Indiana’s historic Story Inn has resident ghost
STORY, Indiana - Follow a winding country road about 15 miles south of Nashville, Indiana, to the tiny Hoosier town of Story – population three. Plus a ghost.
Rick Hofstetter, who bought the village in 1999, lives here, as does his wife Angela and an employee. The heart of the community is the old Story Inn, standing solidly like a monument to another era.
Complete with potbelly stove and cracker barrel, the old store boasts a liars’ bench on the weathered porch, flanked by Red and Gold gas pumps capped with hand-blown crowns. Split-rail fences, old wooden wagons, a hitching post and gigantic sheltering trees add to the feeling of returning to another time.
Barely a dot on the map, Story was founded in 1851 and was once a boomtown, the largest settlement in the area at the turn of the century. But acquisition of land north of Story for Brown County State Park, coupled with diminishing timber resources and the Great Depression, caused a swift decline in the small community.
Today, Story consists of less than a dozen buildings, several of which have been turned into guest cottages, many with kitchenettes and hot tubs. The restaurant itself is known as one of the finest in Indiana. It serves locally grown produce, eggs and fruit; locally raised pork, elk, bison and Angus beef; and herbs, greens and garnishes grown and harvested in the kitchen garden. The inn serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and carries a surprising selection of domestic and imported spirits, wine and beer.
Four rooms are available for guests over the Story Inn restaurant. Indiana’s oldest bed and breakfast, the inn rooms remain true to their 19th century charm. As a nod to modern conveniences, each room has a private bath and air conditioning. But don’t look for televisions, radios, phones or clocks.
What many guests do hope to see is the legendary Blue Lady. The first room to the left at the top of the stairs is reported to be haunted by a woman wearing a long blue dress. Guest books dating back to the 1970s record weird happenings in the middle of the night.
“The Blue Lady makes her appearance known here quite often,” Rick Hofstetter said. “Our employees uniformly believe in her.”
In the bedroom, the lady in blue has been seen standing by the bed, reflected in the window or the mirror. Guests have talked about the smell of perfume or finding their belongings moving about the room. Tales involve a framed photograph that suddenly flies off the wall and crashes to the ground. A candle mystically slides across a table without the help of a human hand. And wine bottles somehow have a way of being emptied during the night.
Next to the bed is a blue lamp. “When you light it,” Hosfsteter said, “the Blue Lady is supposed to come and visit you.”
When I switched on the light, the lady did not appear. But I was awed by the blue haze that settles over the hills of Brown County as dusk turns to night. The dramatic mix of light and mists cast a soft glow to a magical country scene.