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Cleveland Museum of Art ghosts: They let us know they are here

Ghostly image causing a stir! Is it Monet? (Source: Today Show) Ghostly image causing a stir! Is it Monet? (Source: Today Show)

It was a normal day at the Cleveland Museum of Art in October of 2015.

An employee captured a picture during the preparations for the “Monet to Matisse” exhibition and low and behold at the top of the staircase a ghostly figure of impressionist Claude Monet. That sighting couldn’t be explained.

Five months later, I was visiting the museums Indian and Southeast Asian Gallery when I had my own scary encounter.

Paranormal Activity or Optical Illusion?

"The first Friday of the month is when Cleveland Museum of Art has a fun night out at the museum, also known as Art Mix. My old college roommate was in town and I wanted her to go and experience the gathering of arts and the minds.

Like many women with cell phones, I obnoxiously bugged my former roommate to capture pictures of me throughout the museum. Fluent in Chinese, Fallon Forney, who I affectionately call "Fal" took a picture of the Colossal Head of the Deva. 

That first picture I wasn’t in, and you can see the reflection of the Deva which appears normal.

Once I walked into the picture, The Colossal Head of the Deva seemed to stare into my soul.

“Fal” took a picture and I said aloud, "It’s like staring at me." She captured that image, too.

After that, another image was captured. With the final photo, I was getting ready to upload on social media and noticed two figures in the reflection.”

There is only one Colossal Head of the Deva in that room. Cleveland Museum of Art’s curator for that exhibition tried to duplicate the image to see if reflections played a role in what was captured and had no luck.

These two separate encounters were enough to prompt me to investigate if the museum is haunted. Armed with two cameras on Oct. 19, we went to investigate.

I sat down with Leslie Cade, Interim Director of Ingalls Library and Museum Archives at Cleveland Museum of Art to get her take on what’s happening inside CMA.

 I asked Cade if she believes the museum is haunted, without hesitation she said yes.

“The museum has had so many people come and go that they are still here telling their stories and every now and then they let us know they are here,” said Leslie Cade, Interim Director of Ingalls Library and Museum Archives at Cleveland Museum of Art.

Cade showed us pictures from 100 years ago, originals from 1916. The art from back then lives in the west wing of the building. That area has seen the most ghostly sightings day and night.

“People have seen a little boy running through the gallery dressed in the same outfit as a little boy in that gallery,” said Cade.

“People have seen the man in grey staring at his own portrait in that gallery and disappearing into it,” said Cade.

The “man in gray” is a reference to the portrait of Jean Gabriel. People reported seeing Gabriel at his portrait then suddenly he was gone.

In the same gallery, visitors reported looking into the large mirror, Pier Mirror (Trumeau) on display, and seeing people in the mirror behind them but upon turning, no one was in the gallery.  

Hair raising stories right, well crazy enough as they seem there are plenty more. Night guards report their flashlights flickering on and off in the west wing and there’s a mirror where visitors report seeing a man standing there and they turn around and no one is there.

Our cameras were in the west wing for three hours and noticed one alarm that tripped out of nowhere. When we reviewed the footage hours later, we heard two beeps from two separate areas inside the museum that couldn’t be explained.

In October, the museum said their surveillance cameras caught an orb/ghost floating throughout the galleries, but they declined to share the video with us.

To see the digital archives with images from galleries and art dating back to 1916, you can visit the museum’s site here: digitalarchives.clevelandart.org/

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