Barbee Hotel

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This historic hotel was frequented by Al Capone, who would stay in Room 301 and clear out all the rest of the guests so he could be alone. Cleaning staff have smelled cigar smoke coming from his room and have seen an ghostly man sitting in a booth in the bar. Witnesses also have reported footsteps on the stairways and in the halls. Rita Hayworth was also a frequent guest here, and some say her spirit manifests as a faint light seen from outside the building.

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Geographic Information

3620 N. Barbee Road
Warsaw, IN 46582
United States

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41.288129, -85.71541300000001
Kosciusko County, Indiana
Nearest Towns:
North Webster, IN (2.7 mi.)
Pierceton, IN (6.1 mi.)
Winona Lake, IN (6.9 mi.)
Leesburg, IN (7.6 mi.)
Warsaw, IN (7.9 mi.)
Larwill, IN (8.8 mi.)
Cromwell, IN (9.3 mi.)
Syracuse, IN (9.8 mi.)
Milford, IN (10.8 mi.)
Kimmell, IN (11.4 mi.)

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  1. We stayed at Barbee Hotel on Sunday, June 28th 2015. I am a skeptic. We stayed in room 309. At around midnight, we heard a slow pounding on the wall. I thought, here we go. The bar on the second floor was still open unitl 1 am. Later in the night, around 2 am, we heard the pounding again. It was coming from our wall with the window. We were on the third floor, and there was no baycony on the outside, hmm. Then as I was lying on top of the covers, lights out, almost asleep, when something walked past the bed, brushing my left foot, them my right. My wife was asleep on my left, hmm. Then later in the night, my wife woke up and looked up at the ceiling and saw severall dozen red lights floating in the air, unable to wake me, but told me about it the next morning, so, haunted, maybe. It was real to us.

