Owen County Poor House Investigation

The Owen County Home in Clay Township is located on State Road 43 and was built in 1878. An earlier facility, known as the County Asylum, or Poor Farm, was built in about 1860 two miles down river from Spencer on State Road 67. It was a two story frame building, large enough, but by 1878 they were running out of space. The county traded that former Tommy Howe farm for 395 acres known as the Col. John Franklin farm and contracted William F. Mcgenhardt to build a brick County Asylum for a cost of $8,000. The earlier house is still standing and in good repair and is now the home of Bill Edwards. The outward appearance of the 1878 brick County Home, a pleasant well-maintained facility, has changed little over the years. The property no longer functions as a working farm, and the barn and other outbuildings have been torn down. Sixteen people resided at the County Home in 1994. The Franklins are directly related to Benjamin Franklin.

One report from a local resident living near the home stated, "1000s of people died in that building."  Many of the deaths reported at the Owen County home were by suicide (i.e. hanging of a self proclaimed cowboy in the garage) and/or homicide (unconfirmed however), accidental deaths (a visiting child relative fell to his death from a 2nd story window... elderly falling in showers) and deaths by natural causes (i.e. old age, illness). We were told of a ledger, by past employees, who was in existence that told and recorded deaths and big events at the home, however, we were not able to locate it. If that weren't enough, several locals reported tails of how the cells/cages were used to isolate unruly or mentally ill "inmates" for days or even weeks at a time until they were deemed ok to return to the general population. Reports alluded to the two slides that are fixtures on each side of the house - some simply report that those were used for garage to ease the burden on the people cleaning... and yet others report there use to be for fire escape purposes only. Some locals informed us however, "To keep the moral of the other residents up, if a resident of the home would die, they would wait until late and the staff would remove the body from the house by placing the deceased in the slide and slide the body down to an awaiting hearse below. This was procedure as not to march the deceased's body in front of the others residences' room..." All of the potential heartache these people endured simply adds to the allure and potential for paranormal activity at this location.       

The graveyard is the second oldest one in the county and was originally called the Owen’s County Asylum Graveyard. In the late 30s it became the County Poor Farm with the first stone being that of a six-year-old boy that died in 1862.

Ray Reed’s entire family died of cancer and he eventually hung himself from one of the small buildings on the property. A woman was either pushed or jumped from the middle window on the second floor.




Hauntings:  Reported hauntings include: footsteps, an evil presence in one room, music and singing in the dining room, recorders and camera equipment turning off, strange unexplained lights in the house, various EVPs, feeling like one’s hair is being pulled, hearing unexplained noises and sounds, and abnormalities often taken in pictures with cameras. Walter’s Room is considered to be a hotspot of activity. Annie’s Room (#2) has been the scene of a growling sound and the smell of smoke. Audrey’s Room (#7) is where people have heard piano playing emanating from. The Main Dining Room seems to be the heart of much activity. Growling sounds have been heard in the basement and toys move around upstairs. Room 13 upstairs is where they couldn’t keep patients and Tony saw part of a curtain moving by itself. He stopped it, only to come back and find it moving again.


Address: State Road 43, Spencer, Indiana, 47460, 812-876-3174

Website: www.owencountyhome.webs.com


The Ghost Research Society investigated Owen County Poor House on August 11, 2012. Team members included: Stan Suho, Lisa Krick, Nicole Tito, Michael Lewis and Dale Kaczmarek along with Rob Johnson, Erica Behringer, Rod Herring and Tony Abney.








Equipment setup: The Command Center was set up on the first floor near the stairway leading to the second floor. The X-Cam was positioned in the main Dining Room with an IR illuminator and an IR camcorder was placed upstairs with a second IR illuminator. Also placed upstairs was an Epod and motion sensors along with an EM Pump. The G.E.I.S.T. arsenal was placed in the main Dining Room along with the GhostCam.  

Experiments performed: EVP sessions were conducted in an room on the main floor, the main dining room and some of the out buildings throughout the night.  

Personal experiences: During a group EVP session in the out building, Lisa got her first and last name called through the Ghost Box and also what sounded like Dave Guss’ voice might have come through. It was a very eventful session!  Not much happened during the group EVP session in the main Dining Room. However, when we were beginning to pack up, most of the team was in the out buildings, only Stan and I were in the main building near the CC. Suddenly I caught a large black shadow that completely filled the doorway near the CC move quickly from right to left and disappear! It appeared to be a male figure. It startled me for a moment but I quickly grabbed the Melmeter 8704-REM and chased after it in the direction it disappeared. There was nothing there and no readings showed up on the meter. I quickly decided to conduct a quick burst EVP session by setting the digital recorder on the hand rail leading to the second floor and shot out several questions. I did get a whispered male response to one of the questions asked which was instant verification of what I had just seen!  

