Paranormal tourism was a hot topic several years ago, and one location in particular attracted controversy and indignation before being torn down in 2012. I’m speaking, of course, of Indiana’s Black Moon Manor. The owner allegedly used false history to promote his paranormal tourist attraction, and charged ghost hunters to investigate. In 2014, a wrote an article titled, “Does it Matter if Black Moon Manor was a Fake?”
So far, 262 people have responded to the article’s poll. 41.22% believe “no one should ever make false claims about the paranormal, even for entertainment.” 29.77% believe “the proprietor acted unethically toward the landowner.” 22.14% believe “it’s just entertainment and no one was harmed.” 6.87% believe “ghosts aren’t real so all claims of hauntings are fake.”
This article still evokes debate. Dan Schneider of Ohio Gothic Paranormal wrote a detailed response arguing that Black Moon Manor was, in fact, a fraud. Now, Brigette Cook Jones, president of the Hancock County Historical Society in Greenfield, Indiana, wrote the following response:
“I first learned about Black Moon Manor when I started getting calls from paranormal investigators who were prepping to visit the house. Speck was touting this house as *the first house in Hancock County.* As a historian – this really raised some major red flags as anyone with a whiff of historical knowledge should realize that the first homes on the frontier were all log cabins.
“This was a two story frame structure with window glass done in Italianate style. Looking at this house – I would date it to probably 1880 or later. People would not build this type of house nor *could* they build this type of house when Hancock County was founded in 1828 (no saw mills or window glass). So it is really ridiculous to even remotely suggest this as fact. This should have been everyone’s first clue how off base the history was.
“The problem that we as a society had was the perpetuation of misinformation. Hundreds did NOT die of small pox. There weren’t bodies buried in the back yard. Dr. Hervey was a very well respected physician who was advanced in his medical knowledge, and he actually saved lots of people. He would go on to found the Indiana State Board of Health.
“The Eastes family contacted me, and they were greatly upset about the misrepresentation of the family. It was through my contacts at the Daily Reporter that I got a family member to be interviewed, and the fraud exposed.
“Ghost Adventures called me a week before their investigation while I was on vacation in Florida. I emailed them lengthy documents about the true history of the house, the “epidemic” and the family. Speck was presenting twisted history – which thing gets recorded and perpetuated. We even had local schools doing history projects on the house, and they were presenting Speck’s information as FACT. I was having a cow over this misinformation.
“As to whether or not it was *haunted.* I never visited the house – so I wouldn’t know. Of course if it was haunted is it possible that Speck himself courted it? Entirely possible.
“Look folks. I routinely work with old things and work in extremely old buildings. I currently live in a house that IS probably one of the early homes of Hancock County – built in the 1840’s or 1850’s. It was a doctor’s home, and I know people died in the home because my Papaw died there in 1998. If others died there I don’t know – but I have never had any paranormal experience at ANY of the places I have worked or lived – including our 1853 log jail (the oldest public building in the county).
“The problem that I had with Speck is that after the Eastes House was torn down he moved onto another property in my neck of the woods. This was an unremarkable house on the National Road with only some recent reports of activity. Speck was latching onto the history and giving it a devious bent – completely ignoring the age of the house and the possible owners. I quickly started putting out the correct history of the house – as much as I could find – and people who had lived in the house, and visited friends in the house for many, many years were reporting absolutely no paranormal activity.
“I got tired of refuting Speck’s inaccurate history, and that was one reason I was happy that BMM was shut down.
“According to what I had heard from investigators was there was a lot of other unethical things going on at BMM that warranted the shut down of this venture – including safety issues, health codes and permits. So it is probably a very good thing that this went away.”
I appreciate Brigette’s insightful comments and welcome more discussion on this issue.
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