Location: 126 E. Main St., Hartford City, Indiana 47348
Owner: Dann Allen
old Hartford City Jail was built in 1879 and continued serving the area until
its closure in 1995. Dann Allen purchased the property in 1996 and lives in the
front part of the building.
one ever escaped from this jail due to its granite ceilings, floors and walls
which are eight feet thick. John Dillinger robbed his first bank approximately
one mile north of the jail. The men were housed downstairs while the women were
sounds of hard-soled shoes have been heard walking around the catwalk on the 1st
floor prison cells. Sounds of prison doors slamming and frequent shadow figures
have been seen in the past.
psychic who once visited this location claimed that there is a troll or
gnome-like creature lurking in the basement and first floor. Scratching sounds
have been encountered.
once encountered the sound of heavy footsteps descending down from the attic
towards his upstairs bedroom in the front of the building.
The Ghost Research Society investigated Old Blackford County Jail on September 26, 2015. Team members included: Stan Suho, Marge Sucha, Kathie Para, Michael Wright, Katherine Meagher, Jim Piscopo, Charles Williams and Dale Kaczmarek
setup: Static cameras were positioned in
the catwalk around the first floor jail cells while other static and handheld
cameras were moved from floor to floor when EVP sessions were conducted. We
could not do a full setup as there was some mix-up with the date of our
investigation and another paranormal team was double-booked for the same night.
We first investigated the jail for a time and then switched over to the nearby
haunted Speakeasy and allowed the other paranormal team to investigate the jail.
members present for this investigation were Dale, Stan, Marge, Kat, Jim, Chuck
and I. It is an old, well-built building that served as the county jail and
sheriff’s residence from 1879 to 1995. The current owner, Dann Allen purchased
the building shortly after it closed and has been restoring it. It is in
Unfortunately, the building
was accidentally double booked for that night and we ended up cutting our time
short. Dann has another haunted location nearby and we split our time between
the two locations so the other group of investigators could also have time in
We spent the better part of
the night in the jail cells, which seemed most active. We had shadow detectors
go off in the cells, heard unexplained noises and taps, whispers and two members
of our team saw shadows. There was also whispering heard in the booking area,
just outside of the cells.
As we were initially
bringing our equipment in several of us heard a dog whining, as if he was in the
next room and wanted to be let out to join us. There are only two cats in the
building… no dogs. Unfortunately, no one had a recorder running at that time.
In spite of our limited
time there I feel the activity we did get warrants a return visit. There were a
few areas, like the attic and the basement that we didn’t get to spend much
time in. I am anxious to return to the jail and spend a full night investigating
Piscopo: We entered the
jail about 7:30 pm and unloaded our equipment. As we did this we heard a dog
whining very clearly but we were told there was no dog at the jail. I set up my
IR camcorder in the far walkway by the jail cells. After equipment was set up we
did an EVP session in the jail cells. We had Marge dressed as an inmate and I
was a guard. We got some good results.
After the EVP session we started a walk through. When the group
went upstairs I stayed down and sat in the booking room with a Mel Meter. I
watched the temperature drop from 78 to 71 degrees in about two minutes while
talking to Ed who was a sheriff there and died in the office next to the booking
During the walk through the temperature stayed about 73 degrees. We
heard a lot of sounds throughout the jail through the course of the night.
After the jail we went to the speakeasy and I set up a camera and
we did an EVP session. Didn’t seem to get much but everything is still being
Sucha: Equipment: FLIR,
Ovilus, SB-11 Sprit box. I
also dressed up as a prisoner and Jim Piscopo had Sheriff’ props for roll
were only going to investigate the jail but due to a scheduling conflict we
split our time between the Jail and the Speakeasy.
The speakeasy is about a block away from the jail so this was a great
compromise. We first investigated
the jail. The owner took the other
group to the speakeasy. The
speakeasy was only about 1 block away.
first investigated the jail. The
owner took the other group to the speakeasy and while we were waiting for him to
return we did a short EVP session in the jail cells.
of the first questions asked was, is someone here and can you give us your name.
The Ovilus responded with Ed. We
later learned on our tour that Ed was the name of the sheriff.
EVP/ Booking area / Sheriff's office.
and Chuck both had their Ovilus going. It
was interesting that when one was working the other one was quiet.
Dale asked if anybody was here and it responded "I am".
We also got "glass Ida" Listening
on my headphones is sounds more like "glass item" and "Push"
Several times Chuck's Ovilus became very chatty but could not make out
everything that was said. Something
about a "big deal" and when asked "Can you tell us your
name?" Responded "Can you?"
