Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Haunted Hannah House

“The House that reeks of death . . .”

Hannah House
This old house is located on the southern part of Madison Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana. Witnesses state the home’s history has left it haunted.

Alexander Hannah built this grand 24-room house in 1858.

Hannah was born a Quaker and the son of the president of the Indiana Central Railroad first trained as a harness maker. He left this business to seek his fortune as a prospector in the Californian gold fields. He earned enough money to become part owner of a ranch.

He returned to Indianapolis in 1850. He worked for his father, Samuel Hannah and bought 240 acres south of the city where he began construction on his dream home at the age of 37.

The Hannah House is a 2-story redbrick structure designed in the fashionable Italianate style with Greek revival influences.

Hannah became a progressive farmer who used all the latest scientific techniques. His community involvement included: being a sheriff, postmaster, and a member of the Indiana General Assembly.

In 1872, Hannah a confirmed bachelor for many years married Elizabeth Jackson. 

Upstairs bedroom.
Alexander and Elizabeth sadly were unable to have children. At one point Elizabeth miscarried. This baby is buried near the couple at their family plot. One legend states this stillborn baby haunts an upstairs room in the Hannah House where she was born.

Despite this tragedy the Hannah’s often entertained and kept busy with public events. He and his wife are believed to haunt their home.

One legend states Alexander Hannah’s most passionate activity was one he had to keep secret. He used Hannah house and its surrounding acreage as a stop on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War.

Records of this activity were obviously not kept but in more recent years partially collapsed tunnels have been discovered on the Hannah property—these could have been used to help escaping southern slaves made their way to Canada.

One story passed down through the family involved a rainy evening when a group of slaves were hidden in the home’s cellar. One of these slaves accidentally tripped over an oil land and set the room ablaze.

These slaves, unable to flee succumbed to the smoke and flames. Hannah’s servants buried their bodies in the dirt of the cellar floor so it would not be discovered the house was used as a “stop.”

Cellar's dirt floor.

Years later, many witnesses reported smelling burning flesh and decomposing bodies in the Hannah House.

Hannah Family marker.
Alexander Hannah died in 1895, and after Elizabeth died in 1888, the house lay empty for 4 years. A German immigrant, Roman Oehler, a jeweler, purchased the home along with 21 acres in 1899. His daughter’s family--named Elder-- lived in the house until 1962. The home still is owned by this family today.

During their time in the house, Mr. Elder heard a shelf containing canned fruit jars in the cellar crash down--till this day he cannot explain what caused the rack to fall.

For the next thirty years, the property lay mostly unused. A family by the name O’Brien rented the property in 1972 and ran an antique business for 10 years. They lived in the house upstairs for one year--but were then driven out by the activity--even though they kept the store open.

This family claimed to have experienced a variety of paranormal activity. They reported feeling cold spots and seeing fleeting apparitions.

They smelled foul smells including rotting corpses--in the bedroom upstairs where the Hannah baby was born. Despite attempts to clean this room the smell always returned.

The witnesses saw doors, and wall hangings move on their own. They saw a spoon fly off a coffee tray and hit the wall. These witnesses also stated they heard disembodied voices—which included whispering.

In 1978, the Hannah House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In 1980, the Southport Jaycees used the old house as a Haunted House for several years. Members of this group were often stumped by the fact that one chandelier downstairs would sway without any explainable reason. 

Several members stated that one afternoon before the Haunted attraction opened their sound system with their spooky music turned on, and then they heard footsteps enter the house, but no one was there.

One woman who drives into Indianapolis on her way to work passes the Hannah House--she states that she often sees an old man in period clothing standing on the lawn by the house waving at her.

Today Hannah House can be rented for special events--this is to raise funds to preserve it.

Paranormal groups and psychics that have investigated the home state having similar experiences to those listed above as well as hearing unexplained scratching sounds.

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