My Haunted Hometown - The Culbertson Mansion

Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
                                                         ARTHUR C. CLARKE, 2001: A Space Odyssey

The Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Indiana, was the home of William Culbertson, once the richest man in the state. Built in 1867 at a cost of $120,000, this French Second Empire-style mansion has 25 rooms within 20,000 square feet, and was completed in November 1869.

Features within the three-story edifice include frescoed ceilings, a carved rosewood and mahogany staircase, marble fireplaces, fabric wallpaper and crystal chandeliers. The tin roof was imported from Scotland.

The house has seen many owners and changes since Culbertson and his family roamed the hallways. At the time of his death, William Culbertson willed the home to his third wife who sold it at auction in 1899 for $7,100. During the past century it has belonged to the American Legion and would have been torn down to make way for a gas station if the local historical society hadn't intervened in the late 1960's.

In 1985, the carriage house behind the mansion was opened as a haunted attraction during the month of October. It has raised nearly $600,000 since, with all the proceeds going to a restoration fund. The first floor of the mansion is completely finished and the second floor is well on its way.

Every year, the kids and I head over to the main house for ghost stories. For the admission price of two dollars, we get to trek by candlelight up the long winding staircase to the highest room in the home. There we hear about all the odd happenings that have taken place in the mansion including a small stuffed doll that moves from bed to bed in the children's room, and Misty, the ghost cat, that has been seen walking up and down the main staircase when the moon is full.

There have been inexplicable noises -- footsteps, murmurs, and door slamming -- and sightings of a ghost dubbed the "lady in gray".

The creaky floorboards and the wind whistling through the lone attic window always add to the experience. Every year as we're making our was back down the steps, I tell the kids to watch out for the cat. I've never seen Misty, but I figure it's good to be prepared.


Rogue Mutt said...

I went on a ghost tour once in New Mexico. Of course I didn't see any. And none of my pictures came out with the little orbs that are possible ghosts. Though my sisters might have got an orb during a Gettysburg ghost tour.

A 30 to 1 dead to living ratio is why if there's ever a zombie outbreak we're all screwed.

Lisa Potts said...

RM, I've visited Gettysburg a couple of times, but never caught anything weird on film.

About the zombies...I hear ya. That's why you need to be able to outrun at least one of your friends at all times.

Quinn said...

Not as much history as the other places (haunted history that is), but still a fun read. I'm really liking these posts.

Carolyn V. said...

Ooooo, that is spooky and so much fun! That is so cool that they do that. =)

Amie Kaufman said...

This is why I'm a part of the writing community. A friend at work ended up on crutches and I made a crack (after sympathizing!) about how I'd be safe now when the zombies came. What do you mean, not funny?!

Su said...

I don't know that I've ever been to New Albany, but I think I'll drag the DH along (and possibly the niece & nephew) to see this the next time we're in Indiana. I looks really cool!

Lisa Potts said...

Quinn, you know what? You're right. I realize I left out a whole paragraph about Culbertson's first wife, Eliza, dying in the house of typhoid pneumonia. I knew I should have proofed this last night. That's what I get for scheduling posts too far in advance.

Carolyn, it is a lot of fun. We're actually going tomorrow night for ghost stories.

Amie, I would have laughed.

Su, are you in Indiana often?

Tam7669 said...

A friend of mine just recently decided to visit the Mansion with her children and while there felt like she was being strangled and had to go outside to catch her breath. She also said while they were on the staircase she felt like someone was trying to push her. I have seen this place from the outside many times but after hearing about their experience want to visit the inside. Me and my boyfriend plan on going on a tour tomorrow night so I will post comments after our trip. I have always wanted to see or feel a ghostly presence. I even went to few Louisville Ghosthunter meetings.

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