EVP/ Jail Cell Part 2 - The group split up. Chuck, Jim & I decided to do another EVP
session in the jail cell.
asked if any there were any female prisoners & what were their names.
got the name Melody. We also got Dr.
- Shy - hanging. Not sure if it
meant a person named Dr. Shy.
EVP/ Jail Cells Part 3 - Dale asked "Can you tell us your name?"
a gasp and a knocking sound in another cell we could not debunk.
to the scheduling I did not have time to investigate the Sheriff's residence.
was a great place to investigate. We
had many direct answers to our questions.
really hope to come back here soon.
Suho: Well this investigation got off
to a bass-akward start. The owner showed up late and announced he had scheduled
another group for this time slot. Sure enough about 10 additional people showed
up and were surprised to see us. As luck would have it there was a Dance
Hall down the street that was also haunted. So we decided to split up and do a
switch-a-roo after some time. Worked out fine. Because of the late start, no set
up was attempted. Instead we grabbed our cameras and hand-helds and set forth
into the long dark cell blocks. This was a sturdily built building with 2
floors and a spooky basement. The group formed up into a well-equipped EVP team
with all the bells and whistles and started making the rounds. This gave me a
chance to use my new Monopod IR camera set up. Hopefully this will stabilize the
camera as the pictures are taken.
In spite of the mix up at the start, it turned out to be an interesting evening. I think the Jail could use a follow up investigation. As far as the Ballroom, I still think there's more to them than meets the eye (or IR camera). Time will tell.
Williams: I remember the jail feeling
quiet, even though Jim saw something move in the hall outside the cells, and I
saw its shadow move. The audio had
more EVPs than I expected to get, some intelligent, some residual.
session one- There seems to be a couple of EVPs in Jim’s voice, but the host
was doing the walk through, and I don’t feel Jim would be doing that.
One in Stan’s voice as well.
loud bangs- during walk through. In
cell block, Kathy P. thought it was Dale making sounds, but we can all be seen
in camera expect the host who was talking, and Stan partially.
None of us made those noises.
and Marge noted hearing a Dog whining, there was no dogs there, one was later
heard outside, but there are EVPs of barking, whining, etc.
We didn’t tag those.
was making noise in the table in the cellblock, an EVP loudly says, enough, and
I drop my device, could a spirit have knocked it out of my hands?
Ovilus was quiet or spoke nonsense at the jail, and had one almost clear full
sentence at the speakeasy, which has differing interpretations from audio to
lot of camera movement while at the jail from the static Handycam.
I left it looser, and at 1st thought the movement was caused
by people walking, but it moves independently when no one is near it.
Kaczmarek: This was an amazing
place to investigate. Too bad we didn’t have the full complement of time that
we would have liked. Only part of the building looked like a prison while the
front portion of the house was the original Sheriff’s quarters, and that is
where the current owner lives currently.
found this jail very reminiscent of Porter County Jail in Valparaiso, Indiana,
Morgan County Jail in Indiana and the Old Jail Museum in Allegan, Michigan as
they were all smaller county jails with a lot of flavor and history.
I personally did not receive many EVP replies, those that I did capture are
definitely not residual but intelligent responses from entities still hanging
around this well-kept jail. It was a pleasure to investigate!
bangs blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the jail cell area,
two bangs are heard in the background.
loud bangs blackground.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the jail
cells, three metallic bangs are heard and everyone is in the frame except the
camera operator and our host. Nobody says they accidentally caused the sounds.
blackford.MPG – while just beginning our second EVP session in the jail cell
area, a voice says alright.
blackford.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the jail cells, a
question was asked, “Can you tell us your first name?” The Ovilus responds
blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder located in the catwalk picks
up the sounds of two bangs.
blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder located in the catwalk, picks
up some bangs in the background.
area thump and boy blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the
booking area, a thump is first heard followed by a whispery voice that sounds
area whisper blackford.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the
booking area, a whisper is heard.
boom boom blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP in the jail cells, three
quick knocks are heard on metal.
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through in the jail cells, over
Dale’s voice, a breathy sound is heard.
