The Culbertson Mansion was home to William Culbertson. In the mid-19th century, William was the richest man in Indiana selling wholesale goods from as far north as Pennsylvania and as far south as Louisiana. William’s company sold goods to retail stores in Louisville and made a handsome profit. However, William’s life wasn’t easy despite his immense wealth.
In 1865, Eliza Culbertson died from typhoid pneumonia. She left behind five children for William to look after. Two years later, William remarried to Cornelia Warner Eggleston, a local widow. He bought the Culbertson Mansion as a wedding present for his new bride. Life seemed to be going well until a few months later when William’s 21 year old daughter died from a heart attack.
William and his second wife Cornelia had two children of their own until she died in 1880 in her bedroom. Four years later, William remarried for the third time. He died in 1892 and was worth over $3 million dollars, which would have been over $60 million today.
The Culbertson children were held to very high standards by their father. When they misbehaved, they were locked in a large closet on the third floor called ‘The Punishment Room’ for hours. Even with his very stern discipline, the Culbertson kids caused trouble. One of William and Cornelia’s daughters, Blanche, was infamous in New Albany for her love life. Before her father passed away, she fell in love with a circus performer. William strictly forbade his daughter from marrying a man of lower class. He was against the relationship so much that he put in his will that she was not to receive her inheritance of half a million dollars within ten years of his passing. Blanche ran off with her lover and got married a little over a year later. She contested the will and won the money that was rightfully hers in court.
The spirit of Cordelia Culbertson is believed to walk the halls in the mansion making sure it is kept up the way she likes. A woman in period attire has been spotted on the second and fourth floor. Employees and visitors have heard footsteps on the ground floor coming from the floors above. Doors opening and closing on their own is a common occurrence in the building. The paranormal activity isn’t attributed to just Cordelia. Some visitors tell stories of smelling cigar smoke and hearing men’s voices on the third floor when no one else is around.
The carriage house was rumored to have been struck by lightning in 1888. This caused a fire to break out in the building, and it burned to the ground killing several servants who were working inside. The building was rebuilt and turned into a rental property. Tenants often complained about it being haunted and experiencing things that could not be explained like strange sounds and shadow people moving around the building.
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