The Truth About Haunted Places in Indiana – The Dewey House

Old Man Deweys' House, the site of an alleged Indiana massacre

by Karl Tatgenhorst on June 13, 2010

Over the past year, I have been planning to start visiting haunted places in Indiana. I have been particularly keen on visiting a haunted cemetary or some famous haunted places in the area. Over the years I’ve had this interest wax and wane with age and time constraints, recently it was rekindled when my wife and I went on a “Paranormal Scavenger Hunt” with a local ghost hunting organization. So, the night of Friday, June 11th 2010 I finally put it out on Facebook that I was getting ready to head out and look for ghosts in Indiana. Two friends (Amber and Shannon) responded, this was fortunate as Amber was especially knowledgeable of ghost stories in Indiana.

Amber searched the internet looking for indications of success about the sites she wanted to visit, we came up with quite a few and would be driving and walking for several hours. The crown jewel of the night was going to be the Dewey House in Valparaiso. Local legend says that Mr. Dewey was having a bad time and one night came home and killed his family (including children and a dog). He then allegedly decapitated them and put their heads on the fence posts and concluded the evening by hanging himself in a silo out back. The story brought goosebumps, however it certainly had numerous signs of urban legend like quality. I desperately wanted to look more closely at the Dewey House, both physically and historically.
We had a great time going to the other places, and they were all easy to find. When we finally headed down to 125 W to find Deweys House we found that the directions seemed to be a combination of three places on that road (lending themselves to myth status). The first “big clue” was that there was supposed to be ominous “do not trespass” signs all over the property, which was at the end of the road. Well, there was a house halfway down and that property had “No hunting” signs all over the place. So, that wasn’t it. It was also supposed to be by a local haunted cemetary. The cemetary was actually on 175 W and there was no house next to it (during this time an owl dive bombed our car and this elicited many screams). We drove the road a third time and this time at the end noticed the top of a collapsed old farm house, and we noticed it was surrounded by barbed wire fence (que the music).
I stopped the car to photograph the house, Amber said it was making her very uneasy it did have an incredibly ominous feel to it… but our minds were obsessed on a horrific story, how could it not have that feel. I aimed my Nikon Digital SLR at the house and click… fail?!? My camera said my 8 GB memory card was suddenly full. I used Ambers camera to snap a few pictures, man was it dark. Shannon then asked if that was the silo. I replied that I didn’t see a silo and then I noticed that there were no stars in a certain area after squinting I could then make out the overgrown silo, that raised the stubble on the back of my bald head! So, we almost missed the place THREE times, my camera failed, I almost missed even noticing the silo. That’s a lot of coincidence. We called it a night at that point (3:30 am).
The following day I put a new card in my camera and got in my car, I was going to photograph the house by day light. I pulled over and got out of the car and a neighbor to the house came out so I photographed from the road. He finally went back inside and I walked to the fence with the intention of entering the property. Wouldn’t you know it, the sky opened and the rain did pour. So many coincidences, this is a fun story. I think the mind tries to prove somethings based on superstition even if we don’t believe that about ourselves. The photos I did get during the day look spooky, but the house has been abandoned since the mid 1950s (according to the internet). The property is for sale ($799,000 for 68 acres butting up against Woods of the Winding Creek).
The reason all of this fascinates me, is that urban legends often hide the truth of an area (that’s why bustin makes me feel good). I think that collaboratively digging through the hype and investigating this stuff could definitely be the type of activity that a local social media group could use to build real connections in the community. That being said, feel free to catch me at the next Northwest Indiana Tweetup to talk about the Dewey House face to face. Also, be sure to check out paranormal tours of the area. Do you know any of the truth about the Dewey house? Are you aware of other great stories of the area?

About the author

Karl Tatgenhorst wrote 31 articles on this blog.

  • Amber

    Great blog, Karl. I have to agree, I am left wondering how much of my nausea and lightheadness was because of the “legend” behind the house. Going into something after looking up all the “spooky” tales behind it certainly doesn’t help the mind at all. I do, however, find it most odd that this property has sat vacant since the 1950s. In an area where property is going quickly, and this IS a beautiful piece of property, why does it remain vacant/unsold for so long? Just more to add to the “Urban Legend” of the Dewey House.

    Looking forward to our next adventure!

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  • http://ktatgenhorst.com Karl Tatgenhorst

    There will be at least one more post to this, though most likely two more. I will do one to share the results of some research on the Dewey murders and may do another one the similarity of urban legend embellishments to brand embellishment.

  • admin

    Amber, thanks for reading this post! I think a large portion of this property is swamp, however a large portion is not and connects to Woods of the Winding Creek. Part of the research for the next post will involve some of my dear friends in real estate… Hi Dave! I know sometimes a property is left to a whole family in the will and one person can foul up the efforts to sell the property. Maybe that happened here?

  • Dude

    Zoinks Karl, nice blog. Interested to see what you find out.

