Mysteries Unveiled at Museum After Midnight

Gather round while we tell some spine-chilling Cleveland Museum of Art ghost stories sure to get you in the spooky spirit. These stories are collected by Carolyn Ivanye, protection services operation manager, who keeps a record of mysterious events that occur in the museum. Come in closer, grab hold of a loved one and don’t look behind you!


  • In one of the museum’s galleries, night watchmen for many decades reported that flashlights would go dark as they entered the space and then would turn back on again once they left the room. During the recent renovation of this gallery, contract workmen would report that their hardhat lights would go out when they walked in the room and turned back on as they exited. The workmen had no knowledge of the night watchmens’ reports.
  • It has been reported that the person in this painting, Portrait of Jean-Gabriel du Theil at the Signing of the Treaty of Vienna by Jacques Andre Joseph Aved, has been seen in the gallery standing in front of the work gazing at his likeness. The corner of the gallery where the painting used to be hung always had problems, such as water leaks and electrical shorts that stopped happening when the artwork was put into storage.
  • Some museum employees have reported seeing one of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s former directors, William Mathewson Milliken, walking through one of the 1916 Building galleries. The shadowy figure was wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches and carried a folder underneath his arm. Museum employees realized it was Milliken by looking through old photographs in the museum archives.

If you enjoyed these eerie tales, come visit the museum this Halloween weekend to look at some spirit-inspired artwork. Here is a favorite you will see currently in our galleries:

The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse) c. 1896-1908. Albert Pinkham Ryder (American, 1847-1917). Oil on canvas. 84.50 X 102.00 cm. Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund. 1928.8


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