Skip to main content

Indiana Urban Legends, Monsters, and Haunted Places

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

DS Duby is an avid traveler and writer with a keen interest in horror and urban legends.

If you have ever seen a tourism commercial for Indiana then you have most likely heard the phrase, "There's more than corn in Indiana." Well, I'm here to tell you that this phrase couldn't be any truer.

While spending a week vacationing in Indianapolis I found that between swimming in the hotel pool, visiting the Indy zoo, and playing haunted laser tag, I barely had time to search for local urban legends and haunted places. So, being the OCD-type person that I am, I put a halt to the leisure time fun and buckled down on some hardcore research during my last three days in Indiana.

With any luck, you will find my discoveries as interesting as I have, making it worth the time I lost from black light mini-golf and go-kart racing.

The Crosley Monster, Indiana's Bigfoot: Jennings County, Indiana

The stories of the Bigfoot-type monster are told in an assorted variety of ways all over the world, and Indiana is no exception to this. According to Jennings County residents this half animal, half human type beast has been roaming the Crosley Fish and Wildlife longer than anyone cares to remember.

There are many locals who will swear the stories are true and an equal number who will quickly tell you it's nothing but a myth. In July of 2006, four boys camping in these woods had their minds made up for them.

The boys had set up camp at Harsin Pond in the Crosley F&W area for an evening of fishing when suddenly they experienced a strange feeling of no longer being alone. They had been fishing from the dam of the pond when the sounds of something approaching arose from the surrounding woods.

They stared into the darkness expecting to see a deer or such come trampling out of the forest, but instead, to their surprise, they spotted a pair of large glowing eyes nearly seven feet from the ground and appearing to stand on two legs.

One of the boys, Terry Snyder, claims to have seen the huge monster through the light of his lantern, mentioning that the beast was extremely hairy and dirty looking. It was at this point, after seeing a clearer view of it, that the creature began violently shaking tree limbs before leaping towards the boys in an apparent attempt to attack. Here is where the story takes a slight curve from most Bigfoot sightings.

As the boys fled, the furry beast gave chase dropping down onto all four limbs in a more animal-type running fashion. According to their report, the creature chased the boys until they came to a cornfield, at which point the boys stuck to the road and the beast ran straight into the field.

A couple of weeks later, one of the boys claimed to have had another encounter with the Crosley Monster while hunting squirrels in the same general vicinity. He heard a strange scream coming from the woods around him, right before seeing the beast once again, and immediately began to flee. As he ran through the woods the monster circled him at a fast pace again running on all fours.

The creature was seemingly only toying with the boy as he made no actual attempt to attack. The boy, following his own natural instinct to run, never once attempted to fire the 12-gauge shotgun he was carrying. Once again, the boy made it to the safety of his home, completely unharmed.

Indianapolis Central State Hospital: Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indiana Hospital for the Insane first opened its doors in November of 1848, catering to mental illnesses ranging from depression to extreme psychosis. Various forms of mentally handicapped people and even the criminally insane were housed there as well. It wasn't until 1926 that the hospital was renamed Indianapolis Central State Hospital, and by 1928 the facility housed over 3000 patients.

Central State Hospital old pathology building. Established 1896.

Central State Hospital old pathology building. Established 1896.

While the hospital was still in operation the staff would use the basements with nearly five miles of connecting tunnels to house the worst of the patients, the constant screamers and the dangerously insane criminals. In the late 1800s, the hospital took on a new approach to its patients, treating them in more humane ways rather than like caged animals awaiting death. Unfortunately for them, the damage had already been done, the spirits of the mistreated had no intentions of going anywhere or changing their ways.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Exemplore

Long after the hospital stopped using the basements for housing, the chilling screams of the former patients were still being heard by maintenance workers and staff alike. So often in fact that the hospital needed to constantly hire new staff to work these areas because the walkout rate was so extreme.

There have also been claims of physical contact from unseen forces within these basement areas, such as choking, pushing, and even violent striking. For the most part, though it was the screams that people seemed to report most often, making the situation a bit stranger was the fact that there have been several patients who have disappeared from the facility without a trace, yet their screaming voices could often still be heard echoing through the corridors.

The hospital was finally put out of commission in 1994, but in recent years authorities have discovered the unmarked graves of many patients and suspect there are still many more they have not yet found. The city of Indianapolis purchased the property for themselves in 2003 with plans to build a park and cultural center on the land, stating that they will be sure to be on the lookout for more unmarked graves and relocating them to a proper burial site.

