The Hannah House — everyone who’s anyone in and around the Indianapolis area knows of this place as one of our historic landmarks. Although it’s best known for its Halloween seasonal festivities and paranormal overnights due to its reputation of things going bump in the night, its biggest draw is its annual commercial haunted house. What many patrons might not realize is that when they’re paying for this scary excitement, it may not only be an actor whose voice they’re hearing, nor an actor’s hand patting them upon their shoulder, nor is it truly a shadow casted simply by a prop!? You can’t be sure – not in THAT house!
How can I say that? Welp, I’ve ‘been there, done that’ and boy did it leave an ‘impression’ on me! Yep, today’s Halloween tale is of another of my paranormal epiphanies … and this one took place within the walls of this particular structure.
First let me introduce you to a brief history of this grand structure:
The Hannah House was built by a very prominent and successful business man back in 1858. Alexander and Elizabeth remained living in the mansion until deaths. In 1899 a German immigrant named Oehler purchased the property and whose family still owns and manages the mansion.
The Hannahs were passionately anti-slavery and built their home according to these strong beliefs as to open their home to runaway slaves whose destination was the freedom of Canada. They purposely built a hidden tunnel off the basement that led to a secret place perfect to house runaway slaves. Their home’s shudders were slightly more narrow than those of their neighbors and in one window they left a candle lit every night – both signals to fleeing slaves in the dark of the night this was the next safe stop where they could obtain food, water, and place to rest their weary bodies.
Mr. Hannah and his wife, as well as their staff, knew the harsh consequences which awaited them should it be discovered they were partaking in the Underground Railroad. One infamous day a fire broke-out near the stairs to the basement when a multitude of slaves were in hiding. The Hannahs knew thousands of future runaway slaves depended upon them for help so they couldn’t allow the slaves to escape the fire during the light of day without blowing their cover so they had to lock the basement door. All of the slaves perished in the fire. To continue their anonymity, the slaves’ bodies couldn’t be taken outside the home to be buried either; so the slaves were entombed in the basement’s dirt floor.
I had never had a ‘ghost’ physically touch me leaving proof as well having a multitude of witnesses to confirm my tale as true until I was at the Hannah House. About 6-years ago I was on a team of volunteers coordinating and leading a fund-raising event to help offset some financial struggles for the home. It was Autumn and that year, in lieu of the usual commercial haunted house, true grit paranormal tours were to be given. It was a huge ordeal! Even scored the site prime news time coverage by my being interviewed by THE Catt Sadler (when she was a FOX anchor just prior to her joining the ‘E!’ staff in LA).
As many ghosthunters know, before you can earnestly give a tour, one must obtain data to build a script. With this in mind, several night investigations took place at the Hannah House. Each time, teams were formed and placed in specific spots throughout the house. The night that changed my life was when I was sent to investigate the basement! The basement is divided into two major sections; as the other members of my team were in the adjacent room setting up equipment, I was still on the side where the slaves are presumed buried. I was bent over double-checking my recorder was safely attached to its tripod when it happened. With my backside safe from the view of others, I failed to pull my shirt down and cover the drooping drawers which exposed my undergarment. I’m assuming the ‘slaves’ felt it necessary to instill pain my way because when ‘they’ let go, not only was the slap audible but the welt left upon my lower back, BRIGHT red. It DEFINITELY made our endless nights of investigating well worthwhile with plenty for the script!
To this day the Hannah House mansion offers paranormal tours and that commercial haunted house each Halloween season. And it’s been shared with me that many guides still share the tale of that day that female ghosthunter’s “thong was snapped by unseen hands”. It’s ok, I don’t mind! Those few weekends of volunteering paid for the rood, some of the back taxes and helped to improve the home’s plumbing; moreso, like a young boy scoring a black eye while winning at backyard football, my welt was my trophy! A reminder as to why this hobby fascinates me!
Curious though, wonder if the slaves thought it a sling shot and simply wanted to play with it!
Hugs & happy hunting …