(The following originally appeared on the Flipside of Julianne blog, and I’m reposting it here for Halloween)
Brett, the main character of Four ’til Late, is an amateur ghost hunter, and that’s no coincidence. My wife and I spent 7 years ghost hunting nearly every month as a part of the Indiana Ghost Trackers and other groups and on our own. I got to be known as a sort of gadget specialist, and often served as the group’s skeptic. I earned a reputation as “the Simon Cowell of ghost photography”.
We visited quite a few haunted locations in our time, and so I’ve been asked by my gracious hostess to talk about the 10 scariest places I’ve been!
#10 – Rotary Jail Museum, Crawfordsville, IN
This place is amazing. The jail cells are literally part of a gigantic horizontal wheel, two floors tall. The whole thing rotates on its axis like a sandwich vending machine, except instead of serving up tasty sandwiches, it rotated to expose different cells to put prisoners in, and take them out.
I think old jails are always scary, but this place had a certain energy in the air. It was here that I first actually saw something I couldn’t explain. All of us had stopped in the area below the cells where great gears turn the structure around, in a curved hallway. A trifield EMF meter went off when no one was near it, and I saw something bright white peek around the bend in the darkness, just for an instant. I didn’t freak out, but I did curse under my breath and felt a thrill of fright. My curse was recorded and played back to me over and over later.
#9 – American Legion Park, Fortville, IN
Out past the bandstand area, even past the campsites of this park, you’ll find trails, and deep in the woods, atop a hill, you’ll find Doty Cemetery. One of the smallest cemeteries I’ve visited, Doty’s oldest grave is from 1832.
It’s not the cemetery that’s the scary part. In the area between the campsites but before the hill to the cemetery, out in the woods at night, my friends sighted shadow people, silhouettes of figures that make no sound or any trace of their passing, other than a glimpse of movement. I doubted this, since I’m a skeptic, but as we tested out K-II EMF meters.
#8 – Mansfield Reformatory, Mansfield, OH
A famous old prison, “Shawshank” is huge and has such history. There were many times that we heard voices, saw shadows and had unexplained EMF readings. I felt exhausted after only a couple of hours here, and while I’m glad I went, I’m not sure I’d go back.
#7 – Royal Theater, Danville, IN
We recorded two strong voices in different locations. Backstage, a voice said, “go away” and it appeared on two different voice recorders held about 6 feet apart. The other was in the seats, where a deeper, growling voice said, “get out!”.
#6 – G C Murphy Building, Indianapolis, IN
We had no specific evidence here, but the basement can only be reached by freight elevator, and several people sensed presences and had the feeling they needed to leave immediately.
These days, I like to go to this building to find a different sort of “spirit” in the Red Lion Grog House that’s moved in as part of the building in more recent years.
#5 – Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, KY
I’ll say that when Amy and I went to Waverly Hills, the groups were too large, and so the potential for quiet ghost hunting didn’t happen until the wee hours of the morning. There were a few moments when we felt out of place, and the shadows held menace and movement. I rank this one higher more for its reputation and grand scale than any personal experience.
#4 – Hannah House, Indianapolis, IN
We’ve had numerous cases of voice recording evidence (EVP), and some with freaky correlations. In one case, the same phrase, “find me” is recorded in the same spot in the basement, six months after it was first caught, and 10 seconds later, one of the ghost trackers is heard to say, “Isn’t this where you got the ‘find me’?”. Another case involved a recording of “keep away” coinciding with two compasses changing from North to East and back again.
Grandma’s room always seems to have thick air, hard to describe, and a forboding energy that makes me feel unwelcome.
Another time, as I climbed the stairs alone in broad daylight, a voice whispered, “go away!” in my right ear. At first I thought it was a prank, but no one was near the stairs.
#3 – Bobby Mackey’s Music World, Wilder, KY
All I will say about this old roadhouse, former slaughterhouse, and site of a murder, is that it’s called Hell’s Gate for a reason. It scared the daylights out of jaded ghost hunters. We had to go outside after an intense personal experience to calm down.
#2 – Central State Hospital, Indianapolis, IN
Now being demolished and repurposed by the city, this notorious old place stands out among haunted places in Indiana. We went late one November night, following oppressive underground passageways of the steam tunnels, poking around in the eerily quiet abandoned dormitories, and investigating the paranormally active administration building. Amy and I got our very first EVP in the admin building, as one of our group stated a “do not enter” sign on a door made her want to go in there more, a loud whispered voice asked “WHY?”. A flashlight bulb didn’t just burn out, it flashed and popped. Batteries drained. In one basement, we all felt like the stone floor was moving in waves and one nauseated woman was forced to leave.
#1 – Steel Forge Cemetery, Greenfield, IN
No link for this one, since I’m not able to find it on a map by that name. We were out ghost hunting at this little rural cemetery outside of Greenfield, when some members of the group thought they saw a shadow dog, or a ghost dog, a big one, coming at them.
Not long after, a real dog crept up on us and barked to try to scare us away.
Finally, four police cars pulled up, lights flashing. Several policemen came up to meet us with trained canines. I just about panicked. The police were nice, and just asked us to leave, since the neighbors near the cemetery thought there were a bunch of drunk teenagers vandalizing, when it was only us weirdos who go looking for ghosts in the dark!
Does it still count as “research” if you were having fun?
Why can’t research be fun? 🙂