The Green-Clawed Beast: Ohio River Near Evansville, Indiana

It was August 21 of 1955 that the only account ever of the Green Clawed Beast of Indiana was reported. On this day Mrs. Darwin Johnson and her friend Mrs. Chris Lamble were swimming in the Ohio River when they encountered the mysterious creature.

Mrs. Johnson had been wading in the cool water, while her friend floated on her raft nearby. Suddenly out of nowhere Johnson felt a strong hairy, claw-like hand grab hold of her knee and pull her under the water.


Mrs. Lamble is said to have screamed hysterically upon seeing her friend viciously yanked under the water, when suddenly Mrs. Johnson broke free of the creature's grasp and was able to resurface. Just as she thought she was free the creature again grabbed hold of Mrs. Johnson, this time from behind, again pulling her under the murky water.

With the last of her willpower, Mrs. Johnson was able to break free once again, this time lunging for her friend's raft and making a large splash that apparently scared the beast off. After exiting the water Mrs. Johnson was treated for multiple injuries.

It was during this treatment that they found a strange, green stain in the shape of a large hand on Mrs. Johnson's leg. It was reported that Mrs. Johnson was unable to remove the mark for several days after the incident occurred.

With only one occurrence being reported, it would be easy to push this legend aside and claim it as a panicky swimmer or a tree limb snagging her in the current, but, it just so happens that on this exact same day the single most terrifying report in UFO history was also occurring, the case of the Hopkinsville Goblin.

Some people were subject to believe that the creature may have been one of the Loveland Frogmen from the Ohio area, though they have never been reported as being dangerous or aggressive. Several weeks after the incident the Johnsons claim to have been visited by a USAF Colonel and extensively questioned for hours before being warned not to speak of the incident to anyone from that point on.

It was 1955, just one year after the release of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Who knows what really happened? Was it a government conspiracy to hide amphibious aliens or a just panicky swimmer's lucid imagination brought on by a horror movie based on a very similar scenario?

By the time I finally finished up my research for this article, I had just enough time left for a quick game of black light miniature golf and another round of haunted laser tag, before hitting the interstate for the long drive back to reality also known as home. Thanks for stopping by, and as usual, if you have any ghost stories or legends that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment below.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 DS Duby


Anonymous on January 27, 2019:

December 21st 2012 i know the mayan calender was supposed to end but anyway i was alone asleep in my trailer in deputy indiana when somthing made me wake up outa know where i looked out my window cause i had this weird feeling that somthing wasnt right and there were these lights in the sky moving around in an unexplainable way just like ufos were described and then i saw a craft taking off in the distance which clearly had some type of flames coming out of the bottom like a rocket but much brighter and more intense than any conventional craft. Well i was so amazed i walked outside in inches of snow cause i couldnt believe my eyes and i could feel somthing watching me and then i heard this loud like cawing/screaming noise it was unlike anything id ever heard it was coming from the woods in the same direction a saw the craft take off well idk y but i mimmicked it and when i did it stoped well i got creeped out and went back inside and untill this day i feel like im crazy but i know what i saw and heard.

Bill on September 08, 2018:

It's the 21st Century and people still believe these silly stories. While it's true there are "some" things that can't be explained, most of these stories are figments of over active imaginations!

joseph on August 01, 2018:

you all sit on your pc and I bet none of you have ever spent much time in the woods? I have all my life and there are things out there

Red25 on November 22, 2015:

I enjoyed this. Being an Indiana boy, I look up as much urban legends and folklore from here. I've never heard of any of these, so thanks for that. And of course, being from the Rochester area, I've heard all the stories of Prill School and Sister Sarah. Maybe that's something you could look into, if you haven't already. I haven't gone after those stories, but I do know a couple people who have.

Shaun on November 19, 2014:

Check the statue that cries blood. a small cemetery just outside shoals Indiana.

rollins on September 05, 2014:

I was half expecting you to mention The Beast of Busco. churabusco Indiana's giant turtle. I grew up with the story being a hoosier all my life in northern indiana

Rick Biehle on September 23, 2013:

A true fishin g story with a twist from my past.

Has anyone seen the Crosley Monster lately? I remember going in search of him when our 4 H club camped out in Crosley one year. Mrs Joe Horstman was our leader at the time and a bunch of us took a fishing net and climbed up a tree along a dirt lane and waited while others went to chase him to us. We ended up catching Mark Horstman in the net when he came down the trail howling and growling.

