You cannot glance at the AC Thomas House and simply look away. Something about the magnificent mansion draws you back in. It could be due to the pure opulence of this Queen Anne Victorian, which was built in 1899 for Amon Clarence Thomas and his family, while some of it could be the pull of energy. A lot of lives passed through this house, as well as a fair share of tragedy. It surprises no one that the house has a few ghosts in residence.
Any old house in a historic town like New Harmony is going to have energy attached to it. Whether or not that energy engages with the living is another thing. Over the years, many people have felt the haunting at the AC Thomas House which led to our investigation. We wanted to learn who was still lingering there and what caused them to stay.
We divided into two groups, led by Whistling Rick and Jason Nelson. Joni led investigations in the basement, which is known as the Gallery, while Traci stationed herself in the attic, known as the Loft.
The Gallery (basement)
Everyone who attended the investigation also booked rooms at the B&B. A group of young women who are also pre-school teachers booked the Gallery. They would have quite a few encounters during the evening.
We set up a Spirit Box, which is basically a modified radio that scans rapidly through the channels. When it works, it’s amazing. When it doesn’t work, it’s highly annoying. Thankfully for us, it was a good night.
After some trials and tribulations, we finally got our first hit. Someone asked how old he or she was and a male voice said, “Twelve.” We originally thought he said, “ten,” but upon review it was incorrect.
Shortly after that, two voices came through. A female voice said, “goodnight,” and a male voice said, “sleep.” Was it their bedtime?
A female voice said, “You’re cute.” We weren’t sure who she was referring to, but we all accepted the compliment. Nice ghost!
One of our team members, RJ, was walking around with the SLS camera. This device utilizes X-Box Kinect technology. If a ghost shows up on the screen, it is mapped out as a stick figure. He caught something on the ceiling. It looked like it was dancing.
After everyone had a chance to view the camera, we returned to the investigation. Someone asked, “Do you have any family?” A male voice responded, “Yeah. Four.”
Whistling Rick asked if they remembered when the bridge was open and a man asked, “From where?” We told him, “Illinois,” and that seemed to satisfy him.
As a medium, I’ve always felt there was a caretaker woman who stayed in the basement. She is always concerned that guests of the house are comfortable and she loves children. While I was telling the guests this, I heard a woman say, “Yep,” and “That’s right.”
When I asked them if they knew the name of the current caretaker, they came very close to fully saying Clarissa’s name. It sounds like “Clarris.”
The next series of questions came from the young women who were staying in the basement. Apparently earlier in the day, Tegan was in the bathroom and the door suddenly shut. Later that night, they also had a few frights. While one of them was in the bathroom, the tub suddenly began filling with water. Despite their questions regarding who shut the door, they didn’t get any clear responses.
Someone asked if she ever had a job and an aristocratic sounding lady said, “Nope. At all!”
There were a lot of “almost answers.” We’d hear something that kind of-sort of sounded like a response, but it wasn’t close enough to clip. There were also a lot of “yep” answers. When asked if they liked the way the house was decorated, there was a “yep.” This makes sense because most of the furniture came with the house. The basement is filled with lovely photographs the current owners took of New Harmony, which makes the space far more inviting.
We also heard a very clear “breakfast!” said with much enthusiasm. When asked if he was hungry, we got another “yep!” When asked what their favorite breakfast foods were, it sounded like they were trying to respond, but none of the answers were clear.
I really wanted to use the dowsing rods and recruited a volunteer. Here are the responses:
Q: Are you a little boy?
A: The rods were hesitant, so I suggested that maybe he didn’t want to be called a “little boy,” and the rods immediately went to “Yes.”
Q: Do you like eggs?
Q: Did you shut the door on Tegan?
A: no answer
Q: Did you knock on the elevator upstairs?
Q: Did you cause the lights to flicker when we walked in?
A: no answers
Q: Is there more than one person here?
Q: Are you a ten year old boy?
Q: Did you show yourself on the camera in the corner of the room?
A: no answers to either question
We switched dowsers
Q: Are you the person we were talking to on the spirit box?
Q: are you ten years old?
Q: did you say you had a couple of pets?
Q: did you live in this house?
Q: do you like eggs?
Q: would you rather have chocolate cake?
Q: do you like to play pranks on people
We asked the rods to point to where he was standing in the room. It pointed in a different direction than where I was sensing it.
Q: Did you have siblings?
