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Hannah House –
Haunted Place: Hannah House
3801 Madison Avenue,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46225
Tour page on Historic Hannah House web site
Hannah House can be found on Madison
Avenue, in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is privately owned, so
the privacy of the owners must be respected. The Hannah Mansion can be
found on the corner of National Avenue and Madison Avenue.
Hannah House is described as a "stately
red brick mansion," perfectly suited for the Indiana State Legislator,
Alexander Hannah, who built this 24 room mansion, that has two floors,
an attic and a basement. This mansion was built in 1858, making it a pre-civil
war era, "Italianate-style" of architecture.
Alexander Hannah lived a peaceful
life here with his wife. There were two instances of tragedy that happened
in the mansion.
1) Before the Civil War, the mansion
was part of the underground railroad that ran through Indiana. Hannah
hid runaway slaves in the mansion's basement, until they could be moved
to the next underground spot. One night, a lantern was accidentally knocked
over, which caused a fire in the basement, killing many of the slaves
hiding there. The dead slaves were buried in simple coffins in the basement.
2) According to an Indianapolis psychic,
Lyn Dohrenwend, Mrs. Hannah had given birth to a still-born child in a
second floor bedroom. A visit to the Crown Hill Cemetery to where Elizabeth
& Alexander Hannah are buried, found a small, unmarked, infant-sized
gravestone in the family plot, with only a single date etched in the stone.
From 1899 - 1962 various members of
the Oehler/Elder families live in the grand mansion. In 1962, David
Elder took the responsibility of care-taking the place, but didn't live
there. From 1968-1978, Mr. & Mrs. O'Brien moved into the mansion,
and opened an antique store in one part of the mansion, and lived part
time in the other parts of the mansion.
David Elder was the first one to suspect
that the place was occupied with unseen residents.
1) While working about the mansion,
doing various upkeep chores, he suddenly heard a terrific crash of breaking
glass, like jars breaking into a million pieces, resounding from the basement.
He rushed down to the basement, and found nothing amiss at all. He then
noticed the fruit jars that were being stored in the area where the slaves
that were killed in the fire were buried so many years ago.
The second floor bedroom, where Mrs.
Hannah gave birth to a still-born baby was normally locked up and used
for storage. However, it seems to be a center of supernatural activity.
2) Occasionally, the horrid smell
of rotting flesh emanates from this room, strong enough to gag the living,
and make them run for the outside.
3) From the same room, the strong,
sweet aroma of roses permeates the air.
4) The door to this odor emitting
room freely swung open at will, even when the room had been securely locked.
5) When the door did open up, other
unexplainable manifestations happened. The living heard strange noises,
footsteps of the unseen, mumbling voices, felt cold drafts in places where
there were no sources for them, and saw other doors and windows open and
close without help from the living. A painter who was hired to spruce
up the place had the unnerving experience of having doors swing open and
pictures slid from their moorings as he walked by. The painter had had
enough and fled after a spoon that Mrs. O'Brien had put on a tray flew
across the room.
The O'Brien family were treated to
the full treatment of occurring manifestations, as well as seeing an apparition
several times as well. Activity increased greatly after the O'Brien family
6) Early one evening, while the antique
shop on the first floor was still open for business, Mrs. O'Brien looked
up toward the second floor, and was startled to catch a glimpse of a man
in a black suit who was walking across the upstairs hallway. Thinking
it might be a customer, who had wandered onto the second floor by mistake,
she went up the stairs toward him to guide him back down to the shop.
When she reached the top of the stairs, the man had vanished into thin
7) Because the original house painter
fled, Mrs. O'Brien's son volunteered to finish the job. On his first night,
he felt that he was being closely watched by an unseen presence, which
was a very uncomfortable feeling. So, on the second night he brought his
wife and two little daughters to keep him company, as well as help with
the painting. While three of them worked in one room, the youngest little
girl played on the stairs. They heard the little girl talking with someone,
and came out to investigate. She showed no fear, and was talking to a
grandfatherly type man, which she could see, and her family couldn't see.
The rest of her family watched her carry on a conversation, mesmerized.
Then, the little girl said that "Dad" was climbing back up the
steps. Totally spooked, the family left promptly.
8) Mr. O'Brien also saw a transparent,
apparition who was standing in an archway on the stairs. He was wearing
an old fashioned, black suit, and had mutton-chop whiskers. He melted
away before Mr. O'Brien could reach him.
9) Despite the fact that the staircase
leading to the second floor was carpeted, the sound of footsteps of varying
loudness, along with rustling clothing could be clearly heard.
10) Mr. O'Brien also witnessed the
door to the attic open by itself, after the handle deliberately turned
11) Loud groans from somewhere down
the second floor hallway were heard by Mr. O'Brien one night as he was
watching TV in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Annoyed, Mr. O'Brien yelled
down the hall, scolding the ghost to stop it's "bellyaching"
and leave them in peace. By 1972, the ghostly activity had stopped completely.
For the time being, they had accepted the living in their house.
From 1980-'82, Hannah House was used
as the annual haunted house project of the Indianapolis Jaycees. They
would take kids on a tour of the spooky old mansion, with special scary
effects added for entertainment.
12) While taking a break from the
project, the coordinator and fellow workers were sitting in the summer
kitchen, which was located right next to the staircase used by the servants
to go up to the second floor, many years ago. Suddenly, loud scratching sounds were heard coming from inside the staircase
landing wall. Despite quickly moving to investigate, the source of the
noise was never located.
13) One evening, while listening to
the spooky sounds coming from an installed stereo unit, the coordinator
and a friend, who were the only ones in the mansion, were puzzled when
the sounds suddenly stopped. Investigating the trouble, they found that
the on/off switch to the unit had been deliberately pushed to the off
position. Awhile after restarting the unit again, the off switch was again
activated. The only explanation is that some annoyed entity took matters
into his/her own hands and stopped the sounds.
14) October 1981 - A TV crew went
to Hannah House to film a segment on the Jaycee's Halloween House. A cameraman
stood in the dining room doorway, planning to get a shot of the room from
that point. After he commented about that wouldn't it be unnerving if
the room's chandelier would start to swing, the chandelier started to
swing in a six-inch arc. After investigating, the swinging chandelier
had no reasonable cause to make it do so.
15) A psychic, Allene Cunningham,
was brought by the crew into the mansion on the same day. She felt cold
spots and presences in the house.
16) At the end of the filming of last
shot, the cameraman stood in the dining room doorway, to film the host
of this Halloween segment who was standing in front of a propped up coffin.
Suddenly, a picture hanging on the wall above the coffin fell down with
a crash. After seeing that the nail was still in it's upward position,
and the string in back of the picture wasn't broken, it was deducted that
something had to deliberately lift the picture off the nail. Some unseen
entity was up to the old tricks, to try to scare the living, and let them
know that ghosts were there.
1) The apparition of Alexander Hannah
and that of an unidentified woman have both been spotted on the second
2) Various apparitions of slaves
have been seen still hiding in the basement.
3) The moving of objects and unaccountable
sounds still occur in front of the living.