More Haunted Hoosier Trails

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Overview


EXCERPTS

NORTHERN INDIANA – BENTON COUNTY
The Ghost of Justus Cemetery
The clouds scurried across the night sky, at times hiding the pale moonlight. It was a windy, chilly, rainy night, not a good night for man or best to venture out – a perfect night for ghosts.

It was the era of the steam engine, and a train traveling on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad stopped ...

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Overview


EXCERPTS

NORTHERN INDIANA – BENTON COUNTY
The Ghost of Justus Cemetery
The clouds scurried across the night sky, at times hiding the pale moonlight. It was a windy, chilly, rainy night, not a good night for man or best to venture out – a perfect night for ghosts.

It was the era of the steam engine, and a train traveling on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad stopped at the Oxford, Indiana, water tower located within view of the Justus Cemetery. As the crewmembers began taking on water above the whine of the wind, they heard distinctly a mournful moaning. Passengers hearing the sound strained their eyes into the darkness trying to learn from where and what this sound was coming.

Suddenly a figure in white was seen floating from the cemetery through the air toward the idle train. Its moans could be heard above the wind. The crewmembers and passengers watched, frozen from fright. Women began screaming. The crewmembers worked frantically to complete the task of taking on water. Suddenly without warning the specter retreated back to the cemetery, plunging headlong into an open grave.

The crewmembers were understandably frightened. Some even asked to transfer to daylight trains or better still, to any other train that did not have to pass through Oxford – and the Justus Cemetery.

Once again, a few nights later, the train made its customary and needed stop at the Oxford water tower. The crew had completed the task when the ghost appeared. The train began to get up a head of steam but was unable to move for several minutes, its wheels spinning on the track. The crewmembers became nearly hysterical when suddenly with a jerk the train began to roll free from whatever horror had held it tight in its grasp. Fear and panic consumed the crew, and with open defiance, the train’s crew refused to take the train into Oxford on its next run. Railroad officials were at a loss to know what to do and finally hired a detective.

After visiting Oxford and talking to some of the citizens, he was able to persuade a few to accompany him one night as he visited the cemetery. This was scary business he was proposing. As the small group waited and watched, they observed some of the young men of the community creep into the area just before the train arrived to take on water. One of them carried something white – a sheet. The detective left his hiding place, and the others followed as he approached the young men. The youthful pranksters admitted they were responsible for the ghost. They had attached a wire from the top of the water tower to the cemetery and were pulling a sheet, draped over a coat hanger, along this “track.” They also confessed that they had rubbed soap on the railroad tracks to make it difficult for the train to get traction once it had stopped. The pranksters were set free with a stern warning that if this ever happened again they would be arrested.

That ended the life of the ghost of Justus Cemetery – or did it? There were some among the train’s crew – those who had been frightened into near hysterics – who didn’t believe that it was a prank.

CENTRAL INDIANA – CLINTON COUNTY
The Ghost of Sleepy Hollow
Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a permanent part of our literary history. The town of Sleepy Hollow along with the headless horseman have become part of our national folklore.
The spirit that haunts Irving’s Sleepy Hollow is the ghost of a Hessian trooper who has been decapitated by a cannonball during a Revolutionary War scrimmage. He rides wildly through the countryside at night seeking his head, but must return to his burial site before daybreak.

Indiana has its own Sleepy Hollow located just outside of Frankfort, and it, too, has a haunting tale. You won’t encounter a headless horseman, but what they say you’ll find there is much more frightening. Clinton County’s Sleepy Hollow is located on a lonely road near a bridge spanning the South Fork of the Wildcat Creek.

The story has its origin sometime in the 1800s. A farmer’s wife had just prepared and served the evening meal. No one knows why it happened or how it happened, but the seemingly docile wife had killed her husband. Had she taken all she could from a domineering, demanding man? Or had she simply gone mad? Did she use her iron skillet to end his life?