Lisa Krick: At 9.23p, after the tour, we broke off into groups for investigation.  Nicole, mike and I chose to start in the basement.  We stood in the room farthest from the door; which also holds a coal room.  It appeared to be the "mechanical room" in that it housed the old furnace and such.  We started our EVP session and heard noises almost immediately ... mainly footsteps.  I was standing so that I could actually see into the first room and up the stairs.  There were shadows moving at the top of the stairs.  I thought it might be my eyes playing tricks on me.  Soon, Rob and Erica came down to check out the basement with us.  we all started out in the back basement room, but as we were hearing footsteps and shuffling from that front room and still seeing shadows at the top of the stairs, rob moved into the front room to stand.  We were laughing about Nicole asking who was in the front room and rob answering her when we ALL heard a squeak of some sort.  Almost the same kind of sound one hears when someone inhales from laughing too hard and loud.  We all thought it was Nicole, as it had come from directly behind her.  She heard it too and had thought it was mike.  We do have EVP from that.  It’s not very loud on mine, but might be louder on Nicole’s recorder.  Just after we heard the squeak and talked about it, Nicole asked if anyone was standing behind me.  She and rob both saw shadows behind me.  The basement wasn't quite finished with us.  Nicole, Erica and I saw a small red light (which could have been mistaken for a laser pointer, had any one of us had one with us ... we did not) show itself in the floor right in the middle of all of us. 

At 9.44p ... next, Nicole, Mike and I went to "Walter’s room" on the first floor.  We heard two taps on the window ... the first time we thought it was a bug, the second we realized it was something not explainable.  As we held our EVP session in this room, I asked "did you want to tell us something?  Do you have a message?"  There was an answer of "yes" on the recorder that wasn't heard real time.

At 9.50p, Nicole, Mike and I headed to room 8 (which was the chute room).  As the recorder is running, Nicole said she didn't like it in that room and there's a whisper that can't be deciphered.  We didn't hear it in real time. 

We then moved to the large front room on the top floor that was supposed to be Paul’s room.  Nicole, Mike and I did another EVP session.  Nothing happened in this room, but mike claimed to smell a very strange smell over by the windows. 

At 10.18p, the three of us did an EVP session in big Ben’s room but obtained nothing. 

At 10.26p, the three of us ran an EVP session in room 13.  I growled when we walked in and received a growl in response, but did not have my recorder running yet, and nobody else was in the room yet to hear it, so it's just personal experience.  Otherwise, the room was quiet. 

At 10.35p, the three of us ran an EVP session in room 11, which we thought was cowboy's room.  This room was quiet, as well. 

At just about 10.50p, the three of us headed out for a break on the lawn to watch the meteorite show and talk with Erica and Rob, who were filming the phenomenon.  We stood outside for probably 30-40 minutes, talking.  As we talked, I heard a yell coming from the "cell" building.  Nobody else heard it.  However, the yell came again a short time later, and that time, the others heard it as well.  So, after the photography session was over, Erica, Rob, Nicole, Mike and I headed to the men's cell.  As we were walking up to the building, Rob saw someone big (as in pretty much filled the doorway) standing in the doorway looking out at us.  By the time we all got up to the building, the figure was gone. 

We had plenty of personal experience in the men's cell.  We heard thumps and growls and saw shadows.  Erica got a major headache while standing in front of Ben’s cell.  Nicole went to stand next to her and I went into Ben’s cell with Rob.  Mike was in the other men's cell by himself.  Erica and Nicole both encountered cold spots and large amounts of gooseflesh, while stating they were being touched.  Someone between them (no one visible) sighed at them while they were talking.  We also saw someone peek in at us through the windows while we were in his cell.  A few minutes later there was another big sigh and a clang of metal.  While that was happening, we saw something move behind rob in the cell and there wasn't anybody or anything behind Rob.  Three minutes after this happened, Rob and I both saw a red light (again, akin to a laser pointer) back by the window in Ben’s cell.  It appeared that the red light was following us.  We could find no explanation, as we were too far back from the road for it to be a reflection of taillights.  Nor was there car passing by at the time we saw the light.  We captured an EVP (we captured several in this area) in which someone said, "I don't know if that was Ben ... it might be one of the guards" and there was a growl, which was none of us and was heard by all of us at the time of the growl. 

We immediately went from the men's cell to the women's cell.  Erica and Nicole stood in the first cell and I stood in the second cell alone.  Mike was outside Erica and Nicole’s cell and Rob was outside mine.  I was NOT comfortable in the cell.  I stood at the front corner against the wall.  I did not like the back left (as you look into the cell) corner.  I could not look back there.  Rob said he heard heavy breathing from that area while I was in the cell and he saw movement back there.  While he's asking me about the breath I didn't hear, Erica exclaimed that she saw a shadow rise from the ground right in front of her. 

