The Culbertson Mansion is located in New Albany, Indiana, near the banks of the mighty Ohio River. It was built in 1867 by William Culbertson, who was the richest man in Indiana at one point. Culbertson built the house for his second wife Cordelia (Nellie) and lived there with her, their children and his children from his first marriage until Nellie’s death in 1880 of cholera.
In 1884, Culbertson married Rebecca Keith, who was 38 years old. William Culbertson died in 1892 due to complications of the flu. The house was sold for $7,100 to the McDonald Family in 1899 at auction. The house remained in the McDonald family until it was purchased by the American Legion in 1945 and was used by them for functions and meetings until Historic New Albany purchased the house in 1964.
The house is quite lavish. At 20,000 square feet, it has 25 rooms, hand-painted frescos on many of the ceilings, complete with gold leaf, marble fireplaces and fifteen foot doors. It gives the word opulence new meaning.
This was Haunted New Harmony’s fourth public investigation of the mansion. Every time we’ve visited, we’ve been amazed by the paranormal responses. The ghosts there are willing and eager to communicate with us, something we discovered before the event even started.
As we were waiting for the first guests to arrive, two Haunted New Harmony staff members were standing by the front door. Rick Schlegelmilch and Traci Hoehn heard a sound and turned to discover the doorknob jiggling. They thought that someone was trying to get in, so they opened the door and were surprised to find the entryway empty.
After the guests arrived, we gave a brief presentation on the history and hauntings of the mansion, as well as a demonstration of the dowsing rods. Because we’ve had tremendous results with the rods in past investigations, we wanted to use them again.
The group broke into three smaller groups and began investigating their assigned floors. Joni Mayhan was the First Floor investigator, while Crystal Folz managed the Second Floor and Traci Hoehn oversaw the Third Floor. Rick Schlegelmilch managed the Ganzfeld Experiment in the basement.
First Group (Group 1)
The first floor of the mansion would have been where the Culbertsons received their guests. The area consists of a formal dining room, an informal dining room, an informal parlor, Mr. Culbertson’s den and several rooms in the back that were used by the servants. We initially set up in the formal dining room, but found ourselves moving to the informal parlor midway through the investigation. Both rooms provided us with ample activity, but the informal parlor was especially active that night.
We started in the formal dining room with a dowsing rod session:
- They aren’t comfortable with one member of the group
- Not a woman
- They will be communicating with us tonight
- They like the home
- They think the home is beautiful
- They won’t be revealing themselves to us
- They aren’t in any of the pictures in the house
- Doesn’t like dark, stormy nights
One man began asking qualifying questions, attempting to validate the authenticity of the dowsing rods. My impression was that he was testing the system, something the ghosts also picked up on. If they feel as though they are being tested, they probably won’t respond. I asked the man if he was a skeptic and he denied it, but I don’t think the ghost hunt was what he was expecting.
I believe a lot of people are surprised by what actually happens during a real paranormal investigation. If you watch ghost shows on TV, you’re probably in for an underwhelming experience. We don’t chase demons down hallways and couches seldom fly across the room. If we’re lucky, we will see a shadow move, smell a phantom odor or feel a ghostly touch, but that is usually the extent of our experiences. Our goal is to communicate with them and to learn something about their story, their history. Sometimes this process is slow and methodical. It isn’t normally fast-paced and exciting. The man and his guest left during break, so I’m guessing it wasn’t what he wanted.
The next person took the rods and had much better results.
- She was talking to a woman (something I also felt)
- She was willing to communicate with us.
I sent the first group down to the basement to experiment with the Ganzfeld Experiment, which is a sensory deprivation experience. Participants wear white goggles and sit around a table with a red lamp, wearing headphones that play white noise. They sit for ten minutes to see what they experience. During the night, everyone who attended had an opportunity to use them. I’ll include a complete reporting at the end of this section about what they experienced.
We put away the dowsing rods and used the Spirit Box. A Spirit Box is basically a modified radio that scans through the stations rapidly. Ghosts are able to use the white noise to communicate. Because we were so close to the Louisville area, we pick up a plethora of radio stations. With this in mind, I build a Faraday Pouch for each Spirit Box we used at the event.
