From family photos to important historical events about her hometown of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Jeri Holland has dedicated passion, time, knowledge and colossal effort in the pursuit of compiling and documenting the treasured past. She has joined several historical societies, including the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society and the Summit County Historical Society, to share this past with anyone who wishes to know it.
From this love of history comes a love of paranormal history. Jeri has spent many hours studying firsthand what goes bump in the night, be it in the dark woods or run-down sanitariums and prisons. She believes that without historical context, the stories and legends of the haunted present wouldn’t be nearly as fascinating or spooky. Jeri is the creator and director of the paranormal group Cuyahoga Valley Paranormal. She uses this perspective when speaking about the paranormal world on radio and television and in print, like with WNIR, 19 Action News and Cleveland Scene magazine. For those who share her passion for historical hauntings, she currently provides a variety of classes about the paranormal at the Quirk Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls throughout the year and delivers information through lectures at public libraries. Jeri also shares her experience of investigating eerie places by organizing community events such as haunted scavenger hunts and hikes. Imparting the fact that the world is far more mysterious than what we see and hear every day is Jeri’s goal; the goose bumps aren’t bad either.
Run down the apparitions that float about Rubber City streets and facades like the shadow of a passing blimp. Stroll along forgotten canals amid the restless chatter and clank of spirits cut down before their hard lives became easier. Catch a show at the Civic Theater with a “former” engineer who prophesied that death wouldn’t keep him from work. A more restive spirit is that of John Tedrow, a twentysomething mauled and murdered during a drunken brawl in 1882; he wails for help and resolution. In this ghostly tour through Akron’s haunted and sometimes brutal past, paranormal specialist and historian Jeri Holland digs into the ghost tales and local legends that linger here like this city’s industrial heritage.
Wicked Akron (OH): Tales of Rumrunners, Mobsters and Other Rubber City Rogues
Kymberli Hagelberg is a writer, award-winning journalist and native northeast Ohioan. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Akron Beacon Journal, the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, the (Biloxi) Sun Herald and Billboard and on National Public Radio.
The searchlight finds Akron’s darkest days, when citizens burned city hall to the ground and members of the Ku Klux Klan called the shots from the schoolhouse to the courthouse. Meet a grave robber who became a political leader, a mobster who ordered police murders and a beloved bootlegger turned bail bondsman. Say hello to Frank Hurn, a flashy, frenetic, fast-talking con man who was looking for suckers to invest in the Vulcans, an NFL team he promised to bring to Akron. From city saloon to suburban hideout, this is an alternative history lesson of the sometimes dicey coexistence of the well-heeled and the workers, men and women who lived big lives during Akron’s fledgling days as a canal port, its pre-Depression heyday and zenith as a midwestern industrial success story.