We then experienced shadows outside the window looking in at us again. Just after that happened, Erica got the taste of blood in her mouth and we heard footsteps on the porch of the cells building.   At this point, Rob and I traded places so that he could stand in the cell.  He stood back in the corner where he had heard the sigh.  At this time he heard voices, like two women talking.  I didn't pick anything up on my audio recorder.  As he and I were marking that, Nicole stated that she just saw the red light in her cell.  We all experienced more movement by shadows, growls, and voices. 

We then did a ghost box session with the entire crew in the men's cells.  We got quite a bit of response.  I said that rob was going to take over and the ghost box stated, "fuck you" ... I told the box that it had better talk to Rob or he would beat the hell out of it and the box pleaded, "please don't".  I asked the ghost box what my name was.  It replied "Lisa" ... I asked it what my last name was.  It replied "Krick”.  That freaked me out pretty good!  At one point, rob told the ghost box that he was going to beat the shit out of it and it stated, “good luck".  Our last bit on the ghost box was a voice that said "Dave".  So I asked, "Are you Dave?" ... the ghost box replied "yes".  I asked, "Guss, is that you?"  The box replied "it's me" in a voice that sounded like Dave Guss' voice. 

Next, we all went into the dining room for a ghost box session but it was uneventful.  I finished the night by doing an experiment with a mirror that was purportedly haunted.  The experiment was uneventful. 

The Owen County Poor House in Spencer, Indiana, in my opinion is quite active and I would love the opportunity to investigate it further.  Special thanks to Tony Abney who allowed us into the building!   

Stan Suho: This was a very old two story country house with a cemetery on the property. After the tour of the cemetery, house, and some out buildings we began our setup.  A Video was made of the tour and photos were taken of the property while we still had the light. Setup was in a small room off the main hallway, which gave us good access to the whole building. We were joined by some investigators from Ohio.

G.E.I.S.T. was setup down the end of a long hallway, in a room known as the Main Meeting Room. This joined another room known as the Mirror room, where some unusual activity was reported. The standard G.E.I.S.T. setup was used along with Ghost Mic and Ghost Camera. Later in the investigation I learned that some of the out buildings were also active.

It's been rumored that this place is about to be torn down which is a shame. The out buildings were easily accessible from the Command Post, and the cemetery while too far away from the main house to be monitored remotely, should have an IR Camera along with one of Dale's big IR lights setup and left running.


Although I made Video walkthroughs and Night Vision walkthroughs, and took numerous Photos, IR and 35mm, as well as having the Audacity Laptop running all night, nothing showed up on them. I would like to do a more through investigation including the cemetery (after Tick season).


Nicole Tito: Team Partner: Lisa Krick, Rob Johnson, Erica Behringer, and Mike Lewis  

Equipment Used: Audio recorder, K-II meter, Ovilus X, Ghost Box  

Impressions/Personal Experiences:

During this investigation, I felt the active spots were outside located in the holding cells adjacent to the main building.  The majority of audio evidence occurred in this location.  This is also where most of my personal experiences took place.  During the initial walkthrough, I did have several weird feelings in the upstairs bedroom, particularly room 11 and 13.  I felt strange in these areas, but did not capture any evidence in these locations.

One of the first areas, Lisa, Erica, Rob, and Mike investigated was the basement.  Immediately entering this location, we all began hearing noises in real time many of which we captured on the audio recorder.  There was also enough ambient light that I kept seeing shadows run behind Lisa who was stationed across from me in the basement.  This location was strange indeed as all of us at one time saw shadows darting back and forth as if something were taunting us and staying just out of reach. 

The majority of our time was spent outside in the men and women’s cells.  Both cells proved to be very active with both audio and personal experiences.  In the men’s cell, I kept feeling like something was touching me.  At one point, I had goose bumps so bad on my legs that I was actually shaking although I was not cold overall.  The feeling quickly came and disappeared, but happened several times that night to me and other investigator, Erica, especially when we were standing outside the cell door. 

We also noticed that the activity seemed to pick up when we began talking how about poorly these individuals were treated in the cell and left out to the elements like they were animals.  We began to talk negative about the guards for letting them freeze out there in the winter and it seemed like activity began to happen more with audible sounds like scratches, scrapes, footsteps, breaths, and moans many of which were captured on the recorder. 

In the woman’s cell, activity was very active as well.  I saw shadows and hear footsteps when I was inside one of the cells with fellow investigator, Erica Behringer.  She also saw a shadow dart between the two of us and go through a wall.  Again, we all experienced strange noises and feelings while in this area.

Later on in the night, I was talking with fellow investigator, Rob Johnson; about the meteor shower occurring that night approximately 500 feet from the entrance of the cells in the front of the yard.  On several occasions, I heard someone yelling at us from the cell area.  No one was back there and we checked to make sure that it was empty as the other investigators were inside the house or with us.  At one point, I looked up and saw a large, black figure standing in the doorway, which darted inside as I looked at it.  It was like something was watching us from a distance and wanting to tell us something.