A Faraday Pouch is a pretty basic contraption. I used aluminum foil and duct tape to build a small pouch to put the Spirit Box inside of. As hoped for, it blocked out a lot of the radio stations, allowing us to be more confident in the responses we heard.
I had the group introduce themselves, which is something we always do during investigations. We have to remember that we are in their house. Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there and we can be rude to them. As soon as we finished, I asked what they’re names were. A man answered “Paul.”
Other Spirit Box responses:
Did you live here in the 1800’s? “I didn’t”
Did you live here in the 1900’s? “I did”
Paul, did you have children? “Pool party!”
Are you with us, Paul? “I’m Denny.”
We asked a few more questions but didn’t get a lot of responses. We went back to dowsing rods for a bit.
- Paul was with us
- Someone else was with us – it was a female
- Paul worked in the building – slow yes
- He got paid to work
We turned the Spirit Box back on because several people had been doing the Gansfeld Experiment and didn’t hear it.
What was your name? “Satan” At the time, I thought it said Steven, which encouraged everyone to talk to “Steven.” Upon review, it’s definitely “Satan.” I’m confident that Satan wasn’t there with us. I believe that one of the ghosts in the house was having fun with us, knowing this response would create pandemonium (if properly interpreted)
Is Paul with you, Steven? “That’s who I am.”
As I walked the next group to the basement door to do the Ganzfeld Experiment, I encourage the group to keep asking questions. At that moment, an older woman with a lisp came through and said, ”The time is over soon.”
Someone asked about the female with him. I believe they meant to ask, “What is the name of the female here with you?” The response was, “The spirit?”
Is the female with you your wife? “Irene”
Did you live in New Albany? “Muncie”
They began talking about various servants who worked in the house. They asked about Mary Louise, wondering if she had a heart condition. A male voice confirmed this with, “She did.”
Second Group (Group 3)
The group had just spent an hour on the third floor and were eager for more intrigue. We started out with a dowsing rod session:
- We weren’t talking to a female
- He was under 10 years old – we had a hard time nailing this down and weren’t sure if it was even accurate
- He didn’t like art or music
- His hair isn’t brown
- He liked going to school
- Doesn’t like to dance, sing or read
- He likes nursery rhymes, candy, parties and trick-or-treating (trick-or-treating was first done in the US in 1927)
- He can see Joe and was standing behind him
Spirit Box: We had a lot of random blurps, but weren’t really getting anything clear.
- What is your name? “Eleven”
- What was your favorite toy? “Drum”
I finally turned off the Spirit Box and began talking to the ghosts about moving on. I think it’s important to let them know they aren’t trapped in place – that they can move on to Heaven. I talked to them for a while, but didn’t feel anyone cross over.
We decided to change rooms and went into the informal parlor. We turned on the Spirit Box in there and began getting more responses.
How do you feel about the volunteers being here? “It’s good.”
Would you rather have chocolate cake or vanilla cake? “Vanilla”
I left the room to check on the Ganzfeld Experiment, so someone asked, “Where is Joni right now?” A male voice said, “I’m insulted.”
Someone asked how many ladies were in the room. A male voice answered correctly. “Six,” he said.
We really weren’t getting much on the Spirit Box. We went around the room several times and didn’t get any clear responses, so we turned it off. At that point, one of the volunteers mentioned that she wears an insulin pump and the batteries were already drained. They usually last much longer. She went to get her second pack and discovered that it was also drained. I explained to the group that ghosts often draw energy from batteries and from the living. I hadn’t noticed any substantial battery drain on my equipment, but it was interesting to hear.
- There was a female in the room
- Her name was Nellie (Cornelia Culbertson’s nickname)
- She doesn’t mind that we aren’t dressed formally in her dining room
- She isn’t okay with the way women dress today
- Women shouldn’t wear shorts.
