15 Oct. 1968
Well Cousin, you never cease to amaze me! Here I am thinking that you might be settling down in your seventieth year, but you write to me saying that you are planning another expedition!
Junta Irma says that you should act your age and move to Florida. Of course you have never listened to what anyone has advised for you in the past, and I don’t expect to see you change your ways now.
I ask you to please take care of yourself – you are not a spring chicken anymore! As much as I love hearing of your adventures, I want to make sure you stay healthy and happy. Good Luck with your new case!
Your Loving Cousin,
Elsie Von Groddeck
22th October 1968
Well, after a week of preparation, I feel that I am ready to head to Akron. I am very excited about investigating the Old Guggenheim building. I’ve also heard some interesting things about the school house next door.
I have made reservations to stay at a bed and breakfast called the Sweetbriar Inn. The Inn is within a bike’s ride of the Guggenheim Building, which is fortunate since I find driving tedious these days. Tomorrow I will hire a car to take me to the Inn.
23 October 1968
Got settled in at the Sweetbriar Inn. The clerk seemed a little confused as to why an old man was checking into a couple’s suite by himself. Because this is the off season, there appears to only be only one other guest.
Tomorrow I will go look at the site, then try to find out who owns the property.
24 October 1968
Today has been a tiring day, but well worth it!
I started out this morning for the Guggenheim Building on a bicycle borrowed from the inn. My ride was nice, even if the crisp autumn air was a tad chilly. I arrived at the Guggenheim building a little after 9:00 A.M.. The building is located at 1300 Triplett Boulevard, in Akron Ohio. I consulted my notebook:
"Dedicated on June 26, 1932 and operated by The University of Akron the Institute operated a $30,000 wind tunnel. The building was once used by the Akron board of Education, as a vocational school."
I parked my bike and walked around the grounds. The Guggenheim building is on a plot of land not far from the small Akron airport. Set some ways back from the building is the Goodyear Airship dock. The lot next to the Guggenheim building has a three-story schoolhouse, now unused.
The Guggenheim building is no longer used as an institute, and some of the lower windows are boarded up. I took a couple of pictures with my camera.
I looked around; the grounds and nearby fields were strangely silent; the trees and brush empty of birds. I felt a strong sense of isolation, and of emptiness.
My interest in the Guggenheim building arose from a conversation I had with a pilot I met last month in a tavern on Ontario Street. I had jotted the gist of our chat down on a cocktail napkin, which I later copied in my notebook:
"Met an American pilot named George - he says that the "old Airship Institute" by the Akron Airport is Haunted. People have heard strange sounds, seen lights. Local pilots avoid the site, George says it’s "Unlucky," and that "a while back" a plane had crashed in the nearby field."
I walked behind the building and looked at the field. The autumn frosts had killed most of the grass, and the turf was dry and brown.
As I came back around the building, I heard the pained sound of a rusty door being forced open. I turned around and saw an old, hunched man in dirty coveralls emerging from a side exit. He stood for a moment, blinking in the sunlight, then motioned to me.
I talked to the man, (his name was Ollie) and apparently he is some kind of caretaker for the property. He eyed me warily as I explained to him my interest in paranormal research, and that I had traveled Akron in hopes of touring the building. Ollie suggested that I come back tomorrow morning - he would ask the owner for permission to allow me to inspect the building. I thanked Ollie for his time, after which he pulled shut the rusty door.
Upon leaving, I decided to go back to the Inn for lunch, then head to the public library to see what I could learn about the history of the area, particularly if there had ever been a plane crash.
