From the Creepy Cleveland Archives
NOTE: This story also appeared in the book: “Cleveland Ghosts” by Charles Cassady.
All I can tell you what I’ve heard – rumor – and what I know happened because I was there.
I grew up on Cleveland’s west side. My friends and I were avid fisherman and used to ride our bikes down to Metropolitan Park. This was a ride of a few miles and involved pedaling back up the Lorain Road valley hill. That’s why I was delighted to hear of a small pond I’d never known about much closer to my house.
The pond was supposed to be located southeast of the intersection of Memphis Avenue and Bellaire Road. We left our bikes south of Memphis in a wooded area about a hundred yards south of a railroad bridge. Then we hiked through some woods, climbing in and out of two (I believe) deep gorges.
The area is much more built up today but there are still some woods and a deep ravine in this area. Interstate 71 goes through just north of here. There is a small shopping center across the busy street directly opposite the spot where we left our bikes and entered the woods.
Our guide was an acquaintance who’d fished the pond before. Sure enough there was a small pond back there. Completely surrounded by woods. However it was full of tiny bluegill – stunted by over-population – who would greedily eat your bait but were far too small to ever hook.
Near dusk we started back, got all turned around in the unfamiliar woods, and ended up coming up a steep valley near a small amusement park, further south of the spot where we’d originally entered the woods. It was now dusk and quite shadowy and dim under the trees. We’d gotten spread out and one of my buddies was ahead of me by about 50 feet.
Suddenly I noticed a young nurse walking toward me through the forest. I mean literally a “nurse.” Her white uniform really stood out in the murky half-light in the woods. She passed my buddy who took no notice at all of her. Then she passed me – as noiselessly as if she were walking on a thick carpet. She looked at me and smiled. I distinctly recall her darkish hair and white teeth. Her smile was so friendly – and she was so pretty – I couldn’t help but smile back like a grinning idiot even though I wanted to say “hi.” Not a word passed between us.
I remember thinking how odd it was she would be going through such a steep, rugged area wearing a nice, white uniform. After a moment or two I turned around to see which way she was going. There was absolutely no sign of her. I stopped, looked around, listened, but it was like she’d just disappeared. Now at the time the last thought on my mind was anything spooky. I was far more intrigued by the young nurse’s good looks than anything ghostly about her.
Back on the road I remarked to my buddies that maybe someone was hurt in the woods. They didn’t know what I was talking about. I mentioned the nurse but none of them had seen her! Not even my buddy who she passed right by as I watched.
At this point we were passing an old house on Memphis, now the site of a factory or trucking company. There were some buckeye trees growing near the street and we stopped to pick some buckeyes as we talked. An older guy, he looked eighty to me then but might have been younger, was going up to the house with a grocery bag. He heard me being teased about the invisible nurse. He stopped and said, “So you’ve seen our nurse. We see her back there at sunset quite a lot. She was killed in those woods you know.” This stunned us into silence.
Years later I heard a nurse had indeed been strangled in those woods. This was told to me by a newspaper reporter. This incident has stuck with me all these years and I still wonder about it sometimes.