- They should wear clothing that covers their legs
- I asked the rods to point to where she stood and they pointed to the area by the piano, where I was hearing her
- It wasn’t her piano (later confirmed)
- Her piano was much nicer
- She didn’t play the piano
- She was in love with her husband – slow yes
- She was a teacher
- She had children
- She had troubles with Mr. Culbertson’s children
- She had problems with one in particular: Charlie
- Charlie was sometimes disrespectful with the staff
- Charlie sometimes chased after some of the female staff
- She had a lot of parties there
- She doesn’t mind that so many volunteers are there all the time
- She didn’t know that her daughter fought for the right for women to vote
- She doesn’t like how her house looks now
- She likes the walls and ceiling renovations
- She likes the fence that goes around the yard
- She doesn’t like how her house looks during Christmas
- She didn’t pick the purple in the ceiling
- She doesn’t wish the house had her same furnishings
- She does wish they had nicer furniture
Third Group (Group 2)
My third group had their own EMF meters which were going off continually. I tend to ignore them when they flicker constantly because it usually is due to electric lines or Wi-Fi floating through the room. They reported that they’d been having this issue all night. The devices they were using were Ghost Meters, which I’ve found to be less effective than more expensive models like the KII or Mel Meters. I had a Ghost Meters for several years and ended up giving it away because it provided far too many false positive results.
Joining us for our last session was Jessica, who oversees the building and all of it’s events. Jessica has a wealth of knowledge about the mansion and the people who lived there, so we were excited to have her with us.
We started out with dowsing rods in the informal parlor:
- Nellie was still with us
- She was enjoying what we were doing
- She didn’t wish we’d done anything differently
- She liked because we were asking her questions
- She’s not happy with the furniture. It’s not as upscale as she’s like. Jessica said she loved blue satin. She had it on everything.
- The front bedroom wasn’t hers with blue walls
- She didn’t share a bedroom with her husband
- Her bedroom was the rose room (master bedroom)
- Couldn’t get an answer about where Mr. Culbertson slept
- The closet on the third floor was a punishment closet – slow yes, meaning it might have been a bit more than just that
- She’s happy with the work they’re doing – slow yes
- The walls aren’t painted like they were when she was there
- No answer when they asked if she ever saw a ghost
- Her first husband Dudley is not there with her now
- Maryann isn’t there
- Frank was there when Brice was at the mansion
- She doesn’t like it when Frank smokes in the house
- Ann is there too
- Blanche isn’t there
- She didn’t have a very good time there
- One of the volunteers asked if she recognized her and she did
- She doesn’t mind what they do in the carriage house, but doesn’t find it amusing.
- She tolerates it because it brings the house back to its former glory
- She didn’t enjoy all of her time in the house
- She wouldn’t want them to paint the walls blue
- There are kids there
- She wasn’t lonely there
- That wasn’t her when they were doing the Estes on the third floor
- She used to choose the flowers the maid on the third floor brought in
- There aren’t any animals there
- She doesn’t go out to the carriage house
- She liked to read – slow yes
- She was in the room with us right then
- I asked for the rods to point to where she was in the room. The rods pointed to the same place beside the piano.
- She knows what happened to her portrait
- It was stolen by someone on staff and they still have it
- They no longer work there
- She doesn’t know where they are
- It was a male who stole it
- Jessica asked a few names and it said no and then said yes when she got to the person it was. He apparently did bad things there.
- They didn’t have any indoor pets, but through a series of questions we learned that there was a cat in the basement. A servant would let it in. Jessica was curious because they’ve never seen any reference to pets at the mansion. My impression was that she wouldn’t put up with pets in the house because they created messes.
- Jessica was there before in another life. She wasn’t a Culbertson. She wasn’t a maid – slow no.
- One of the volunteers asked if she knew if she was getting her promotion. The rods said no, which meant she didn’t know.
- There are negative energies there
- The negative energy is on the third floor (confirmed by the Estes Method) in Josephine’s room. The energy is male. Someone asked if it was someone she knew and it went from yes to no to yes to no. He didn’t come in while she lived there or during the American legion period.
- She was upset that the American Legion changed the entire house
- Nellie hasn’t been there the entire time. I explained that if she was upset by what was going on, she might have gone back to somewhere else she was once happy and then came back once the renovations started. She wasn’t there when the American Legion owned it.
- She wasn’t the only one in the room.
- They weren’t all from the home. Some came in with others in the room. She asked if the rods could point to where the other entities are and the rods pointed towards the person who asked the question. It came in with the woman. She didn’t know the ghost in life. Mrs. Culbertson can’t get rid of it. It is benevolent though. It hasn’t always been with her.
