The Spirits of Indy Past

haunted indianapolis
(This is not the house. This is a stock photo.)

My husband and I have decided we just can’t afford our house anymore. I don’t meant that to be like, “Poor us, we have no money,” but you need to know that because that’s how this journey starts. The journey that took us to just one of what are probably many haunted Indianapolis stories.

While browsing online for homes that we can more realistically afford, we came across a house in a beautiful, historic area of Indianapolis. Indianapolis has some truly remarkable neighborhoods, with rich history, marked by varieties of majestic old homes, some dating back to before 1900. On Trulia, we came across a home in a beautiful neighborhood that is what I can only describe as a hidden jewel for a price that didn’t forbear us from at least looking at it. I know this is going to make me sound crazy, but get ready because this post is filled with stuff that’s going to make me sound crazy. But, when I saw this house, I had a weird feeling in my body that it was calling to us. That it wanted us to see it. 

We scheduled with a realtor to see the house. 

The house is a mansion, built in 1911: 5,000 square feet, absolutely stunning, and just standing inside you can imagine the majestic beauty that has long passed. Under the layers of dust and cobwebs, you can see the ghostly remnants of artifacts time has long forgotten, shadows of the life and liveliness that once was inside this home. You can almost hear Christmas music, an ethereal remembering of the holidays celebrated by the family that lived there so long ago. 

I’ll tell you, by nature I’m a little leery of old homes: not afraid, per se, but leery. I’m a believer when it comes to spirits, and believe that homes, in particular, can maintain the warm, familial energy it may have once housed. I won’t lie when I tell you I got a feeling in this house, particularly in certain areas. Not a bad feeling, but a feeling. And I won’t lie when I tell you that as we toured the house, there were certain areas where there just seemed to be an auric wall: a threshold I just could not physically cross. 

A couple things happened during this tour. My children, ages 3 and almost-2, were playing with a ball outside, toward the back of the house. Clear as day, I heard the distinct, hearty laughter of an older man. I stood still in my tracks, and waited to hear more: a conversation, maybe? Maybe I just misheard the laughter of my husband? Nothing. A little unnerved, I ushered my kids back into the house where my husband and the realtor were talking.

Once we were in there, the realtor startled and pointed to the front porch. “Whoa! Sorry…sorry, guys. I thought I just saw someone run across the front porch.” Needless to say, there was nobody there. 

My husband left the house with some questions about the lot, but I left with questions about, well…that feeling

I went home and Googled, “Haunted Indianapolis.” The link that came up first on my search was an urban legend about “The House of Blue Lights” (not this house). There are lots of urban legends about the House of Blue Lights, built by a man named Skiles Test: namely that he had embalmed  his wife in his living room and surrounded her with blue lights (this isn’t true, all of his wives outlived him). I kept reading the legend, though, amused. But, when I got to the part about Skiles Test’s childhood, I literally jumped out of my seat. 

A picture of Skiles’ childhood home stared at me from iPhone. And it was the home we had just toured

I did some more digging. Like a crazy person, I tracked down the family history of the Test family (I honestly don’t even know how I came across it, but the family genealogy is online: it’s really pretty fascinating). I read about the man who build the house: he was known as a decent man, who put his family first and foremost. He gained his wealth in a variety of business ventures, ending in Indianapolis in a business somehow related to automobile motors and engines.

With literally one Google search (and the top link, at that), I found a former resident of the home. Certain she’d think I was crazy, I reached out to her via Facebook anyway. To my surprise, she responded- not with “leave me alone, Crazy Lady” like I had expected-but she was instead very open with me. She shared that she had, indeed, had a haunted experience. One night,  a man in an old-fashioned suit one night came to her while she was in what was once the home’s library. She said she was not all threatened, but was certainly scared. He simply told her where the Christmas tree would look the best (I mean, if I’m going to have a haunted experience, I hope it’s with someone giving out decorating tips).

The craziest part, though, is that when I reached out to her (again, certain she’d think I was crazy), she told me that it was amazing I had found her: that she had thought about buying the home earlier this year, and actually had had a dream where the man came to her and asked her to take care of it

The house is stunning, and needs lots of love (and lemon oil): but, as weird as it sounds, I think it’s waiting for a family to take care of it. I think it’s ready to have its liveliness and warmth back. I don’t know what’s going to happen to it, but I hope to see it restored to its original beauty, filled with the laughter and love of family (maybe even ours!)


haunted indianapolis