With their place firmly at the transition of life to death to afterlife, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of haunted funeral homes. Yet, these facilities and their ghosts don’t get much paranormal attention – perhaps because the former vessels of the spirits spend such a short time in them. Mortician and standup comedian Morty Stein, better known as “funeralhomeconfessions” on Tik Tok, aims to change that with the stories he shares of his experiences with ghosts in funeral homes – an activity he’s picked up since the pandemic shut down comedy clubs. Let’s take a look at some of his personal experiences, some other haunted funeral homes and the most haunted one of all – the House of Wills in Cleveland, Ohio.
“A few years ago I used to work at a funeral home that had a reputation for being haunted. There was a loft that overlooked the chapel, and the only way you could get up to the loft was to open a really creepy door and go up some really rickety stairs. So, if anybody opened the door or went up the stairs, you would know somebody was on their way up. We were actually watching our boss conduct a service and while we were upstairs in the loft watching the service, we heard this voice yell out, 'get out of here!'"
Morty Stein is a licensed mortician, public speaker, standup, podcast host and now Tik Tok’s teller of haunted funeral home tales. His starting point is Sacramento, CA, and that is where his stories come from. Like this one:
“The family came in and did the final viewing, they had the visitation, and at the end of the visitation after everybody left, I was getting ready to close the casket and the left hand was over the right, so I changed it and put the right hand back over the left, closed the casket lid, locked it and went home. The next day I came back, I was the first one in the funeral home, I unlocked the casket, opened it up and the left hand was over the right. It could've been someone playing a joke on me, but I think it was a ghost."
Stein doesn’t mention the names of the funeral homes to protect their reputations and businesses, and most other funeral home ghost tales are from former homes. Like the former Lentz Funeral Home in Raeford, North Carolina. Ina Lentz Griesbeck tells many in her book, “If These Walls Could Speak: The Undertaker’s Daughter.” The current owner – it’s now a private home – says she’s seen a ghostly man, has lights turn on and off, and has objects disappear and reappear. The Grand Victorian Mansion in New Orleans was a funeral home and crematorium between 1930 and 2003 and the owners had many poltergeist incidents as well as sightigns of a woman in white crying for her husband, a tall well-dressed man, a boy and a girl who played pranks, and a former mortician.
The funeral home with the well-deserved “most haunted” title is the House of Wills in Cleveland, OH. The huge 50,000-square-foot facility was the predominant funeral home for African-Americans in Cleveland from 1941 to 2005. The gothic brick home was beautiful both inside and out and built in 1900 as a concert hall, which later became the Cleveland Hebrew Institute, a speakeasy during Prohibition, and a Masonic gathering place before the House of Wills moved in. Under private ownership since 2010 (and being turned into a paranormal attraction), the facility is said to be haunted by the original funeral home founder, who himself died in the home. Other spirits include a white apparition seen staring down from a second floor window, a spectral man in a suit seen in the casket room, and eerie voices throughout.