Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Indiana: A Faithful Companion

Highland Lawn Cemetery located in Terra Haute Indiana is the location for one of this states most unique and enduring ghost stories. Local residents have passed down this popular tale for several generations.

John Heini
Stiffy Green was known by all to be a faithful companion. He was a bulldog that was devoted to his master, John Heini. When Heini died in the 1920s Stiffy was devastated.

It was said after Heini’s death Stiffy would constantly return to the Highland Lawn Cemetery where he would keep vigil outside the Heini Family Mausoleum. Stiffy “forever grieving for his lost master” started to refuse food and water.

He was found dead one day on the steps of the Heini crypt. John Heini’s relatives had this bulldog’s body stuffed by a taxidermist and then placed his body with his master in the family mausoleum.

Guarding His Master

Soon after John Heini and this noble dog were reunited witnesses started to report some unusual sights and sounds. Many visitors to the cemetery reported hearing a dog’s bark in the vicinity of the Heini crypt.

Heini Crypt
Other witnesses stated that they heard Stiffy howl which effectively scared off thieves and the curious.

Some reported seeing a misty figure of an elderly man that appeared to be Mr. Heini walking with a stiff-legged dog in the neighborhood that surrounds the cemetery.

Witnesses also reported that the stuffed body of Stiffy seemed to shift positions within the crypt.

Many felt this devoted bulldog was still guarding its master. For people noted Stiffly’s green eyes glared out at anyone that might be an intruder.

With all these eerie tales and the belief that Stiffy still guarded Mr. Heini a Legend Tripping tradition began. Teens on dates would go to Highland Lawn Cemetery after dark with their flashlights. They then would flash their lights into the crypt to catch a glimpse of Stiffy’s menacing green glass eyes.

This tradition only stopped in the mid 1980s when the Vigo County Historical Society removed Stiffy’s stuffed body and relocated him to a replica Heini crypt--built by the Terra Haute Lion’s Club-- located within their museum.

Stiffy and replica crypt at museum.
Newspaper report about
They moved Stiffy in order to preserve him--for vandals shot bullets into the Heini Family Mausoleum and damaged part of his body and one glass eye.

No comments: