Every Halloween, in Greencastle, Indiana, the Independent Council sponsors a ghost tour. The small college town of Greencastle, IN holds many secrets. For instance, underground caves span the campus
of DePauw University. These caves were used to transport slaves in the Underground Railroad. However, slave owners also resided in Greencastle. In fact, for several years, the African-American Association Students’ house was a former slave owner’s.
Many hauntings have been reported on and around DePauw University’s campus. One site that is considered haunted is Edna Collins bridge. Legend has it, that a little girl in the 1920’s, Edna Collin, would go swimming in the creek the bridge spans everyday. At the end of each day, her mother would drive the car onto the bridge, turn off the motor of the car, and honk three times. This was the signal that it was time for Edna to go home. One day something happened, causing Edna Collins to drown. The legend has it, if you drive onto Edna Collins Bridge at night, turn off the motor of your car, and honk three times; the little girl will come out of the creek and attempt to get into your car.
Another place visited regularly on the ghost tour is the Boon Hutch Cemetery. Several ghosts have been spotted here. One is of a police officer. It is said that the police officer is from the 1950’s. He simply sits inside the cemetery with a blue light.
One of the entrances to the underground caves is in the Boon Hutch Cemetery. One of the graves is near the entrance, and people have reported seeing a ghost standing at the entrance of the cave, staring at them as they try to enter. Finally, some individuals report seeing evil looking black dogs with red eyes. They claim that the dogs chase them out of the cemetery.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and gruesome ghost stories in Greencastle, Indiana, involves a woman named Pearl Bryan. Pearly Bryan was the daughter of a wealthy Greencastle farmer. She was introduced to Scott Johnson, who attended dental school in Cincinnati, by her cousin, William Woods, who attended DePauw University for medical school. Pearl and Scott became close friends; however, the nature of their relationship changed in the summer of 1895. Pearl confided in her cousin, Will Woods, that she was pregnant. Will told Scott Jackson of the news. Jackson made plans with his roommate, Alonzo Walling, to give Pearl an abortion. On January 28, 1896, Pearl met Jackson and Walling in Cincinnati. Jackson apparently attempted an abortion first chemically. When the chemical abortion didn’t work, Jackson tried to abort the baby with dental tools. However, he failed at the second attempt to abort the baby.
It is said that the three of them then left Cincinnati, traveling to a secluded spot near Fort Thomas in Kentucky. It was there that Walling and Jackson murdered Pearl Bryan, utilizing dental tools to severe Pearl’s head from her body. A few days later, John Hewing discovered Pearl’s body.
Jackson and Walling underwent a trail, where they were both found guilty for the murder of Pearl Bryan. They were both sentenced to death and hung in 1897. To this day, Pearl Bryan’s head has never been found. It is said that Pearl Bryan haunts Forest Hill Cemetery, located in Greencastle, Indiana, in search of her head.
During the ghost tour Edna Collins Bridge, Forest Hill Cemetery, and Boone Hutch Cemetery, as well as many other haunted sites in Greencastle are visited. The stories are recounted once at the site. The ghost tour has been an annual event at DePauw University for the past five years.
So, perhaps the next time you visit Greencastle, you’ll encounter Edna Collins, one of the ghosts that haunt Boone Hutch Cemetery, or Pearl Bryan in search of her head!