ANDERSON — Madison County native Nicole Kobrowski said her latest work,”Ghosts of Madison County,” is one of her favorite books she’s worked on because of her hometown ties.
She was at the Madison County Visitors Center last Saturday giving a talk about her most recent book and some of the more famous haunts in Madison County.
Some of the stories are from when she was growing up. Kobrowski recounted several supernatural instances among her and her two sisters while they were growing up. Some of them included seeing human-like apparitions, hearing strange voices and children’s book mysteriously appearing and then disappearing.
She said the upbringing in a house she believes is inhabited by spirits, led to her pursuing the unnatural more and more when she grew up. She and her husband, Michael, now visit haunted places whenever they can and lead locals on tours of some of the more popular haunted sites in the county.
When she began work on a Madison County book, Kobrowski said she was surprised by the response she got from locals who had stories about places to research. She said she goes through a process to see if the stories are believable or just made up by someone looking for attention.
“I can usually tell pretty quickly if someone is making stuff up,” she said. “Their stories tend to fall apart.”
The book documents 45 different places or stories in Madison County that have at least somewhat plausible stories about being haunted. Kobrowski said some are much easier to confirm than others, such as her childhood home on the outskirts of Anderson. Other, more popular places in the book, such as the Gruenewald Historic House on Main Street or the Bronnenberg Home at Mounds State Park, have many different witnesses who all claim to have experienced strange things while staying in the homes.
Some of the places are simply areas where other people have claimed to seen mysterious things such as the Maplewood Cemetery. In the cemetery is a statue of a young brother and sister, Gertrude and Charlie Hilligoss, who died when they were both very young. Their father ordered two life-sized marble statues of his children and placed them in the cemetery.
The stories go that the statues are special in some way. Some people claim to have seen the statues move around the cemetery. Others say they have seen the statues light up or glow at night. Kobrowski said she has been to the cemetery several times at night but hasn’t seen anything unusual.
Kobrowski said she doesn’t write books documenting haunted places to scare people. She said she tries to disprove everything.
“I’m always very skeptical,” she said. “We try to discount everything we hear until there aren’t any more plausible explanations.”
She also agrees that some people see more than others. She believes people can only see what they’re ready to see.
“When I was growing up I heard things but never saw spirits,” she said. “And I think it was because I wasn’t ready to see them.”
Kobrowski has other books as well, including “Haunted Backroads: Central Indiana,” “Haunted Backroads: Ghosts of Westfield” and “The Encyclopedia of Haunted Indiana.”
Her other books can be found at unseenpress.com.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.
Local haunts Some of the more popular Madison County places believed to be haunted The Gruenewald Historic House The Bronnenberg Home Maplewood Cemetery Eagles Lodge 174 Mounds State Park