Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville Public Library
MPL Courtyard

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shelf Doll: a Poltergeist Experience

A decade ago, one of our library's volunteers investigated an apparent poltergeist case at a friend's house situated near Robb Hill Road, in Morgan County, Indiana.  We will call the friend Imogene, because that's nothing like her actual name.

Click Map to Enlarge

To give some idea of what this case was about, here is our book trailer.

Shelf Doll & Other True Paranormal Tales, by Karl C. B. Muilliwey
(MPL Book Trailer #110)

Imogene's family had moved into the house in 2003.  Apparently, a teenage girl committed suicide in the home five years beforehand, but no one in Imogene's family knew this before investigating. Imogene began experiencing paranormal phenomena a few months after moving into the house. These events occurred at first exclusively in Imogene's bedroom, which was, she subsequently discovered, the same bedroom in which the suicide occurred.  Objects sitting on tables, a desk, the bed, and shelves were rearranged randomly around other places in the room and elsewhere in the home. Imogene alleged that neither she nor her family members had moved these items.  She also began hearing thumping apparently coming from inside the walls of her room. Her parents found no structural causes of this noise, and nobody at the house claimed responsibility for the sounds.

One of Imogene's acquaintances suggested she use a ouija board to attempt communication with a disembodied spirit, assuming one existed and was causing the phenomena.  Ouija board use can be dangerous to novices or frivolous parties, and so she sought someone experienced in psychical research who could protect participants from harm.  A paranormal investigator was retained, and ouija board sessions began.

For those unfamiliar with this device, a ouija board has an indicator (sometimes called a planchette) that moves to letters of the alphabet to spell-out messages.  Often numbers, plus the words yes, no, and goodbye, are included.  Participants lightly place their fingers atop the planchette, which they allow to move by itself, although skeptics claim that the indicator is moved deliberately (or unconsciously) by someone touching it. Often, the planchette moves rapidly across the board.  To safeguard from cheating, participants are frequently blindfolded, and an observer records messages on paper.  This is hardly a fraud-proof means of communication, so it is commonly dismissed among paranormal researchers as unreliable.  The primary investigator, however, had had some interesting results using the safeguards mentioned.

At first, the planchette spelled out nonsensical words, but fairly soon, intelligible messages began to appear.  Purportedly, the teenage girl who committed suicide was communicating.  (Her suicide was later independently established by talking with neighbors.)  She called herself Emily and claimed to be an earth-bound spirit living inside one of Imogene's dolls sitting on a shelf in her bedroom. Numerous personal details were mentioned in the messages, some of which were independently confirmed by neighbors who had known Emily, but which were unknown to anyone investigating.

Occasionally, Emily (or whatever, if anything, was communicating) became irritated or abusive in her messages, and so sessions would usually end.  Once, Imogene turned the doll in which the spirit supposedly resided to face the wall as a punishment for nasty comments.  The planchette then became "highly animated," according to the primary investigator, stating that the doll should be turned back to face forward. Objects then began to propel themselves from the shelves, desk, and tables.  Some struck participants without injury.

Certainly, something strange was occurring in Imogene's house.  The alleged communications continued for several months and then abruptly ceased.  Whatever the true explanation, it was quite an unusual experience for those involved.  It certainly added to the local ghostly folklore of Morgan County.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More About Paul Hadley

We have some new digital information on our website about Paul Hadley (1880-1971), designer of the Indiana State Flag, watercolor artist and instructor, and long-time Mooresville resident.  Click the links below.

  • Paul Hadley article (“Mooresville Claims Fame as Home of Indiana Flag,” Six County Topics: Star Courier Tribune, v. 1, #12, Wednesday, February 5, 1969).
  • The Indiana Senate passed a resolution honoring Paul Hadley following his death in 1971 (see copy).

Paul Hadley with his creation (February 1969)
(click photo to enlarge)

Learn more about Paul Hadley from our local history web page or from this blog (or from another blog).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Samuel Moore's Last Will & Testament

Click image to see Samuel Moore's last will & testament

The MPL Indiana Room has the original copy of Samuel Moore’s last will and testament, which is in our vertical files.  The will was executed on July 21, 1888, and filed for probate in Morgan County Circuit Court on March 15, 1889.  The will execution was witnessed by George W. Bass and William H. Ray, and Bass filed the will for probate.

Samuel Moore (1799-1889) founded the town of Mooresville, Indiana, in 1824. The original plat (below) was recorded on February 21, 1825 in the Morgan County Recorder's Office (in Martinsville, Indiana).

Original Plat of Mooresville, Indiana (1824)
Recorded February 21, 1825
(Click image to enlarge)

The MPL Indiana Room has several of Samuel Moore's artifacts on permanent display. Drop by the library to see them sometime.  The Indiana Room is located next to the adult nonfiction stacks, adjacent to the outdoor courtyard.

Founders Found a New Home

Portraits of Samuel Moore and Eliza Worthington Moore, founders of Mooresville, Indiana, have found a new home at Mooresville Public Library.  They now hang proudly in the MPL Indiana Room.  Click the photos to enlarge.

Founders' portraits (circa 1850) facing one another
at the north end of the MPL Indiana Room
(overlooking the MPL Courtyard)

 Samuel Moore

 Eliza Worthington Moore



These portraits were drawn circa 1850.  We have blogged about the Founders before, so please feel free to take a look at our archived blog postings about the couple.  Also check out our feline roving reporter's blog posts about the Moores' last resting place in "old" Mooresville Cemetery, on land that the couple donated to the town.  It was the original site of the local Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church, which Eliza helped to establish.

To learn more about Mooresville's founders, please visit our local history web page (under the heading "Famous Mooresvillians" and elsewhere on the page).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Know Your Celebrity Mooresvillians

How well do you know your celebrity Mooresvillians?  Our local history web page offers sketches of several famous folks who hailed from Mooresville, Indiana or vicinity.  All were Morgan County residents at some time during their lives--many grew up here but left as young adults, but several spent much of their adulthoods here--before they became household names (for the biggest celebrities among them), or at least well known in the Hoosier state. Click the image below to learn more.

Do You Recognize These Famous Mooresvillians?
(Click Photos to Find Out)

Surprised that prominent persons came from our tiny town?  Mooresville is 191 years old (founded in 1824), so one would expect some denizens to hit the big time over the course of nearly two centuries.  If you ask around, you'll probably find current inhabitants who are related to some of these luminaries.  One still lives in Morgan County--you may have seen him at veterans' events or other public appearances.

If you're from here (or live here currently), you now have some great names to drop at the next party you attend.  It would probably sound something like this:

"Hi, I'm Bill, from Mooresville, Indiana."


"It's the town where ____________________ (fill-in celebrity Mooresvillian of choice) lived."

"Really?  Do tell."

In case they think you're making it up, direct them to this blog post.  I settle a lot of arguments about historical details such as these.