EVPs/Audio Evidence: 

Still photos: Nothing out of the ordinary captured in both exterior and interior shots.   

Mike Lewis: Basement:  

Our first session, was myself, Nicole and Lisa down in the basement, under the kitchen.  We were shortly accompanied by two others (forgot their names) that were capturing night skies with their cameras.  Lisa and Nicole started seeing shadow figures right away, from the boiler portion of the basement.  The one gentleman went into the other portion to investigate, but nothing was there.  Shortly after he went into the room, there is some laughter and both Nicole and I heard a laugh just over my shoulder in the corner of the basement.  I know Nicole caught it on her recorder and I believe I did as well.  When I get my recorder back up and running, I will provide.  

Other than the shadow figures Nicole and Lisa saw and the quick laughter, the basement session was pretty quiet.  

Bedrooms (first and second floor):  

Nicole, Lisa and I decided to investigate several different bedrooms from the larger ones to the smaller ones.  We investigated “Cowboy Bill’s” room and several others…one with the supposed body chute.  For the most part, after 12-15 minutes in each, each of the rooms was very quiet. Nothing on my recorder at all.  I think I can debunk one of the whispers as me talking.  

Barn/grave site:  

Did not investigate the barn, wish I had, as well as the grave site.  


This is where things got interesting.  

Mostly in the women’s cell.  We had several sessions in both cells, with different members coming and going.  I took several pictures, but nothing came up and I did not use my recorder due to the fact we have two others running.  But Nicole and the other woman were standing outside one of the cells towards the corner and both felt cold and had goose bumps only on their legs, nowhere else.  This happened for several minutes and repeated itself again during another session, but there was no cross wind in the cell.  

We all entered different cells at different times and I did not have any unique situation happen to me, but just a major uneasy feeling while in the woman’s cell during the box sessions.  I was in there alone during this session and I had a funny feeling I was not in there alone (getting goose bumps now!!).  It was not a scared feeling, but just that someone was in there with me and it was a little hard to breathe.  

We all heard the box sessions, with a very pissed off entity speaking to us.  I did have my recorder on during this session, but I was too far away and nothing was audible.  But personal experience heard someone say:  

·        “Fuck Off” to a taunt from another member

·        The name Lisa was heard upon request.

·        I believe her last name “Krick” was even heard.

·        Other items were heard as well, but those three were very clear to me.


Dining Hall:  

We had my last session in the dining hall with the box.  Nothing of importance was captured.


Evidence collected:  

Basement squeak.MP3 - Down in the basement with Lisa Krick, Mike Lewis, Erica Behringer, Rob Johnson, I ask, “Are you in the other room?” during an EVP session followed by Rob accidentally responding, “Yep,” as we all laugh.  Immediately following that, we all hear a whistle or yep in real time that occurred between me and Mike.  

Cry.MPG during the initial walk through on the 2nd floor upon entering on of the rooms you hear a high-pitched cry or whine.  

Exhale.MPG an exhale or breath was captured on the audio track of the static IR camcorder that was facing down the upstairs hallway towards room 15.  

Loud bang.MPG a loud bang was captured on the audio track of the static IR camcorder that was facing down the upstairs hallway towards room 15. No one was around at the time.  

Room 8 Whisper.MPG during an EVP session in Room 8 a whispery voice was picked up.

Spirits.MPG during an EVP session in the doll room a question was asked, “Who’s here with us?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Spirits.”  

Stairway voice.MPG after seeing a large dark shadow pass by the Command Center doorway by the stairway leading to the 2nd floor, a question was asked, “What’s your name?” It was followed by an unintelligible male voice.  

Suho.MPG during a group EVP session in the main dining room a question was asked, “What’s Stan’s last name?’ The Ghost Box responds with what sounds like, “Suho.”   

Walter Room Yes.MPG during an EVP session in Walter's Room an EVP saying, "Yes" was picked up.

(See above Nicole’s report for additional evidence)  


I believe that we encountered several interactive spirits and not just residual ones due to the fact that specific questions were answered or responses to specific situations. Two people had their names called on command through the Ghost Box and my encounter with the shadow person near the central staircase is something that I won’t soon forget. While there may indeed be some residual activity present due to the conditions in the past, I believe what our team encountered that evening was mostly intelligent and interactive spirits who wished to convey a message or response immediately through a variety of methods; Ghost Box, Ovilus, EVPs.

While nothing was recorded visually through either still cameras or camcorders, sufficient evidence was collected to make the conclusion that the Owen County Poor House is indeed haunted by spirits from the past who still wish to linger on for some reason. Those reasons however still remain a mystery at present.

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