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, a bump is
heard by all.
movement1 blackford.MPG – William’s static camera facing towards the kitchen
area, begins to move as if being touched by someone or something.
movement2 blackford.MPG – William’s static camera facing towards the kitchen
area, again begins to slightly move.
breath blackford.MPG – a breath is heard in the jail cell area.
gasp blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, a gasp
is heard by all.
noise again blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through a noise is heard
again by several.
noise blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through a noise is heard in the
taps blackford.MPG – during an EVP session in the jail cells, a question was
asked, “Can you tell us goodbye?” A tap is heard in response.
blackford.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the jail cells, a
question was asked, “Is there anyone in the prison cells? Can you tell me your
name?” The Ovilus responds with, “Ed.” (Ed was someone who once worked and
later died in the office.)
jingle blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder in the catwalk picks up
the sounds of approaching footsteps followed a jingle sound; could it be keys
like from a prison guard?
chick blackford.MPG – while starting an EVP session in the jail cells, a loud,
raspy voice says fucking chick.
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the jail cell area, a deep
groan is heard off camera.
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through in the jail cells, a whispery
voice in the background says, “Hi.”
blackford.MPG – William’s static camera facing into the kitchen area, hears
a faint, “Hi.”
blackford.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the booking area, a
question was asked, “Is there anyone here?” The Ovilus responds with, “I
not here blackford.MPG – William’s static camera facing into the kitchen
area, picks up a whispery voice that says, “Jesus not here.”
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, just before
Marge talks, another female voice in the background says, “Kathy.”
top blackground.MPG – in the booking area, Dann was talking about his laptop,
when a voice also says, “Laptop.”
pipe sound blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder in the catwalk
picks up, several times, the sound of a lead pipe.
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through while our host was talking
about the area we were in, murmurs are heard by several in the group.
chance in here we’re out blackford.MPG – setting up for our EVP session in
the jail cells, William’s camera picks up whispers saying, “No chance in
here. We’re out.”
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, a noise is
heard in the background.
now blackford.MPG – while just starting an EVP session in the jail cell, a
comment was made my Katherine, “Dale still wants to be poked in the back.” A
voice says, “Not now.”
god blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session a voice in the background
says, “Oh God.”
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, Marge says,
“I just want to…” A very weird sounding voice says a whole sentence which
is hard to make out, but it ends with the word, “Ok.”
they’re out blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail
cell, a strange whispery voice says, “Ok, they’re out.”
gotta go out blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the jail cell
area, William’s camera picks up faint whispers saying, “Ow, gotta go out.”
blackford.MPG – William’s static camera facing into the kitchen area, picks
up a faint voice that seem to say, “Right.”
blackford.MPG – Marge says, “Is that where your camera’s at; over
there?” A faint scream is heard in the background.
blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder in the catwalk picks up
several weird-sounding screams.
discussion blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the jail cells
area, what sounds like a faint whisper, then Piscopo saw a shadow while others
are looking and discussing the encounter.
blackford.MPG – the sound of someone sneezing was picked up, but no one
reacted to the sound or the sneeze.
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, a really
loud thump is heard but no human caused the sound.
blackford.MPG – Piscopo’s static IR camcorder in the catwalk picks up the
sounds of several voices.
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, a whispery
voice say, “Wait.”
up blackford.MPG – as equipment is being a voice says, “Wake up.”
that blackford.MPG – several are discussing a topic when a weird voice quickly
says, “What’s that?”
slim Jim blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the building, a
voice can be heard saying, “Where’s slim Jim?”
light anomaly blackford.MPG – while setting up for an EVP session in the jail
cells, a whisper is picked up followed an unusual light anomaly that drifts
along the left cell wall.
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the basement area, Dale
says, “You could have just stayed in there” followed by a little laughter
from the group and then an older woman’s voice saying, “Who?”
me blackford.MPG – William’s static camera picks up a faint voice saying,
hoo blackford.MPG – William’s static camera picks up another faint voice
saying, “Woo hoo.”
blackford.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the jail cells, Chuck asks
a question and over his question a voice says, “Working.”
blackford.MPG – during our initial walk-through, Katherine says,
“Something’s better than nothing.” A loud whispery voice says, “Wow.”
With the great amount of EVPs, responses on the Ovilus X and Ghost Box SB-11, I
would say that the ghosts of Old Blackford County Jail have a lot to say and
wish to be heard. While some responses were derogatory, others were very direct
and answered distinct questions posed to them. Some of the responses, sounds and
noises can be residual in nature due to the anguish of being held in a jail,
maybe for a very long time.
found the camera manipulation to be interesting as I have only once in the past,
at a private residence, ever had a camera moved by a spirit. Either they were
trying to get our attention or they didn’t appreciate us being there and
filming the prison. This could have been their way of reaching out to be
recognized and it was a most impressive way indeed!
This location needs to be re-visited sometime in the future with more time, equipment, cameras and visiting more areas of the entire building. A Command Center with video monitors and motion and shadow detectors would also be a plus.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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