- The next person asked if the ghost was standing behind her and the rods pointed towards her. It was a male. It came with the woman beside her.
- There are more than two ghosts in the room. She asked where they were standing and the rods divided and pointed in two directions. There weren’t more than three.
- Pets can follow people in the afterlife
- She was well educated
- The ghost in the corner was female. She wasn’t a servant. It wasn’t Maryann. She wasn’t a McDonald. It wasn’t a child. She wasn’t a seamstress. She was a cook. Her name was Clarissa. Jessica explained that Clarissa was the daughter of a slave but was born free in Indiana. Jessica was curious about her sleeping arrangements so we began asking questions. Clarissa confirmed that she had segregated sleeping arrangements. She slept out in the wood house. She was happy with the Blue Banquet (a benefit dinner Jessica hosted recently that used many of Clarissa’s menus). She knew about it. She didn’t like Rebecca “Keith” Culbertson. She wasn’t happy about how she treated Blanche but she was happy with how Blanche treated Keith. Jessica said they didn’t get along. Blanche was with Clarissa when she passed away.
We decided to try the Spirit Box for a few minutes.
We asked if Clarissa was the only person of color in the mansion and got a few responses we couldn’t quite make out. Then someone said, “You’re a child.”
I caught a strong whiff of old fashioned perfume. It almost smelled like potpourri
I asked if there was any particular food they missed. A male voice said, “chocolate shake.”
Did anyone abide in alcohol? “I did.” Jessica told the group that she found a letter about how Anne and Sam snuck liquor up to the second floor when they were youngsters.
Are there any pranksters in the family? “Boys”
Talking about Sam lighting the wood shed on fire. “They probably could.”
Sam burning down the wood house. “He liked it.”
Did Sam get in trouble? “Gives him more fight.”
During my first floor investigations, I sent groups of 3 down to the basement, where Rick Schlegelmilch was overseeing the Ganzfeld Experiment. This sensory deprivation experience involves participants sitting around a table, wearing goggles and headphones that are plugged into a laptop that’s playing white noise. A red lamp in the middle of the table completes the experiment. Many people who have tried this have tapped into dormant psychic medium tendencies, allowing them glimpses of images, sounds and smells. Several people felt ghostly touches. After they rose from their chairs after ten minutes, Rick asked them to write their experiences in a notebook. Here is what they wrote:
- Saw a piece of broken pottery – black and gold circles
- The light went from bright to several shades darker
- Felt speedy heart and also a flicker of light a couple times
- Felt coldness on my face (constant)
- My papaw was with me
- Cool breeze, train and falls like Niagara
- Appeared to have a face and eye kept appearing
- Heard a 2 snap noise in my left ear. Kinda strange.
- I saw flashes, almost as if someone took a photo. There were multiple tapping noises and the sound of a very low voice.
- Felt cold air. Sounded like someone stomping, playing with my fingers.
- Felt surrounded by warm peaceful feelings. Heard background noise on left side.
- Footsteps to left. Light throbbing. Felt someone behind me. He was close enough to touch me but didn’t.
- Very bright blue lights and noise the whole time.
- Lots of fingers running through my head.
- Gentle touch on head, back right side of skull. Cold air in front of my face, put my hand in front of my face and it was still cold air on my face. A thought came to mind. Something about not being treated like anyone else. No one treats us like anyone else.
- First heard a bunch of screaming, and in many people screaming, like in pain. Then near the end, my stomach started to feel sick.
Crystal Folz, who is our group’s psychic medium, managed the investigation on the second floor. Those rooms would have been bedrooms during the Culbertson and McDonald eras. When they owned it, the American Legion removed one of the walls and turned a portion of the second floor into a billiards hall. Guests on the second floor often smell cigar smoke, which they believe comes from Frank Semple, who was married to Culbertson’s daughter Anna and lived in the mansion for many years.
First Group (Group 2)
The first group settled in and Crystal explained how the session would go. Even though she’s a psychic medium, she stays closed down psychically during the investigation so she can stay focused on the guests. They started with a dowsing rod session.