After lunch, I called a cab to take me to the Akron Public Library. The librarian at the research desk was very helpful to me, showing me how to use their new microfilm machines. Within the short amount of time I had, I managed to dig up quite a bit of interesting information which I jotted down in my notebook:
From an article in The Akron Beacon Journal:
Oct. 4, 1942
‘SEVEN KILLED IN BOMBER CRASH YESTERDAY
Horrified relatives of the bomber crew members watched as the plane crashed in a field west of the airport, not far from the Guggenheim Airship Institute,’"
I also found a book on the Goodyear Corporation’s involvement in aviation titled A Goodyear in the Air. I took notes on a chapter about the construction of the Goodyear Zeppelin Dock, near the Guggenheim building:
"Goodyear Zeppelin Dock, built in 1929 by the Goodyear Zeppelin Corp.
Built to House construction of two huge airships - the USS Akron and the USS Macon. "
I will have to return later this week to see what else I can find.
25, October 1968
After a hurried breakfast, I loaded my bicycle and rode to the Guggenheim building. The sky was grey and oppressive, and I could feel a snow coming.
I went to the side exit of the building and knocked. No answer. I knocked again; this time pounding the door with the meat of my fist. As I was just about to give up, Ollie answered the door.
I politely asked him if his employer had given permission for me to tour the building. I was surprised when Ollie nodded. The only stipulation was that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.
Ollie turned on a flashlight, explaining that he kept the electricity shut off. As Ollie led me down a dark hallway, I questioned him on the building.
"Ollie says the building was used as a school after they closed the Institute."
A I followed Ollie through the first floor, and I could see the remnants of classrooms, the few remaining desks covered in dusty sheets.
In order to reach the upper floors, Ollie led me to a stairwell. It was pitch black in the stairwell, and I pulled out my own flashlight. The steps were treacherous and narrow, and I almost slipped as I followed my guide upward.
The second and third floors were much like the first - empty classrooms and offices disused and abandoned. The fourth floor, however, was more interesting.
The forth floor once was laboratory, now used for storage. The windows were covered with brown paper, and I had to use my flashlight to see the surroundings. Boxes of papers, broken furniture and outdated lab equipment lay haphazardly throughout the lab.
Ollie pointed out strange, iron fixtures bolted to the wall:
"According to Ollie, the fixtures were once used to hold steel mesh cages. The cages contained Chimpanzees, monkeys, dogs, and other animals used in testing by the institute scientists. When Ollie was working in the basement after hours he could hear their ‘Gad-awful howls and Screams, like they was bein’ eaten alive.’"
I asked Ollie if there had ever been any deaths or accidents in the building:
"Ollie remembers hearing that a worker had died during the construction of the wind tunnel, but he doesn’t recall a name. When the building still had clases, there was rumor among the students that a Chimp had killed a scientist, and another rumor that a professor had hung himself in the wind tunnel shaft."
Because I wasn’t allowed to take photographs, I asked to sketch the layout in the lab. Ollie had work to do, so he left me in the Lab, but not before extracting a promise not to touch anything. I told him I would come find him when I was finished.
After Ollie left, I sat on an old crate and sketched by flashlight. I tried to imagine this room as a working lab, the wall of cages filled with screaming animals. I decided I wanted a closer look at the fixtures and walked to the wall.
I don’t know how to relate the rest of my experience, for it was very strange and frightening.
As I peered at the rusting fixtures, I felt a chill on the back of my neck, as if someone had opened a window, letting in the winter wind. Then my flashlight went out.
I shook the flashlight, and pressed the button. Nothing. I began to feel panicked.
Suddenly I was very cold - and terrified. Reaching my hands out before me in the darkness, I felt my way back to where I had put down my satchel. Slowly, by touch and feel, I made my way to the stairwell and opened the door.
Then I was pushed.
I t was if a hand made of ice suddenly shoved me in the back.
I plunged into the black stairwell. I think I managed to grab the handrail - I fell hard on my rump, slid, then hit the back of my head on a stair. I blacked out.
I awoke later on my bed at the Sweetbriar Inn, a deep pounding in my head. Slowly, I stood up. A pain shot through my hips and back that was so terrible, I thought I had broken something. I could barely stand, and my head pounded.
I then realized that the pounding sound was someone at the door. I answered, and It was the young clerk with my notebook. By his expression I could tell He thought I was drunk!
