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What comes around goes around: Black Moon Manor and new beginnings

Black Moon Manor in its heyday.
Black Moon Manor in its heyday.
R. Hinton

Black Moon Manor, formerly located on the far eastside of Indianapolis, is long gone. Yet, out of the ashes of a once thriving, then a rapid crash and burn paranormal venue, rises opportunities for an entrepreneur well known in the paranormal community for embellishing the truth and dragging a shady reputation which trails behind him like the proverbial train of toilet paper on the bottom of a shoe.

Let’s call our proprietor of mischief and mysteries of the paranormal Mr. S. for short. For those who investigate in a serious fashion…who genuinely seek out rationale explanations to questions that have no easy answers, then Mr. S. is well known to them. For others just seeking thrills and chills, then maybe not.

Mr. S. has laid low for the past couple of years since the closing and ultimate destruction of Black Moon Manor. He has been busy licking his wounds and waiting for the negative publicity to die down; waiting, waiting….Suddenly Mr. S. is back in business, lovingly cradling another paranormal venue he has personally “discovered,” chocked full of ghostly possibilities to boot! Is 2014 the Year of the Cat?

The Black Moon Manor (a name concocted by Mr. S….it was actually the Eastes farm house) syndrome has re-emerged, only farther east into Hancock County and hosting a name of humble origins. Who would have thunk it?

Black Moon Manor ran for a few short years until the cards were laid down in the fall of 2012. In December of that year the house was bulldozed to the ground. During his tenure Mr. S. had continued to play a hand that not only bordered on deception, but also ultimately managed to mar his credibility which follows him to this day. First, it was his misrepresentation of being the owner of the property. He was not. He only rented it; the true owner was Walter Easte who lived in Ohio. Mr. S insisted that from his rigorous research there were no more members of the Eastes family still living. Yikes! I’m sure it was a minor fabrication in the mind of Mr. S. and he would never get called out on it. Well…he did!

The second was a bit more serious and caused his and Black Moon Manor’s demise. It was the utter embellishment upon the history of not only the home but also the family. He would declare that complete strangers would show up in the driveway and spew forth historical tidbits and revelations about the house that rocked his world and most likely caused his adult beverage to lap over the top of his cup. Rubbish! Mr. S. would say what needed to be said to tie in with the reported haunting that in the end became a figment of his own imagination. Let us remember, he was a businessman and these stories became great public relations and drew the weekend crowds in.

But, you don’t mess with a family’s history—especially when that family is still around. Bad move, Mr. S.

I had a woman contact me recently who had read my article from 2012 entitled “Adios Black Moon Manor.” Even though it has been two years since the article had come out, she thanked me for it. She had lived across the street from the Eastes home in her youth and had spent time in the house. She was upset over the stories that had spurned from the fertile mind of Mr. S. “That wasn’t the truth,” she claimed. “I was there…it was a great place.” And she added, “There was no one living in the house during the blizzard of 1978.” Mr. S. had always reported that the last surviving member of the Eastes family, an older lady, had frozen to death in the front room of the house and was a contributing factor in the haunting.

In the end (and most likely from the start) it became a labor of love to line his pockets with hard earned cash and quickly retreat to mix his next drink. Did Mr. S. report his earnings to the IRS? Doubtful, and that may very well come back to haunt him in the future.

Mr. S. loved the limelight and relished the up and coming paranormal amusement park status. The ice cubes in his glass tinkled a merry symphony when he and Black Moon Manor became the center of attention. A paranormal celebrity? In his own mind, and I would suppose it gets into your blood eventually.

After Walter Eastes finally grew tired of the reports of his family’s history being distorted into ridiculous realms (from family members that Mr. S. claimed didn’t exist), he made the trip from Ohio, hammered on Mr. S.’s head, and shut the operation down. Consequently, Mr. S. disappeared like a wisp of smoke, also taking with him down payments from groups who had scheduled an investigation at the house. For all intents and purposes, Mr. S. had disappeared into the woodwork.

But as stated earlier, that paranormal celebrity thing gets into your blood and is not easily dismissed. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, so has Mr. S.

He has a new venture…surprisingly a haunted one that he by chance has “discovered” in rural Hancock County, lovingly named House of Josiah. It is located at 11547 East US 40 in Charlottesville, Indiana. House of Josiah—really! And it would seem to be Black Moon Manor all over again.