Q: are your siblings here with you?
We ended the session and the group went to the third floor for their next session.
I turned on the spirit box immediately and it began talking. “What did you say?” one man asked and another exclaimed, “It’s working!” I don’t know if this was in response to something we did or if we caught them in the middle of a conversation, but it was an interesting start to the session.
As the group was introducing themselves, we heard someone say, “Bruce,” as though he was also introducing himself.
Elliott asked, “Is this your house?” and a sad sounding woman said, “It was.” He thought she said, “Rose” and did a few follow up questions that didn’t garner any answers.
“It’s a beautiful house,” Elliot commented. A man said, “I’m sorry,” as though he didn’t hear the statement.
Elliott invited them to light up the KII meters and one lit up almost immediately.
It was Ben’s turn and he asked if they usually stayed in the basement, or if they were there because the group was there. A woman very calmly stated, “We’re here.”
We then heard a man’s voice state, “He sounds sick.”
They kept hearing bits and pieces of a sound called Hard Habit to Break. I didn’t hear it, but a lot of the group kept hearing it. After a few more questions, I heard a very faint, “Ashley,” which turns out to be the name of someone they had been talking to on the third floor in their previous session. Had those ghosts followed them to the basement? Someone asked, “Ashley, were you the nurse?” A man responded, “That’s Daphne.”
After the last response, we were getting nothing of relevance, so we switched to dowsing rods. Here are the responses:
Q: Is there a female down here with us?
Q: Are you a nurse?
Q: were you a nurse here in New Harmony?
Q: is your name Ashley
Q: are you buried at Maple Hill? (no answer)
Q: are you buried at the Episcopal Church cemetery?
Q: Are you buried under the gazebo?
Q: Are you over here by me and Jamie? (no answer)
They began discussing the SLS camera and then talking about their impressions. Jamie said she felt as though they didn’t like to be asked if they were servants. They were probably at a higher social status and resented being asked if they served others.
They began getting hits on the SLS camera. Half the group was gathered around the camera, while the other half was still working the dowsing rods.
Q: do you show yourself to children because you protect the children?
Q: do we have kids dancing in here? (related to what they were seeing on the SLS camera)
Q: is there a boy down here?
The group began discussing the energy in the kitchen area. Several people felt a heaviness there. I joined them and felt it too. It was very strong there. There was a totally different energy there. I used my Mel Meter to see if there was a spike in Electromagnetic Energy (EMF), which is usually a sign of faulting electrical components or wiring, but it didn’t register anything out of the norm.
Traci did her session on the third floor in the space they call the Loft. It’s a grand room with a king sized bed, sitting areas and a lavish bathroom. We’ve done the Estes Method many times before and have found it to be an effective way of learning more about the haunting.
In this experiment, we put a blindfold and headphones on each participant. They are connected directly to the Spirit Box. As they hear responses, they call them out. The audience asks questions that the participant can’t hear. Some participants go into a light mediumistic state.
Traci had the group introduce themselves while Elliott got settled with the headphones.
A (Elliott): Hi
Q: Hi. What is your name?
A: Hey you!
Q: What’s your name?
Q: Did you live here? Are you from New Harmony? How old are you?
Q: Do you remember any of our names? My name is Traci. Can you say my name?
Q: Are you a nurse? When did you live in this area?
Q: How old are you? Were you a nurse in a war?
Q: Do you live here?
Lights flashed on a device.
Q: Can you do that again and make the lights flash?
Q: Are you a Harmonist
Q: Are you talking about the yard here?
Q: What’s round?
Q: Are you talking about the gazebo?
Q: Is there anyone else here with you? Are we still talking to Ashley?
A: Under here
Q: Under what?
A: Hey Bruce!
Q: Is Bruce here? Can we talk to Bruce?
Q: Do you stay here or do you go to other houses?
A: Is that? Warning
Q: Do you warn people when they come here?
A: Five six
Q: Is Ashley still here?
A: Next week. What?
Q: Ashley, are you still here?
Q: Do people smell you?
Q: Do you show yourself to people?
Q: How old are you, Bruce?
A: Nothing. Property.
Q: Did you live here? Were you someone’s property? (untold history of AC Thomas. He was a member of the KKK)
Q: Are you bound to the property?
