One of Cincinnati’s most popular ghost stories is the one of Imogene Remus. Legend has it her spirit has haunted the Spring House Gazebo in Eden Park for over 90 years.
So how did Imogene become a ghost? You see, back in 1927 Imogene was gunned down in Eden Park by her husband, the infamous “Bootleg King” George Remus. The details of the crime were recounted by historian Mike Williams in the December 28, 2008 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer he said, “By late 1921, Remus encountered some lawmen who could not be bought. They raided his farm, confiscated his liquor and arrested him. 59 police officers and federal agents eventually plead guilty to taking bribes from Remus and other bootleggers, but none of the money Remus paid could keep him out of prison. The high-ranking officials he had paid off turned their backs on him. ‘When he wanted to call in his chips, they left him high and dry,’ Williams said. He went to prison in 1924 and served about three years. He gave his wife power of attorney to manage his affairs while he was in prison and expected to resume his bootlegging business when he got out Imogene had other ideas. Williams said Remus returned to Cincinnati in 1927 to find his mansion emptied of valuables, and to rumors that his wife was having an affair with a federal agent, the marriage quickly fell apart. On the day of their divorce hearing, Remus ordered his driver to chase down his wife’s cab as she drove to court through Eden Park. The cab got stuck in traffic near the park’s gazebo, and Remus jumped out of his car, pulled Imogene from her cab and thrust a pistol into her belly. “Now I’ve got you!” he said. “Daddy, don’t do it!” shouted his stepdaughter, who also was in the cab. “Don’t do it!” Remus fired a single shot and walked away. He then hitched a ride to a police station, where he instructed officers to ‘lock me up for shooting my wife.’ Imogene died hours later and Remus was charged with murder. More than 40 reporters from around the country crammed into the courtroom for the trial, and Remus gave them the show they came to see. His defense, novel at the time, was that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. His wife, he said, had driven him to kill her.”
“I am now at peace after two years of hell. I’m satisfied I’ve done right,” Remus told reporters at the jail after he turned himself in. George Remus went on to defend himself in court claiming temporary insanity. A jury found him not guilty, I’m thinking there was probably some pretty serious bribery involved!
With the tragic nature of the events and the injustice of Remus’ release, it’s no wonder there are tales of Imogene’s anguished spirit haunting that area where she was so brutally gunned down in cold blood. It is said that a woman in a black dress and black hat seems to be in distress near the Spring House gazebo and Mirror Lake area. She is often described as a shadow like figure that eventually disappears.
Sightings of Imogene are usually at dusk and most common during autumn.
Sarah Brookbank interviewed Haunted Cincinnati Tours owner, Dan Smith, he said “over the past 10 years tour groups have seen plenty of activity at Eden Park. People have gotten a lot of weird photos, she’s definitely out there.” Smith went on to say that during the tours, when participants are asking questions, “lights of their instruments turn on, possibly indicating the presence of a spirit.”
If you go to Eden Park to look for Imogene, just be sure to do it during their hours of operation, the park closes at 10pm and officers are quick to write tickets to those milling about after hours. Oh, and tell her I said hello.
“George Remus: The King of Bootleggers.” Explore Whisky. June 2018
“Connors Says Mrs. Remus Tried To Draw Pistol”. Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. December 3, 1927. p. 9.
Haunted Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio by Jeff Morris, Michael A. Morris; Arcadia Publishing, 2009