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  • Erin Egnatz

Investigation at the Benton County Jail: Fowler, Indiana

Background:

We had a dual investigation this past weekend in Fowler, Indiana. This first location we checked out was the Benton County Jail. This jail dates back to 1876, and closed in 1997. In its earlier years, the jail had a high profile inmate named Jacob Nelling. Jacob, a Civil War vet thought to have PTSD, stood accused of murdering a young 15 year old girl. The townspeople were rightfully enraged by the murder but, instead of waiting for the justice system to deal with Nelling, they stormed the jail and lynched him, hanging him from a tree in town. Jacob's ghost is thought to still hang around the jail, though its highly doubtful he's the only spirit in the building.


The Investigation:

In the cell block on the initial walkthrough, I was touched from behind almost immediately upon entering. It wasn't a push or scratch or anything aggressive, but the spirit wanted me to know they were there. While going through the walkthrough, Dwight (known to many of you as My Haunted Fowler, if you don't follow him, do, he's great) told us about one cell that has a lot of activity. There was a husband and wife investigating in the area of this cell below when they heard a growling noise, they took off out of there pretty quickly after that. Later on in the night, another investigator and myself walked over to the area and, while we did not hear growling, there was a lot going on in that particular cell. It sounded like moving around, mumbling and a bit of banging. It was pretty loud in and otherwise quiet area. We did catch this cool shot below while the noises were going on.

While you can't hear anything, other than us of course, you can see that there was some activity on the K2 in the general area during that time.

We moved on to other parts of the building from there. One part of the building I found to be particularly interesting was the attic. This attic had a lot going on. I went up by myself for a little bit to see if I could get anything to move around or show itself. I heard shuffling all around me the whole time and caught a couple of interesting pictures as well.




By far the creepiest area in the jail was the basement, or the dungeon would be a more appropriate term. Down there we were told that inmates were chained to the walls until the confessed or went crazy. I can see why they went crazy down there, it is dark and the floors are only made of dirt. Check out the picture below to see how dungeon like it is.




When we got down there we heard shuffling immediately. Loud shuffling. We looked around for some kind of animal or other source that could be making the sound but found nothing to debunk it. I did pick up a few interesting tidbits on recordings. One that stood out was during a quick live photo on my phone. I took a picture of an area that was giving off some weird vibes. Though I didn't see anything in picture, when I played it back you hear a voice say "A call for help" in a bit of a strange way. It wasn't the inflection so much that gave me pause; it was the voice itself. The voice doesn't match mine, the two men we were with had deep voices, and the other woman with me (my mom) has a southern accent and I've never heard her annunciate like that before.


Yet another experience we had was downstairs near the evidence or record room (I can't remember which one) I, along with one of the other investigators, saw a shadow and light slowly pass behind another investigator. You would think light pollution from outside, but we were in the basement so, probably not the case. After seeing this, I went into the room and took a picture. There is, what appears to be a large orb right over the desk area in the room.


The last part of the building is the former house attached to the jail. An old law back in the day required the sheriff to reside in the home attached to the jail. Can you imagine? The bedrooms upstairs are alleged to have a few spirits hanging out including one of a child. We all went our separate ways to investigate a bit on our own up there. I chose the child's room to run the spirit box. A child's voice does come through on the box (though barely audible on the recording below) and then, immediately I heard footsteps begin walking away from me to the closet area. The closest is a shared closet with the room behind it. When I followed it all the way to the other room the noise stopped.


I went back to join my group a few minutes later where we then switched rooms. Not even five minutes later a fellow investigator called me over to show me an interesting picture they caught in the last spot I heard footsteps.


Some other experiences included a very loud woman's voice coming from the women's cell block. We heard her quite a lot but when we got up there, the voice stopped. We heard her a bit on the spirit box in the session you can hear below:




We followed the voice up the stairs to try another spirit box session but this time, instead of a woman's voice, a man's voice came through saying "how" or "hey." Listen below, I'd love to hear what you think is said because I'm not too sure.


We had a great time investigating the Old Benton County Jail and would love to go back and do it again. This was just part of our investigation night as we moved over to the Fowler Theatre just down the street after we finished up at the jail. I will be bringing you the results of that investigation a little later in the week :)

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