Anyway, some years later I took a couple friends fishing near the tunnel mill. We parked near the cemetary and walked down through the tunnel to the river. One of the friends was from Columbus and having not heard of the legend of the Crosley Monster I told him this story:

"Years ago when the tunnel mill was still in operation a worker stayed late to finish grinding corn. Being a drunkard he of course got to drinking too much late into the night while grinding corn. He passed out and knocked over a lamp causing the mill to burn down. He was badly burned in the accident and barely crawled to the river where he laid out in the water writhing in pain.

He tried to muster the strength to overcome his pain and crawl up the trail to get help but to no avail. The burns were too severe and he couldn't drag himself over the rocks to find help. He laid there for days going insane from hunger and pain

Days went by and he began to starve to death when along came a group of kids wading down the river and upon seeing this badly burned man and howling thought they were being attacked by a monster and ran to town for help. Many men came from town to hunt the monster down.

He ran and hid in the chimney of the mill until they were gone. Now insanity took over and fearing for his life he hid in the woods and lived as a hermit. Every time someone came upon them they would scream in fear because he was so horribly ugly. He began killing those who found him for fear they would reveal his location to those who always seemed to be hunting him."

About the time I got to this point of the story my friend asked if this was a true story and I assured him it was. He got up from his pole and while turning around let out a big scream and almost fell over all the rocks. Standing just outside the tunnel of the mill was a game warden wearing night vision goggles. He had snuck through the tunnel without a sound and stood listening to my story until he had figured out how many of us were there.

While we showed our fishing license we had a great laugh at my friends expense over his spotting the Crosley Monster

Megan from Clearwater, Florida on December 10, 2012:

Thank you. I enjoy writing and I enjoy reading your hubs.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on December 10, 2012:

Thank you lifeislovely I followed you back as well you have some great hubs in a short time congrats

Megan from Clearwater, Florida on December 08, 2012:

This was interesting and well written. I'm following, voted up, and interesting.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on July 29, 2012:

Thanks GoForTheJuggler, I agree a lot of great movies were based on Urban Legends.

Joshua Patrick from Texas on July 29, 2012:

I love a good urban legend. Where would Hollywood be without them? Voted up!

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on June 27, 2012:

The worst hauntings always seem to be associated with torture I think, I know I definitely wouldn't go into the basements or lower corridors of that hospital. Thanks you for stopping by.

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on June 27, 2012:

Maybe Mrs. Johnson was on something? Lololo! It sounds like a branch to me to and she panicked when she was nagged by it; but nonetheless I will not discredit what happened. I have heard of the Insane Asylum in Indiana and could not imagine going in there. Bless the state for purchasing it; but I do not believe I would want to venture into it. I am to freaked out by Ghosts! Seriously! lololo Another good one! Another Thumbs up! :)

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on June 22, 2012:

Your welcome, that would be a reallly great idea to find more information about that hospital with the bizarre history. Haunted places are very fascinating and interesting.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on June 21, 2012:

Thank you Gail, I'm trying to find more info on that hospital it seems to have a lot of bizarre history.

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on June 21, 2012:

The stories are very interesting--The one about the mental hospital was really interesting. There must have been a lot of bodies buried in the ground-that is pretty strange. The mental hospital sounds very spooky. It was fun to read.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on June 21, 2012:

Oh, very interesting! Thanks for sharing. :) I don't know a whole lot about Indiana, and these were some intriguing stories.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on June 21, 2012:

You write well about the haunted and creepy... have you always be fascinated by this topic? What an interesting series you have created.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on June 21, 2012:

Thank you Isadoras thoughts, the mental hospital legend was pretty creepy.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on June 21, 2012:

Thank you Shea Duane, that's pretty crazy that you have one of those hospitals in NJ as well, who knows there may be a legend that goes with it as well. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

shea duane from new jersey on June 21, 2012:

Another great hub. There is a closed mental hospital here in NJ with a lot of unmarked graves also. so strange !!!

IsadorasThought on June 21, 2012:

Very, very interesting. Especially the bit about mental institution. Thank you for your research.

DS Duby (author) from United States, Illinois on June 21, 2012:

Thank you brackenb

brackenb on June 21, 2012:

Fascinating stuff. Voted up and interesting.

Related Articles