By Roberta Simpson Brown
Photos By Sharon Brown
One of the
most widely recognized haunted sites in the Louisville
area is the Culbertson Mansion, located at 914 E. Main
Street just across the Ohio River in New Albany, Indiana.
Since 1976, when the state of Indiana accepted the mansion
from Historic New Albany to be maintained as a state
historic site, staff members are only allowed to tell the
ghost stories during October for Halloween events. From
personal experiences and interviews with visitors and
staff members, I am convinced that the hauntings occur all
The general consensus is that the source of most of the
paranormal activity is Cornelia, the second of William
Culbertson’s three wives, for whom the $120,000 mansion
was built in 1867 as a wedding gift. Cornelia died in her
second-floor bedroom, but her ghost seems to be concerned
with the renovation and upkeep of her 25-room home.
Visitors and staff members, including Historic
Interpreter/Curator Joellen Bye, have caught glimpses of
her dressed in period attire on the second and third
a parapsychologist associated with the University of
Louisville visited the mansion in September 1985. He
suggested that the house had a spirit of its own and might
be causing the disturbances itself because it was unhappy
with its condition. He also warned the staff about the
strong negative energy his senses were picking up around
the third-floor “punishment room,” a four-foot-square
cubicle of latticework where the strict Culbertson's
locked their children when they misbehaved.
continues to be plagued by incidents they cannot explain.
A heavy harp in the formal parlor keeps turning itself
around. A large spinning wheel has been seen rotating on
its own. Footsteps have been heard when nobody is there.
visitors have felt an invisible presence behind them, and
some have been touched by unseen hands! I have personally
heard thumps in empty rooms, witnessed furniture that has
been overturned in locked rooms, and felt the energy of a
presence I couldn’t see.
the mansion is to experience the lavish Victorian
lifestyle enjoyed by what was considered then to be
Indiana’s wealthiest family. The inlaid woodwork, hand
painted panels, and vast gold leaf ceilings are works of
view the grand parlors, dining room, bedrooms, kitchen,
and laundry room, the realism of the period might cause
you to expect some of the Culbertsons to join you on the
tour. Listen to your senses and be on guard. Maybe one of
directions and tour information, call 812-944-9600.