.172 students, two teachers and a rescuer were killed. Following the fire, the remains of the Lake View School were demolished and a memorial garden planned for the site. A new school, Collinwood Memorial Elementary School was built adjacent to the disaster site, and incorporated many features that had been lacking in the previous building. Unlike the building involved in the disaster, the new school incorporated fire safe stairwells, a central alarm system, and was built of steel framing and other fire safe materials. Although the new school was torn down in 2004, a memorial plaque remains on the site as new development is added to the area.

Hope says:

September 10, 2007, 12:46 am

Ilived in Cleveland in the late 60’s and through the 70’s. My daughter was in elementary school at the time. She was considered a gifted child and was sent to the school in question.
I visited the school on several occasions. Approaching the school grounds I felt an oppressive atmosphere. It was strange and not just a little disturbing.
This was, to be clear, the grounds of the school, not inside the school itself. Though there was an oppressive atomphere inside as well. Outside on the grounds of the school it was depressing and opressive.

hektik says:

October 25, 2007, 5:08 am

story is true as i said my family grew up in cleveland, as i mentioned about in the franklin castle, yea, some of my family grew up on the eastide also ansel st. clair 55th fleet…..and this story is true, and yes the building is no longer there, there is a memorial and there is a new school nearby, not in the same location

Rick Foster says:

May 25, 2008, 3:46 am

I knew a friend of mine who lived right next door to the parking lot behind the old school. She told me that when she moved in 3 years ago her young kids were afraid to go into the attic because of the little girl dressed in long white antique apparel. She also told me that one day while watching TV in her front room some nights the spirit girl would walk in front of the TV. They eventually got used to seeing her. She moved out this year. Incidentally tenants do not stay there long.
And that is true to quite a few houses around the school.

michelle says:

October 6, 2008, 1:09 pm

Is that true??????

joe says:

October 15, 2008, 8:04 pm

yah dude its true once i saw i cat its name was meowzer weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

stinky pete says:

October 15, 2008, 8:52 pm

my ******** is smeely rick foster cleaned it last night but whos gonna clean it no how about u michelle?

maddie says:

January 19, 2009, 9:43 pm

I live in a house that is haunted. It is haunted. I live right down the street from Franklin castle on 44th. I got a ouija board for my b-day and we asked it questions. It told us that our ghost’s name was Tim and he was murdered in 2008 by GWB. All I have to say of my ghost is that he is very nice and doesn’t bother me or my family.

John Baker says:

April 25, 2009, 12:22 am

Did you ever have the feeling of having someone “walk over your grave” when I found out about the school, first it was a post card from aout 1906 and I had this flash of what the entrance way inside looked like.I had this sudden rush of emotion. The memorial garden is still intact, the new school built recently sits on the site of the old collinwood memorial school which was built on land adjacent to the original school. The garden “is” on top of the old school. obviously there were parents, who wondered who among the 19 were possibly their children. Why didn’t the parents of children missing in the fire claim the bodies as a group? Why did the old memorial school sit abandoned for so long? do students, teachers and visitors of the new school have strange experiences there? are there lights and screams in the new school at night? All questions some one will answer in the next few years.

R.M. Wood says:

November 29, 2009, 9:52 pm

The story of the Collinwood School fire has haunted me since I first read about it 33 years ago when I was ten. I was always afraid something like this would happen to my school. I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where most of the school building were old and not always up to code.

To read about another haunting experience, check out my new novel ’82 Mystery at You can get paid to read this intriquing, Mystery/Suspence thriller.

somarinna says:

December 23, 2009, 11:24 am

my social studies teacher told us this story one day. We were going to have a fire drill and this was kind of her way to tell us to behave because you’ll never know if it was a real one. She got alot into detail. Everyone was pushing and shoving amd screaming, that noone heard the instructions to get into a line so since the doors opened inward, noone could get out. When parents heard the school was on fire, they came rushing to the scene, and one girl was first and she gave up on trying to open the door because the people behind her kept pushing her and they were too strong. But when her mother came, her mother could not open the door, so her and her mother just looked at eachother through the glass and cried. They touched eachothers hand through little openings under the doorway and said i love you for the last time…

