Some of the most evil places have the most innocuous appearances. Sitting within a peaceful, quiet area of Hartford City, in the state of Indiana, in the United States, is a large, old-fashioned white-sided Victorian house that lies at 218 North Monroe Street and might not typically attract any particular attention. The area has many historical buildings and landmarks, and while the residence is very quaint and pretty, most people would likely drive right by it without giving it a second thought, yet what has come to be called the Monroe House is ground zero for a string of malevolent and breathtakingly intense, violent hauntings covering the course of over a century, which have made it a major destination for paranormal investigators and given it a reputation as one of the most haunted, evil demon houses there is.
It supposedly all goes back to practically when Hartford City was founded back in the late 19th century, when the city quickly came into existence to accommodate the influx of settlers looking to get in on the natural gas reserves found in the area and to work at the expansive, fast-growing Hartford City Glass Company. Houses sprang up left and right at the time, and one of these was the Monroe house, apparently built in 1892 upon a previously existing structure of unknown origin. The residence would then steadily accrue a dark history of misfortune, suffering, and death that would only help to launch its reputation as an accursed, haunted place.
The list of tragedies linked to the Monroe House is substantial. The first owners were the Berger family, Belgian immigrants who had started their lives here working at the city’s burgeoning glass factory, but who had slowly risen to prominence as entrepreneurs and become wealthy, leading citizens. Unfortunately, just a few years after moving into the house patriarch John B. Berger fell down with a deadly case of tuberculosis that would kill him in short order. His widowed wife would then rent out the upstairs bedroom to a family by the name of Miars, after which the previously calm and upstanding father Ulysses G. Miars would reportedly soon lose his mind, beginning with inexplicable mood swings and temper tantrums and then steadily devolving into a morass of insanity and cruel psychological and physical abuse inflicted upon his wife and three children. Ulysses would end up losing his prominent job and then leave his wife for another woman to unceremoniously skip town without giving his family a single dime, but this was only the beginning of the misfortune swirling about the house.
There were rumors that one the Miars children had fallen mysteriously ill and was bedridden, and others that said some of his children would die in the home, but the worst of the house’s wrath seemed to gravitate towards the Bergers themselves. In quick succession there was a fire in their barn that spread to destroy the homes of two neighbors and possibly cause at least one death, John Berger’s brother Marshall had his leg amputated after being locked outside in the snow and getting gangrene from an injury sustained when a horse stepped on his foot, after which he caught pneumonia and died, and John’s son George was shot by a gang of thugs in a hate crime against immigrants, although he survived. This was not the end of it, as John Berger’s daughter Mary died in childbirth, his daughter-in-law Caroline was killed in a freak carriage accident when a wheel fell off for no reason, and it was all very taxing on the family, starting whispers of curses.
This sort of ominous “curse” would hang over the house well into later years, when in 1940 a truck driver named Sydney Faulkner and his wife were living in the upstairs area of the home where the Miars family had once lived. Faulkner would get into a bizarre auto accident shortly after moving in, his truck veering off of the road for no apparent reason to hit a support beam of a bridge, which then bizarrely launched right through the windshield to horrifically impale Faulkner and kill him. He was apparently so tightly nailed to his truck by that errant beam that it required the use of acetylene torches to free his battered body. According to the lore, this happened on the same stretch of road as the carriage accident that had killed John Berger’s daughter-in-law decades earlier, making it all rather spooky.
After this, a lack of reliable public census records make the string of tenants at the house, which had become a triplex, rather murky, laced with rumors of more deaths, such as a child who apparently died in a fire here, as well as occultists carrying out arcane rituals on the property in the 1990s, but nothing concrete, and all having almost the feel of urban legend. It is not until later years where we start to pick up with the weirdness of the Monroe House, and whether any of this dark history contributed to its haunting, modern tenants and their neighbors say it is most definitely, incredibly haunted. When the house was unoccupied neighbors would see black shadow figures, strange smoke coming from within, eerie light inside, and also hear various anomalous noises such as voices, loud bangs, and animalistic sounds like growling or snarling, with police sometimes called only to find the place empty. Even weirder are the myriad paranormal experiences reported by those who have actually lived there. One such report comes from a commenter on Haunted Hovel, who says he lived in the house as a child and writes:
I spent about six years of my childhood growing up in that house. I was always scared of the strange noises; they were not common but when it happened it sure got your attention fast. My mother would comfort me about the sounds and voices as a child but she mentioned years later about a woman she thought she had seen upstairs near my bedroom. She had always wondered if she had seen the apparition of the women who had taken her own life decades ago. I for one never liked the old house and was happy when we relocated in the early fifties to Muncie. Always been curious about the afterlife after my youthful experiences, and the house that brought it to my attention.
