News for the Hospitality Executive
Ghost Sightings Still Going Strong! Strange and Annoying
Occurrences Part of the
Historic Appeal at Punderson Manor Resort & Conference Center in Ohio
NEWBURY, Ohio, August 12, 2009 – You know there might be something unusual
about a hotel when you see an image of a lumberjack hanging by the neck
from a rope that appears to be tied from the rafters of the lounge. That’s
what employees of Geauga County’s Punderson Manor State Park Resort saw
one early morning several years ago. They watched in horror for nearly
three hours as the rotating image slowly faded with the morning light.
The hanging lumberjack is arguably the most frightening apparition among
the dozens of strange occurrences recorded at the elegant 31-room Northeast
Ohio resort since it opened to guests 53 years ago.
Punderson Manor Resort & Conference Center
11755 Kinsman Rd
Long never completed his home; he lost his fortune in the Depression and died just prior to completion. The property reverted back to the original owners, the W.B. Cleveland family, and eventually ended up in the hands of the State of Ohio. The State designated the 1,000-acre area surrounding Punderson Lake, including the unfinished and boarded-up mansion, as an Ohio State Park in 1948.
The land that is now the state park was first settled by Lemuel Punderson and his wife, Sybal, in 1802. Punderson operated a grist mill and distillery. He and his wife are buried side by side at the southern tip of the lake. When Punderson died, his heirs sold the property to W. B. Cleveland. The acreage was eventually passed on to a son-in-law, Dr. Coopedge, who sold it to Karl Long in 1929.
The State of Ohio completed construction of the mansion in 1956 and opened it to guests for lodging and dining. Seeing a need for more guest rooms, the state added a wing with additional guest rooms and built 26 two-bedroom cabins. By the 1970s, the rambling resort had become a popular destination for day-trips and short vacations among Clevelanders looking for a rural getaway.
It was in the 1970s that resort employees, guests and other visitors began to report strange occurrences, some merely annoying and others downright terrifying.
Once, a self-proclaimed psychic agreed to try to make contact with the ghosts of Punderson. Upon emerging two hours later from the Tower in the original section, she said she had spoken with a ghost who “looked a little like Teddy Roosevelt. He says he will continue to haunt this place until his rocking chair is returned.”
Countless investigations into these strange sightings have revealed few clues. There is no record of any deaths in the mansion, but research continues. Nor are there records of children having lived there. A long-time resident of Geauga County born in 1889 and active in the Geauga County Historical Society, however, said he remembered hearing of The Wales Hotel, an inn across the lake that burned in 1885. Many children were said to be victims of the fire. Today, the Punderson State Park campground is situated on the site of the old hotel.
When asked if anyone he knew from the area looked like Teddy Roosevelt, he said, “Well, yes, I guess you could say Cleveland looked a little like Teddy Roosevelt. At least he had a mustache like Roosevelt’s.”
Before the investigator left, the elderly historian invited him to view the Historical Society’s museum. “We have a lot of things in there of historical value,” he explained to the investigator. “Our prize possession is Sybal Hickox’s rocking chair. After she married Lemuel Punderson, they brought it all the way here by wagon from Connecticut.” That same rocking chair was eventually inherited by W.B. Cleveland. Some say Cleveland is still rumbling through Punderson Manor looking for that rocking chair. It has never been returned.
Today Punderson State Park appeals to hardy souls who don’t let a good ghost story get in the way of a good time. Managed by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the year-round resort offers 31 rooms and 26 fully furnished two-bedroom housekeeping cabins. Punderson is truly a year-round destination with a wide range of recreational amenities including an 18-hole championship golf course that is recognized as one of the finest public courses in northeast Ohio. Other activities include swimming, tennis, basketball, boating, fishing, hiking and jogging. The resort also recently installed a disc golf course. The resort is particularly appealing during the winter with a hill specifically designed for sledding and tobogganing as well as trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The resort offers a variety of special packages throughout the year including a Mystery Weekend Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2009. The package includes two nights of accommodations, a wine and cheese reception, a murder mystery performed by a local theater company, lunch and dinner buffets on Saturday and Sunday Brunch. Visitors should use the promotional code MYSTERY when booking the package.
To make reservations at Punderson Manor Resort & Conference Center, call 1-800-AT-A-PARK (1-800-282-7275) or visit www.pundersonmanorresort.com.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts® (consisting of several affiliated Xanterra entities) operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions at national parks and state parks and resorts. Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the country's largest park concessioner. Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates concessions in the following locations: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Silverado Resort in Napa, California, and eight Ohio State Parks. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been committed to the preservation and protection of the environment for many years. Through its environmental program, “Ecologix,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been recognized repeatedly for environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry Association of America, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
For more information about Xanterra Parks & Resorts, links to individual properties and reservations numbers, visit www.xanterra.com.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts
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