...More Than Meets the Eye?...
Once known as the Cadillac Tank Plant, The International Exposition Center in Brookpark, Ohio now plays host to hundreds of organizations, trade shows, sales and entertainment year-round! But is there a shadow lurking beneath the surface?
Last year (1999), while working the Ghoulardifest at Berea Fairgrounds, part of our duty was to tear down the some of the stage and sound equipment. Being the last ones out of the building that night, we struck up a conversation with an off-duty police officer that was acting as security guard for the show during the weekend. He related a story to us that I had never heard before...
It seems he was working security for an event at the IX Center late one evening. Unbeknownst to us, the IX Center still has many underground tunnels and hallways (hailing back to the days when it served as a tank plant during the war - the tunnels connected the IX Center to Cleveland Hopkins Airport and nearby NASA Lewis Research Center) How many of these tunnels and halls still exist is anyone's guess. Rumor has it that they were demolished and severed years ago.
Anyway, getting back to the story, another employee told this officer that he was down in one of these tunnels (a long one - maybe half a mile long) We never found out what he was there for, but apparently because of the length of these tunnels the employees were provided golf carts to get back and forth with. The light switches that powered the long fluorescent lighting were located at either end of the tunnels. After switching the lights on for this particular tunnel, this fellow proceeded down the tunnel on his golf cart. About half way down the tunnel the lights went out on him! The guy could just barely see the other end of the tunnel where it intersected with another tunnel (and where the other light switch was located) and saw a figure standing there. No one was supposed to be in the tunnel this particular evening and pranks like this from fellow co-workers were not tolerated because of the safety hazard it presented. After deliberating for a bit over whether to proceed to the other end of the tunnel and confront this individual (who just may have been an intruder) or go back and turn the lights back on, he decided to go back. After turning the lights on again and again trekking down the tunnel he arrived at the intersection were he saw the figure. He was alone. He did whatever it was he went there to do and upon returning to the showroom floor (1st floor) he questioned the other employees and affirmed that no, no one was supposed to be down there with him. No one was authorized to be down there except him and no one else had returned before he did.
He never did get a good look at the person who he still believes turned the lights out on him, and he never accepted an assignment to go below the 1st floor again alone.
I realize that this is one of those "I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend..." stories, but I have to admit that with the aura of mystery surrounding the IX Center's past that there might just be some truth to it.
Webmaster Note: I don't have enough on the IX Center to give it it's own page yet - but I did get this little tidbit from Miss S recently...
About the IX Center... My dad has been working there a few weeks out of each year for the Sport Show and Home and Flower Show since 1987. He has been down in the tunnels twice. He said there is no lighting except maybe some emergency lights. He *did* say it is gross down there with RATS. He called them "catacombs" rather than tunnels. He thinks the reason they are there is that when it was a tank testing place, there were concrete ponds and lakes where the parking lot is now. The ponds and lakes were to test what the tanks could do underwater. The tunnels or catacombs were so the workers could see what the tanks were doing underwater. They led out to a "window" by the ponds and lakes. They are filled in now and are either where the parking lot is or part of the airport. He said over all the time he has been there he has heard no ghost stories. He wished that he had and will check around next time he is there.
Webmaster Note: Yet another contribution on the IX Center rumors... Thanks to Dingus Maximus
Concerning the tunnels at the IX Center, they only criss cross the building. Two going the length of north/south and three going the width of east/west. There are no tunnels to the airport or NASA as the current construction at the airport would revel since the construction and excavation sites would have cut through the tunnels. In addition I have seen the original blueprints and there is no indication of tunnels.
I used to work in the office for two years and still know people that have been there since the IX Center opened. One of them being an architect who says the rumors of tunnels are absurd.
As far as driving the tunnels with golf carts that is correct. I had my own and we used to race in the tunnels.
True the basement is spooky in areas but my office was in the basement and I never saw a rat. As far as ghosts. That I can not confirm nor deny. I had some odd experience and often thought I saw people hanging out in the tunnels. Usually they are the temp workers looking for a place to smoke a cigarette. I did work some late nights and being one of the only persons in the place at midnight is spooky.