To cover up the crime and dispose of the evidence – the body – she decided to cut him up into manageable pieces. Once this was achieved, she waited until it was dark. Then she loaded him onto the wagon and proceeded to Wildcat Creek bridge. Once there she began to toss him, piece by piece, over the bridge and into the creek.

Later, she became fearful that someone would find the pieces. Night after night she went to the bridge to make sure there was nothing to be found. Even if she wasn’t out of her mind when she killer her husband, her guilt most certainly drove her insane. In fact, even after her death, she still protects her secret.

Many have said that on this lonely road as you approach the bridge, she’ll appear as a light floating toward you in an attempt to scare you away. But if you’re really “lucky,” according to some stories you might encounter her husband rising from the creek – piece by piece.

To find Sleepy Hollow, follow these directions – if you dare. Take State Route 28 west out of Frankfort until you reach West Mulberry – Jefferson Road. Turn right and follow the road until you come to 600-West. Continue on 600-West until you see the bridge – and perhaps something else.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578601820
  • Publisher: Clerisy Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2004
  • Series: Haunted Heartland Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 945,673
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Wanda Lou Willis is a folklore historian who specializes in Hoosier folktales and historic research. She is a feature writer for the Indianapolis Star's "Seniority Counts" Section and regularly appears on WXIN-TV's early-morning show.

She has taught folklore for thirteen years through the continuing-education division of Indiana University - Perdue University Indianapolis and OASIS. A popular folklore presenter at schools, universities, libraries and historical societies, Willis has received recognition from National Geographic Magazine and the Smithsonian Institution.

Wanda Lou Willis lives in Indianapolis, Indiana

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Table of Contents

Northern Indiana
Benton 16
The Ghost of Justus Cemetery
Elkhart 20
A Tree with Spirit
Fun-Loving Nellie
Ghostly Good Samaritans
The Giant Ghost
The Haunting of Ruthmere Mansion
The Umble Ghost
The Weeping Tombstone
Grant 35
Israel Jenkins House
The Phantom of the Opera House
The Spirit of Hostess House
The Ghosts of Mason's Bridge
Jasper 46
Moody Road Lights
Lagrange 51
She Still Waits
Lake 53
The Ghosts of Cline Avenue
He's Still in the Game
Restless Spirits
Miami 61
On the Banks of the Wabash
Newton 64
Kentland Area Hauntings
Pulaski 70
The Praying Nun
Tippecanoe 72
"Baby Alice"
White Wolf
Wabash 78
The Legend of Hanging Rock
Moonrock
Central Indiana
Boone 86
The Screaming Road
Clinton 89
The "De-ghoster" Twins
The Ghosts of Sleepy Hollow
Delaware 94
Ball State Student Keeps Hanging Around
Howard 99
Jerome's Devil Dog
Kokomo's Haunted Funeral Home
Marion 108
Hannah House
House of Blue Lights
Montgomery 115
The Devil's Creature
Morgan 119
Gravity Hill
Putnam 123
Edna Collins Bridge
Randolph 127
The Ghost House
Shelby 131
The Blue River Concert
The Enchanted Sisters
Union 137
The Spirit of Hanna House
The Tilted Mill
Southern Indiana
Daviess 144
The Odon Fires
Decatur 147
The Friendly Ghost
Greensburg Courthouse Ghost
Gibson 152
The Ghost of Cockrum Hall
The Princeton Monster
Jefferson 157
Haunted Hanover
Jennings 161
Little Boy Lost
Contrary Mary
Monroe 167
The Ghosts of Indiana University
Posey 175
The Weeping Woman of Old Hoop-Pole Township
Poseyville's Haunted Library
Ripley 186
The Wolf Man
Spencer 191
The Mathias Sharp House
Sullivan 197
The Ferree (Free) Springs Bridge Ghosts
Vanderburgh 200
Raining Stones
Oscar the Friendly Ghost
The Gray Lady of Willard Library
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