Dowsing Rod Sessions Highlights:
- There weren’t any cars there
- They were talking to a female
- She was born in the house
- There were no other ghosts with them
- There were pets at the mansion
- There is a dog in the house
- There were more than four of them in the room
- The female had a favorite dress she liked to wear
- The head maid Josephine was there
- She once scared a policeman and thought it was a funny prank
They switched rooms and did a Spirit Box session. They got some blurps on the machine, but didn’t receive any clear responses. While they were doing the session, they noticed a wild temperature fluctuation. The temperature dropped ten degrees in a matter of a half hour.
Second Group (Group 1)
The second group spent a lot of the session chatting with Crystal about how being a psychic medium works and she gladly shared several stories. At one point, her group started laughing so hard, I could hear them down on the first floor. It made me smile and pick up my game a bit too. Her group started with a dowsing rod session:
- They weren’t talking to a child
- They are happy to be where they are
- There were three of them there
- None of them followed the group from downstairs
They switched rooms. The room they switched to was once Anne and Frank’s bedroom. Almost immediately, they discovered that the men in the group would get answers on the dowsing rods, but the women wouldn’t get anything. Crystal later learned how the room used to be open to the other room and was used as a billiards room during the American Legion days. That might have explained why they wouldn’t respond to the females in the group.
- One of them is sad
- Someone was there from the American Legion era
- They enjoyed those times at the American Legion
Once again, they didn’t receive any clear responses on the Spirit Box. Part of the reason for the lack of communication was the setting on the Spirit Box. They had it set to the fastest speed, which in my opinion, makes it more difficult to get clear answers.
Third Group (Group 3)
Crystal’s third group came to her after our break and were eager to get started. They stared out with a dowsing Rod Session and got far more responses than the other groups got.
Dowsing rod responses:
- They don’t like being there
- They are looking for help
- They lived there
- They worked there
- They were talking to a female
- She wants to cross over
- The woman was in the Culbertson family
- They were talking to Nellie
- She was looking for something
- She’s been in the Punishment Closet
- Her children were with her
- She’s happy – slow response
I gave Crystal a small cat ball with motion active lights inside of it. If anything bumped the ball, it would instantly light up. Traci and I both had the same balls for our groups and neither of ours lit up, but the one on the second floor did. The group spent a few minutes trying to get it to do it again, but it only happened the one time.
Dowsing rod session continued:
- They were also talking to a male
- He was there when the American Legion owned the building. Crystal said it was odd that they were communicating with Megan because in that room, only males were getting responses earlier
- He played pool and was good at it
- He liked to drink
- There isn’t something he wants to show them
- Hanna’s profession (she’s a mortician) doesn’t make them uncomfortable
They switched rooms and used the spirit box. This time the box was far more chatty.
Spirit Box responses:
What is your name? “Kevin”
Are we still talking to the same person? “No”
How many are in the room with us right now? “Seven”
Kevin, are you in the room? “I’m here”
Whose room is this? “Mine”
Are you a little boy? “You’re flunking”
How many of you are here with us right now? “Ten”
They moved to dowsing rods:
- Still talking to a woman
- She was invited into the room next door
- She was healthy when she was alive
- She won’t be happy when everyone leaves and the house is quiet
- There were no longer ten or more people with them
- Nellie wasn’t with them
- Kevin was with them
- Some of his family is there with him
- He likes to read books
- He was an only child
The third floor was probably used for a combination of functions. While it might have been used for servant housing, it was probably also used for the Culbertson children. He had more children than he had second floor bedrooms for and the third floor would have been convenient. We do believe the room Traci investigated was the head maid’s room, although she wouldn’t have had it all to herself. She probably would have shared it with other servants.
When the McDonalds owned the house, they blocked off the third floor and the staircase completely to help keep heating costs down.
First Group (Group 3)
As Traci started her first session on the third floor, she noticed something that every other group had issues with all night. The EMF (Electromagnetic) meters used to detect the presence of ghosts were flickering and wouldn’t stop. In previous investigations, the meters only reacted on occasion, remaining quiet for the majority of the event. It’s not necessarily an indicator of paranormal activity, but it was strange.
Traci does a great job of setting up her sessions. She explains how to use the dowsing rods and the questions they can ask. “Never ask them a question you wouldn’t ask your grandmother,” she told them. She then picked up the dowsing rods and demonstrated how to use them and started a baseline for them to build on. She established that they were talking to several females. No males were present. She then passed them on to the guests.
