Haunts & Jaunts: Making friends along the journey

Making friends along the journey

One hallway in the former Owen County Home.
Photo by R. Hinton

   Paranormal amusement parks (as I like to call them) are a popular slice of the ghost experience, having their place as long as they don’t end up consuming each and every weekend. They’re useful for developing the skills involved for an investigation—equipment and team organization. Expectations are usually high due to prior publicity, however, it’s not always like what’s portrayed on TV. Sometimes you get nothing but a good story.

   I’ve met some shysters along the way. I’ve also met and made some friends along the journey; genuine haunted locations with people who’ve made an impression in my life. Revisiting them, and these locations, is in many ways like going home:

   Tony Abney and the Owen County Home in Spencer, Ind. Although presently closed to investigations, this former county home near McCormick’s Creek State Park once held Tony’s personal stamp upon the grounds and large brick building. He organized the visiting investigative groups, staying with them throughout the night. His enthusiasm and love for the property was contagious. His keen eye for detail always assured a good time for everyone. The building and its inhabitants accepted Tony and he felt a kinship with them as well. When the county sold the building Tony walked away, creating a large void in his life.

   Bob Freeman and a certain former Odd Fellows Hall in northern Indiana. An author, sage, philosopher, caretaker, and big time advocate of Halloween, Bob has been a part of this building and small town all his life. The town the building inhabits has its own stories to tell. He has negotiated the two flights of steep stairs most likely a thousand times, being pushed from behind by unseen hands a few times over the years. There are ‘things’ in the building that are just shadows of the past. However, there are other things not so nice.

Darrell Whisman and Poasttown Elementary School in Middletown, Ohio. Yeah, it’s a long drive there, and a bleary eyed return home, however Darrell makes the experience worthwhile. He lives on the property and has his own personal experiences 24/7. There are strange rumblings throughout the maze of hallways and lower level. Darrell takes it all in stride, trying to make sense of it all. Investigative groups help. My wife Laura, who is somewhat ‘sensitive,’ was overloaded once in the past, retreating outside to clear her head. Not so nice ghosties?

   Laura and I no longer go looking for the paranormal, yet if someone needs help, we do what we can. And on occasion visit old friends who will be friends for life.