Local, supernatural lore is plentiful in and around Knox County
By Rama Sobhani
There is no shortage of local supernatural lore. If one wants to go digging, plenty of creepy tales that go back to the pioneer days can be found in various repositories. Who can say how many more go back to the people that inhabited our land before things were written down?
Fortunately, for those looking to dig up some hair-raising stories for a good Halloween kick have plenty of reading material. One of the best collections online is that kept by Vincennes resident, Richard King (https://sites.google.com/site/folklorelegendstalltales/home), which not only has old lore collected but also stories submitted by area residents who have experienced things they might not be able to explain. But the last update to King’s site came in 2015 when someone submitted a story about a strange experience in the Pantheon Theater, prior to the ongoing renovations there having begun. Stories of the supernatural and extraterrestrial may be in shorter supply nowadays, for whatever reason and there do seem to have been many more stories submitted to King’s website before 2008 than after.
One of those pieces of lore that seems to be fading into obscurity fairly quickly is the Lucky Point mythology. For the uninitiated reader, Lucky Point is an area near Monroe City that supposedly was a hotspot of strange, inexplicable sightings and experiences, often attributed to extraterrestrial and UFO activity. There is no shortage of stories going back as far as the 1970s about strange sightings and experiences in the area. According to a Sun-Commercial article from 1986 that’s archived on King’s website, there had been between 50 and 100 UFO sightings at Lucky Point since 1974. It was enough to put the area on the radar of the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network, Inc. (MUFON), an organization dedicated to collecting stories of UFO sightings. MUFON even held a symposium in Vincennes that year to discuss those Lucky Point stories. The stories reported include floating black triangles with points of light in each corner, orange orbs floating in the sky and unseen presences that are thought to have been either Bigfoot or some ghostly being.
But it’s been a very long time since anything new was reportedly seen at Lucky Point. While the whole Lucky Point phenomenon seems to be fading from the collective memories of area residents, at least two of the people who live in the area can recall some of their own strange experiences after moving there about 15 years ago. Husband and wife, Dana and Lillian Klipsch live on Lucky Point Road and say they first moved there around 2006 while they didn’t see any of the famed black triangles or strange orbs in the sky, they did have some experiences neither of them could explain.
“I will tell you about the dreams I had about all this … it was very weird,” Lillian Klipsch said. “They were dreamlike, but kind of like a holdover from a dream, somewhere between being asleep and awake. A ‘reality dream,’ I call it.
There were these aliens and they looked like you would imagine aliens would look, humanoid and they had really big eyes, but they looked reptilian and had tails and were multi-colored. They communicated with telepathy. They came for Dana and they tried to take him up into the sky. I remember there was a great suction at the ground, and he started to rise up but I stopped them. I really feel it wasn’t a dream, rather a manifestation, but when I came around, Dana was still in bed.”
Lillian Klipsch said she thinks she’s always had a strange connection to things that are hard to explain. She said she believes it’s a spiritual connection, one that might explain why she saw what appeared to be aliens trying to abduct her husband. Neither Lillian nor Dana knew anything about the old stories of Lucky Point when they moved there, so they think it’s unlikely that some prior knowledge buried in their subconscious could have influenced either of them.
According to the Klipsches, several of their neighbors have also seen or felt strange things but it’s been a while since the last time anyone did.
Kerry Dean Teverbaugh, who used to be a member of MUFON, manages a large collection of information about and reports from Lucky Point and confirmed that there hasn’t been a new report of anything having happened there for several years and some of the old reports, he thinks are of questionable credibility, as well.
“Things like Bigfoot, even, though I don’t see how that’s possible. Maybe many, many years ago,” he said.
Teverbaugh said he and another local resident used to received reports from area locals about their experiences at Lucky Point and forward them on to MUFON, keeping a record of them all as they came in. Lucky Point, he said, is one of the first places in the U.S. to have been the site of reports of the strange black triangles. Some of the collection Teverbaugh manages is still stored inside the Blue Jeans Community Center.
Several other Monroe City residents also testified that Lucky Point is just not something that anyone really talks about anymore.
Lucky Point is falling into obscurity, but some strange stories have always been in that state, like the cryptic tale of the fires that broke out in a house in Odon in 1940.
The Hackler farm
The place was a farmhouse owned at the time by William Hackler and his family. The Hacklers were a family of farmers and had lived in the house for about a decade in late June 1940, when William Hackler was about to leave the house to begin his chores in the field, someone smelled smoke in the house. The fire department was called and found that a piece of wallpaper had started to smolder in one of the unoccupied rooms. The firefighters thought there was a hidden chimney behind that wall that had caused the wallpaper to catch fire. But there wasn’t a chimney, in fact, no source of a fire could be found anywhere. The fire could also not have been electrical because the house was built before installing electrical wiring was standard practice, so there was no electricity in the house at all.
The firefighters left but soon had to return when one of the Hackler children found a mattress burning inexplicably. When that fire was extinguished, things got very strange. Fires sprung up all over the house, one after the other, none of them with any identifiable cause. William Hackler’s hanging overalls are said to have spontaneously combusted. One of the firefighters saw smoke coming from a book on a shelf and when he opened it up, the book burst into flame. Firefighters searched but could find no reason for any fire to break out. Between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., nine fires broke out.
But it didn’t end there; the fires kept breaking out that day. In total, 28 fires broke out and were extinguished with minimal property damage. Through the day, the Hacklers’ neighbors came over and witnessed the ongoing mystery unfold. Curtains are said to have simply burst into flames, a fire started from between a mattress and the box spring, a bed skirt broke into flame and burned to ashes within a few minutes. It’s said that the objects that burned up were the only things damaged. Even the walls behind things hanging on them seemed absolutely unscathed when those things caught fire and burned away.
The Hacklers were understandably shaken by the end of the day and slept outside the house that night. But nothing of the like ever happened again. William Hackler, who said he was not a believer of things supernatural, nonetheless dismantled the house, board by board, with the help of his neighbors, and rebuilt it a short distance away. They supposedly never had any trouble again after that.
The cause of the fires remains a mystery to this day. Some have pointed to the history of the house as a potential explanation because some of the children of its previous two owners died inside it. The man who owned the house right before the Hacklers did is said to have buried his dead son inside a coffin with a glass pane in it, so he could see the boy’s face. Of course, some said the house was haunted or cursed. Others tried to find a more rational explanation, like a magnetic field fluctuation or the timely heating up of the home’s lightning rod. But nothing could be decisively pointed to and the 28 fires remain unexplained.
It’s the right time of year for a good scare and delightfully creepy stories abound in this area because of its long, rich history. Those stories are, perhaps, best read by the flickering light of candle on blustery nights, or, alternatively, under the lights of a black triangle hovering above the skies of Lucky Point.