Showing posts with label haunted Indiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haunted Indiana. Show all posts

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Haunted Hoosier Cemetery - Oak Grove

Oak Grove Cemetery
On a wind-swept hill in broad daylight, the sounds of children laughing could be heard. But in the middle of this 23-acre cemetery, there are no children to be seen. Welcome to Oak Grove Cemetery in Washington, Indiana.

Arthur Greenwood
Oak Grove was once the burial place of the movers and shaker of the community. Congressman Arthur Herbert Greenwood served as Indiana’s representative for the 2nd District from 1923-1933, and represented Indiana’s 7th District from 1933-1939 in the US Congress. He was also House Majority Whip during the 73rd Congress. Greenwood began his foray into politics in Washington Indiana when he served as a member of the Board of Education in Daviess County from 1911-1915. He died in 1963 in Maryland and was buried in Oak Grove.

William Bynum
Another US Representative from Indiana buried here is William Dallas Bynum who served as Washington Indiana’s first City Clerk. Bynum was also City Attorney and Mayor. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1881 – 1885, and was elected to the 49th and four succeeding Congresses, serving from 1885- 1895 during which time he was House Minority Whip. Bynum died in 1927.

A stone is hidden by growth
Oak Grove Cemetery began to fall into disrepair at the beginning of the 21st century. With no perpetual care money left to maintain the cemetery, the grass and weeds were left to grow in the older sections. These are the sections where unrest has been felt – and experienced.

Then they were gone
I have visited this cemetery three times in the past few years with different people. Each time we’ve come away with otherworldly stories to tell. My first time there I discovered a large black dog roams the cemetery. I heard a large dog running up behind me with the tags rattling on his collar but when I turned, there was nothing there. When I looked over at the woods that borders the property, a man, dressed in black, stood there with his black dog. They looked at me for a moment, took one step back and they were gone.

An encounter was experienced down this lane
A friend who had never had any paranormal experiences was given quite a scare when we decided to roam the grounds to photograph graves. Meeting up later, we discussed the condition of the cemetery. At that time, it was privately owned and was not being properly taken care of. The grass in the older section where we stood was knee high. After chatting a few minutes, we each headed out in different directions. Half an hour later she came rushing over the hill. Tossing her camera into the car she asked if I had slipped up behind her and called her name in an attempt to scare her. But I and our other cemetery buddy had already packed it up and were sitting in the car talking. The fact that the spirit had mimicked my voice frightened her the most. When we drove to the location where the incident occurred, there was nothing: no sounds, no odd feelings, no one we could see.

The boy who watches
There is a lifelike statue of a small boy who died in the 1800s. He sits on his stool as if unsure what to do, but his eyes seem to follow you around the cemetery. The truly weird part is when you approach the stone - the eyes appear to go flat and are covered in lichens.

I have also encountered a portal of some sort in the middle of the cemetery, which opened with an odd sound and a quick blast of air, and closed the same way – similar to an elevator. Voices can be heard talking, but the words are undistinguishable.

An untended area of the cemetery
Apparently, some “residents” are not pleased that their burial sites have been ignored. The cemetery had not been adequately cared for in over half a dozen years, and since it was privately owned, little could be done about it. But earlier this year a group called the Oak Grove Caretakers took over the cemetery promising better maintenance and upkeep for the more than 12,000 graves.

Where children play
Several people have heard the children playing high on the hill. Their laughter floats through the air as they go about their ethereal play. Let’s hope the remainder of the spirits will be appeased once their graves are giving the care and respect that is deserved.

~ Joy

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is now available at bookstores across the country. Click here for book information.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Spooky Stories Just in Time for Halloween

By Joy Neighbors

Just in time for Halloween, here are just a few ghostly tales to make your weekend "spirited."

The Chesterville Witch
Chesterville, Illinois was a quiet Amish community once located near Rockome Gardens. Buried in the former town cemetery is a marker that bears no name. What’s left of an iron fence tries to enclose the block-type stone, which many say marks the grave of a woman who was killed for being a witch.

Back at the turn of the last century, it was rumored that the Amish woman challenged her church about their views being too conservative. She believed that women should have a more active role than simply serving men. The Amish elders did not take kindly to such heresy and accused her of working with the devil. A short time later, the woman simply disappeared. Her body was later found in a nearby field.

