Our Towns

‘Dead Files’ Investigates Youngstown House

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A Travel Channel investigation of a purportedly haunted house in Youngstown turned up ties to one of the most prominent families in the city and the car bombing of a local mobster.

“The Dead Files,” a paranormal investigative series, features psychic medium Amy Allen and a retired New York City homicide detective, Steve DiSchiavi. The pair separately investigate unexplained phenomena for clients and disclose their findings jointly at the conclusion of each episode.

Allen, DiSchiavi and the show’s production team were in Youngstown last November to investigate a house, owned by a “terminally ill woman,” who said that “aggressive paranormal activity [was] ripping her family apart,” as the Travel Chanel described the episode.

The episode, “Consumed – Youngstown, Ohio,” was broadcast the weekend of Sept. 10. In it, the owner of the house, identified as “Lorie” — no last name given — related phenomena that afflicted her and her husband, “Roy.” This activity included dark thoughts and impulses, nightmares, violent shaking and personality changes.

In addition, the fiancé of Lorie’s daughter died at the house in December 2011 of an untreated heart ailment.

“In the time I have left I need to make this house safe,” said Lorie, who had stage 4 cancer, during the episode. “I don’t want to leave my family this way.”

Stephanie DePietro, manager, communications and travel relations, for the Travel Channel, declined to identify the property or the individuals involved. “We typically do not provide details on the property or clients for privacy purposes,” she said in an email.

Details in the episode indicate that the property is on or near the North Side. According to the episode, the house is 600 feet from the house where mobster Charles “Cadillac Charlie” Cavallaro and his 11-year-old son died in a car bombing in November 1962.

The explosion destroyed the garage at Cavallaro’s house on Roslyn Avenue, between Elm Street and Logan Way.

DiSchiavi discovered that Lori’s home was built on land that was part of 117 acres given Paul Wick, a member of the prominent Wick family, at age 14.

Wick’s life was “filled with tragedy, heartbreak and bankruptcy,” according to a genealogist DiSchiavi engaged, including the 1872 explosion of nine of the 10 boilers in an iron mill he owed, which resulted in three deaths.

From Allen’s description of one of the presences she claimed to have seen during her tour, an artist drew an “angry man” with a burn-scarred face that resembled a photograph of Cavallaro. The man “was murdered apparently” and said he “didn’t deserve it,” she said.

The other presence that stood out on Allen’s walk was what she described as a “big, black, undulating mass” that looked as if it were made of tar and had veins, “a manifestation of all the negativity that’s here,” she said.

“It feasts on negativity and that’s how it gains power and grows,” she said. The entity “wants people to hurt each other” and feeds off that, she said. As it has fed, it’s continually grown bigger.

“I saw one living person being consumed by this thing on an energetic level. … This person could be sick and/or dying,” Allen added, and they agreed that person was probably Lorie.

“I was right,” Lorie sobbed. “This house is going to kill me.”

As it grows, the blob will become entwined with the house and form a consciousness, she warned. It has grown to the point that no living being should be around it, and the only way the house could be made safe would be for “many mediums” and “many holy people” to cleanse it. Allen said she believed it was best if the property were leveled and contended leaving was the “best option” for the couple.

“It needs to be leveled,” Lorie agreed.

According to information displayed on screen at the conclusion of the episode, Lorie died within a few weeks of the revelation, and her husband no longer lives in the house.

In addition to the house, the show also shot footage of another private residence, a bar and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s Main Library, where DiSchiavi conducted some of his research.

DiSchiavi and the production team were at the library Nov. 16, but personnel from the information services department, including Michele Mellor, supervisor of information services, worked with the show in September and October to provide information, said Janet Loew, spokeswoman for the library.

Show personnel also consulted with staff at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, confirmed Bill Lawson, its executive director.

B-roll appearing on the episode included footage of the downtown near the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor and along state Route 46 in Weathersfield Township,

The producers of the show initially contacted the mayor’s office last October, said Michael McGiffin, director of events and special projects.

“They were looking for a quick turnaround regarding arrangements to shoot on the city-owned Republic Rubber property as well as permission for b-roll,” he said.

McGiffin did not know the location of the residence they were “investigating.”

McGiffin views the national attention – whether from “spooky ghost stories,” the two Bar Rescue episodes shot here last year or the mentions in President Obama’s State of the Union addresses – as positives for the city.

“It means to me that we’re not sitting ducks, that we’re working to bring the city back to a level or standard that your residents are proud of,” he said. “We’re actually a hardworking city attracting the attention of somebody in Los Angeles.”

Pictured: The show’s co-host, Steve DiSchiavi, looks over an old map of Youngstown while doing research at the main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.