  2. I was at the Barbee Hotel this year, 2015, from October 30th to November 2nd. I also stayed in room 309. I am writing a book on John Dillinger, I went to the Barbee for the history not the Scooby Doo Mystery. First off about the story above, room 309 has windows on two walls, and one wall is right next to an exit, old rickety stairs that do lead out to a balcony. Just for the record. You can hear every sound from the bar in that room, in fact it’s an old building, I could hear the people in 312 and they were down the hall. You could also smell the pot they were smoking. Unless you want to claim that was a “ghost skunk.” I had no stereotypical ghostly encounters. In fact I posted on Facebook that the only spirits at the Barbee hotel are in bottles at the bar. It was the client’s at Danny’s sports bar, once a guy’s father was hitting on me, he wanted to take a photo with me. You can see the uncomfortable smile on my face. I hear a guy yelling DAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! I had spoken to the man’s son, Teddy, earlier that night as he thought I was dressed up as Cruella DeVil for Halloween and I kind of snapped at him, I’m on vacation, this is my wardrobe, this is just how I dress, historians are strange. He got his father away from me, apologized. Introduced himself. I introduced myself. Upon hearing my last name his eyes got big, he asked if I knew about the Dead Files episode that was shot there. Honestly I knew about it only from seeing notes about it online but I never watched the episode. He told me that a man with surname was a murder, he haunts the place, he hates anyone who drinks alcohol, he took my arm and walked me to the owner. Teddy asked if I knew anything about Joseph Plew. I said no. I had four books on my family tree in my room, I was going to be meeting some Warsaw natives with the same last name as me. Teddy seemed way to happy that maybe he was holding the arm of a relative to the Barbee’s personal bogeyman Joseph Plew. He was cute and enthusiastic, he introduced me to the owner as such “SHE’S RELATED TO THE GHOST THAT WAS ON THE DEAD FILES!” Both Teddy and the owner of the Barbee had been drinking, I was stone sober, I don’t drink do to medical reasons. I just asked what Joseph did. The stories all changed from person to person, he was a murder, rapist, he killed a family, and I just tilted my head and said “Wouldn’t surprise me. My family is kind of strange.” I was more interested in getting the owner to talk to me about the history of the hotel, he seemed scared of me. Thanks to my last name. The owner had, some scarring on his face, his eyes pointed in two different directions. I personally have a lazy eye myself and hate it when people point it out, so I didn’t want to be rude and ask, as what’s up with the sideways stare would not lead to an interview about history. The owner literally got as far away from me as he could, looked scared, uncomfortable, and told me to “just watch The Dead Files.” I apologized a few times for the actions of any of my ancestors and explained that I live four hours south of Warsaw. My Plews might not be linked to the Plews in Warsaw. As my Plew have a good 5 different spellings of thier last name. The owner shut down the conversation and Teddy was a bit, curious to the reaction. As was I. The rest of my stay all I heard about was that TV show and stories about Joseph Plew, he was built up like Candy Man, an Urban Legend, larger than life, and using his after life to torture people at the Barbee. “Don’t drink alcohol or Joseph Plew will get you!” So as my family tree has more than a few nuts I was like, sorry, doesn’t shock me dude got stabby, what do you want me to do about it? Talk to a ghost? I can’t get the living Plews to listen to me. Doubt a murderous ghost Plew will, maybe I should inform you that I am the hated black sheep of my family. If dude is going issue an after life ass whooping on anyone it would be me for “disgracing the Plew name” just like the living ones do. Clients and staff a like where seriously freaked out by this show The Dead Files and made Joseph out as the worst thing to happen to The Barbee. I was more cranky that it was a run down motel, and not the four star hotel the internet said it was! Seriously a dive! I’m fine with staying in a dive, if it is advertised as a dive, not Hotel with a H not Motel with an M, and fine dining??? My prime rib was supposed to be well done, had to send it back twice, and it was fourty percent fat. Fine dining the chef cuts off the fat. But that’s a different story for a hotel review. So I met up with a potential family member, saw the Plew farm Joseph allegedly lived at. Asked him about it and all he knew was all the local legend. He’s not a paranormal kind of guy, nor is he an abnormal kind of guy. He seemed to be put off by my strange self, something I enjoy, not going to lie. As someone who has eaten fire for a living I got to admit I love to freak people out and live to make them uncomfortable! Tickles me. I looked through all four volumes of my Plew family tree, Warsaw is Northern Indiana, my family is Southern Indiana, so naturally I can not find a Joseph Plew from Warsaw who got his homicide on, and no one gave me a year or time frame, like dude got stabby back in the 1800’s. No real details. So I look up the Dead Files findings online, they have a video clip with no dates, no mention of rape, just Joseph Plew, and they said the name 3 different was so it could be Plough, Plu, Plew, as the clip did not show the documents just two men reading said documents to each other, I can not tell you if the case of Joseph Plew is fact or fiction. But I did talk to a few employees, the owner of the Barbee was in a horrible car crash after the crew of the Dead Files left. He hit black ice, he almost died. He lost an eye, he has a glass eye. He broke several vertebrae, had to wear a metal halo, broke his