- There was a woman with them
- There was more than one woman with them
- There was a male (when Traci asked, it said no)
- He/she was married
- He/she never swam in the Ohio River – very fast yes response
- He/she worked in the house
- He/she was a cook
- He/she liked to cook – slow yes response
- He/she had children
- He/she had three children
- He/she children didn’t stay in the room with him
- He/she wasn’t a native of New Albany
- He/she didn’t travel there down the Ohio River
- He/she has been to a party in the house
- He/she went outside in the yard
- He/she had a boat
- He/she is afraid of swimming
- He/she had a bad experience in the water
- He/she enjoyed art
- He/she was good at art – slow yes response
- He/she liked to draw
- He/she liked to sing
- He/she liked to sing in church
- Other people liked hearing him/her sing
- He/she didn’t have a tenor voice
- He/she rode a horse
- It was fun riding a horse
- Played instruments
(Above) The Punishment Closet
During the session, she sent small groups out to the Punishment Closet with a pendulum. The Punishment Closet is somewhat of a mystery. They believe that Mrs. Culbertson had it built as a “time out room” for her husband’s rambunctious children. Her husband was probably away on business a lot and his children were prone to getting into trouble. One of them burnt down the wood shed at one point just to watch it burn.
- Doesn’t like the mansion
- When asked if they could leave, the rods wavered between yes and no. Traci explained to them that they could leave if they wanted to.
- Lived there during the flood
- That was his/her room
- It’s always hot up there (not true)
- Spent a lot of time in Louisville
- Hasn’t been to New York City
Traci then began the Estes Effect experiment. She first explained the process. The Spirit Box scans the radio stations at a rapid rate. Traci blindfolded herself and connected herself to the Spirit Box with noise cancelling headphones. The group asked questions to the ghosts in the house that Traci can’t hear. As soon as she hears something come through the box, she says it aloud. This cancels out any human error when hearing voices through the Spirit Box.
Q: Did you ever go to Derby?
Q: What was your favorite breakfast food?
Q: Did you have a favorite dress?
Traci: “GO. No problem”
Q: What color is your shirt?
Q: Do you like wearing shoes or going barefoot?
Traci: “I don’t know.”
Q: Do you like going outside?
Traci: “Kind of.”
Q: Do you like playing near the big tree?
Traci: “Hear right now.”
Q: Do you like going down by the river?
Traci: “I think so.”
Q: Do you like going down with your friends to the river?
Traci: “Roll over.”
Q: What is your favorite flower?
Q: Were you born in this month?
Traci: “Hey. I can’t. Well.”
Q: How many times were you married?
Traci: “Sort of.”
Q: Would you like something from us?
Q: What would you like?
Traci: “Take off.”
Q: Something is making noise in the chair. Chair ticked.
Traci: “The man.”
Q: Why are you here?
Q: Why can’t you leave?
Traci: “Think about it. Please do it.”
Q: Who’s Joni?
Q: Where’s Joni at now?
Q: What color is Joni’s hair?
Q: How many people are in this building right now?
Traci: “Never mind”
Q: How many living people are in this room?
Q: Do you like flowers?
Traci: “My God!”
Q: What is your favorite song?
Q: Do you want us to stop asking questions?
Traci: “We’re done!”
Q: What is my name?
At that point, I came upstairs to check on them and they told me that the Spirit Box said my name. Did they see me coming up? It was an interesting experiment with some fairly profound responses. Traci said the voice that was coming through with the angry tone was male. It was apparent he was becoming annoyed with what he perceived as trivial questions.
Second group (Group 2)
The group settled in after being on the second floor for their first session. Traci explained everything they would be doing and then they started a dowsing rod session.
- There was a woman there
- There wasn’t a man there
- She was the head maid
- She was a servant
- The Culbertsons treated her well
- She liked living on the third floor
- She showered up there. This was a good question because there isn’t currently a bathroom on the third floor. One of the volunteers said there used to be a bathroom up there but was turned into a bedroom later.
- Someone who came back from the Punishment Closet asked if there a little boy in the Punishment Closet with her. It responded with yes.