From what I gathered from the Clerk, I had staggered through the lobby, tracking mud and dropping papers. The look on his face was full of pity for a sad, drunk old man and I couldn’t stand it. I thanked him for returning my things and then hurried him out the door.
Somewhere I have lost my satchel that contained my camera and some of my other equipment. I am very alarmed - for I have no memory of how I got back to the Inn.
I’m exhausted, but I wanted to write these things down while they are still fresh in my mind.
26 October 1968
Today I spent the day in bed recovering from my fall
My back and head ache, and I cannot recall the last time I felt so exhausted.
I only want to sleep.
27 October 1968
I know I had a nightmare last night, but all I can remember is cold, and snow. Somehow during the night I managed to pull all the sheets from the bed - I found them wadded up in a corner of the room. I think I woke up a couple of times screaming.
I read back over my Journal entries for the last two days. I am still quite disturbed about what I experienced at the old Guggenheim Building. What disturbs me more is that I cannot remember how I got from the stairwell to the Inn.
Here’s another terrifying thought - perhaps I am really showing signs of age? Could what I experienced have been brought on by some sort of age induced feeblemindedness? Perhaps it’s an indication of Dementia or other age-related illness.
Somehow, I don’t think that is the answer. My mind feels as sharp and alert as ever. What I think is more likely is that there is something at the Guggenheim Building. Today I will rest, do a little light research at the library, then tomorrow I will go back to the site.
Today what I found at the library chilled my blood:
"Talked to librarian named Lindsay about the Guggenheim Building. Linsay said that she had heard that the whole area was cursed, and that the bomber crash in ‘42 was caused by this curse."
I decided to focus my day’s research on plane crashes and other accidents in the area. I found many strange and frightening coincidences:
"IN 1912 the largest airship in the US was built in Akron, OH and dubbed the "Akron". On July 12 1912, the airship exploded mid-flight, killing all aboard.
On Sept 3, 1925, the airship USS Shenandoah encountered a storm and broke up in mid flight over Ohio. It’s flight path may have carried it over Akron. At least 15 people were killed.
The Goodyear Zeppelin Airdock, near the Institute building, was built to house the construction of the two Airships USS Akron (the second airship named for Akron) and USS Macon.
The USS Akron Crashed on April 4 1933. 73 men were killed in the crash.
The Uss Macon Crashed on February 12 1935, killing 2 and injuring many.
Much of the research and development for the USS Akron and USS Macon was conducted at the Guggenheim Air Institute."
Along with the bomber crash in ‘42, it seems that there were a number of terrible accidents that all had a connection to the Institute and the surrounding area.
I began to wonder - could there truly be a curse? Was the institute building haunted? If so, by who, and by what? There was no denying that I had felt a malicious presence in the lab.
28 October, 1968
I’m so furious I could spit.
I took a cab to the Institute building today and pounded on the side door for what felt like an hour. Finally Ollie answered the door.
I asked him if I could come back in to investigate the building. He fixed me with a cold, hard stare, and said that I was no longer welcome. I asked him why, but he refused to answer.
Trying to contain my frustration, I asked if he had the satchel I had left behind on my visit. Ollie claims I didn’t leave a thing in the building. I wanted to question him more about that day, but he shut the door in my face!
I have come to a decision - I am breaking in. Tonight. There are many questions that need answers.
It may sound foolish, but I haven’t felt this alive since I was a young man.
I already went into town and bought all the supplies I need.
I intend to get to the bottom of this strange and frightening mystery!
Epilogue: After this last entry there are a number of pages that appear to have been ripped out. Where those pages are and what they contain may always remain a mystery.
There are so many unexplained events that have occurred through the years in these buildings, that we find the facts contained in this journal most disturbing. We are fully committed to solving this mystery. We will consider any serious theories, clues or reports on actual events that may have taken place. Truth may prove to be stronger than fiction.