Haunted Hoosiers

By Michelle Railey


In Kokomo, there is said to be a house with 12 rooms, all of which have 12-foot ceilings. There have been heard from this house strange noises like the sounds of dragging chains. A cedar tree in the yard has been observed falling in the night but standing in the morning. The house was said to be vacant (it’s haunted!) but observers report that lights can still be seen in the house and “the most beautiful music” can be heard emanating from the (anonymous) dwelling.

Also in Kokomo, there were legends that Gateway Gardens apartments were haunted. The internet reports that “it used to be a jail and you can hear” the rattling of handcuffs and loud footsteps. The internet says some people never come back out of the buildings after they enter. The internet also reports that ghost stories set in Gateway Gardens, much like those of Kokomo’s Seiberling Mansion, are “true!!!” and that spectral tear drops and running blood have been seen.

It would be fun if Kokomo’s Old Ben kicked up his heels, spectrally speaking, every blue moon. But, alas, that does not seem to be a Hoosier legend; it’s only taxidermy at its finest.

If one travels way south from Kokomo to the campus of St. Mary of the Woods near Terre Haute, one might see “the faceless nun” (who is, of course, no longer living). And one might feel the floor shift while standing in the art gallery. The campus recently decided to permit male students to enroll. How does the Faceless Nun feel about tthis? Only time will tell.

While in Terre Haute, one could visit the Preston House, where the ghost of Matilda DeWees roams, not at ease since she was purportedly killed by her husband,, Sergeant George, and buried in the wall by the living room fireplace. Of course, she’s not alone there: slaves from the Underground Railroad are said to be present there as well. And if one wanders over to the Highland Lawn Cemetery, one should visit “Stiffy Green.” Stiffy is a dog head that, so much was it loved, it was placed in the mausoleum with its earthly owner. Stiffy Green howls when an intruder attempts to break into the mausoleum.

Hoosiers who have been hard at work in the past sometimes keep going (much like Harry Potter’s Professor Binns). In Clay City, there is a ghost of a miner at the Old Glory #33 mine. Avon, Danville, and Mooresville all have rumors of ghostly workers who were left behind in the concrete of the bridges they helped to build. At the Free Springs Bridge in Sullivan, a headless train worker may, it is said, be seen carrying a lantern (at other times, he’s just a random floating head).

But maybe it’s the bridges of Indiana: at the Avon Bridge, besides the worker, there are three other ghosts. There’s a mother calling for her child, a boyfriend who jumped off the tracks but still can be heard screaming, and the ghost of a woman who was murdered there. At Azalia Bridge, there is a weeping woman, draped in black. The Red Eye Bridge near Edwardsport features a spectral eye from a wreck victim whose eye was (you guessed it) never found. A bridge near Frankfort has not eyes but flashing lights, the remains of an old woman who killed her husband and threw his pieces off the bridge (as one does). And in Sullivan, at the Free Springs Bridge, it is said resides the ghost of a boy killed in a wreck (like the Red Eye of Edwardsport, the body was never found) and also a headless tramp.

In central Indiana, there’s always Hannah House in Indianapolis, built in 1858 by Alexander Hannah. The home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It is said to be haunted by the shade of Alexander Hannah, by an unnamed spectral old lady, but most of all by the refugee slaves who were buried in the cellar by Alexander Hannah after they tragically perished in a fire caused by an oil lantern as they slept.

Just east of Indianapolis, in Shelbyville, by the Blue River, there is a barn in which sits the organ of Paul Tindell. His wife would never let him play it in the house. It is said his spirit plays it in the nights now— but still in the barn. Even Hoosier ghosts know who wears the pants.

…unless they’re stolen. At the Hill House in Rockville, a ghost stole the clothes of a family who was there for a funeral. Is it better to be a thief or a ghost or both? All Hoosier, either way.


Baker, Ronald L. Hoosier Folk Legends. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982.

Internet search: “Gateway Gardens Kokomo Haunted” (and thanks to my friend Skip, who texted me out of the blue one day with ‘did you know they said Gateway Gardens is haunted?’ Why no, I didn’t.)


If one is bored/interested in Hoosier legends/Indiana supernatural: googling “Haunted Indiana” is entertaining. More than Miss Cleo, less than Here Come the Mummies. (Of course, neither Miss Cleo nor the Mummies have anything at all to do with the Hoosier State.)

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