Are you looking for new ways to mix things up this Halloween? Indiana is full of haunted and spooky adventures, waiting for you to brave a trip to explore. In addition to checking out some of your nearby haunted houses, visit some of these real-life haunted places this fall.
100 Step Cemetery
Of course, when you think of top haunted places, cemeteries come to mind. But the 100 Step Cemetery has its own creepy legend unlike any other. Now only having about 60 functional steps, at one time, the cemetery had 100 steps guiding you up a hill. As legend goes, if a person walks up the stairs at 12 a.m., while counting each step along the way then turning toward the open field upon reaching the top, you will see the ghost of 100 Step’s first undertaker.
From there, the undertaker will give you a vision of your death—then you must immediately run back down the stairs, counting each one on your descent. This is where things get tricky (if they weren’t already!)
During your walk (or run) down the stairs, you must count just as you had on your way up. If you do not count the same number of stairs, the vision of the undertaker will be true. If they do add up, then the vision will not come true. Want to take a shortcut and go up the hill next to the stairs? Think again. Some have reported having been knocked down by a phantom satanic being so hard that handprints have been apparent on their body. Today, since there are only 60 operational steps, it is hard to estimate where the remaining 40 actually are. Not everyone that has taken the journey has reported having had experienced these terrifying visions… but some have reported they have.
Avon Haunted Bridge
At the intersection of White Lick Creek and County Road 625 East in Avon is a haunted bridge. Built more than 100 years ago, there were several deaths that occurred over the years of people that had an accident or fell off the bridge.
A few common legends include a young mother and son who fell off while on the way to a doctor, or an alcoholic worker on the bridge that fell into wet cement and was buried alive.
People nearby have said they have heard the sounds and screams of the dead. They also note there is more activity around Halloween.
Central State Hospital
Built in the early 1800s, Central State Hospital, then known as the “Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane,” opened its doors for patients in 1848. The psychiatric facility started out with five patients and nearly 80 years later, was a full operation with almost 3,000.
Central State housed those with mild psychiatric issues all the way up to the criminally insane. However, as the facility grew, the less equipped they were to be able to handle patients. In 1970, two of the buildings on the campus that were unfit to serve were demolished. Things only continued to go downhill from there.
Not only was Central State running out of space, but their questionable practices began to make it out into the public. While the facility shut its doors forever in 1994, abuse and poor conditions have been reported all the way back to the 1870s. Also, several of the patients that died there without a family to claim them were buried on-site, making it their final resting place.
Today, many have reported having heard screams, crying and other eerie noises as well as seeing shadows and apparitions walking through the halls. One employee reported he was awoken from a nap by someone choking him, however, he could not see the being that was committing the act. Machinery and other equipment were said to turn on and off.
French Lick Springs Hotel
French Lick, Indiana
French Lick is a beautiful town in southern Indiana, home to rolling hills, a quaint atmosphere and a gorgeous hotel. Built in 1845, this grand hotel was built by Dr. William Bowles who used his background in medicine to take advantage of the area’s mineral springs for healing.
More than 50 years later, then outgoing mayor of Indianapolis, Tom Taggert became heavily involved with the hotel. He and a group of investors made several improvements to the hotel and remained passionate about its success until the day he died in 1929.
However, it is possible that Taggart may have never left. It’s reported that he still roams the halls and spends time in the hotel’s service elevator. Employees have noted certain smells and glances that look like him wandering around the building. It is even said that elevators will open and close on their own, like he is joining employees during their ride.
But Taggart may not be the only one from the other side spending time at the hotel. Strange voices, sounds, phone ringing in rooms without phones and apparitions have all been reported. Also, in the 100+ years of this hotel’s existence, many guests and workers have died there or committed suicide. One example is an employee, who was found dead in an elevator shaft, frequently visits with guests. He’s pleasant, with some guests leaving well wishes for the employee that none of the management staff says actually works there. For some of the suicides, many have said red blood stains continue to resurface despite replacing rugs, cleaning, etc.
Haunting of H.H. Holmes and Young Victim
Irvington Neighborhood, Indianapolis
America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, created what would later be called the “Murder Castle,” in Chicago. Using conniving techniques, and a background in medicine, he would lure in victims and then commit horrendous acts of torture to murder them. He even transformed the home into a hotel to also easily find victims—both from guests and employees. Police were onto Holmes in 1894, just after the World’s Fair, leading him to flee Chicago and travel to Irvington with hopes to escape impending capture.
While renting a room in a home on the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, which today is near Bonna Avenue and the 5800 block of Julian Avenue, his mayhem continued. Holmes and his associate Benjamin Pitezel concocted a scheme where Pitezel would fake his death and the two would split his life insurance settlement that would have otherwise gone to his children. The original plan was that they would find another body to use as Pitezel’s decoy, however, Holmes had other plans… and murdered his accomplice instead.
From there, Holmes had one of Pitezel’s children, 10-year-old Howard, in his care as he was to keep the children away from the events to ensue. Instead, Holmes continued on his murder spree and killed the boy, then burned his remains. Worse, he spread the ashes all throughout the area.