They pulled Elliott out of the session. He said there was a lot of talking, but he wasn’t always sure what they were saying. A woman was crying and also talking. Then he heard a man talking. It sounded like they were talking to each other on occasion. It was far more emotional than he expected.
Michelle became the next participant.
Q: Well, hello, Steve. Do you remember any of our names?
Q: What’s your name?
Q: No need to be sorry.
A: Send off.
Q: Where are you from? Do you have a favorite room here?
Q: How can we help?
A: Found dead. Dad.
Q: Where did you find your dad? (That was accurate. AC Thomas shot himself in the house and his daughter found him)
Q: I’m sorry that happened to you. We can talk about something else. (She was getting visibly upset)
A: More people
Q: Were there more people there? (Traci interjected that we can pull her out of the session if her friends feel she needs it.
Q: Who’s Robert? What’s your favorite house in town? What did you do here as a kid?
Q: your baby? What do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite food?
A: Baby ducks
Q: Do you like this third floor? Or would you rather be on another floor of this house?
Q: We’ve gotten a lot of names: Ashley, Bruce, Robert and Steve. Are they all here?
Q: What do you think of all these people staying in the house tonight?
A: It’s me
Q: Just you here? What’s your name? Did you grow up in this house? It’s an awfully big house. Very nice.
Q: Can you see the lights on the floor? If you can, get close to them and they’ll change colors. They won’t hurt you. (Rachel brought her string of EMP sensitive lights.)
Q: how long have you been here?
Q: What kind of treatment? Do you have a memory from here? Are you a man or a woman?
They pulled her out of the session. She said she felt emotional. She felt like she was going to burst out crying. She kept hearing piano music too.
Ben became the last participant of the session.
Q: Can you tell us something about yourself?
Q: Did you have a lot of heartache in your life? I’m sorry about that.
A: Evil (he sang it)
Q: We’re not evil. We’re not here to hurt you. The lights on the floor won’t hurt you.
Q: Can you touch the blue light over here?
A: Wait a second!
Q: We’re waiting. What’s your name?
A: Go on with it. Don’t!
Q: What do you want to stop?
The lights on the floor suddenly went off.
A: Devil! (he sang it again)
A: Not here
Q: that’s good the devil isn’t here
A: What are you going to do to keep
A: help me
Q: What do you need?
Ben groaned and made some strange noises, almost as though he was in pain.
Q: Are you in pain? Is someone hurting you?
Blue lights flashed again
A: Who’s there?
Q: they introduced themselves again
A: Tell me
Q: What are you orders? Are you military?
A: I was wrong
Q: What were you wrong about? Are you Mr. Thomas?
Q: Is someone in the bathroom? (they heard a noise)
Q: Do you remember anyone else’s name? (blue light flashed again)
A: I want to die
Q: I’m sorry
Q: Is there anything we can do to make you feel better.
A: What’s up?
Q: Not much. We’re just hanging out talking to you. What’s up with you?
Q: Is 21 your age?
A: Don’t bullshit
They pulled Ben out of the session. He said there were at least six different voices. The upset one was a female. He heard a laugh that freaked him out.
Traci started out the second session by explaining the process, and then they got started. Here’s what the first participant, Rebecca, experienced:
Q: they all introduced themselves. Can you tell us your name?
Q: is there anything you’d like us to know?
Q: have you ever lived in this house? Have you owned this house?
Q: Can you tell us your name?
Q: how long did you live in New Harmony?
Q: What’s your favorite room in this house?
Q: Do you like it’s a Bed and Breakfast?
A: Biscuit (everyone laughed)
Q: Are you from Indiana?
Q: Are you male or female?
Q: What’s your favorite color? Do you have any pets?
A: This time
Q: What about this time? Is something going to happen this time or are you confirming you’re a male this time? Do you remember any of our names?
Q: Are you from Posey county? Did you grow up in Posey County? Do you like New Harmony?
Q: did you ever sail a boat on the Wabash? Did you ever fish on the Wabash?
A: Always (his questions came too close together, so it’s hard to know which one she was responding to)
A: Love you
Q: We love you too
Q: Are you messing with something in the bathroom to scare me? Can you tell us what your name is?
A: All day
Q: do you think our questions are boring?
Rebecca pulled off the blindfold. She was hearing a male and a female. The next participant put on the blindfold and headphones and they got started.
Q: Can you tell us what that noise is that we keep hearing?
Q: You don’t want to tell me or you don’t know?
Q: Is it a person making that noise?
