In honor of Halloween, here are some scary stories and sites around Central Indiana.
The Crawfordsville Monster
In 1891, a strange apparition terrorized the skies over Crawfordsville in Montgomery County. Described as a “great white shroud with propelling fins,” it scared the jeepers out of a couple of ice delivery men. The dimensions of this “apparition” were 18 feet long and 8 feet wide. It had no form, no visible head, but there was an eye, a flaming eye.
It moaned. No mouth could be seen, but still it wheezed. There was also an eerie flapping sound described as sounding like a flag whipping in the wind. Several eyewitnesses, including a Methodist minister and his wife, reported the phenomenon.
News traveled around the country quickly, alarming folks from Brooklyn to St. Louis. But what was this ghostlike amoeba that hovered in the lonely skies over Crawfordsville?
After his death in 1852, former Indiana Gov. James Whitcomb, donated his large library to what is now DePauw University in Greencastle. Legend has it that Whitcomb’s ghost came with the library to protect it.
One scary tale tells of a student who checked out a The Poems of Ossian. That night in his room, he claimed the ghost of Whitcomb appeared at the foot of his bed demanding to know, “Ossian! Who stole the Ossian?!” The incident kept the student awake the rest of the night and he returned the book at the library’s opening the next morning.
Central State Hospital: Indianapolis’ scariest site
Since the 1850s, Central State Hospital has been described as the “Hospital of the Insane.” That is always good fodder for scary stories. Shuttered in 1994, buildings remained on the campus for many years.
The Indiana Medical History Museum documents the history of the Pathology Lab of Central State. In an effort to understand the disease, the doctors would autopsy resident’s brain. To this day, the museum houses the brains with explanations of the causes of the mental diseases. You can check it out here.
It also widely suspected that many of the residents, poor and without family, were buried on the grounds, perhaps in the northwest corner behind the museum and where the Indianapolis Police Horse unit houses the horses.
Central State will always send shivers through its visitors.