My first question would be that of ownership. Is Mr. S. playing it off that he owns the property or is he only renting? (I would doubt that he has two nickels to rub together) On the Facebook site for House of Josiah Mr. S. states that he has received an abstract on the property (from his tireless research, I would suspect) and has gathered the house was built in 1826 by Josiah Vanmeter. Well…his research was not so spot on in the past. Has he improved?

He states that the house is a hot spot for paranormal activity (yeppers), that the calendar is filling quickly for the month of August (there’s not a moment to spare!), that there is residual, intelligent, and even poltergeist activity (you’ve covered all bases Mr. S., but please learn how to spell poltergeist), and it is only $25 per person for a full 24 hours (my wallet will thank me for the generous rate).

Presently the social network of Facebook seems to be the site of choice for the House of Josiah. And it would appear the house band and biggest advocate for the new venture of Mr. S. is Pdi (Paranormal Detectives of Indianapolis). Their post on the Facebook site, dated July 16 of 2014, reads:

“PERFECT paranormal location! In the country/rural area, creepy look and feel and LOTS of actual paranormal activity. DOCUMENTED paranormal by the way. We have the proof and we don’t “doctor” our evidence to impress anyone. Like it or not, it surely doesn’t matter to us because we are confident in all of our findings and if any of it can be disproved we are more than willing to say so. HOUSE OF JOSIAH IS NOT A SCAM, excellent EVP’s and real time voices and movement. Highly recommended by all of us at PDI.”

Ummm…maybe some proof reading is in order before posting on a social media website.

I have no quarrel with Pdi. They appear to be a reputable paranormal investigative group seeking legitimate answers to hard questions. However, they have not been doing this all that long—at least as the current group. And my concern would be towards their blatant endorsement for Mr. S. and his ‘new’ establishment of ghostly wonders—do they really know who they are dealing with and his history of questionable practices? If I were them, I would distance myself, and sooner rather than later! It may come back to bite them in the end.

Pdi has offered a challenge for those suspecting a scam to accompany them on an investigation of the House of Josiah. Ok then…I’m game. And I fully expect when nothing happens to have my skepticism be the cause for any non activity. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager and I’m 57 years of age presently. This is not my first rodeo, boys.

House of Josiah? Pay no attention that residents who have lived in close proximity to the old farmstead have never reported any paranormal shenanigans at the house throughout the years. And word of that nature would get out in a small community. Yet…when Mr. S. suddenly appears on the scene it becomes a paranormal wonder. That Mr. S. certainly has the knack!

Is this just another dollars and cents venture that will develop into a reincarnation of Black Moon Manor? Is Mr. S. up to his old tricks? Time will tell and the crowds of unknowing will come; at least for awhile.

Was Black Moon Manor haunted? There were certainly ‘oddities’ that can’t be readily explained or dismissed. Yet, these oddities were nothing related to the Eastes family history, or for that matter Hancock County history, as Mr. S. fabricated. Many investigators suspect that it was actually Mr. S. who brought these spirits in initially. Personally, I don’t think he was smart enough to do that, but one never knows. There was also the “thrill of the hunt” fueled by stories that drove the imagination to make something out of the noises of critters in the walls and attic, or the sounds of nearby Interstate 70 which produced a hypnotic and constant drone which could be mistaken for voices, music or singing.

The House of Josiah falls within the same realms—an ancient eastern Indiana farm home—neglected to a point of eventual destruction—but suddenly given a new life for those seeking the existence for the paranormal. And at a reasonable cost! We now have Mr. S. fashioning that future with a magical wave of his hands and an eventual barrage of tall stories to satisfy the masses. It is after all good business.

Mr. S. is not all that bright. The imbecile actually contacted my girlfriend Laura through Facebook to advertise House of Josiah and drum up some bookings. Not too smart, my friend. It served to reignite my anger over Black Moon, resulting in this article. Foolish, foolish man! I’m not planning on shelling out one dime to investigate House of Josiah.

Mix your next drink Mr. S. and while you’re at it, consider what you are doing. Possibly a good start for redemption would be refunding those who you bilked out of a deposit for a Black Moon Manor investigation when it all went downhill. Yes, that may be a start. The next move would be to realize you are not as smart and savvy as you think you are. The truth hurts at time but it’s what makes us grow.

People don’t forget.

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