Can spirits and ghosts be photographed? Many believe that yes, they can, if the conditions are right and the spirit is willing. After all, it has been proven that any type of camera, including digital and video, can capture images normally not seen by the naked eye, such as dust falling, normal light distortions, and nearly transparent haze. It stands to reason that if electro-magnetic spirit energies do exist, then cameras should be able to capture these images also. Spiritual photography has been around since 1861, and while there are hundreds of double-exposed, tampered, and ill-taken spook photos, there are quite a few “real” ghost pictures that simply can not be explained away or the image recreated.
In April of 1997, a photographer for the Indianapolis Star took a picture of the historic
Nicholson House as it was being moved from its original location in Valley Mills to a safer, less urban location near Southport. Shortly after the picture appeared in the newspaper, the Star received numerous calls from readers who saw the distinct image of a little girl looking out the upper window of the old house, and were certain that it was the photograph of a ghost. Upon reflection, the photographer vaguely remembered seeing a little girl watching the movers from the window, but didn’t pay much attention to her at the time or even think to question why a young girl would be in a moving structure.
The girl in the picture appears to be around 6 or 8 years old, with blond hair, and wearing a simple blue dress. Stories quickly circulated that the little girl must be the ghost of someone who had died in the home. An investigation into the house’s history shows no record of that happening. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Perhaps during the period from 1870-1903, when the Nicholson family built and lived in the home, or later, when the Rand family and their descendants owned it from 1903-1970’s, an incident happened that was hidden from society. During both those periods, an unwed pregnancy could tarnish and ruin a family’s status, as would a deformed or simple-minded child with special needs. Most of these children were abandoned or secretly handed over to an older married relative in a distant town. In some cases, for whatever reason, a family would chose to hide the child away, raising it in a secure, secret room and away from the judgmental eyes of the community. Unfortunately, in these conditions most of the children didn’t live very long, succumbing to improper medical treatment, negligent, or something more sinister. Is the house hiding a family secret that is trying to make itself known?
Perhaps, the little girl isn’t a family member. The house was abandoned in the 1970’s, and remained vacant until the late 1990’s, when it was rescued by the Historical Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. During those years of neglect, the house suffered from deterioration and abuse, and became the site of break-ins, vandalism, and illicit activities. The girl could very possibly have been a missing child from that period, a victim of foul play or a runaway.
The little girl is not the only unexplained haunt at the
Nicholson House. Since the ghostly picture was printed, other stories have surfaced. At one time the house was used as a tenement, and reputedly a resident hung himself in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Paranormal investigators to the house have observed a light fixture moving in circles on its own and uncontrollably spikes on their EMF detectors in an upstairs bedroom. Another story claims the house was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that a group of slaves had burned to death in the basement after a fire broke out and they were unable to escape. Many visitors claim to have heard muffled screams and sensed the unnerving smell of burnt flesh in the basement. However, there is no evidence to show that the house was ever part of the Underground Railroad system. What other sinister secrets could the house be hiding?
Nicholson House is now listed as one of the top 10 most haunted places in , by Haunted America. The house is located just outside of America on private property and is not open to the public. However, since it sits along a main road, a very discrete, respectful drive-by shouldn’t disturb the occupants as long as you don’t loiter around and gawk. Ghosts don’t like to be gawked at. Indianapolis