Price Hill is filled with wonderful old historic homes, and probably just as many ghosts. This is the story of one of those. As you’ll see, strange occurrences went on in this attractive, 100-year-old, two-family house, located on a busy street corner in Price Hill.
In the mid 1940s Evelyn and Howard Witte moved into the first floor of this house. From the beginning there were unexplainable happenings. Small items disappeared, never to be seen again, with unfamiliar items taking their place.
After a few months in the apartment, Jasper made his presence known. What a shock it was when they saw a tall, thin, vaporous man in a long black coat. He appeared suddenly and then, just as suddenly, disappeared. This became almost routine for Evelyn since generally he appeared to her. He had fun with her, playing harmless, but inconvenient, pranks.
After a few years, Howard became ill. He had a fondness for beer, and would comment that he wanted to die with a bottle of beer in his hand. Evelyn returned home one evening and found Howard dead, sitting at the kitchen table, head bent down with a beer in his hand. As she ran towards him, she glimpsed a sad looking Jasper in the background.
Shirley, Evelyn’s niece, came to stay with her for awhile. She, too, saw Jasper. While she was there, her aunt’s false teeth disappeared, never to be found. Evelyn’s eye glasses also disappeared with another pair showing up in their place.
Shirley started sleeping with her jewelry under her pillow, afraid it would disappear if Jasper could get to it.
One day she was drawn to the kitchen by the sound and smell of coffee perking. As she reached for the electric percolator she was astounded to see that it wasn’t plugged in.
Evelyn hosted a family gathering at the house. During dinner the crystal chandelier began swaying and shaking. Loud crashing and banging like an army marching came from overhead. After running up the stairs Evelyn’s guests became distraught to find only an empty apartment with no one in it. One niece got so upset she ran from the house, refusing to ever return.
Eventually a young woman rented the second floor. After a few months she approached Evelyn asking if strange things happened in the house. Evelyn admitted sometimes they did. The agitated woman told her she had cleaned her bathroom that morning then went out for the day. When she returned in the evening the tub was full of mud. She didn’t stay long and the second floor apartment was vacant once again.
Evelyn lived in the house 50 years, co-existing with Jasper. Shirley Otis, Evelyn’s niece, is the source of this story. She no longer lives in Cincinnati but has vivid memories of Jasper and his pranks. The address of the house must remain anonymous to protect the present occupants and because, for all we know, Jasper may still reside there.
Diane Clark grew up in Price Hill and lives there now. Her company, Fairy Dust Ltd Inc., is on Warsaw Avenue in Price Hill. She is a longtime member of the Price Hill Historical Society.