Monticello, Arkansas is a college town in Drew County, Arkansas. It is known for being a commercial, cultural, and educational hub in southeast Arkansas.
There are a lot of great places to visit in Monticello. Some of them are Drew County Historical Museum, Lake Monticello, Turner Neal Museum of Natural History, Pomeroy Planetarium, UAM Fine Arts Galleries, Arkansas Railroad Museum, and many more.
The view at Lake Monticello, Arkansas. (Link: https://www.deviantart.com/animegamerstudio/art/Sunset-Over-Lake-Monticello-Monticello-Arkansas-828976059)
Another tourist spot in Monticello, Arkansas is the Allen House. You must be warned though because it is not for the faint-hearted.
The Allen House as seen from the outside. (Link: https://www.arkansas.com/articles/allen-house-most-haunted-house-america)
The History Of The Allen House
On October 1, 1890, Joe Lee Allen and Caddye McKennon get married. Joe Lee is already an established businessman in the area as he already had a livery stable when he married Caddye. Later, he grew his business by selling automobiles, horses, mules, wagons, buggies, and many more. He also put up the Allen Hotel and a private school. On the same year as he married Caddye, he became the first President of the Commercial Loan and Trust Company and served as President, too, of the Southeast Arkansas Fair Association.
An old photo of the Allen family. (Link: https://paranormalwitness.tumblr.com/page/4)
Almost a year after getting married, the first of his three daughters, Lonnie Lee Allen, was born. Three years later, the second daughter, Ladell Allen, also came to their lives. More than a year later, their son, Walter Edwin Allen, was born, but died nine months later. And more than a year later, the last of the three daughters, Lewie Manker Allen, gets delivered.
An old photo of the Allen House. (Link: http://theresashauntedhistoryofthetri-state.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-allen-house-of-monticello-arkansas.html)
Initially, the Allens owned a home on the North Main Street in Monticello. By the year 1905, a new home was built for the Allens just across the street. Joe Lee wanted it to be the most impressive home in town that is why he hired architect Sylvester Hotchkiss, the designer of the houses for other famous residents in and around Monticello. The Allen House was indeed a sight to behold because the designs were a combination of Neoclassical, Queen Anne, and Gothic. After the house was constructed, the Allens moved in.
By the year 1914, the second of the three daughters, Ladell, married Boyd Randolph Bonner, who was born in Indiana. He owned a billiards hall in Arkansas and is said to be tall, slender, has blue eyes, and had light brown hair. A year later, the first of the Allen daughters, Lonnie Lee, married Karl J. Leidinger, who is the son of a German immigrant. He is reportedly a soda dispenser and a hotel keeper before they got married. But three years after they got married, Karl entered the military.
In the year 1917, Joe Lee dies while he was demonstrating one of the automobiles he was selling to a potential buyer. The funeral was at the Allen House and it lasted for two days. He was later buried at the Oakland Cemetery.
Three years after the death of Joe Lee, Ladell and Boyd, as well as their son, moved to Texas. So, the only people living in the Allen House are Caddye, Lewie, Lonnie Lee, and Karl. Karl and Lonnie Lee pay Caddye a $10 rent per month. By 1921, Lewie marries Robert Hale Jones and they move to Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1927, Ladell gets a divorce from her husband and was granted such. After the divorce, she continued to operate a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Her son started living with his grandmother at the Allen House. In the 1930s, the third floor of the Allen House actually had the reputation among teenagers as the party place. It is unclear, though, how it earned such a reputation.
In the year 1944, Ladell lost her son, who died of pneumonia. Her former husband passed away four years later but the reason for his death is unclear. On the same year that her former husband died, Ladell consumed mercury cyanide while she was at the master suite of the Allen House. Ladell died days later. Her official cause of death was suicide by mercury cyanide poisoning.
After she was buried, her mother Caddye sealed of the master suite to preserve it as a memorial to Ladell. No one was able to enter the suite for 37 years until someone outside the Allen family bought it.
A photo of the room that was sealed where Ladell committed suicide. (Link: https://katv.com/news/local/gallery/inside-arkansas-most-haunted-house#photo-3)
In 1954, Caddye died and less than a year later, Lonnie Lee also passed away. From the years 1956 through 1986, Dr. Karl Leidinger, Jr lived in the Allen House and practiced medicine in the area. When Karl Leidinger Jr. died, his widow sold the Allen House to Bill and Bobbie Painton, which was when the master suite was opened for the first time for almost four decades. The Paintons even discovered the bottle of cyanide on a closet shelf.