The woman was buried in the town cemetery where an oak tree was planted on top of her grave in order to trap her spirit. Legend has it that when the tree dies, she will be free to return and take revenge on the area. For now, her ghost can be seen at times, standing near her grave.

Pere Cheney- A Ghost Town
What was once a thriving lumber town known as Pere Cheney in Michigan is now a ghost town – literally. Pere Cheney was established in 1874 after the railway placed a stop there. George Cheney built a sawmill, and lumberjacks and their families began to arrive. Three years later, the village was large enough to support two sawmills, a general store and a doctor. Pere Cheney was booming, but that was before the “bad luck” began.

In 1893, residents were hit with outbreaks of diphtheria, scarlet fever, and small pox. Next, several fires raged through the town, probably due to sparks from the mills. Others said it was the work of the witch. In 1897, another outbreak of diphtheria took a toll on the town. By 1901, the population was down to about two-dozen people. By 1917, the village land was sold at a public auction, and the last 18 residents moved away. Pere Cheney was a ghost town.

But some believed the town was cursed from the start because it was built on Native American land. Others said a local witch had placed a curse on Pere Cheney after she was banished for practicing witchcraft. Legend has it that she was hunted down in the woods, taken to the cemetery and hanged from a tree that she was then buried under. Visitors to the cemetery report they have seen her ghost standing under a tree ...

While there’s nothing to support the witch legend, no one denies that strange happenings do occur in the cemetery, where out of 90 burials only a few gravestones remain. Handprints have been discovered on vehicles after leaving the graveyard. Others have heard the sounds of children laughing and playing in the vacant cemetery. And ghostly figures, voices and floating orbs have been reported there and in the nearby woods.

The remains of the town are located a couple of miles away – the ruins of what’s left of the hopes and dreams of the townsfolk of Pere Cheney.

The Grey Lady
This is the most famous ghost story in the Hoosier State, thanks to several ghost-hunter television programs, the Willard Library “ghost-cams,” and the Willard Library Ghost Chatters, a dedicated group who keeps an eye out for this specter all year along.

Willard Library was established in 1885 by Willard Carpenter, a well-to-do Evansville businessman. The three-story Victorian Gothic-style building is the oldest public library in Indiana.

The first report of the library being haunted occurred in the winter of 1937. As the janitor was stoking the basement furnace in the early morning hours, he came face-to-face with a woman dressed in grey. When he asked what she wanted, she simply faded away. (The janitor quit the next morning.)

The Grey Lady is known to move furniture, push books off shelves, and occasionally touch patrons. Footsteps can be heard when no one is on the floor in question, and the scent of lilac or lavender perfume sometimes wafts through the air. She has been seen numerous times on the main staircase, and appears to enjoy working in the children’s section.

Who is the Grey Lady? Some claim it is Carpenter’s daughter, Louise who is unhappy that her father left his money (her inheritance) to the library. But the majority of ghost hunters claim that this is the spirit of one of the librarians who worked here years ago.

Although it’s too late to catch an evening tour this year, check out the Library Ghost Cams  and the Willard Library Ghost Cams , you might be surprised by what you see …

Friday, October 18, 2013

Haunted Towns in the Midwest - Westfield Indiana

Walking Haunted Westfield, Indiana with Historic Indiana Ghost Walks & Tours

Once again, the month of October is upon us…. a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  This month, A Grave Interest is traveling around the Midwest, taking ghost tours and getting a look at some ‘lively’ places, and, maybe, the spirits who make them so…

Underground Railroad Tour
I decided early on that it would be smart to get some guides for these haunted jaunts. And
who better to seek out than the local experts on all things paranormal in their towns.

On this balmy evening about 30 people stand on a darkened Westfield Indiana parking lot waiting to be conducted on a ghost tour with Underground Railroad connections. One of the partners of Historic Indian Ghost Walks & Tours, and our guide for the evening, is Michael Kobrowski.

Historic Indiana Ghost Walks & Tours Logo
Michael and his wife, Nicole began their publishing company, Unseen Press back in 2000, and the next year developed a ghost tour that centered around Westfield and its “Ghosts of the Underground Railroad.” Michael leads most of the tours, which are offered year-round. Nicole writes books about paranormal in the area; her latest was released just last month, and both go on paranormal investigations.

