All Photos from HistoricHannahHouse.com/tour.htm
Location: Hannah House can be found on Madison Avenue, in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is privately owned, so the privacy of the owners must be respected. The Hannah Mansion can be found on the corner of National Avenue and Madison Avenue. Address: Hannah House 3801 Madison Avenue,Indianapolis, IN. 46225.
Description: Hannah House is described as a "stately red brick mansion," perfectly suited for the Indiana State Legislator, Alexander Hannah, who built this 24 room mansion, that has two floors, an attic and a basement. This mansion was built in 1858, making it a pre-civil war era, "Italianate-style" of architecture. (Our house was built in 1848 and has some similarities... my grandmother recalled stories from her mother of our house being a safehouse for the slaves before they reached the Hannah House, though we have no proof of that.)
History: Alexander Hannah lived a peaceful life here with his wife. There were two instances of tragedy that happened in the mansion.
1) Before the Civil War, the mansion was part of the underground railroad that ran through Indiana. Hannah hid runaway slaves in the mansion's basement, until they could be moved to the next underground spot. One night, a lantern was accidentally knocked over, which caused a fire in the basement, killing many of the slaves hiding there. The dead slaves were buried in simple coffins in the basement.
2) According to an Indianapolis psychic, Lyn Dohrenwend, Mrs. Hannah had given birth to a still-born child in a second floor bedroom. A visit to the Crown Hill Cemetery to where Elizabeth & Alexander Hannah are buried, found a small, unmarked, infant-sized gravestone in the family plot, with only a single date etched in the stone.
From 1899 - 1962 various members of the Oehler / Elder families live in the grand mansion. In 1962, David Elder took the responsibility of care-taking the place, but didn't live there. From 1968-1978, Mr. & Mrs. O'Brien moved into the mansion, and opened an antique store in one part of the mansion, and lived part time in the other parts of the mansion.
Manifestations: David Elder was the first one to suspect that the place was occupied with unseen residents.
1) While working about the mansion, doing various upkeep chores, he suddenly heard a terrific crash of breaking glass, like jars breaking into a million pieces, resounding from the basement. He rushed down to the basement, and found nothing amiss at all. He then noticed the fruit jars that were being stored in the area where the slaves that were killed in the fire were buried so many years ago.The second floor bedroom, where Mrs. Hannah gave birth to a still-born baby was normally locked up and used forstorage. However, it seems to be a center of supernatural activity.
2) Occasionally, the horrid smell of rotting flesh emanates from this room, strong enough to gag the living, and make them run for the outside. (It really does.. it stinks something horrible)
3) From the same room, the strong, sweet aroma of roses permeates the air.
4) The door to this odor emitting room freely swung open at will, even when the room had been securely locked.
5) When the door did open up, other unexplainable manifestations happened. The living heard strange noises, footsteps of the unseen, mumbling voices, felt cold drafts in places where there were no sources for them, and saw other doors and windows open and close without help from the living. A painter who was hired to spruce up the place had the unnerving experience of having doors swing open and pictures slid from their moorings as he walked by. The painter had had enough and fled after a spoon that Mrs. O'Brien had put on a tray flew across the room.
The O'Brien family were treated to the full treatment of occurring manifestations, as well as seeing an apparition several times as well. Activity increased greatly after the O'Brien family moved in.
6) Early one evening, while the antique shop on the first floor was still open for business, Mrs. O'Brien looked up toward the second floor, and was startled to catch a glimpse of a man in a black suit who was walking across the upstairs hallway. Thinking it might be a customer, who had wandered onto the second floor by mistake, she went up the stairs toward him to guide him back down to the shop. When she reached the top of the stairs, the man had vanished into thin air7) Because the original house painter fled, Mrs. O'Brien's son volunteered to finish the job. On his first night, he felt that he was being closely watched by an unseen presence, which was a very uncomfortable feeling. So, on the second night he brought his wife and two little daughters to keep him company, as well as help with the painting. While three of them worked in one room, the youngest little girl played on the stairs. They heard the little girl talking with someone, and came out to investigate. She showed no fear, and was talking to a grandfatherly type man, which she could see, and her family couldn't see. The rest of her family watched her carry on a conversation, mesmerized. Then, the little girl said that "Dad" was climbing back up the steps. Totally spooked, the family left promptly.
8) Mr. O'Brien also saw a transparent, apparition who was standing in an archway on the stairs. He was wearing an old fashioned, black suit, and had mutton-chop whiskers. He melted away before Mr. O'Brien could reach him.
9) Despite the fact that the staircase leading to the second floor was carpeted, the sound of footsteps of varying loudness, along with rustling clothing could be clearly heard.
10) Mr. O'Brien also witnessed the door to the attic open by itself, after the handle deliberately turned by itself.
11) Loud groans from somewhere down the second floor hallway were heard by Mr. O'Brien one night as he was watching TV in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Annoyed, Mr. O'Brien yelled down the hall, scolding the ghost to stop it's "bellyaching" and leave them in peace. By 1972, the ghostly activity had stopped completely. For the time being, they had accepted the living in their house.
From 1980-'82, Hannah House was used as the annual haunted house project of the Indianapolis Jaycees. They would take kids on a tour of the spooky old mansion, with special scary effects added for entertainment.
12) While taking a break from the project, the coordinator and fellow workers were sitting in the summer kitchen, which was located right next to the staircase used by the servants to go up to the second floor, many years ago.
Suddenly, loud scratching sounds were heard coming from inside the staircase landing wall. Despite quickly moving to investigate, the source of the noise was never located.
13) One evening, while listening to the spooky sounds coming from an installed stereo unit, the coordinator and a friend, who were the only ones in the mansion, were puzzled when the sounds suddenly stopped. Investigating the trouble, they found that the on/off switch to the unit had been deliberately pushed to the off position. Awhile after restarting the unit again, the off switch was again activated. The only explanation is that some annoyed entity took matters into his/her own hands and stopped the sounds.
14) October 1981 - A TV crew went to Hannah House to film a segment on the Jaycee's Halloween House. A cameraman stood in the dining room doorway, planning to get a shot of the room from that point. After he commented about that wouldn't it be unnerving if the room's chandelier would start to swing, the chandelier started to swing in a six-inch arc. After investigating, the swinging chandelier had no reasonable cause to make it do so.
15) A psychic, Allene Cunningham, was brought by the crew into the mansion on the same day. She felt cold spots and presences in the house.
16) At the end of the filming of last shot, the cameraman stood in the dining room doorway, to film the host of this Halloween segment who was standing in front of a propped up coffin. Suddenly, a picture hanging on the wall above the coffin fell down with a crash. After seeing that the nail was still in it's upward position, and the string in back of the picture wasn't broken, it was deducted that something had to deliberately lift the picture off the nail. Some unseen entity was up to the old tricks, to try to scare the living, and let them know that ghosts were there.
Still Haunted? Yes.
1) The apparition of Alexander Hannah and that of an unidentified woman have both been spotted on the second floor.
2) Various apparitions of slaves have been seen still hiding in the basement.
3) The moving of objects and unaccountable sounds still occur in front of the living.
This place is 10 minutes from my house. I have been there many times and there are spirits there. They will let you know they are there, too. I will do another entry on the time my friends and I went there for the haunted house at Halloween in 1983 (they still have the haunted house, but it isn't run by the Jaycees anymore and it isn't nearly the trip it was before they made some changes to the Halloween tour).
What's funny is people actually rent this place for affairs like Weddings, Parties, and such... indoor and outdoor (think I'd pick outdoors, for sure!)