Q: Is it your sister?
Q: how is she making that noise?
Q: what’s yellow?
Q: Are you calling me a coward
A: sure (everyone laughed). Just a side note, but we later learned the sound was one of the windows opening on the second floor. It leads to a balcony. One of the guests didn’t feel well and was going out on the balcony for fresh air.
Q: Can you have her make the sound again?
Q: Two times?
Q: no thanks (Traci said this, causing everyone to laugh)
Q: do you want to have a dance party?
Q: is this a dress up dance party?
Q: Do you want us to dance for you?
A: yes (laughter from the group)
Q: What kind of music do you want us to play?
Q: What kind of music is that?
A: black light
Q: Do you want us all to dance?
Q: who do you want to dance?
Q: Pink means one of the women, right?
A: that one?
Q: Is it Michelle?
Someone just screamed in the participant’s ear and said, “You!” Someone else said that the little boy in the basement said she was cute on the Spirit box. Traci told the ghost in the room they weren’t allowed to touch people or cause them fear. The woman said she kept hearing “old music.” They switched participants and they were off and running.
Q: Is the boy here?
A: Can we play?
Q: yes, we can play. Do you want to play with the ball on the floor?
Q: Do you want to play with the ball?
Q: Do you want me to roll the ball back to you?
A: later. Always.
Q: Can you tell me your name?
Q: Were you the room who screamed in my ear?
Q: Was that you?
Q: Which girl are you trying to talk to?
Q: What do you want to talk about?
A: Along. Together. Me.
Q: You, together with who?
Q: Was your sister playing on the second floor a little while ago?
A: Back. Every.
Q: Is she back with us now? Your sister, Amy?
Q: Was she trying to have a dance party? Is that what the sound was?
A: Now and wall. Ever more.
Q: are you doing the same thing for Aleah that you did for Teagan? She is a teacher and teaches boys your age. What is your sister’s name?
A: In. Orbit.
Q: What decade of music are you playing?
A: I am
Traci began playing old time 20’s music.
Q: Is this the kind of music you like?
A: Apples. Oranges.
Q: Did you come upstairs with us from the basement?
A: Everyone knows. Lower. Forward
Q: Do you want to go back to the basement? Do you want to play with the ball?
Q: We don’t have three.
A: Are you?
Q: Do you have a secret?
Q: Am I what? Do you want me to turn the music back on?
A: Try. Prominent.
Q: Is this your style of music?
A: Yeah. Always.
Q: Do you want me to keep it on?
A: Injured. Day.
Q: Who’s injured? Can we help them?
Q: Is that where you grew up?
Q: What about today? Are you shy?
Q: Were you the loud noise in my ear?
A: Constantly. All right
Traci announced that they could ask one more question, that the time was almost up.
Q: Why would I behave? There’s no market in behaving
A: Right now. Let’s go
Q: Are you ready to go? Are you and your sister coming with us?
A: Going away?
Q: Where are you going? Do you want to leave this floor?
She pulled the headphones off. She said it was weird and she kept hearing techno music.
At the end of the night, we all convened to the main parlor on the first floor for a group Spirit Box session. It took a few rounds of questions before we began getting relevant responses. Elliott asked if they remembered any of our names (after we introduced ourselves) and a voice said, “Michelle,” very clearly.
I asked if the ten year old boy from the basement was with us and a boy’s voice said, “I’m right here.” It was faint, but I amplified it in the recording.
There were several underlying voices coming through. The volume level was low and you could only hear it if you were really paying attention (or wearing headphones, listening to it later, which was my case.) At one point a voice came through and said, “Donna!” as though calling to someone and then another voice corrected her, “It’s Rick,” she said. This is interesting because Whistling Rick was present for that session and his wife’s name is Donna. It just seems to be too relevant to be a coincidence.
Traci asked about their favorite breakfast food and the same soft voice said, “toast.” It wasn’t what I would have picked, but he’s entitled to his favorite.
We weren’t getting much beyond some blips and bleeps, so Traci offered to do an Estes Method session. Here are the results:
Traci (T): Shiny
Q: What’s shiny?
Q: Does Richard live here?
T: It’s today
Q: What’s today?
T: my feet
Q: What about your feet?
Q: Almost what? Did you have something done to your feet?
T: Mine. In October
Q: Did you get braces?
Q: Do you live here?
T: Hold on
Q: Are you here by yourself?
