Black Cat Haunts Mansion

Or, Ghostly Kitty On The Prowl

Black Cat’s Ghost Said to Prowl Haunted Mansion

Written by Mary Beth Breckenridge in Jan. 2015

black cat

AKRON, Ohio — The people who run Perkins Stone Mansion are used to things that go bump in the night.

But things that dart into people’s paths and brush against their legs are another matter.

For about a year and a half, staff members and volunteers at the Summit County Historical Society have reported encountering what they believe is the ghost of a dark-colored cat in the reputedly haunted mansion just west of downtown.

Sometimes they see a cat’s form. Sometimes they hear a meow or a distinctive sneeze. One felt something brush against his leg during, of all things, a paranormal tour.

They think they know who the mysterious resident is: the spirit of Simon Purrkins, a black cat who once prowled the mansion’s grounds as the historical society’s unofficial chief executive.

The sightings started around June 2013, some eight months after Simon died. “I just thought that was coincidental,” said Leianne Neff Heppner, the society’s executive director and one of the many humans Simon once held in thrall.

That Simon would return makes perfect sense to her. He lived a big part of his life in the historical society’s offices and on its grounds, from the time employees rescued him as a skittish kitten in 1998 until he moved East with his human family in 2009.

“He was such a fixture on the property,” she said.

Besides, the mansion is reputed to harbor visitors from the spiritual realm. Simon was a social cat who might have wanted company in the afterlife.

Heppner has not crossed paths with Simon’s spirit, but she’s heard about enough experiences to give her pause.

Volunteer coordinator Melinda Sedelmeyer’s first encounter came this fall, as she was turning off the lights after a tour of the mansion — a home built for Col. Simon Perkins and a place his feline namesake once roamed. Sedelmeyer looked down and saw a cat, but in that first instant it didn’t hit her as anything unusual because she’s a cat owner. “And then I realized I’m at work,” she said.

She turned to look again, and the cat was gone.

A couple of weeks later she was going through the same lights-out routine when she heard meowing. She figured it was a volunteer teasing her, so she yelled to him to be quiet.

He swore he hadn’t made a sound.

Sedelmeyer said she later almost fell trying to avoid the apparition when it shot past her in a doorway. And she said a motion-sensing alarm sometimes detects unexplained movement in a back bedroom that can’t be entered without going through another room. Well, at least that’s the way mortals have to get in.

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