- He was the little boy who burned down the wood shed. (Probably not true since Samuel died as an old man)
- Liked being close to the river
- Went to the stores in town
- They think it’s fun when they have the haunted house event in the Carriage House
- Someone asked if she was going to get the promotion she was testing for. The dowsing rods said “no.”
- They had pretty flowers at the mansion
- She provided the flowers for the mansion
Traci noted that the K2 meters were reacting near the big mirror
She then started the Estes Effect.
Q: What’s your name
Traci: “Mama” (she said it sounded like a child)
Traci: “What’s that?”
Q: How many children do you have?
Traci: “Mama” (child’s voice)
Q: Do you have any boys
Q: Are your children here
Q: Do you want your mama?
Q: How old are you?
Q: Are you Cordelia? (rapid fire questions)
Traci: “Yes” (probably in response to the question about wanting her mama)
Traci: “I know”
Q: Were you outside in the chair?
Traci: “I think so”
Traci: “floozie” (this word wasn’t popular until the 1920’s)
Q: Did you punish your boys?
Traci: “Mama” (child’s voice)
Q: Are you calling for mama
Traci: “He can’t be quiet.”
Q: Is that why you punish him?
Q: Is there more than one person here?
Traci: “Who’s gone? I don’t know?”
Q: Who’s the boy
Traci: “You’ll make it.”
Q: Do you get mad at your boys?
Traci: “Come with me?”
Q: Where to?
Q: Why Chicago?
Q: Attention to what?
Q: What year is it?
Q: What happens tonight?
Traci: “The book”
Q: What book?
Q: What color shirt am I wearing?
Traci: “I don’t know.”
Q: Are you happy?
Traci: “Oh well”
Q: Are we missing the point
Traci: “I know what you done”
Q: Did somebody do something wrong?
Traci: “Where’s that?”
Q: Is there something you want to tell us.
Traci: “I should go”
Q: Why do you want to leave
Q: It’s okay to talk to us
Traci: “No problem”
Traci: “Child’s here.”
Traci: “Any more”
Traci: “What happened?”
Q: Do you know Julie?
Q: What about Julie?
Q: Who is Julie?
Q: Are you always in the house?
Q: Focus on what?
Q: Who is Eric?
Traci: “Investigate them.”
Q: Investigate Eric and Julie? (one member in the group had family members by the same names, which concerned her)
Traci: “Thank you”
Traci: “This kid”
Q: One of your kids?
Q: Did you have a favorite kid?
Traci: “Anything. Back to it”
Q: Did you live in the house?
Q: Do you like people coming in to talk to you?
Traci: “No. No.” (male voice)
Traci: “I don’t” (male voice)
Q: We have enjoyed talking with you but you’re free to leave
Traci: “Maybe. We’ll talk” (male voice)
Traci: “It’s up” (male voice)
Q: What’s up?
Traci: “Probably” (male voice)
Traci then came out of the session and removed her headphones.
She explained some of the history regarding the Culbertson family. She said the “floozy” comment might have been in reference to Blanche Culbertson. Blanche was Mr. Culbertson’s youngest daughter. She became known as “Scandalous Blanche” after she refused to marry the man her father wanted to marry. Instead, she married the man she loved, someone who was known to be a scoundrel. Her father wrote her out of his will, but she later took it to court and won her fair portion of his estate. Later in her life (after her divorce from the scoundrel) she went to New York City and was a huge influence on the women’s movement. Blanche is one of our favorite characters in the house.
Third Group – Group 1
Traci’s last group would prove to experience the most activity. They started off the session by taking a baseline on the dowsing rods.
- There were several women in the room
- There weren’t any males there
- There was a child there
She then handed off the rods.
- She wasn’t a servant
- She wasn’t married to anyone who belonged to the house
- She wasn’t a guest of the house
- She was a little girl
- Her mother is with her
- She has a little brother
- She’s happy
- Her name isn’t Mary Julia
- Her mother’s name isn’t Cornelia
- Her mother’s name isn’t Eliza
- Her last name wasn’t McDonald
- She didn’t live in the house
The chair began ticking even though it hadn’t been touched in a while. Traci explained to the group to pay attention to that. Sometimes the ghosts use that for communication.