T: Still. Leave. You’re leaving today.
Q: Who’s leaving today? What’s the date?
T: All right
Q: you know our names?
T: You can. Dead end. I want it.
Q: What do you want? Who’s wearing the headphones?
T: Let them go. Later.
We heard sounds upstairs. It was the window in the Diana Room.
T: It’s the boy. He’s afraid.
Q: What’s he afraid of?
T: Yeah. It’s loud. I’m talking to you.
Q: Who are you talking to?
T: hold on. I’m flying. When the flight left… (Traci inserted that something was touching her right hip)
Q: Who’s touching Traci?
T: Take that. I got it.
Joni inserted that she could feel the ghosts swooping into the room.
T: take it
Q: Been there done that. Wrote the book about it.
T: tell me. What do you want?
Q: your name
T: I’m here
Q: what is your name?
T: They’re going to come (Traci inserted that a really deep voice said, “Demon.”)
T: Where was that? You don’t know me?
Q: What’s the best room in the house?
T: You’re free to go
Q: Which floor do you like the best?
T: Hey, I doubt it. It’s not what the plan is.
Q: what is the plan?
T: Burning. We’ll speak now (two different voices)
Q: What would you like to tell us? Did you live here during the Golden Era?
T: What is that you want?
Q: for you to talk to us.
T: and what is that?
Q: conversation. We want to learn about your life
T: effective. Oh, really. Right now. (argumentative voice). I’m sorry
Q: Can you tell us your name?
T: All of this
Q: Are you upset
Q: What’s the alternative?
T: (told us she was hearing techno music playing)
Q: Do you want to have a dance party?
Q: Can you tell Traci to dance for us
T: Your wish has been granted (everyone laughed)
Q: What music should we play?
T: middle of the night
Q: What music did we request downstairs? Is your sister coming to the dance party this time?
T: Do it. Kevin and Paul tonight. Oh God! Can you do us a favor?
T: you have it
Q: Do the ladies have any dangers with the basement tonight?
T: Yeah, it’s hard. But it doesn’t… That’s how it feels…always.
Q: anything interesting about the second floor?
T: It’s six am. We’re going to take it.
Q: What are you going to take?
Q: what brotherhood
T: yes…maybe. Do you know Christ?
Q: I do. Do you know Christ?
T: say it! Here!
Q: what does my hat say? (Ben Adams)
T: One, two. Let’s do it!
T: your face is good! Yeah!
Q: who’s face?
T: a piece of paper
T: I see you!
T: It’s a sure thing?
T: in the mirror. We’ll recruit you.
Q: no thank you. Happy being alive (Joni)
T: you have to help.
T: you’ll go inside and then try this.
Q: Try what?
T: anode? What am I even doing? Thirty? I’m Chris. I’m real
Q: Do you live here?
T: hey, officer!
T: Can I be the PO? It’s complex. These people are missing. I am. I’m going deaf here.
Q: are there too many people talking?
T: we’ll find something next time
Q: are you missing because there was a fire?
T: long overdue. Have you seen them? From the Greek.
T: It’s this way. Don’t move.
T: Look at that. I’m Superman.
T: come back to me
T: all of us. Haystack
Q: can you tell Traci to dance?
T: I can’t
Q: why not?
T: I found you (sang it). You’re a degenerate.
T: there are people in separate cast. Look down. We’re excited!
Q: so are we
T: can you find it yet?
T: it’s sitting almost in a tree. Gotta light there…above us.
Q: What is it?
T: yeah. You can see. Reading. Why do you say that? (different voice. She said they were arguing).
She took the blindfold off and said she kept hearing a deep voice that was saying creepy things. There were several voices. One of them was talking about something in a tree and the other jumped in to try to stop them from saying something they weren’t. Saw a young woman. Blond hair, wispy blond hair in a messy bun. She was more modern, which makes some sense because they were hearing eighties and techno music.
We ended the session. Traci and I left, leaving the rest of the group to spend the night. The young ladies in the basement seemed to have the most activity. They kept hearing sounds and having doors close. Some of the group stayed up late continuing to investigate, but no one had any negative experiences following the investigation.
All in all, it was a fun investigation. We learned quite a bit about the haunting, but would like to dive into it deeper to learn more. Thank you to everyone who attended and to the Haunted New Harmony team and House Manager, Clarissa Powell, for making it happen.