By Rick Hinton
In one lifetime folks strive toward individual pursuits and aspirations during their moment in the sun. Then, they move on, replaced by a new group with the cycle starting anew. Buildings play a part in our short stroll through life, however they do not fade, remaining timeless and remnants of a past era. And while these structures age at a much slower rate than people passing through them, they hold firm imprints of a history. If only they could speak. Sometimes they do…
I’ve participated in a few paranormal investigations through the years. In fact, I’ve probably forgotten more than I remember but one thing remains consistent: people and friendships formed, their stories and the buildings I’ve strolled through. Most memorable have been those in small towns. These buildings, for the most part, continue to remain intact long after their origination devised from common folk with dreams and agendas, yet, always with an eye toward some sort of future. And unless destroyed by fire or some natural catastrophe, they tend to stand longer than their counterparts in cities where a critical eye is directed toward development.
One such three-story brick building, formerly an Odd-Fellows Lodge in a northern Indiana farming town, has been an imposing witness to the passage of time. And… a passage of inhabitants briefly leaving their personal mark, good and bad! A farming community surrounded by a flat landscape drawing the brunt of Indiana storms, yet retaining dedicated residents who are often not comfortable with change. This building has, however, certainly went through its own cycle of changes throughout the years: hardware and general store; apartments; Masonic Lodge; a lawyer’s office; offices for the Ku Klux Klan; a doctor’s waiting room and surgical suite; and a local chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, complete with 3rd story Lodge and Grand Hall. And along the journey… a second-floor brothel and talk of a liquor running operation during Prohibition, with underground tunnels running to various points in town.
A small crossroads town with its stories… and ghosts!
Author and entrepreneur, Bob Freeman, has lived here all his life. It’s home. He frequented the establishments along Main Street throughout his youth, even touching base with this building that ultimately played a larger role in his life. His father, an officer in the present incarnation (a rite of passage finding Bob assuming the same role) through a quirky circumstance was introduced by his father to the spirits of the building. A visiting club member had an experience while staying in the building. She’d seen a ghost! Bob investigated, effectively starting another era of history that continues to this day. Apparently… there are unexplained “things” that have remained behind. In his caretaker role, Bob has spent countless hours there; day and night. He’s hosted numerous paranormal groups. He’s accepted the residing spirits and, in many ways, developed a relationship with them. Sometimes they act up. Yet, through it all, curious flights of fantasy or staggering doses of reality, it makes Bob smile. Bob loves to smile!
I’ve been to this location more times than any other investigation. It’s like we have become family. There were those quiet nights and those with activity off the scale. It’s become my own personal diary…