Dowsing rods continued:
- Someone is there because they’re attached to a piece of furniture
- She’s from Indiana
- She doesn’t know the girl they met in the Punishment Closet
- She’s okay with them being there
Traci then moved on to the Estes Method.
Q: Have you been here for a long time?
Q: Are you tired?
Q: Do you like this room?
Q: Hi Robert
Traci: “Friend. Partner”
Q: How old are you?
Q: Yes, we’re recording this session.
Q: Do you live here?
Q: How old are you Robert?
Q: Is your mother here? (rapid fire questions, which always seem to irritate them)
Traci: “You’re stupid.” (Male voice)
Q: That wasn’t nice.
Q: Is that the way you usually talk?
Traci: “Go!” (Male voice)
Q: How many of us are in this room?
Q: Do you like to play with balls?
Traci: “John. Hello.”
Q: Are you a little boy?
Traci: “I wasn’t sure”
Q: Are you and adult?
Traci: “I’m here. Government.”
Q: Do you work for the veterans
Q: Did you serve in a war?
Were you part of the American Legion?
Traci: “In time”
Traci: “I wanted to try. I can’t”
Traci: “fifty, a hundred.”
Q: Can you move the ball?
Traci: “It’s going to stay”
Traci: “got you”
Q: Did your father fight in the war?
Traci: “Me too”
Was it WW2?
Q: Did you fight in Germany?
Q: Did you fly in planes?
Q: Were you in Normandy? Rapid fire questions
Q: Do you have kids, Robert?
Q: Did you work in the stables?
Q: Is there a mother and daughter in here still? Rapid fire questions continuing
Traci: “Resort. Help.”
Q: Do you need help?
Q: Were you wounded in the war?
Traci: “Yeah. Get me.”
Q: Where were you wounded?
Q: Did you lose a leg?
Q: Robert, are you looking for the light? Can you find the light?
Q: Do you need help finding it?
Traci: “My wife”
Traci: “The problem.”
Q: Is your wife sick?
Q: How many people are in this room?
Q: Did you have a daughter?
Traci: “I like it.”
Traci: “There he is.”
Q: Was it the music in the carriage house?
Traci: “Help me.”
Q: Are you stuck, Robert?
Q: Do you like this window?
Q: Do you like the third floor?
Q: Is this room taken?
Q: Were you a caretaker here?
Traci: “Raindrop. Please.”
Q: Did you work here in the sixties? Or the seventies?
Q: Do you want to talk with us?
Traci: “Who is it?”
Q: This is Alicia.
“Traci: This is William.”
Q: William Culbertson?
Traci: “what do you see?”
Q: I don’t see anything. You wanna show me something?
Q: Can you give us a sign please?”
Q: Do you also go by Bill?
Traci: “My name is William”
Q: What is your last name?
Traci: “Holding everything.”
Q: Did you buy this house?
Q: Were you close to the train?
Traci: “Hey, I’m here”
Q: Are you still William?
Traci: “never stop. Stop it.”
Q: Are you getting tired, William?
Q: Just mad?
Q: Did you drink, William?
Q: Were you a cigar smoker?
Mary, a volunteer, explained that there were several Williams. There was also a William Arthur. According to Jessica, William Arthur went by Will sometimes. He was the eldest Culbertson son who gained a drinking problem later in life. His wife’s name was Olive and she had infidelity problems. They were constantly in debt and his father had to bail them out repetitively. They lost their daughter as a young girl. When Will died, Olive was cut out of the will. They stated that they’d helped her enough when her husband was alive and they wouldn’t help her any longer.
During past investigations, we’ve felt there is a lost child up on the third floor. She might have belonged to a servant. We’ve tried to help her many times, but she rejects the assistance.
As the night came to a close, we gathered together in the formal dining room and had a group discussion about the night. The majority of the guests felt that the first floor was the most active. As Jessica pointed out, guests would have been received in the informal parlor on the first floor, which was where we got the most responses.
The mansion wasn’t as active as we’ve seen it in the past, but it was still active enough to keep us intrigued. Every time we visit, we learn something new about the ghosts who reside there.
(Above) my team: (L-R) me, Traci Hoehn, Crystal Folz, Rich Schlegelmilch, Meagan Patterson
Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you to the Culbertson Mansion for hosting our event. Special thanks to my team for all their hard work!