WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Step into Warren City Hall on this Halloween and you’ll find what you’d expect: People at work, a city to run. Step into that same old building after dark and you’ll find the unexpected.
The Perkins mansion on Mahoning Avenue seems to welcome the night. Cold autumn clouds have chased the last city employee home – the living are gone.
The rooms and hallways were once home to one the richest men in Ohio: Henry Bishop Perkins. Does his troubled spirit linger there? Someone half glimpsed in a tall mirror, in a play of light and shadow on a darkened window? Perhaps it’s Henry who’s rearranging chairs for startled housekeepers?
“I feel much better when I say the words ‘Good morning, Mr. Perkins’ and they say the words ‘Good evening Mr. Perkins,’ when I leave,” said Rachel Hathorn, executive secretary.
Perkin’s son, Henry, Jr. hanged himself in 1900, just outside the gloomy walls of the mansion. His heart was broken that the woman he loved had been murdered. Some say his aunt Lizzy searches for him, calling his name in the night.
The shock may have led Henry, Sr. to take his own life two years later.
“He just lost his family, everybody that he truly cared about was gone,” said Liz Cole Clark, historian.
And down through the years, the legend grew of what you’ll find in the house, from the rough stone basement to the dusty attic ballroom where no music plays, only the flutter of a bat’s black wings.
“The stories are amazing. People who have heard babies cry. People who have seen somebody walking up the steps and then disappear. People who have seen what we assume is Aunt Lizzy, the aunt who comes to stay in the Perkins Mansion with the family,” said Bill Mullane, Fine Arts Council.
Hathorn said she believes in spirits but isn’t sure about evil ghosts or other such things.
“I do believe there is something else beyond what we have here,” Hathorn said.
Feel free to come by and ask for your tour of Warren City Hall; just be sure you’re out by dark and Happy Halloween.