; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Haunted: Whispers Estate - Mitchell, Indiana


If you’re going to drive six hours for an overnight investigation and drive six hours back home the next day, it better be worth it…

Our six hour trip complete with arguments and wrong turns was worth it. Our friend Doug had visited Whispers Estate a few months prior to our investigation and came back raving about what he had experienced. Disembodied voices heard with the actual ear and all sorts of other activity.

Whispers Estate is on Warren Street in the small, quiet town of Mitchell, Indiana. The first thing I noticed when we turned onto the street was the funeral home across from Whispers. It was the brightest place on the block with ornate light posts along the road and Christmas lights on the building. I got a kick out of that.

Walking up to Whispers, two cement angels stood at the front walk-way silently looking up, offering a prayer for the spirits left behind. Warm light spilled out onto the wrap around porch from the front window, seemingly making this place appear to be the coziest house on the street. We peeked inside like a couple of stalkers and saw everyone inside already.

The inside of Whispers Estate is lavishly decorated with antiques and replicas in the Victorian style. Crystal chandeliers hang in the parlor and dining room. The furniture, four poster beds and stained glass make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Eerie paintings by the owner of Whispers grace the walls reminding you that the homes’ cozy interior masks the ghostly activity that lurks. The home was built in the early 20 th century and it’s believed the ghosts of past owners Dr. John Gibbons and his wife Jesse, along with their adopted children Rachel and twin brother Enus haunt the old home. On Christmas day in 1912, a fire started and took Rachel’s life. Burn marks from that awful day still remain in the home. A pocket door hidden for years between the parlor and dining room showed burn marks from that terrible day. When owner Jarrett Marshall bought the home and began tearing up the carpet to expose the hard wood floors, he found pressboard on the parlor floor and under that were burns as well. It’s reported Rachel’s brother died two years later and that they are buried in the backyard of Whispers.

Our Investigation Begins…

The first thing we did was arm the house with recording devices. After what Doug had witnessed on his last visit, we wanted to be ready if the activity started to happen. We had a condenser microphone upstairs and downstairs. There was a video camera running along with another digital recorder in Rachel’s bedroom upstairs and more handheld digital recorders downstairs with people. We dimmed the lights in the parlor and started talking to the air around us. I always feel stupid at the beginning of an EVP session because it feels like your talking to nothing… until it answers back. I was completely stunned when we started to hear the beginnings of many strange sounds that night with our own ears. Jarrett started asking Rachel questions, asking if she’d come out. The first sound of the evening was very strange and eerie. I can’t quite explain it but you can listen to it. It was coming from upstairs and no one was up there. The only thing on the second floor was our very in-human recording equipment. Doug quickly exclaimed that was how the sounds started during his last visit to Whispers.

Excitement in the room grew when we continued to hear more sounds including what sounded like two men talking. We couldn’t make anything out except for mumbling. We continued to hear tinkering sounds and thuds and the icing on the cake was the sound of someone running upstairs.

With so much noise coming from the second floor, we decided to go see if anything had been moved. We had set up Jacks along a dresser and spelled Rachel’s name in some magnetic letters. Nothing had been disturbed. For the next session, myself and Bonnie stayed upstairs in Rachel’s room and the guys all stayed in the parlor. I laid there on the bed in the dark, able to see the dolls displayed on the dresser through the Night Shot on my video camera. One doll in particular was extra creepy. It was a burnt up doll that has a strange story as to how it got that way.Doug told me, “Some past guests had asked, "Rachael, show us what you look like." The doll dropped from nowhere onto either the staircase or at the end of Rachael's bed (I cannot remember, but somehow I associate the doll story with both of those places). When a lady went to pick it up, it was smoking and very hot to the touch.”

The burnt doll looked back at me and I was waiting for the disturbing thing to go flying off the dresser or turn its head all the way around, but nothing happened. Bonnie started to breathe heavy and I think she was dozing off when suddenly a bunch of noise came from the attic. In the parlor below, the guys heard what sounded like a ball bouncing. Previously in the night, Doug had asked for “Rachel to bring us her Jacks ball.”

Doug and Jarrett had decided to head up to the attic so that there were people on every floor. In the past, the attic has had a lot of activity and currently, Jarrett was remodeling it to make more rooms available for the bed and breakfast and if you know a thing or two about the paranormal, you might have heard remodeling in a home almost always seems to stir up paranormal activity even more.

Bonnie and I heard what sounded like boards being dropped. We yelled up to Doug and Jarrett and asked if they were Okay and Doug yelled back, “It’s paranormal!! We need a flashlight quick!” Bonnie bolted off the bed and dashed up to the attic. I didn’t have a flashlight and shamefully will admit, stayed on the bed for a few seconds paralyzed and just a tad spooked out. Someone finally shined a light inside the dark bedroom for me and I bolted for the attic with everyone else.