R.M. Wood says:

January 2, 2010, 3:42 pm

This is interesting. I thought the outside doors opened out, but the vestibule doors, where everybody was trapped, opened inward. In any event, I guess none of the doors had a crash bar, they just had a knob.
Check out my thrilling new novel, ’82 Mystery at

Crystal Nika says:

January 20, 2010, 9:45 pm

I’ve lived being contacted by spirits my entire life untill i turned 12. Then i met this friend of my borthers friends girlfriend and she taught me how to use white magic. Which to me was bad, and i didn’t know anything about that! I always beleived in God and always went to church i stopped attending bcuz of the group i began to hang out with me, including my cousin and brother, started making fun of me. Anyways i began feeling the spirits then and seeing them and they followed me everywhere. I thoght i was going crazy! One night about 2:30 a.m. i woke up to use the bathroom and i see my mother sitting in the kitchen on a chair in the dark, i thoght nothing of it and went to pee. when i got out she wasnt there so i was like, what on Earth she usually tells me “Hey, Crystal!, don’t forget to turn out the light im goin to bed.” so i went to ask her what she was doin up so late and she says “Crystal, what are you talking about i was sleeping you just woke me up?, go to bed well talk tomorro.” so i did. I couldnt fall asleep for about an hour but i felt something cold only on my feet and i covered my head and went to bed. The next day we did talk and i told her and my dad what i was doing, witch craft, ouiji board, tarot cards all of that. They told me to stop and i did and a whole bunch of things happened then one niht i finally got tired of all the things happening to me i began crying i told the girl to leave me alone because nothing was happening or working for her only and just to me. I got on my knees and began to pray to Jesus and God, and asked them for help. The nexy day, was a saturday, and two ladies came to my porch and knocked on my door, they were from a church trying to get ppl to go. my father always told the to f*** off or something bad like this, but this time he told them to hold on a second, he came and got me and i began speaking to the women and the told what to do, which was burn everything or throw it in a garbage as far away from me as possible and i did and after three days everything stopped. Sometimes when spirits want to communicate with me and i feel them in an area where i am at, i just ignore them. I know how bad opening a door to the other side can be, God bless us all. Crystal 18-f, OH

ellie says:

July 9, 2010, 11:24 am

does anyone actually still live in collinwood? come on people, get your facts straight.

Mic says:

August 17, 2010, 9:41 pm

I grew up in Collinwood and attended Memorial School in the late 70’s, the school was closed due to forced busing in 1979. I remember walking past the memorial to the students and teachers that passed in the Collinwood School fire on my way home everyday. The Memorial School I attended was one of the last great pieces of architecture. It was beautiful on the inside and the auditorium was unforgettable. Once the school closed, it was sad to see it literally rot away. It’s now replaced with a new, much smaller school. When I was 15, I worked in a nearby nursing home and took care of residents that survived the fire and it was amazing the detail they remembered about that day. I really miss the old neighborhood and it’s unfortunate that due to declining safety of the neighborhood, many have moved out. My mother-in-law still lives across from the school and I will say it still brings eerie mixed feelings of lives that passed and school yard memories.

Mari 29 says:

October 25, 2010, 5:18 pm

I moved on lucknow in 2005 directly across the street from the newly built school Memorial, and i had a few strange experiences there, from lights switches clicking off as in being up and physically clicking down to waking up in the middle of the night in the dead winter to find my window open wide from the inside of the apt, and my bathroom filled with snow, to also hearing whiney crying noises outside of my window at night. so I do believe that their is some form of strange activity going on on that street.

Roman says:

October 28, 2010, 3:57 pm

I went to school there in the late 60’s , for Vinny the school is and alway has been at 152nd St. and St. claire ave. The school did not burn down to the ground but the first floor was gutted !!!!!!! And by the way all them people did die there and that is why all schools in the countrys doors open out and can not be locked at all school hours !!!!