The apparition of a woman, often depicted as having an angry, scornful expression on her face is commonly sighted at the house, as are other less definable entities, and also common are the apparitions or sounds of children, but there are also plenty of more menacing encounters reported from here. The supernatural activity here has been described by residents as quite unrelenting and intense, possibly demonic, and another commenter on Haunted Hovel says:
I lived upstairs a long time ago and can say there is something very real and possibly demonic. I don’t care how many ghost hunters have been in there and what they believe. You have to live there! I read some of the stuff investigators have said and some got it pretty close but you cannot go in there for a night and know how bad it is. I lived there and it started very slow and then got worse. I thought in the beginning that it was just regular noises but at the end I left.
Much of the worst activity seems to congregate in the upstairs bedroom and the dank basement, and there has been reported a very ominous and dark presence here, so overwhelming in its intensity that some people cannot bear to be there for long, and have even been sent running and screaming from these areas of the house. The many paranormal investigators who have flocked to the Munroe House have seen this first hand, such as a group that investigated the basement in 2014 and the lead investigator would say of their experience:
We had a very bad encounter in the basement and didn’t know what to do. This was something we have never seen before. It caused everybody to panic and we decided to call off the investigation early. Half of the group said this was too much for them, the other half wanted answers. We realized the how serious and big this was and at the same time was convinced we were not experienced enough to do this in a house like this.
Investigators have routinely said that this is one of the most shocking and intensely haunted places they have ever seen, and that the activity seems to be very sinister, forbidding, and evil in nature. EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena), in which voices are picked up on electronic equipment, have turned up all manner of insults, profanity, and bitter venom hurled their way, and there have been instances of violent physical attacks as well. One group called the EVP Paranormal Team of Indiana allegedly had one of their members assaulted by an unseen entity in the basement, which purportedly left a series of scratches down the back, and it seems as if every team who has been there has come away from this place rather shaken and not a little unsettled. One Investigator named David Weatherly has explained of his own dealings with the house:
During our time in the house, shadow figures darted all around inside the home. A door was slammed on us, as if something was attempting to confine us in a certain area. We experienced equipment issues, watched as a toy activated itself, and had several other strange events. We also heard disembodied voices, some of them children, or at least, what sounded like children.
Indeed, it has been said that this is a location for only the most experienced paranormal groups, and although the property owners allow these investigations at the now vacant and abandoned property, they are quick to warn those who come of the dangers they are facing within. Perhaps the most famous investigation of the Munroe House was done by the TV show Paranormal Lockdown, who went in to check the place out in 2016. Investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman would actually lock themselves into the house for a full 72 hours, during which time they witnessed all manner of bizarre phenomena, and which famously reached a climax when they actually found human remains hidden down in a darkened crawlspace within the basement. These were no mere props for the show, and the finding was so shocking and real that the police would open an investigation into the remains found by the investigators. It all adds weight to the haunting angle, and many have latched onto these bones that were found as a possible origin for the activity. Researcher Tim Wood, of the LiveSciFi paranormal YouTube channel, has said of his ideas on this:
If the bones that were found in the house were from a human, then I find it very probable that the bones were placed in the basement for some type of ritual that was performed in the house at some time. I do believe that the bones were meant to be found, however.
Did these bones have anything to do with the long history of strangeness orbiting this place? Is there any connection between the never-ending list of woes and death associated with it in the past and its current reputation as a very potently haunted place? What are we dealing with here? Is this some sort of force emanating from the land itself, ghosts of former tenants, or is it, as is the common explanation, demons? We have no real answers, as is often the case with places such as this, and these answers remain unanswered. What we do know is that the Munroe House seems to be one never-ending Ferris wheel of weirdness and very malicious paranormal activity that does not seem to have abated and which remains much talked about among ghost hunters and researchers of the paranormal.