  • Chadwick

    (applause!) Wow, that was great Karl! I bet you could write a good book. For a second, I thought you were going to say that you had 8 GB of photos of the Dewey family on yer cam all of a sudden. Sheeeeeeew, had me on the edge of my seat!

  • Clay

    Hey Karl. My wife and I went by the Dewey place last weekend. We love the ghost hunting. There are some really cool places here in Indy. Do some research on the town of Irvington in Indianapolis. It is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Indiana. Every year in October there is a walking tour of some of the more famous places. It is well worth the trip. We went last year and are going again this year.

  • admin

    Sounds like a blast Clay, thanks for mentioning it. I have to mention now that I spoke to the realtor for the “Dewey House”, the owner asks that I not write anymore on the subject and also says that all of the stories are myth (I believe that strongly for the record). So while it is an awesome story and a very spooky looking house, I am going to drop that story.

  • Rebecca

    OMG…The Dewey house…It’s fenced off now? We used to go there “back in the day”….hang out, be scared, probably beer was involved. :) Suzi and co. used to live in WotWC, so it was a regular stop…

  • admin

    Yeah, it’s fenced off. Looks super cool for a halloween party. Maybe we could all chip in and buy it ($799 K)

  • http://yahoo WrenchingKahn

    Great blog!

    One thing that doesnt make sence is i’ve tried to look into the “dewey murder” but it all goes to dead ends. Does anyone know his last name? Or how to acess like city records to show that this isnt all B/S? I know for sure there is a fence around the property because My friend and his family and just a big group of people go to the cemetry near deweys house every halloween. There is even a “story” going around that Mr.Dewey died in the 1980s in a nursing home followed by his wife. I’ve even heard that dewey was the name of a boy that lost his life in a bad farming accident on the property and the story just spun out of control.

    Its a great mystery Kudos to anyone that could find the real story.

  • Kelly

    Does anyone have an exact address?

  • Stephicakes

    Ya i went to this place twice, the first time i didnt believe there was anything haunted about it but i got out of the car i heard all these strange noises like short screams, dogs whining and pigs. So we got a flashlight outta the car bout to jump the fence and the flashlight shut off then a car starts coming down the road at 2:30am ya we ran back to the car and got the hell out of there, the car followed us til we got to the highway. the second time i went we got out of the car and heard russling noises that just got closer and closer so we got freaked out and drove away.

  • Destini

    umm amber did any one notice the figure torwords the back of the house? you have to open up the pic with quick play. ive been there myself and i am ten and me and my mom feaked out, well i was in the passengers seat and i kept smelling this rotting smell as i leaned out of the window. wierd!! Great story Karl i think thats your name…

  • jason

    i have been there its not really all to scary i went in the house off the driveway i had to tear down some boards on the door to get in and once i got in the place was trashed and it had shit all over the floors i walked through the whole house at night i didnt see anything but my friend was in the basement and i thought he was behind me cuz i felt someone grab the back of my neck and when i turned around i seen a face that scared the shit out of me and it was the cops so the place isnt haunted the story is not true cuz i found out later down the road i did alot of reseach on the house no murders happened the wife had a heart attack so the family moved to texas thata is the true story oh great blog by the way

  • jason

    oh yeah the people who owns the property has a motion senser hidden in the trees so when people start comming up it goes off making noises to scare people away so noone will damage the property at all

  • Bodman11

    There is definitely something haunted about this place because i have been there several times and EVERY single time something crazy happens. Just like a few comments say, there will always be a car that will come down the road and watch you and there will be very loud rustling noises in the woods. Someone or something is watching over this house because someone always knows your there.

  • Kelly

    Me, my sister, aunt and older daughter went out there tonight around 10:30pm. had to check it out for ourselves. we didn’t enter the property, only stood outside near the road. we snapped some pictures with our digital cameras then heard a dog growl and bark. we instantly ran to the car, but after a few minutes we got back out and took more photos. we also made a trip down to the cemetery down the street. as we were driving to it we heard a scream and someone whistle. the whole time we were at both locations we felt very uneasy.
    after getting home we immediately downloaded the photos and found some very creepy faces and a head on the fence post. we also captured a man wearing a farmers hat or fedora standing in the doorway, a woman bending over petting a dog and in the cemetery we captured a couple faces and glowing eyes.
    some of our photos did not come out, showing nothing but pitch blackness. i have to say, this location definitely has some activity.

  • http://profiles.google.com/garfieldmlogan Garfield Logan

    I’m looking for awesome indiana haunted houses for this year. It’s going to be an awesome year.

  • Ryan

    One night me and a few friends went by deweys, and got chased by a ’50s truck.
    While trying our hardest to catch it we could not. It would appear behind us suddenly, then while chasing it westbound at 50mph when it was gravel it went through a locked tube gate. We almost ran into it ourselves , still can’t bealieve that happened

  • Twitchy219

    I went out there last night with my friends brother his brothers wife and her friends and my friend drove away we didnt let people know we were there and RYAN my friend came back when we called him and said he was being follow by an old truck, and when we got back to his house we found scratches, and lil hand prints all over his truck, and thats whats really weird because there werent any scatches before.

