Owner of 'haunted' Indiana home says he doesn't fear the dead

Published: Jul. 30, 2014 at 1:37 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2014 at 2:53 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Our destination was a Victorian home in the quiet town of Mitchell, Indiana - 3,700 square feet with crystal chandeliers, four poster beds and stained glass. No one lives in the stately home now, but the residence is never empty.

Owner Van Renier explains,"Every house has a story and this one will haunt you."

Numerous deaths occurred within its walls. The Travel Channel has given the house the distinction of being the 4th most haunted place in the country. The disembodied voices guest experience so frequently lead to the name Whispers Estate.

[RELATED STORY: Ghost of girl who died in fire reportedly haunts Whispers Estate in Mitchell, IN]

"Whether we understand it or not we're experiencing something," Renier said.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), seen on the popular SyFy Channel series "Ghost Hunters", claims that limestone possesses great residual energy conductivity. In other words, Whispers Estate's limestone foundation is a hot bed for paranormal occurrences.

"When you hear the footsteps you pray that they are a child's footsteps. They're little pitter-patter of feet maybe about 70-80 lbs. However there's another set of footsteps that happens in the house. It's more like loud stomping. It's very heavy and very menacing," Renier says about the home.

[SLIDESHOW: Secrets of Whispers Estate]

The menacing footsteps are believed to be demonic or that of past owner Dr. John Gibbons. The home was not only the site of Dr. John's medical practice, but home to his wife Jessie and their many adopted and orphaned children. Jessie died in the home and it is believed at least two of their children died in the home as well.

"We have a confirmed record of six deaths in the house. That doesn't include any possible patients that might have died in the 27 years Dr. John had his medical practice in the house," Renier stressed.

The branch of Historic Archives for Mitchell, Indiana, could not document the number of patients that may have died in the home, however, they could not dismiss accounts of body parts that may have been buried in the Estate's yard after amputations or abortions. No one can explain who opens the doors, bites, scratches or pushes when there is no one and nothing in sight.

"I got pushed down the 3rd floor stairs. I got busted over the right eye brow. I got two scars on my left arm. One on my right. After being pushed down the 3rd floor stairs, I don't feel comfortable being in the house by myself after dark," Renier says in a serious tone.

[RELATED STORY: Men say they have evidence of Bigfoot in the Bluegrass]

Our WAVE 3 News Team decided to stay after dark, in the dark to see what we could catch on camera. We spent the night visiting every room with equipment to measure sound, electromagnetic fields, temperature, and movement all with the hope to witness and record the paranormal.

A paranormal investigator from Access the Paranormal shouted out in the dark, "Are you here?"

Something abnormal happened. Our team now had to figure out if it was paranormal.

As we sat in the pitch black basement I slowly said in disbelief, "Flash light was off. Flash light just came on."

We had grabbed a number of flashlights from a large container in the living room of the home before all gathering in the basement. We had used these very flash lights to guide us through the dark.

"Can you turn it off for us please? All you need to do is touch it and turn it off. Can you do it on the count of 1, 2, 3," Danny Hall said politely to the void.

At the end of the 3-count the flash light went out.

In an overly friendly tone Hall said, "Thank you!"

Something or someone seemed to follow our instructions each time.

"Could you turn that flash light back on for me please one time," Hall commanded.

In a matter of seconds following the command to turn on the light, there was light.

Hall was grateful once again, "Thank you."

His paranormal partner for the night David Heatherly laughed as he exclaimed,"About time."

We had been hunting for the sign of anything paranormal, abnormal or just strange for most of the night and finally in the basement something happened.

Never experiencing anything like this before the only words that came to my mind,"You have got to be kidding me!"

"Ready 1, 2, 3," were the instructions from Hall.

There was not even a demand to turn it off this time but the action was performed with no sight of who performed the deed. The reporter part of me pushed past the paranormal and the fear to bring us all together to investigate the site where the flash light was resting and the light itself.

"A regular old mag light," Hall exclaimed and we could see.

It was a regular old mag light.

Renier emphasized, "I actually believe you have more to fear from the living than from the dead. Do I believe that they can hurt us? Yes, absolutely!"

VanRenierr may not understand it or be able to see it but he bets his life that what he has and hasn't been able to see is real.

"If you think you hear something and you're by yourself I can say ok it might be your imagination but if you hear something and I hear something and they hear something and they hear something, You have multiple people hearing the exact same thing. I don't believe it collective subconscious," Renier underscored with great emphasis.

The curious and fearless are welcome to join upcoming a flashlight tour and a Public investigation from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on September 19 during Persimmons Festival. There are flashlight tours during the festival's run September 20-27. As the eve of All Saints' Day nears flashlight tours will increase. They begin on October 11 at 8 p.m. and run various times and days throughout the month of October. For more details on event and Whispers Estate go to:

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