RIcky says:

February 20, 2011, 4:42 am

I grew up in Bedford a suburb of Cleveland. When I was about ten I learned about the Collinwood School Fire. I became obsessed with it. I had researched it and learned as much as I possibly could about it. Trying to find out what actually caused the fire. I also tried to put together the timing of the whole event and how so quickly so many died within feet of safety. I was obsessed with trying to understand why more children were not able to be pulled from the heap at the front doors. I looked up the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on March 5th 1908. I did scaled drawings of the building and floor plans with exits. I used to have my parents drive me to the memorial garden on March 4th. Then when I got older I would drive my self there. People thought I was nuts. When I got older I had a friend who’s grandmothers sister died in the fire. I just about chopped down their family tree to find out information on that day. Doing research I have also learned that it was probably not true that the doors opened inward but that one of the very front doors was fastened shut with a spring as well as the rear doors. I am now 38 years old I now live in South West Florida and sometimes when I go visit my family and friends in Cleveland, Ill make a detour to the site. I guess at the time I was ten I realized the scale of the tragedy and that it that could actually happen at my school. When I would go to the memorial garden I used to try to stand in the very spot where most of the struggle for life happened. When you do. you can feel the unsettled souls still in limbo to this day. On every March 4th I look at the clock a little after 9am an imagine how little time it took to change so many lives. in that little slice of history.

Teresa L. says:

November 10, 2011, 3:58 pm

I actually went to Memorial School from from 1973 to 1979, when it closed. I never experienced anything “supernatural” in all those years. It was a huge school! The main hallways on the first, second and third floor were about 20 feet wide! Afterschool, when everyone went home, it was kind of “empty building creepy,” but nothing more than that. The memorial to the Collinwood School is pretty small in my opinion. For awhile, it wasn’t kept up. When Memorial School was torn down in the mid 2000s, the new school was built on the exact same site, just to be clear. It pains me to think of the empty Memorial School full of garbage inside and out, but it was. I really miss it.

Terri Hirling says:

November 14, 2011, 2:43 pm

I attended Memorial Elementary School from 1959 (1st grade) to 1964 (mid-semester 4th grade). As a child I was in awe of how big the building was and how old but beautiful it was inside. Even after visiting the site some years back after it closed, before it was demolished, it still seemed big even through my adult eyes. It was sad to see it sitting empty. I agree with the person who posted how unforgettable the auditorium was. It was like an old movie theater. I remember thinking that the halls were like a maze. The gym was located in the basement and felt like you were going into the bowels of the building, it seemed like a â??caveâ?. I believe there was a pool area, but my memory may be faulty on that. I do remember, however, that there was a girlsâ?? locker room which was always locked. We were not allowed to run through memorial garden. Again, my memory is hazy but I believe there was facility that patrolled the gardens in the morning, at lunchtime (when we left the premises because there was no cafeteria) and after school. Additionally, the memorial garden then doesnâ??t look anything like it does today due to rededication/remodeled. Some years after Memorial closed my mother was able to purchase a desk and chair for me when the furniture was auctioned off. Unfortunately, it was lost before I could make arrangements to remove it from a storage unit my ex neglected to pay for after we divorced.

Lynn Berk says:

July 14, 2012, 4:16 pm

About the only thing you have correct is that there was a fire. Who checks your facts? The information about the doors is incorrect and was debunked almost immediately after the fire; and there is no “state memorial” on the spot. Shame on you. This is such a horrific story it needs no embellishment, let alone just plain wrong info.

hj says:

March 23, 2013, 4:14 pm

my brother lived next door to the school, its all true and more, you have no idea how bad it is

Camryn says:

May 24, 2014, 7:22 pm

My friend, Diamond, told me about this. She attended the school that was built over it. She said she didn’t find out about this until Memorial day all the teachers gathered around and told the students. I didn’t believe her until now that I googled it.

EB says:

June 16, 2016, 7:29 pm

FYI a few facts:

1) The doors of Lakeview School DID open outwards. There were many other problems that day that added to the horror, but the doors opened OUT.

2) “Memorial 2″ was built on the same area “Memorial 1″ was.

3) There is still a Memorial Garden, a smaller one built much later.

4) There is a Ohio State Historical Marker for the site, which is currently in storage awaiting re-installation.

5) Collinwood itself is an up-&-coming neighborhood these days – come visit!!!

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