North Carolina Quakers Ala Bales, Ambrose Osborne, and Simon Moon founded Westfield in 1834, planning for it to be an Underground Railroad stop. The Quaker community was one of only six stops in the state that helped to hide, feed and clothe runaway slaves before they headed northward to South Bend.

Former Hotel
One of the stops on the Underground Railroad was a hotel on the main street. A Mrs. White ran it during the 1840’s and helped slaves escape the slave hunters who came after them. In the 1930s, a mortuary moved in and purchased the adjoining building to create a large funeral home. When that business moved, another business purchased the structure and placed offices in it. 

But everyone knew the former hotel was haunted. The hallway that adjoined the two original buildings always felt odd, as if you were being watched. Footsteps would be heard upstairs when only one person was in the building. People reported seeing a woman standing on the stairs who when approached would simply fade away.

And just a few doors away another building had similar happenings. It had housed a grocery store, an office and several other businesses before it became the home of Marlow’s Café. Marlow’s was located there for over 30 years before recently being sold.

Inside Marlow's
Restaurant employees reported that the kitchen area was very haunted. It was not unusual for servers and kitchen help to have their aprons untied as they worked. The stove burners would suddenly increase temperatures and food would burn. Several people have seen a dark shadow in the restaurant. A woman, who had worked in the building when it held offices, said that one night, when she was there alone; she heard an office chair begin moving in the next room. When she went to look, the chair was swiveling as if someone was sitting there. She retired shortly after.

Former Bank
The Westfield Savings and Loan stood proudly on a main corner for years until it was closed in the 1970s. Since then the building has been a café, artist studio, mortgager company and hair salon. Many tenants have reported something strange is going on in the building, especially around the staircase.

Haunted Stairs?
One person with an office upstairs reported coming in some mornings and finding everything on the desk thrown to the floor and furniture moved. The building's heat gets turned up to an uncomfortably hot level in the winter. Repairmen came in to check out the furnace and controls but no malfunctions were found. Some have seen an older man in bibbed overalls standing at the top of the stairs gazing down.

BANK Lettering Above Door
The basement is also haunted. A woman who worked there went downstairs to retrieve something from the old safe that was being used for storage. Suddenly the door slammed shut and she was trapped inside. (Good thing we live in a time when help is only a cellphone call away.)

A doorway to an underground tunnel has been found in the basement. It is considered part of the Underground Railroad and links this basement to the basement of Jan’s Pizza, located across the street.

City Hall Building
Stairs At Night
It seems that the Westfield City Hall is also haunted.  Lavender perfume can be smelled in the building, along with diesel fuel. Employees have reported seeing a man walking up and down the stairway dressed like a fireman. 

Assembly Room Window
On one of the Ghost Walks, several people saw a man floating about 8 feet off the floor in the assembly room. Window blinds have opened and closed when no one was there, and people have been physically touched and scratched on the tour.

Anti-Slavery Friends Cemetery
Union Soldier's Grave
Appropriately, the tour ends in the Anti-Slavery Friends Cemetery. This is the darkest part of the tour and the crowd quieted considerably when we entered the gates. A Union soldier is rumored to patrol these grounds. He has been seen leaning against a tree in the cemetery, before disappearing. He is known to walk the perimeter of the cemetery, stopping near one grave in particular – that of a Union soldier who died just after the war’s end.

People who have worked in the cemetery doing repairs have seen shadows and felt a presence nearby; someone might blow on your neck in a teasing manner, but then again, others have been scratched when not treating the cemetery and its “residents” with respect.

Unseen Press now offers six ghost walks and have added three Ghost Bus Tours to the lineup. Walking tours last between 1.5 and 2 hours, and cover about 1.5 miles. Bus tours may be longer. Visit the webpage or Facebook for more details and to make reservations.

So What's With the Snow?!
And don’t be too surprised when you get home and check out the photos you took (on a clear night, in 75-degree weather). Some things are easier seeing to believe…


Friday, October 12, 2012

Central State Hosptial (Indiana Insane Asylum) & Cemetery

It’s October - a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  This month, A Grave Interest will take a look at several haunted cemeteries.  Get ready as we explore some ‘lively’ places, and the people who make them so…….

Scalping in the Hospital
It was called the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, better known to Indianapolis residents as the Insane Asylum.  The hospital opened in November 1848 to house five patients. It consisted of one hospital building, situated on 100 wooded acres of land.  For the first 50 years, the hospital simply warehoused people.  There was little, if any, attempt to treat them for their problems.