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  • Anonymous

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  • Strongerthansteel21

    just at the dewey house tonight turned the corner and shut our lights off…lots of noises in the woods and we heard a door shut….husband got out of the truck until the noises got louder and he tailed it back to the truck and we took off…..creepy out there!! white truck came up behind us really fast and disappeared into the distance of the road

  • Dmister98

    Dude that house is so creepy

  • Reallly

    It’s not urban legend.  It’s the truth.  I went there back in the 80’s and some very creep supernatural stuff.  Things moving that shouldn’t move, noises  coming from the barn.  

  • Xogiglymamaxo06

    wooooooooooo me and the corester are going right now! 😀 :D:D

  • JT

    A bro of mine took a pic on her phone when she was there when she heard this loud noise. I saw the picture today and there was this child standing in front of her, staring at the phone–almost clear as day 😐 dead serious.

  • Charles B.

    There are so many crazy things in that house…….law books, conspiracy books, a quiji board, and a photo album decades old from when house was being built. If anyone wants to get a small group together, I know the property and house pretty will, even though it’s mostly overgrown now. Just got home from g there tonight and can’t wait to go back.

  • Charles B.

    just went back there tonight….the quiji board and photo album were both gone! Not gonna lie, it was a bit creepy! That and the knocking on the car before we left the house.

  • David Dabeast

    went there once heard a dog and seen something white run across the street.. going again tonight!!.

  • Mysticalme8

    Hello, I have a ouiji board that supposedly came from the Dewey House. Read your blog, was wondering about how long ago you last saw that ouiji board at the Dewey house? Strange things have happened to me since, and I am hoping you can shed some light on the situation for me. A reply would be appreciated, thank you! 

  • Kat

    Went there a few months ago and  had the EXACT same experience.

  • Critter6929

    been there numerous numerous times only had unexplainable things happen once. last time i went the barn silo and house were leveled and the land was forsale.

  • Jrobb2382

    I actually jumped the fence walked around, went inside the barn. Didn’t see anything. Walked down the drive way where there was a dog on a chain barking like crazy then someone fired a gun and I turned around and ran back to car and took off. Never came back.

  • Collinpetre1998

    i didnt actually know what this house was, but i was longboarding because i only live like a mile away from it, and i passed it and turned around because i got a creepy feeling, and as i was leaving, i heard girls screaming and i hauled ass back. I was terrified!

  • Derrel

    This lady has a shack she watches over the property all the time she’s back farther when you see the farm and fence she will be back further and she will shoot if you are caught on her property, she has guard dogs. The story is highly impossible because if it was it would be covered by the news if supposedly he really did put his wife and dogs head on a metal stake.. But that house is gone now, but the barn is caved in and it is very creepy which makes me try to believe it was real. Last time I went I went with friends then all of the sudden some car followed us then we had to drive faster to get rid of it following us. The scary part is that road to the barn is a dead end and looking back is scary, you always feel like you are being watched. This story has gone on for 34 years now and has really fascinated me. Definitely a must if you’re a ghost hunter but you’re gonna get paranormal activity instead!

  • alex white

    yeah right behind the no trespassing gate ive heard a dog growl from close range, but saw no dog

  • nicki

    my stepdad got attacked by the dog. most of the stuff you can hear, buut not see. my mom also passed out one time. she went when she was seventeen and my dad had to carry her outta there.

  • nicki

    that’s how it is. you will hear him, he will attack you, and you’ll never see him.

  • lainy

    There are no Dewey murders and the Dewey house was torn down years ago. That is the Alabach house, they live in a newer home on the back of the property. They will shoot you if they find you trespassing and they do have a dog. It’s just an old creepy house people.

  • admin

    According to the realtors (it’s for sale) they no longer live on the property. There was never a “Dewey House” the legend was made up. The house is really creepy and makes for a great evenings entertainment. Your comment is very insightful, thanks for not just buying the hype.:)

  • Sceter25

    dat krazy nayber kame owt wit a gun

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  • Chris

    Pics or it didn’t happen.

  • Chris

    Pics or it didnt happen

  • Brent rebeck

    That owl dove at my friends car and a old truck with a plow chased them and my friend Hagen went in the barn

  • Julie

    The Dewey house was torn down sometime ago. I believe it was in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I have been there in the late 80s and truly know this is not urban legend. It’s actually a very sad story.

  • kate

    Used to go there as a teenager. Went in the barn once but it was creepy. Not really because I believe in the paranormal. .. but because there a bunch of needles on the ground.

  • Shane

    4 years my sister her boyfriend and i hopped the fence and we went back far into the woods to smoke and on the way up we noticed a little girls rocking chair swaying back and forth there was no breeze or anything. We did hear a low growl but didnt see a dog around and if you can get into the silo theres a rope there hanging from the top swaying!!! Id never personally go back it feels like there is definitely a presence there and it wants you to leave asap theres supposly two trees there also with a headstone couldn’t find it at all 😐😐

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