TRINWAY — Off the beaten path, Prospect Place is a destination for those looking for a mixture of mystery and history. Coincidentally, the mansion is the family home of the Adams family. While they do not have a butler named Lurch or a cousin It, they have their fair share of unusual stories.
Located one-half mile north of Dresden on Main Street, the 27-room mansion is said to be among the most haunted in the state and has been featured in several books. The house opened for tours in 2001 and began having ghost hunts in 2002. Sightings of a young girl are often reported, as well as sightings of man in formal wear.
The house will be the sight of a “Haunted Ground Civil War Reenactment,” June 25 to 27. In the first event of its kind to be held at Prospect Place, activities will include ghost hunts, tours and Civil War reenactors.
Tours of the house will be on-going throughout the weekend and ghost hunts will take place on Friday and Saturday nights. The ghost hunts begin at 8 p.m. and should conclude at 4 a.m. No pre-registration is required; however there is a cost for the tour and hunt. It is $5 per person for the tour of the house and $50 per person for the ghost hunt. George Adams, owner and great-great grandson of George W. Adams, who built the house in 1856, has dozens of tales about the house, but said he does not believe in the ghosts.
“Like any old house, you hear strange noises,” Adams said. “I am told though, that it is very active for paranormal activity.”
Barb Lewis of Warsaw has taken part in several ghost hunts.
Lewis describes being in the ballroom with other people, some of whom were holding divining rods. The rods are tools for paranormal activity, two thin pieces of wire bent in an L shape; you let the short end rest in your hand and they will move back and forth.
“We were up in the ballroom and they were talking to a sprit and the divining rods were reacting,” Lewis said. “There are some really neat pictures that showed up. We didn’t see it with our eyes, but we saw it with digital cameras. (A man on the tour) asked this question about where the man was and who the children were afraid of and the rods pointed to the left. We took pictures in that direction and what showed up on the camera was this steak of colors. At the end of the streak of the colors was the form of the man.”
During another visit, Lewis felt someone — or something — touch her.
“It was like when you have a muscle twitch in your eye, that is the kind of pressure I was getting on the inside of my thigh,” she said. “It wasn’t scary, though.”
The local folklore is that a young girl died in the house.
” … We know that it wasn’t a member of the family, but she may have been the child of a servant,” Adams said. “She had a fever and wandered out of her room. She fell off a balcony and died on the steps below. It was winter, so the ground was frozen and she could not be buried so she was kept in the basement on ice until the spring, when she was buried.”
Troy Taylor, president of the American Ghost Society, has authored 33 books on the subject of ghosts and haunted locations –including an article about Prospect Place. He stumbled upon the old mansion while visiting Longaberger and Dresden several years ago.
“It’s a great house, it has a great history and a rich history,” Taylor said. “When I’m researching places like this, I always look for a rich and authentic history. That is something that is important to the credibility.”
Ghost stories are not the only stories told in Prospect Place. Stories of the lives of the members of the Adams family are also told, and the disappearance of George Cox is a favorite.
Cox, was the husband of Ana Adams, the oldest daughter of George W. Adams. The couple inherited the home 1879 and began renovations. They are said to have given lavish balls and spent extraordinary amounts of money. Then one day George Cox disappeared.
“No one knows what happened,” Adams said. “He left to go to town one day and never came back. All anyone knows is there were reports of a strange man with him.”
The line between fact and fiction becomes blurry with Prospect Place. Adams said he often hears new versions of the stories, but it is hard to decipher which are true.
“The house has quite a history,” Adams said. “My goal is to eventually have the entire house restored. It will take more than a decade at the rate we’re going now.”