He would later go on to also kill other family members as well. Hauntings have been rumored around the area for decades of both Holmes and a young Howard. But that’s not all. Two local residents in the area, Wendy and Pepper, had several mysterious happenings. At first, the women, who would take in stray animals that all refused to go into the basement. They once took in a cat that they would repeatedly find locked in drawers and closets. And even stranger, one day the two got into an argument over how messy Wendy’s bedroom was. That afternoon when Pepper got home from work, she saw that Wendy’s room had been cleaned. She immediately called Wendy to thank her, only to find out that Wendy had not been home at all.
Historic Haunted Hannah Mansion
In the late 1850s, homeowner Alexander Hannah’s mansion has been said was a stop along the Underground Railroad. He would secretly help slaves as they made their way to freedom.
As history tells, one night a small group of slaves that were traveling to Canada sought refuge at the mansion while on their way. Hannah allowed them to rest in the basement to get some rest.
Unfortunately, in the middle of the night, their oil lantern was knocked over—setting the basement ablaze. It claimed each of their lives either by the fire itself or because of smoke inhalation. Hannah feared if word got out of what actually happened, he would be in serious trouble. Tale has it that Hannah burned their bodies, so they could never be found. However, that is not the last they have been seen. Apparitions of the slaves have been seen as well as strange whispers and voices. Rumor also says Hannah walks the halls of the home and stands on the balcony.
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I love the Hannah House. Built in 1858 by state legislator Alexander Hannah. The house was alleged to be part of the underground railroad, helping runaway slaves make it to Canada and to freedom. The house is said to be haunted because of a tradegy -an oil lamp was knocked over and the slaves hiding in the cellar died from smoke inhalation or burning. They were buried in that same cellar as it was to risky to bury them outside in the open. My first time there was over 30 years ago when it first started as a haunted house event at Halloween. I remember crawling through pitch black dark tunnels in the cellar on the dirt floor – terrified. The house always seems to need repairs. It is so expensive to maintain a house this old and large. #italianate #greekrevival #archi_ologie #oldhouselove #oldhousecharm #antebellum #hannahhouse #indianapolis #indiana #indyhouses #historicarchitecture #undergroundrailroad
In the early 1960s, newly divorced Renate Beck lived on the 2900 block of north Delaware Street with her teenage daughter Linda and her mother Lina. Lina, who emigrated from Germany, had moved in with Renate after her husband’s death. She and Renate clashed, making it a very intense household. However, in March 1962, things took a paranormal turn. This is when glasses, dishware, décor, etc. was reported to fly across different rooms—crashing and breaking.
The first night it happened, the three left for a hotel. When they returned the following night, Lina was almost hit by a flying cup and they immediately knew something was not right. The family involved the authorities, who also had empty glasses fly and hit officers as well. It was like someone was throwing these glass items at them, but no one they could see.
From there, the chaos continued.
Money would go missing out of Renate’s purse and eventually the purse itself went missing. Also, the women had strange bite marks as if a bat had bitten them (which is odd for the middle of the winter). Everything began to subside at the end of the month after Lina was found nearly unconscious on the floor.
Neighbors called the police who then arrived to find her on the floor. An officer stated he had seen her throw an ashtray against the wall and throw over the family’s piano bench. Instead of first taking her to the hospital, she was arrested and sent to jail—under the suspicion that she was causing all of the chaos that ensued over the last month. Renate tried to assure the police it was not her mother, and that Lina was in diabetic shock. She was taken to a hospital and then back to jail. The following day, a judge requested her to have a mental health exam but then said they would drop charges if Lina returned to Germany within 10 days. Police chalked everything up to Lina, however many other reports contradict that information. Many other accounts make it nearly impossible for Lina to have done everything they said she had. In total, there were more than 100 reports of frightening events that occurred, that to this day, have never been explained.
Willard Library Ghost
Indiana’s oldest library has more than just books… it also has a visitor from the other side. “The Lady in Grey,” as she’s called, has been spotted in various parts of the library for decades.
In fact, sightings date back to the 1930s. So who is this woman? Her name is Louise Carpenter, the daughter of the library’s builder, Willard Carpenter. When Carpenter died, much of the earnings in his will went to the library as opposed to his family.
This was an unpopular choice amongst his family which is possibly why Louise still hangs around at the library to this day. Library staff note they can sometimes see or smell her and that she likes to make others aware of her presence. At times, she has even moved objects.
What’s even stranger is that Louise has been picked up by the library’s cameras. Today, people can see photos of her and watch real-time live cameras at WillardGhost.com.
Spend a night at the Whispers Estate… if you dare. Just after the turn of the 20th century, Dr. John Gibbons and wife Jessie purchased the Whispers Estate. Along with the house, it’s said they adopted the previous owner’s children, which they had abandoned. Sadly, one of the children, a 10-year-old girl, started a fire that would take her life two days later. From there, everything took a turn for the worst.
A nearly one-year-old child in their care passed away due to unknown reasons and then Jessie died of pneumonia. Both passed in the same room. Given that John was a doctor, it is estimated that several patients died on the first floor of the residence while in his care.
All of this energy has led to several reports of paranormal activity. Guests of the estate have reported they have been woken up in the middle of the night feeling as though they couldn’t breathe and were coughing, just as Jessie felt as she lay dying of pneumonia. In other areas of the home, people have said to have heard whispers and voices speaking to them, hence the inn’s saying “where the walls really do talk.” Also terrifying are the reports of strong shaking and tremors of furniture and rooms themselves.
feature photo from wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_State_Hospital_(Indiana)#/media/File:1895pathology.jpg]