Doug and Jarrett were stumped as to what had happened. They were sitting in the small attic space when they heard the sound of a ball drop on the floor and then a few loose boards that were leaning on the walls moved and actually hit Jarrett on the head. The ball found was the missing Jacks ball Doug had asked for earlier in the evening.

While on a break between EVP sessions, the overpowering smell of old cologne or shaving cream infused the parlor. The smell moved around the room and particularly seemed to plague Bonnie, who could hardly stand it. No one there had cologne on and the smell came and went.

After more EVP sessions with more strange noises, Jarrett and Bonnie headed back up to the attic. They weren’t up there long when they yelled for us to come up. We ran upstairs again like a heard of elephants and didn’t know what to say when we saw about nine jacks lying on the attic floor. Bonnie said she even heard the sound of a ball bouncing in the attic but once the lights were on, no ball was found.

Eventually, the activity seemed to slow down along with us. I started to drift off to sleep at 4:30 AM and the door between our room and the dining room opened. There was a chain lock on it so it didn’t open all the way. I kicked my boyfriend and told him the door was opening and he mumbled something about the door jam not being true. So did the door just open on its own, or did one of the resident ghosts come down to tuck us into bed? Who knows.

Our buddy Jason’s room was next to ours and the lights blazed in his room all night long. Jason was told his room was the doctor’s operating office and a highly active room. With how the night had gone, Jason wasn’t going to take any chances and kept the lights on all night.


Click for video

Five graves reportedly fill the backyard while eerie voices and mysterious happenings greet visitors.

It’s all a part of the charm of Whispering Estates, a bed and breakfast located in the heart of one of Mitchell’s most desirable neighborhoods. And it’s part of what has ghost hunters and others coming back, time and time again.

For Jarret Marshall, who moved to Mitchell three years ago from Bloomington after purchasing the century-old home, the voices, ghosts and haunted happenings just add to the charm of the eloquently decorated place near some of Mitchell’s most historic homes on Warren Street.

“People who don’t believe in anything, rethink everything after staying here,” Marshall said.

The haunted activity started after Marshall, who is trained in historic home renovations, started breathing new life into the home once occupied by Dr. John and Jessie Gibbons, who lived there until their deaths in 1944 and 1934, respectively. The physician used two rooms as his office for at least three decades.

He didn’t know the home was haunted when he bought it to restore.

It was something he learned firsthand.

“I could tell the wall that separated the parlor from the front hallway was not original,” Marshall said. “I found pillars in the basement that fit that space perfectly, so I tore down the false wall and opened up the parlor. That’s when I found the original pocket doors hidden behind molding.”

That’s when soot and damage from a previous fire landed in his lap. And it’s the first time he experienced something he couldn’t explain.

“The door started shaking like someone wanted in, so I went to answer it thinking it was someone in my family. But when I opened the door, no one was there,” Marshall said. “It just continued from that point. I never really believed in this stuff before, and I didn’t tell anyone about it for the longest time. Now, it’s normal. The more I am here, the more it happens and the more I get used to it. It’s like having a family here — you almost begin to feel the connection.”

Several apparitions have been felt in the home by different people, but the strongest is the little girl whom Marshall believes is named Rachel.

“It’s one of the only places I’ve gone or that I’ve done that you can ask a question (to the ghosts) and get an audible answer back,” said Keith Age, who is using the house for a documentary he is filming for the SciFi channel titled “Children from the Grave.”

“It takes a lot for me to believe that there’s some activity somewhere, but when you get an audible answer back in different tones ... it’s not hard to believe.”

Age, representing the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society, and several other ghost hunters from different organizations have descended upon the home frequently to get a peek at the eerie activities that include voices, knocking, moving objects and shadow people.

“I’ve had to question myself on more than one occasion,” Marshall said. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere in this little town. Why would this house be active and not the next? It’s kind of interesting to me because I think the house is doing it. I think this house feels that it was here to help people.

“I think that what started off as this great life for this couple ended up being quite traumatic with a baby dying and the children dying. I think Rachel was a very strong little girl, and that’s why she is a very strong apparition here now.”

Do the haunted happenings ever scare Marshall?

“I’ve been freaked out a couple of times, and that’s only when I am caught off-guard,” he said. “The mind’s a powerful thing, it really is. But when I walked in here, it felt like I was home. It felt like the house was sad, like it needed me. It’s almost as if the house is waking up again. It’s recreating itself.”

Click for video


Rachael died in a fire in Whispers Estate. Although no formal paperwork exists (considering the date/era, this is hardly suspicious), rumors persist that Dr John and Jessie Ruth Gibbons adopted Rachael and her twin brother, Enis.