shoulder, and the staff said they were just glad that he made it. The lady who was in the dining hall said that the Dead Files people insisted on doing a banishing/spiritual cleansing of The Barbee. She seemed sad about it, as a lot of the paranormal activity had stopped, she liked the ghosts and had many stories. She clearly was not threatened or scared by anything there. Even Joseph Plew. I asked her about him. Then she started to act differently. More of a Joseph isn’t the problem, it was what ever the people from the Dead Files did was the problem. This was the general feel of the staff. No one was amped about the Dead Files being there. I asked as, well frankly if people INCLUDING the owner are going to be scared of me do to my last name and who’s blood I share I might as well enjoy it and make them squirm, it’s not like they had cable in my room, ANOTHER FALSE ADVERTISING POINT, on their website it says each room has cable…. Five channels and two were ABC, two were PBS! Repeated! The last day there I met another potential relative, he’s 92, lived in Warsaw his whole life, was a teacher there for over thirty years, brilliant, knows everything there is to know about Warsaw, I genuinely wish I am related to this man. Sassy history loving, world war II vet, has a model T, looks and sounds like Buster Keaton, I’m serious I wish I could adopt him. He’s awesome and I don’t use that word to describe many people, as it takes a lot to impress me! He knew all about the many faces of the hotel, he even used to go there before it was called the Barbee. He never heard of Joseph Plew, this is not at all strange to me as the Plews tend to either have no knowledge of or interaction with each other. He’d only heard of Plews living in the southern part of the state before meeting me. I am the first of my Plew line he’d met. I let him go home before it got dark. I went upstairs, high on life after meeting him as so rarely in life I meet men like him, let alone I might be related to his pure awesomeness! I knew I couldn’t be the only bad ass Plew! While drifting through the hotel to the beat of British glitter stomp, I smelled perfume. Backed up, sniffed, asked others if they smelled it. A man looked at me with a grin and asked if I was a ghost hunter, I replied, hell no, I’m an epileptic, we get auras or tells before a seizure. A couple across the bar over heard it. I expressed my deep loathing for ghost hunters as to me they are the lowest form of paparazzi! The lady with the grinning man was wearing perfume. I went to go take my medication, not willing to drink the tap water from the Barbee hotel as it smells like sulfur, in fact the whole area is rancid. The lakes stink! The water in the hotel stinks, so bad I commented on how if there was a corpse in the water supply I’d be very pissed off. Everyone said it’s just how the lake water smells. I got a nonalcoholic beverage at the bar. The perfume couple thought they’d be cute and warn me before opening a moist towelette in case I could smell it. A pretty lady with icey grey hair sat at a table, she could see that I clearly wanted to verbally jab them for not understanding epilepsy. She rolled her eyes, put on her fuzzy coat, and started out to the patio, I followed as I needed a cigarette. We talked. She and her her husband are regulars. I explained about my book I am writing, but how ever since I got to the Barbee people only care about my last name. How they are clearly uncomfortable around me do to it. I showed her photos on my phone of me eating fire, being at Coney island with Jennifer Miller and Mat Fraser then I confessed that I love being a self made freak, I’m used to being the outcast, but do to my actions and bizarre fashion sence! Not do to my blood lines! She is a new agey type lady. She is more the cuddly Wicca type that you meet in a place like Bloomington, not Warsaw. She knew the story of Joseph and her and her husband told me, that back in the day there was a fire, destroying the Barbee, Joseph lived on Plew farm and was brought in to help rebuild the hotel. The owner promised payment for Joseph’s labor fifty dollars, a lot of money at that time. But the owner never paid. Joseph was furious! He knew the Barbee was where you went for vice, gambling and hootch, he hated both, he was trying to help, and he got stiffed by an owner who only cared about supplying Warsaw with sin. So he was going to give Warsaw a nightmare. He cams to the owners home, slit the wife’s throat, stabbed the baby, waited for the owner to come home and stabbed him countless times. Afterwards he calmly went back to his farm. I skeptically tilted my head and asked if there is recorded history on this assassination. She said yes. This is what I found to date: it is not the bogeyman legend that I was told. Murder and rape over $50 for work on the Barbee. It’s still a revolting and unspeakable crime and my heart goes out to the Dunham family. But in my research Joseph’s legend is a blend of many men in that area. The interesting thing is how his legend has evolved so quickly. And how event after the banishing that the Dead Files crew did he is coming through on ghost boxes, being cedited with the owner’s close call with death. I’m sure his legend will grow, like all bogeymen …it’s the living who should not play with things they don’t understand and can not control. How can you rest in peace or burn in hell when the living keep calling on you? Sometimes it’s best to leave things be. But with a killer ghost in the bar, who wasn’t on the land, but for the urban legend let’s say he was, should drum up business! I mean an invisible killer in they room just adds to the excitement of a good old fashioned American horror story, right? Hell of a story. Not that impressed with the actual Barbee. Or a lot of it’s clients. I will not be going back… But it base nothing to do with ghosts..

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.