Indiana is known for a few things: a love of basketball, delicious summer sweet corn and a certain 500 mile race every Memorial Day weekend. However, the Crossroads of America has a dark side. Down narrow twisting country roads and along main streets in larger cities, this bucolic state has some of the eeriest hauntings in the US. The following list some of the more notorious haunted sites, and the stories behind the hauntings.
Hannah House - Indianapolis
Historic Hannah House, 3801 Madison Avenue, is a beautiful Italianate-style mansion. It is also one of the most notorious haunted houses in Indiana. The home has a colorful history, as well as housing some dark secrets.
Hannah House was built in 1858 by Alexander Hannah, a prominent figure in Indianapolis society. He was a farmer, gold prospector, sheriff, Circuit Court clerk and an outspoken community leader. He and his wife Elizabeth were also staunch abolitionists. They allowed their home to be used as one of the stops on the Underground Railroad, using a tunnel in the basement to hide the fleeing slaves. One night, as the slaves slept on piles of hay in the tunnel, an oil lamp used for illumination tipped, setting fire to the hay and burning the slaves to death. So as not to be discovered, Mr. Hannah and his servants buried their bodies in crude caskets in the dirt floor of the basement. Many believe this to be the reason for the haunting today.
Hannah House is open to the public for weddings, corporate events and parties. Each year, a haunted house and hayride is open during October. However, for real ghost hunting, check out the Hannah House Experience. For a fee, spend the night in the house with real ghost hunters and capture your own paranormal experiences on camera. All proceeds go to the preservation of Hannah House. To schedule a visit go to www.thehannahmansion.org.
The Crump Theatre - Columbus
The Crump Theatre is a Columbus treasure. The beautiful Arts and Crafts style building, situated at 425 Third Street, opened in 1872 as the Crump Opera House. The building has been in continuous operation since. Still filled with most of the historic fixtures and featuring tromp l'oeil paintings on the theatre walls, stepping into this building is like stepping into the glamourous past.
The building has seen many uses in it's history. It's stage has hosted opera performers, vaudeville actors, bands, movies shown on the screen, and plays performed. The theatre was also used as a speakeasy during Prohibition. A tunnel running under Third Street from the theatre to a hotel/restaurant across the street was used to run bootleg liquor. John Mellencamp, musician and Indiana native (who was born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, 20 miles south of Columbus) performed a concert at the Crump in 1978, and again in 2008, to reward his local fans for their loyalty throughout his career.
Though unsure of the history behind the haunting, many who have toured the Crump have captured strange mists and orbs on camera, as well as transparent figures sitting in the theater seats. Strange noises, laughter and footsteps can be heard throughout the building as well. The theatre today hosts rock music shows on it's stage every weekend. It is also opened for ghost hunting. For a modest fee, you and your friends can ghost hunt in the theatre after hours. All proceeds are used to restore the Crump to it's former glory. For more information or to schedule a hunt, visit www.thecrumptheatre.com
The Willard Library - Evansville
The Willard Library haunting is a bit more unusual than most. Unusual in the respect that the library has set up ghost cams for the public to view online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! To check out the ghost cam, visit www.willardghost.com.
The library was conceived in 1876 by local philanthropist Willard Carpenter. He gave the endowment to the city to build the library, as he was very adamant that all communities needed a center for self-education and the betterment of all. Sadly, Mr. Carpenter passed away two years before the ribbon cutting ceremony on March 28, 1885. The people of Evansville were thrilled to have such a spacious, well-stocked library in their midst. One citizen, however, was not pleased. Louise Carpenter, Willard's daughter, filed a lawsuit against the board of directors of the library in 1896, alleging the property contained in the library belonged to her, as her father had been in poor mental health and unduly influenced in his conception and endowment of the library. She lost the suit and many believe that she is the "grey lady" who haunts the stacks today.
The Willard Library is open to the public, but no ghost hunting tours are being granted at this time by management. However, feel free to click on the ghost cam and hunt away from the comfort of your home computer.
Stepp Cemetery - Bloomington
Located off Old State Road 37 in the Morgan-Monroe Forest, the Stepp Cemetery is one of the more remote haunted locations in the state. Deep in the woods, Stepp Cemetery is purportedly haunted by the spirit of a grieving mother. According to local legend, the woman gave birth to a baby boy whom she loved very dearly. Sadly, the child died in infancy. He was laid to rest in Stepp Cemetery, next to a tree stump that resembles a chair. The mother spent all her days and nights pining away at her son's grave, sitting in the chair. She passed away while keeping her vigil and was buried next to her son. Her wandering spirit is the reason for the cold spots, moans, cries and mists heard and seen moving through the cemetery and the surrounding woods.
Another story indicates a religious sect know as the Crabbites used the cemetery for their rituals. They were known to chant, handle snakes and dance naked through the cemetery as a way of worshipping their gods. Some visitors to the cemetery have reported hearing the sounds of chanting and seeing misty figures dancing around the tombstones.
In 1966, a local citizen of Bloomington named John Findley came forward and admitted that he and a friend had been "haunting" the cemetery, playing tricks and scaring local Indiana University students who liked to tour the cemetery after dark. This may be so, but it does not explain the numerour reports of incidents before and after the fall of 1966.
If you would like to tour the cemetery, directions can be found at www.realhaunts/united-states/stepp-cemetery. Enter at your own risk; the area is not easily accessible and the path can be quite overgrown.