Penning (or technically keyboarding) an article this week concerning Franklin Castle (alternately the Tiedemann House after its original owner, Hannes Tiedemann) in Cleveland, Ohio, called “the most haunted house in Ohio” and referred to by famed paranormal investigator and author Hans Holzer as a “frightful place filled with souls”, it kept bugging me that the name was familiar. Probably because I had read about it before in my own studies of the paranormal, I figured. But then it hit me: Frank Castle. The Punisher. Could there be any connection between Franklin Castle and the infamous vigilante antihero of Marvel Comics? I decided to look into it.
The Punisher first appeared in issue number 149 of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and was the creation of writer Gerry Conway, who devised the origin and look of the character along with artist John Romita, Sr., and Stan Lee, who came up with the name. Originally a Vietnam veteran (The Punisher’s origin story was later retconned to make him more contemporary; nowadays he was a soldier in Afghanistan), Frank Castle’s family was killed in a shootout by mobsters, inciting him to become the merciless crimefighter. If Conway was influenced by the Franklin Castle I can find no record of it. Furthermore, the Punisher’s real name is Francis (not Franklin) Castiglione. It appears that the similarity to the haunted edifice is purely a happy accident.