A Camp Cheerful Ghost Story – Celebrating 80 Yearsby Brian Diehl
In the spirit of the Halloween season, we thought we’d share a few spooky stories. These have all happened at Camp Cheerful. We’d love to know what you think…
Several of our camp counselors have reported occasional, strange happenings at the camp. Some have heard tapping on outer walls, when they work late at night. Upon inspection, there is never anyone there. Others occasionally hear a toilet flush in the main hall or catch a glimpse of something moving. But, since it’s only in the corner of the eye, was it ever there? Lights occasionally flicker with no explanation (though, when has a lightbulb ever offered a believable explanation – they’re not always so bright).
You see, in 1944, three years before Camp Cheerful became part of the Achievement Centers for Children, the United States military used the camp for offering soldiers rest and relaxation (“a little R&R,” they called it). On October 4, 1944, the Cleveland Press (a now-defunct newspaper) published some photos of the soldiers.
Some vets who made it home from the war were sent to Crile General Hospital. It was located at York and Pleasant Valley roads where the Tri-C West campus now is. Crile was a military clinic that cared for wounded soldiers and even prisoners of war. The hospital was named after George W. Crile, the founder of the Cleveland Clinic. He was a surgeon during the Spanish-American War and World War I. Crile had eighty-seven buildings, including barrack-style recovery wards, administrative buildings, mess halls and even a chapel. It also had a guarded area for Italian and German prisoners-of-war.
Camp Cheerful was enlisted to help the soldiers heal – mentally and spiritually, in addition to physically. There was a tennis court, mess hall, and a large fireplace in the main hall to gather ‘round at night. Vets could paint, weave, read, or even work on projects around Camp Cheerful’s 52 acres. So… are the noises and strange happenings at Camp Cheerful the creaks and groans of decades gone by, or did some of the soldiers leave a playful part of their spirit behind?
As the Achievement Centers for Children enters its 80th year, we celebrate the events that came before us and look forward to the ones to come. One of the things we’re looking forward to is our 80th Anniversary Celebration, an on-line event running from November 12 – 15, 2020! You can be part of the fun by tuning in on YouTube registering for free at: www.achievementcenters.org/celebrate.
We’re having 4 days of on-line fun, with Barnyard BINGO, cocktail and cooking demonstrations, facility tours and music from Mike Petrone, Mr. Jeff and Quinn L’Esperance (you’ll love them all)!
Please mark your calendar and join the fun! Donations are encouraged, but fun is required!