The Culbertson mansion’s dark history


Kayla Moriarty, Feature Editor

New Albany, Indiana is a pleasant town that attracts tourists with its niche shops, location on the Ohio River, and for a very select few, the Culbertson Mansion. Although this mansion is breathtaking with its lavish adornments, most visitors don’t come to see antique relics and architecture.

During the mid-1800s, William Culbertson came to Indiana looking for more business opportunities. He struck gold with his upcoming electricity business, and it wasn’t long before he was named one of the richest men in the state of Indiana. Culbertson commissioned a home to be built in 1867, which would be called the Culbertson mansion. The mansion is known for its architectural beauty that was trending during the period, but it is also known for the tragic events that happen near the grounds. Most of the servants lived in the carriage house until 1888 when lightning caused the carriage house to set fire, and all of the servants inside perished with no survivors. Future servants refused to reside in the carriage house afterward because they were fearful of the “spirits” from the fire that still lived there.

After William died in the late 1800s, the house was auctioned and eventually sold to Dr. Harold Webb in the early 1930s. Dr. Webb wanted to treat his patients in-home and used the carriage house to do so. His children began to tell him happenings that he couldn’t explain–such as a tall, shadowy man going to their rooms at night. Dr. Webb went from the friendly town doctor to a hostile, secretive man and the cause of that behavioral shift is unknown.

Many New Albany residents also went missing over time, and eventually, the police realized that they were all patients of Dr. Webb. Webb became a prime suspect, and when the police went to investigate his home all of the doors were locked. Finally, when they found a way in, they realized that Dr. Webb and his family were all brutally murdered. All of the family members were stabbed, skinned, etc. and the crime was undoubtedly premeditated. The police never found out who killed the family, but their investigation did not stop.

When they investigated the rest of the mansion, they made a disgustingly horrifying discovery. The downstairs of the carriage house had secret doors, and Webb used those to kill patients, do cruel experiments, and essentially torture them to make medical prowess. There were human remains such as bones that had been twisted beyond recognition, and the whole scene showed Dr. Webb’s cruel intentions.

The mansion remained locked up and abandoned for years until it was bought by The American Legion, buyers in between, and finally the National Historical Society in the 1960s. Ever since then, the mansion has become a tourist attraction for paranormal enthusiasts all over the globe.

With the numerous deaths in the carriage house, it’s no surprise that visitors and employees claim it is one of the most haunted areas on the grounds. Investigators today report insanely detailed EVPS and responses on spirit boxes. According to Melissa Goforth of News and Tribune, a visitor asked how many spirits were around, and received a clear response of “too many.” Some guests report the feeling of a hand, cold areas, and unexplainable sounds. Employees have reported electrical outings and lights flickering for no apparent reason since the 1970s. Some speculate that Dr. Webb’s mistreated patients and the servants killed by the fire both haunt the mansion to this day.