Over the years, management of the Allen House changed hands. In October 2007, more than 600 people toured the house on Halloween. A year later, the first ever scientific paranormal investigation was supposed to be conducted. However, after the team of paranormal investigators finished setting up their equipment and was to begin, a limb falls in the backyard and it affected the power line of the Allen house. The paranormal investigation was rescheduled at a later date and on the day it was conducted, many personal experiences of the team members were recorded as well as over 40 Electronic Voice Phenomena were captured. Because of this, the Allen House was ranked as the number one haunted house in the whole of United States.
In 2009, another team of paranormal investigators went to the Allen House for a follow-up investigation. On the same year, 81 letters were discovered under the attic floor about Ladell’s love affair and her motive for committing suicide.
A photo of the envelopes and other letters between Ladell and Prentiss displayed at the Allen House. (Link: https://katv.com/news/local/inside-arkansas-most-haunted-house)
The Love Affair Of Ladell
According to reports, the 81 letters came from Prentiss Hemingway Savage. The first ever letter was dated March 19, 1948 and the last letter was dated December 2, 1948. Ladell and Prentiss actually grew up in Monticello together and they dated until February 1913. However, Prentiss had to move to Tyler, Texas for a job. Thirty-five years after they broke up and when Ladell was already divorced, they ran into each other at the horse races in Hot Springs.
An undated photo of Ladell Allen. (Link: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/81270048/ladell-bonner)
Because of this chance meeting, their old love was rekindled and it resulted to a nine-month long affair that included a two-week vacation in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In one of the letters, the towns they traveled to were detailed during the said two-week vacation. Another letter talked about Prentiss’s plans to divorce his wife and move back to Monticello. In another letter, which Prentiss actually addressed to his sister Genevieve, who later gave the letter to Ladell, stated how Prentiss is having difficulties in pushing through with the divorce. The reason being, as stated in the letter, “The big difficulty is that the stocks and government bonds are in joint ownership and since ‘H’ knows all about them I would have a most difficult time trying to hide them out.”
One of the letters sent to Ladell. (Link: http://allenhousemonticello.com/LETTERS_files/Media/Mar2748Ppage1/Mar2748Ppage1.jpg?disposition=download)
Later, Genevieve sent letters to Ladell herself. One of them mentioned that she doubts her brother will make it for Christmas that year because there has been no progress regarding the divorce. She also said she has not heard from Prentiss for a while.
Another photo of the letters between Ladell and Prentiss on display at the Allen House. (Link: https://katv.com/news/local/gallery/inside-arkansas-most-haunted-house#photo-16)
It is unclear what made Ladell take her life on Christmas Day of the year of the affair but she reportedly made it known that consuming the bottle of cyanide mercury was intentional.
The Owners Of The Allen House Now
The owners of the Allen House are now Mark and Rebecca Spencer. They moved to the home in 2007 and made some renovations. That as when the letters of Ladell were unearthed. During the same time the renovations were made, that was when they began to experience strange happenings in the home. They said that a doppelganger started to copy their then-five-year-old son Jacob. They saw him in places where he was not.
They then called investigators and they confirmed that the Allen House was haunted. Per the investigators, there are six ghosts at the Allen House and Ladell is one of them. The other ghosts are Joe Lee, the son of Ladell, Caddye, a baby, and a man with a gruff voice.
Although there are a lot of strange occurrences in the house, they never felt threatened by them. Mark shared, “For my kids, it’s everyday life. It’s like having invisible family members … if [a ghost] is in the room, I’ll just get out of their way.”
One of the figures that Mark always sees is a man who resembles a cowboy. Although he could only see that spirit’s figure he did see his boots walking in the master bathroom and walking out of the front door. Rebecca has also seen the figure five times for the last 12 years they have been staying at the Allen House.
A photo of the front door at the Allen House. (Link: https://katv.com/news/local/gallery/inside-arkansas-most-haunted-house#photo-10)
The Ghosts At The Allen House
It is believed that the ghost of Ladell haunts the Allen House aside from the other ghosts that live there. As early as the 1950s, many have already experienced paranormal activities at the Allen House when it was rented out to tenants. Accordingly, they have heard footsteps and moans around the house. There was even this couple, who saw a closet door ajar, and tried to close it. However, they felt as if someone was pushing back the door on the other side. They mustered up the courage to open the door and saw that nobody was there.
A photo of the attic at the Allen House. (Link: https://katv.com/news/local/gallery/inside-arkansas-most-haunted-house#photo-11)
Some have reported seeing shadowy figures appearing in the photographs they took. The furniture also gets rearranged even if no one touched them. Objects around the house would also get lost. Others also reported the rocking chairs moving on occasion without anyone making them move. Footsteps in the attic could also be heard and the faint sound of a crying baby occasionally spooks guests. Visitors during tours also claim they were touched by invisible forces.
If you want to experience the paranormal activities here, it is unfortunately closed as of the moment but will hopefully re-open by July this year.
The Allen House photographed at night. (Link: https://www.southernliving.com/culture/haunted-places-in-the-south)