The Hannah House is a popular tourist destination in Indiana. The home is notorious for the part it played on the Underground Railroad. In 1858, the house was utilized as a passage station as slaves traveled discreetly, fighting their way to freedom. One of the groups of slaves would forever change the Hannah House and the future guests to come.
On one fateful day in 1858, a small ground of slaves came to the Hannah House seeking solace and safety. They were welcomed in and provided food and drink, an unheard of treatment to the people so poorly treated throughout that time of American history.
The Hannah House was one of many stops on the Underground Railroad, running under Indiana and neighboring states, often leading all the way up to Canada. Often travelers would scurry through tunnels between each station and rest before either continuing in the tunnels or being transported by wagons to the next station.
That night, the group took shelter in the basement of the Hannah House, making beds on the straw and resting their weary eyes until their next leg of travel. Unfortunately, their rest would ultimately end up to be more permanent than they had intended.
During the night, an oil lantern was kicked over. Quickly, oil coated the straw floor and immediately ignited. Trapped in the basement, most of the men, women, and children in the group was burned alive in the flames. Those fortunate enough to survive that fate fell victim to smoke inhalation and also quickly perished.
Alexander Hannah, the home’s builder and owner, feared retribution and discovery for such a highly punished crime of assisting the Underground Railroad. Hannah was a prominent figure at the time, serving as a farmer, prospector, sheriff, postmaster, court clerk, and civic leader. Fearing the worst but wanting to honor the bodies, he opted to bury the remains of his unlucky guests in the basement of the Hannah House, ending their fight for freedom and sealing their souls in the house for eternity.
Death seemed to linger in the Hannah House. Alexander Hannah’s wife, Elizabeth, got pregnant only one time for the many years they lived in the house. Unfortunately, she miscarried the child in one of the upper rooms of the house. The baby was interned at the Crown Hill Cemetery with an unmarked stone, later followed by parents Alexander and Elizabeth.
After their deaths, the house lay dormant for four years. It was eventually sold to Roman Oehler in 1899. It was established and recorded as a historical landmark by the United States Department of the Interior in 1978. Unfortunately, even the change of hands couldn’t stop the hair raising occurrences at the Hannah House.
In the cellar, reports of apparitions of slaves and the distinct sounds of moans and cries can be heard. There are distinct cold spots, sounds of footsteps and feelings of being watched. A caretaker once heard a great crash in the basement and rushed down to find the source. He noticed nothing broken but did note that the canning jars kept in the basement had all been moved.
In other rooms, doors and windows are opened and slammed on their own. Images have been spotted on the balcony and pictures are moved. In the room Elizabeth miscarried her child, a distinct smell lingers. At one moment the smell of gangrene and decay radiates to the point of making visitors sick. Seconds later the smell of roses permeates the air. Elizabeth herself has been spotted in that room and objects or furniture have been reportedly moved. Some guests have been alarmed at noticing the chandelier above them violently swaying, even when there is not the slightest hint of a breeze.