The Matheny House
Tucked away in the vibrant and historic Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, on Robinwood Avenue, sits the 119 year-old, five-bedroom house once owned by Tom and Amy Matheny.
The couple purchased the home in 1996 and immediately began planning to restore it to its former glory. In their eyes, the house was a neglected gem filled with promise. It was more than just a building, it was an architectural treasure. And, they wanted to make it shine again.
As any ghosthunter will tell you, renovating an old building will sometimes do more than attract the attention of the neighbors. It might also catch the interest of the building’s former, long-gone occupants. And, this is exactly what happened to the Mathenys.
It wasn’t too long before Tom and Amy began to feel as if they were no longer the only ones in the house.
From top to bottom, the house seemed to be infested with activity. Bathroom faucets turned on all by themselves. Unseen presences were often felt in any one of the house’s five bedrooms. The chaotic sounds of crashing and banging noises were heard, but no evidence of anything being broken was ever found. And, the couple’s dog, Sadie, absolutely refused to go in the basement where a dark, shadowy figure was often seen by the couple.
One quiet night in November, Amy recalls being in the attic, exercising on a stationary bike, when she noticed what appeared to be the face of an old man looking at her from the attic window. She initially chalked it up to an over-active imagination, but that didn’t stop the “face,” or whatever it was, from frequently intruding into her workout sessions. No matter how many times she repositioned the stationary bike in the attic or changed the lighting, the “face” continued to show itself in the attic window, always watching her.
Her husband, Tom, also had his share of run-ins with the house’s otherworldly inhabitants.
One afternoon in May of 1997, Tom was doing some renovation work in the second floor hallway. As he worked, he was overcome with the unshakeable sensation that he was not alone. More specifically, it was the feeling that someone was coming up on him from behind. He turned slowly and saw a lady coming up the stairs towards him. He described her as moving in slow-motion, like in a Hollywood movie, and her feet never touched a step. She was floating!
He went on to describe this phantom female as being a woman in her 20s with a bun in her hair, rounded features, and what appeared to be a calm demeanor. She wore an old-fashioned, peach-colored dress and, even though she was moving in his general direction, she made no notice of him. When the woman reached the top of the stairs, she just faded away.
Another time, Tom was in the basement laundry preparing to carry a load of clean clothes back upstairs when he was stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of a shadowy man blocking the basement doorway. The apparition quickly faded from view, but left a lasting impression on Tom. It was about time the couple got to the bottom of what was going on in their own home.
As they researched the house’s history, they found that, despite its 100+ year age, it only had a handful of owners.
The original owner of the house was Judge Charles Pratt. He had the house built in order to accommodate his large family in 1897. When Amy saw a picture of Judge Pratt, she immediately recognized him as the face she had been seeing in the attic window.
Pratt died in 1899, which led to the house being sold shortly after the turn of the century to Thomas and Theresa Conlon.
In the 1920s, Henry McKisson moved his family into the home and they ended up spending some 40 years living there, raising their three sons.
According to Blade reporter, Rebekah Scott, “Later years saw a couple who lived in the house for a few years, then rented it to a communal group of musicians. Another family of artists and social activists lived there 18 years.”
Further, the Blade article vaguely suggests that some kind of odd occurrence took place sometime not longer after the house was built.
From the article,
“…long ago something shocking happened on the street outside 2273 Robinwood Ave., in Toledo’s Old West End. Something sent the master and mistress and a young maid running for the front windows to look out over a street full of horses, buggies, and pedestrians. Something made the high-strung young lady run crying from one second-floor bedroom to another, sick with guilt and anxiety.”
As interesting as all this was, Tom and Amy still felt as if they were lacking any definitive answers about the activity in their home. So, the couple offered local paranormal investigators, the Avalon Foundation, the opportunity to investigate and see what they could find out.
The Avalon Foundation is a paranormal investigation team that was founded in 1996 by research scientist Nick Reiter, of Gibsonburg, and psychic medium Lori Schillig, from Alliance, Ohio.
Avalon arrived at the Matheny house on an October night in 2000 to conduct their investigation. Almost immediately, Schillig’s psychic abilities began picking up on the various energies swirling within the house.
Schillig identified an “Energetic Repeating Pattern” moving from place to place throughout the house, but seems to be centered in two of the second-floor bedrooms. She also identified three other, but less intense, patterns in other areas of the house. When Lori and Nick entered a back bedroom, whatever energy was in the room instantly brought Lori to tears and registered an EM spike of 120 on Nick’s research equipment.
Throughout the investigation, Schillig claimed to sense many presences in the home. The strongest of which she says belonged to a frightened and anxious “maid.” She says there is also the presence of an older woman looking out the living room window. Perhaps the mysterious incident alluded to by Blade reporter, Rebekah Scott, above was related to her by Ms. Schillig whose abilities allowed her to “see” those events transpire.
Lori also said the dining room and attic space is primarily dominated by a presence she described as “older,” “big,” “influential,” and “strict.” She then identified him as a lawyer. It could be she was talking about Judge Pratt, himself.
There was also the presence of a child in the basement, a presence Schillig described as being “almost undetectable.”
Despite Lori’s successes at making contact, investigator Nick Reiter didn’t have quite the same luck. Apart from the EM spikes he observed in the back bedroom, his equipment stayed pretty much silent all night. Nick admits even though there were some odd images captured on film, there really wasn’t enough proof for Avalon to classify the building as being haunted.
Despite Avalon’s conclusions about the matter, Tom and Amy Matheny were convinced they were sharing their home with the phantoms of previous occupants.
The current owner of the house is unknown as the property has changed hands a few times since all this happened.
NOTE ABOUT THE NAME OF THIS LOCATION: A lot of people enjoy the eccentricity of naming their houses and estates, especially in neighborhoods like Toledo’s Old West End. The title, “Matheny House,” is a title I gave it. This is not the official title of the residence, if it even has one. I dubbed it this simply because it was the name of the people who owned it when the Toledo Blade article was published.
The Matheny House is a private residence in Toledo, Ohio and is located at 2273 Robinwood Avenue.
The Avalon Foundation
“This (Old) Haunted House,” by Rebekah Scott, The Toledo Blade, 29 October 2000, pgs E1 and E3