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(Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane)(Central State Mansion Apartments)(Indiana Museum of History)
2800 – 3300 Blocks of West Washington Street
Status: Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital Complex; Museum; Most Buildings not Accessible; Residential Building
This location was authorized as early as 1827 but only opened in 1848 as one house with 5 patients. By 1928 the site and population had exploded to covering many acres and over 3,000 patients. Overcrowding became such a problem that those considered criminally insane had to housed with those attempting to overcome simple social issues. By 1948 the complex had 2 massive buildings – one housing the male patients and one housing the female patients – as well as a working farm, a hospital for physical illnesses, an amusement hall and a chapel.
The site was closed in 1994 when tales of patient abuse began to come to light and the state government began to look at alternatives to institutionalization.
The site is now largely abandoned and closed to the public but unlike many of its fellow hospitals it has not been completely demolished. There is currently a museum dedicated to the medical history of Indiana on the grounds housed in the former Pathology Building.
Only some of the buildings were demolished over the years; for example, the female and male wards are now gone – only a large lawn occupies their former location. 10 buildings belonging to the former hospital remain as of 2011.
In 2013 the Administrative Building as well as other buildings were purchased by a company wanting to refurbish them. They began changing the Administrative Building into student apartments; some of which were occupied by 2014. The building is now called the Central State Mansion.
The hospital is located in the 2300 – 3300 blocks of West Washington St on the western side of Indianapolis. As of 2003 the property is owned by the city. There is cemetery on the grounds but rumors abound of many unmarked graves as well.
Shadows, being touched and pushed, screams coming from some buildings (especially in the basements where the violent patients were kept usually in restraints), phantom footsteps, apparitions in hospital gowns on the grounds and in the buildings and cries from a victim who was murdered at the base of a tree.
I received a letter from a former patient of this institution and it has opened my eyes a lot to the human equation of these, well basically, Hell houses they called hospitals and the inhumane treatment people suffered in such places. His personal experiences were at Central State Hospital but I’m quite sure his thoughts mirror how others feel about what happened to them in other institutions.
I am posting his thoughts in hopes more eyes will be opened as mine have. His name has been omitted in order to protect his right to privacy.
“All of the trespassers of these places need to be more careful of whose law they are trespassing against. Spiritual or physical.
I watch these videos and I remember things that are sad not scary.
Look you all, you are illegally trespassing and possibly disturbing a miserable sacred ground of long forgotten souls, that were forgotten by any one that loved them long before they arrived here. I received electric shock therapy here twice illegally in 1979. when I was there all you can hear were muffled moans and see smug orderlies with the power of day and night for everyone there. Give this place a rest. Someone tear down the hall of tears please.
It is interesting that people look for the other side, and probably inevitable that one would want to know what waits for them there. But the places of violence and misery may have outcomes unsavory for both the physical and spiritual . A reasoning voice of understanding is what most people need who have not experienced the troubles these institutions provided…perhaps you will expand and let the voices mingle from both sides of the spectrum…”
3801 Madison Avenue
Status: Former Residence; Heritage Property
In 1858 Alexander Hannah returned from California having made his money in the gold rush. He purchased 300 acres (121 hectares) of farmland from his father and built the house on that land.
Alexander then got married and finally passed away in the house in 1895. The house was watched by a caretaker until 1899 when Roman Oehler bought it.
The house remains the property of the Oehler family to this day.
While there is no historical proof confirming the story it is said the house was part of the Underground Railroad bringing escaped slaves into the north. The story also says on a cold winter’s night Hannah brought in some escaped slaves and housed them in the basement.
At some point in the night a lantern fell over and ignited the hay they were sleeping on. The slaves were killed and it being winter Hannah could not provide them with a proper burial. Instead, he buried them all beneath the floor of basement.
The apparitions of the slaves have been seen in the house’s basement. As well the smell of rotting flesh and the phantom sounds of the men crying and moaning as they died.
The phantom sounds of a baby crying is heard throughout the house and said to from a miscarried child that the Hannah’s covered up. The apparition of a young child is also seen throughout the house.
The apparition of Mr Hannah himself is occasionally in the house.
5010 West Southport Road
Status: Former Residence; Heritage House
By add925 - I created this work entirely by myself., Public Domain, Link
David Nicholson – a stone mason from Scotland – built this house between 1870 and 1876. And despite working on the house for years he sold the house in 1879 to Allison Remy.
Remy had both built the Remy Hotel in downtown Indianapolis and been a County Commissioner for Marion County. It is unclear if Remy ever actually lived in the house – he owned a lot of the land around it – but beginning in 1880 he began renting it out.
At one point in the 1890’s the house may have been owned by William HH Miller who was the US Attorney General under the 23rd President Benjamin Harrison.
In 1903 the house was bought by John Lindsey Rand and his wife – although they allowed the current tenants to stay another year – in order to live closer to their only surviving child, Florence. The Rands lived the remaining years of their lives in the house passing ownership to Florence when they passed.
Florence and her husband Wymond Beckett combined their farm with her parent’s farm which she had inherited giving them a combined total of about 600 acres (243 hectares). Throughout the late 1920’s – 30’s they rented the farm out to multiple tenants.
Joe Rand Beckett – the son of Florence and Wymond – moved into the house in 1940 with his wife Mary-Ann and lived there until the late 1950’s. They then donated the house and farm to Depauw University.
The University would ultimately sell the house and farm and in 1997 the Indiana Historic Landmark Foundation would interfere when the owner wanted to change the property to commercial and residential properties which would result in the house being demolished.
Due to the house’s historical and architectural value the foundation moved the home to it’s current location to save it.
Strangely, this house has no reports of paranormal activity previous to it being moved. However, once it was loaded on a truck to be moved the paranormal activity was nearly instantaneous beginning with a famous photo.
Due to copyright permissions, we cannot post the famous photo taken of this house while it was being moved in 1997 but it can be easily found on other websites. It seems to clearly show the apparition of a little girl – some people see a woman - in an upper story window.
There are a couple of stories linked to this house which cannot be historically verified but may account for the paranormal activity. One is simply that the house was once used as boarding house and one of the tenants hung themselves in a closet. Another is that the house was part of the underground railroad helping escaped slaves leave the southern United States but at some point, a fire was started in the basement when it was filled with these escaped slaves resulting in multiple fatalities.
Activity reported in the house: human or animal blood coming from the walls; the phantom smell of decaying flesh; disembodied voices and phantom screams.