The original owners of the house, Dr John and Jessie Gibbons reportedly adopted abandoned/orphaned children. One of these children, a 10-year old girl named Rachael, started a fire in the front parlor, being badly burned, and died 2 days later in one of the upstairs bedrooms. But, you can still hear, and sometimes see, her running around the house today.

A 10-month infant, Elizabeth, died in the master bedroom of unknown causes, but there's still the scent of baby power, and you can sometimes still hear her cries.

Jessie died in that same bedroom after a 2 week bout with pneumonia. Guests sleeping in that room often awake to labored breathing and coughing. Some even report feeling as if someone is sitting on their chest. The most common paranormal activity in this room is the closet doorknob will frequently jiggle for a few moments, stop suddenly, and the closet door will pop open. The maximum reported count for repeatable occurrences is 5 within a couple minutes. this of course required persons in the room to close the door each time.

Dr Gibbons was a prominent doctor in town, having his office in the 1st floor rooms in the house. Given the time period and medical field, it is likely many patients died there during his practice of ~20 years.

Stories of subsequent owners/occupants suggest others have encountered their own demise, such as a gentlemen in the 50s/60s that died in the upstairs bathroom, a young boy that died from falling down the front staircase(recently spoke with the relatives of this little boy; got name and keywords), and more.

In 2006, The previous owner bought the house after being vacant for a few years. During its restoration, strange activity started to occur. Activity in the house continued, and even increased, subsequently earning the name 'Whispers Estate' after guests repeatedly reported hearing disembodied voices whispering in their ears.

Since 2006, the house has been investigated by numerous paranormal groups as well as visited by psychics & demonologists.

There are supposedly 4 graves in the backyard, not including, what psychics have called, a pit-grave which they say contain amputated limbs, internal organs, aborted fetuses, etc...

There is reportedly a portal/vortex which runs up through the house from the front parlor into the 3rd floor room/attic. the room in the attic is said to be the heart of the house. Guests that are brave enough to sleep in this 3rd floor room report horrible nightmares and sometimes hear something trying to get in the room via the door (door knob jiggling).

Visitors have reported sighting a shadow, which is now called ‘Big Black’, an entity which psychics says ‘is not of this world’. While most commonly encountered in the doctor's rooms, it has been seen throughout the house.

Guests have experienced earthquake-like tremors while in Doctor's bathroom... No... not 'those kinds' of tremors... I'm referring to tremors of a paranormal origin.

EVP sessions have revealed many entities in the house at any given time, But you don't always need recording equipment to hear these disembodied voices at Whispers Estate. Many young women have reported hearing Dr John whisper in their ears, as well sometimes grabbing/gropping them.

Guests claim to see the beds/couches visible shake, while still others sleeping on beds and couches have reported having them shake violently.....

(Often, guests decide they'd rather sleep as close to the front door as possible, just in case...)

Investigators often do 'rounds' throughout the house at different times throughout a night. Sometimes, upon leaving the servant’s quarters, just after the last person exists the room, the solid, heavy, wooden door slams with unrestrained force by unseen presence.

There are times when guests notice pleasant smells of baby power drift throughout the house, but the scent of pungent cologne/aftershave, cigar/tobacco, rancid meat/cabbage, dirty medical bandages, and more are not uncommon.

Guest have reported their recording camcorders being moved by an unseen presence, thereby disturbing the viewpoint of the intended target.

If you’re not completely freaked out, and think you have what it takes to spend a night here, please contact us to make a reservation, to experience for yourself,
...a stay at Whispers Estate.

Doctor’s Unethical Practices: Legend/Lore

We don’t know if this is fact or not, but multiple psychics that have cold-visited the house (not knowing any details of the location they are entering), have stated the doctor had performed a number of unethical practices including, but limited to; taking personal liberties with female patients, abortions (remember, this was ~100 years ago), unneeded amputations, etc...

The doctor was also reportedly a voyeur, peeking in on female patients, having upto 10 mistresses at a time - while married to Jessie, adopting children which his mistresses bore.

There is even one allegation that Doctor John Asa Gibbons was intimate with a slave/servant. Subsequently, this line of questioning during an EVP session resulted in a response the questioner was not expecting; he was attacked by what we presume to be the Doctor, leaving multiple scratch marks on his neck.

Big Black: Legend/Lore

Multiple psychics have stated he’s a large humanoid entity ‘not of this world’.

From this, a lot of people would conclude he’s a demon. I do not agree with this, though. He/It could simply be another race from another planet (look, if you’re going to believe in the existence of ghosts, or the paranormal in general, then alien races have to be included, right?)


NOTE: I have been told that ownership of Whispers Estate changed about a year ago and that the residence has been restored. there have been many investigations conducted at this location...in fact, I know of 2 that were done within the past month. You can read about the latest investigation at G.H.O.S.T....Lon

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