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The Story of the Hotel Tidioute Ghost

We talk to visitors with many kinds of interests at the Warren County Visitors Bureau. Some of our visitors are interested in outdoor recreation, some in the many festivals that Warren County is home to, and some of our visitors are interested in ghosts! Warren County is a historical area with it's old

buildings and old tales. For those that have called Warren County home for several years, you may have heard a ghost story or two about certain local buildings. Tidioute is home to several historic buildings and many of its founders certainly had interesting lives! I recently paid a visit to the historic Hotel Tidioute. Built in 1860, it has seen many patrons over the years. There is a story that has been passed down through the years of a ghost, by the name of Emma. The story goes that the Hotel Tidioute was once a brothel back in the oil and lumber boom days in the late nineteenth century. There was a Madame by the name of Emma. Her last name is unknown, but it is believed by a few that she was the daughter of one of the owners. According to the current owner and some of the hotel’s patrons, many mysterious things have happened over the years. Other residents that I have spoken with and wish to remain anonymous have confirmed claims of ghostly sightings at the Hotel Tidioute have been reported for many years by many people. Some have reported seeing Emma and others have reported seeing a male apparition. I interviewed some who have reported having firsthand encounters with a ghostly presence in the upstairs area of Hotel Tidioute. During my visit I was also given accounts of some other visitors’ ghostly experiences. The stories were all similar as I spoke with several different former residents of Hotel Tidioute that wished to remain anonymous. One former resident of the hotel reported seeing a female apparition thought to be Emma, standing in front of an upstairs door that went to what is referred to as the ballroom, but was last used for the Tidioute Hunting and Fishing Club. Another resident reported while he has seen the silhouette of a woman, his friend was visiting and saw a male apparition walk through the ballroom door. The resident himself reported on his first night of staying at the hotel, totes were stacked in his room, and they continued to tip over for no reason all night long. And yet another Tidioute resident that was not present during this interview reported that a male apparition in Civil War era clothing had been seen upstairs. During my interviews it was also reported that footsteps were heard upstairs on several different occasions by several different visitors yet there was no one there! Two of the residents that I interviewed also reported separately that the doorknob would start turning back and forth as they lie in bed. One of the residents asked out loud for Emma to stop and sure enough the doorknob stopped turning! Another incident was reported when a band traveled to play at the Hotel Tidioute some years ago intending to get some sleep upstairs before they were on the road again. One of the band members had quite a scare upstairs due to ghostly activity and went out to his van to sleep refusing to go back in!

Bill Anderson owned the Hotel Tidioute for several years until his death and reportedly spoke often of the ghostly activity of the hotel. Current owner Janet soon heard footsteps after purchasing the building. Reportedly ghostly activity has mostly been observed on the second floor with Room 2 having the most activity. Room 2 remains vacant as no one will sleep in it. Soon after Janet bought the Hotel Tidioute an elderly gentleman of about 90 years of age stopped in for a visit. Near the bar hangs some very old photos on the wall. The man confirmed a picture on the wall was Emma, his great-great grandmother! He stated that she was buried in the Tidioute cemetery but unfortunately the gentleman left before anyone could find out what Emma’s last name was. During my visit, I was given the opportunity, thanks to Janet and her husband Aaron, to take a tour of the Hotel Tidioute from the basement to the second floor. I am a lover of historical buildings so of course I admired everything from the old stone foundation to the old wood doors and trim, yet there was certainly an uneasy feeling when going to the second floor. I did not see anything, but my time upstairs was very brief. If these walls could talk, I imagine there would be many fascinating stories! There are some possibilities of identifying Emma but maybe it’s best that we leave a bit of a mystery. More information can be found on Tidioute’s early pioneers at the Warren County Historical Society. Visit historic Warren County and ask about the many historic buildings built in the nineteenth century during the oil and lumber boom and you will be sure to take away a few tales yourself as I have on my visit to Hotel Tidioute. Stop in and pull up a bar stool at Hotel Tidioute and you will be sure to hear more stories of the many ghostly encounters that have occurred over the years, but if you would like to rent a room then you are out of luck as there are no longer any rentals. Thanks go out to Janet and Aaron for allowing me to come to their establishment to research and to our anonymous residents that allowed me to interview them, as well as the Warren County Historical Society for assisting me in researching Emma. Have a great Halloween everyone!

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