Central State Hospital
By 1900, conditions for patients began to slowly improve.  In the 1920’s, the hospital was renamed Central State Hospital. Over the years, more buildings were needed to house and care for patients. Buildings were added onto and more were built until the hospital complex on the city’s west side housed over 3,000 people by the close of the 1920’s.

Seven Steeples Women's Dorm
Aerial Map of Grounds

The Central State Hospital grounds included dormitories, treatment buildings, a carpentry shop, power plants, and a fire station.   The complex also included a motel, carwash and conference center. The largest building on the campus was the Seven Steeples Women’s Dormitory. 

Old Laundry Building
Pathology (Morgue) Building
There are around 20 buildings left on the property.  The oldest  is the Old Laundry Building built in 1884.  Others include the Pathology Laboratory, also known as the Morgue, built in 1895. It is now the Indiana Medical History Museum.  The Administration Building was constructed in 1938, and the Kitchen and Dining Hall, which was built in 1959. All are considered to be historic buildings by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology.

Over five miles of concrete service tunnels, known as the catacombs, existed under the grounds.  They were used to link the buildings together.  Rumor has it that cells had been carved off the tunnels where the most violent patients were kept in chains and manacles.  It was also said that the tunnels were used so that patients could be moved without ‘fuss’ to the local jail, or a small airport located nearby, if the need arose.

Many basements under the buildings were considered dungeons in the 1800’s, places to hold patients who screamed incessantly or were criminally insane.  These “wards” lacked proper ventilation, light or heat and many died here.

Patient in Straight Jacket
Sadly, many of the people housed here did not suffer from mental insanity.  Instead, they were sent here because family members could not afford to care for them, or could not find the time necessary to take care of them. Emotional issues including stress, depression, and what we know today as bi-polar disorder, could land you here with the criminally insane.

Roof Caving In
Inside Hallway
By the 1970’s, the hospital was overcrowded and run down.  Many buildings were declared unsafe and torn down, including Seven Gables, the women’s dorm. Allegations of abuse and lack of funding helped in closing down the facility.

City's Proposed Plans
Door in Hospital
The Central State Hospital was closed in 1994. Remaining patients were sent to other hospitals around the state, to family and friends, or left to wander the streets.  The city of Indianapolis purchased the 146-acre of grounds from the State in 2003 with plans to turn it into a housing development with a cultural park.  The bust of the housing bubble seems to have put those plans on an indefinite hold.

Cemetery Grounds
Cemetery Fence
It is said that the hospital and grounds are haunted, including the Central State Hospital Cemetery, located across the street, adjacent to the Mt. Jackson Cemetery.   There are no signs to mark this place, not even a gate, just a chain-link fence surrounding it.  

Tree Stone Marks a Grave
Typical Grave Marker
A few graves are marked with stones, but the majority consist of red plastic numbers on concrete slabs.  Most of those are covered over with grass and dirt.

Cemetery Directory
A large directory is located near the north side of the cemetery, encased in brick and plastic.  It lists the last name and first initial of those known to be buried here, along with a grave number. There are said to be almost 600 interred in this 3-acre plot of land. Records were not well kept on this cemetery and the exact number interred is not known.  Many were buried without any marker.  Burials began around 1855 and ended in the mid-1940’s.  No names are known for those buried in the oldest section.

Cemetery Grounds
Trees and Grass Need Tending
The cemetery has fallen into disrepair.  A cleanup effort was held in 2010, but maintenance has not been kept up by the city and the cemetery is again being ignored.

Feelings of Being Watched

Shadowed Grounds
Mysterious people have been seen in the cemetery, dressed in hospital gowns from different time periods.  Shadows move from grave to grave. Screams have been heard coming from the hospital buildings and the grounds.  Moans and crying have also been heard.  When I was there, I had the feeling of being watched, and of definitely not being wanted in the cemetery.

Pathology Lecture
Indiana Medical History Museum
If you would like to find out more, the hospital grounds are open during the day.  The only building that is open is the Indiana Medical History Museum. At one time this building was the hospital morgue where hundreds of autopsies were performed in order to learn more about mental illness.  It is also reported to be haunted.  The museum is open to the public and tours are available.  Visit for more information.

Next week, we'll visit a haunted Ohio cemetery.

~ Joy