Largely overlooked upon its release in 1983, A Christmas Story has since become a beloved holiday classic. Set in the fictional Indiana town of Hohman during the 1950s, the film is based on stories from the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. This simple tale of a boy who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas was filmed at several locations, including a single-family home in south Cleveland, Ohio.
This 1895 Victorian home is located at 3159 W. 11th St. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood and is open to the public year round for tours. In 2004, Brian Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur purchased the home on Ebay and restored to appear as it did in A Christmas Story. Jones, a fan of the movie, had already created a profitable company selling replica “leg lamps,” also from the film. Directly across the street from the house is the official A Christmas Story House Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos.
In January 2014, a team of paranormal investigators sought to determine whether the famous house was haunted. According to Cleveland.com and Fearnet, paranormal investigators filming a new TV series called American Haunts investigated the house and claimed it would appear on the seventh episode of the series. Co-hosts and lead investigators Dave Rhode and Craig Gozzetti formed their paranormal team, Investigating American Haunts, in 2012.
According to their Facebook page, “For each investigation we partner with a local group and joint investigation of that groups favorite haunted locations. Using technology and proven methods of paranormal investigation, along with personal experiences, research conducted by our research team can lead to a more complete picture of any possible paranormal activity. Thereby provide our viewers with the best possible evidence available. We then take our cooperative investigations and edit them for narrow-cast networks, Internet Broadcasts and Television.”
Despite a follow up investigation in December 2014, the show never materialized. The group’s Twitter feed has not been updated in over a year. It is not clear what, if any, activity has been reported at the house.
According to A Christmas Story House spokesperson Angela Dickerson, “American Haunts came to us and asked permission to film in the home due to the age of the structure (1895) and the popularity of the A Christmas Story House as a Cleveland landmark.” She could not divulge any details because the episode had not aired, but she added, “We had no reason to believe the house was haunted.”
Ghosts or not, A Christmas Story House and Museum is a wonderful tribute to this piece of 1950s nostalgia. No visit to Cleveland is complete without stopping by. Daily tours are available of the house, and you even have the opportunity to buy a “leg lamp” of your very own!