Old Whitley Jail

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Old Whitley Jail, constructed in 1875, is said to be haunted by Charles Butler, a bully and alcoholic who shot his wife in the back in 1883. He was jailed here but escaped with four other prisoners when Sheriff Frank Allwein was out. But Butler was caught shortly thereafter when the sheriff found him passed out in a bar. He was tried and sentenced to hang, but the hanging didn’t go as planned. Due to difficulties with the gallows, he strangled for about 10 minutes before his death. Charles Butler’s electrically charged ghost is said to cause cameras not to work and batteries to drain. Witnesses have seen display costumes move on their own, and heard footsteps, laughter and voices from the corner of a room. Some believe Sheriff Allwein haunts the jail too, as well as an unknown female.

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Geographic Information

611 East Market Street
Columbia City, Indiana
United States

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41.15562304338908, -85.48728203770224
Whitley County, Indiana
Nearest Towns:
Columbia City, IN (0.1 mi.)
Tri-Lakes, IN (6.7 mi.)
Larwill, IN (7.4 mi.)
South Whitley, IN (8.8 mi.)
Churubusco, IN (10.1 mi.)
Pierceton, IN (11.8 mi.)
Sidney, IN (13.8 mi.)
Roanoke, IN (14.6 mi.)
North Webster, IN (16.0 mi.)
Kimmell, IN (16.9 mi.)


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Comments (3)

  1. During Halloween, this place is known as the “haunted jail”. I went there at 12 years old with a group of friends. The main entrance is old and reeks of oldness. My friends al screamed and ran out right when they reached the top. I was the only one who continued. The building itself didn’t give me a “feeling” until the cellar. It smelled like blood, and was extremely cold. The air was thick and made me want to vomit. All in all it was really fun, and definitely has SOMETHING haunting it…

  2. This is a true story and I’m not lying I just went to the haunted jail this year in 2016. Back when my dad was found he used to wire the place and has some pretty creepy stories that he has told me. My dad is very tough and isn’t scared of things so let me begin My dad was wiring the building and he was up in the attic all by him self wile the other guys were outside eating lunch and he heard somebody talking then he said troy is that you the nobody answered. So a little bit later he heard some laughing and everybody else was gone and he was finishing up so he went down stairs and he saw somebody turn the corner to go down the stairs to the basement/cellar and was getting a feeling that something strange was going on then he saw him Charles Butler The man who Hung himself and my dad ran as fast as he could out of the building and drove off. Then 14 years later my dad and I went there on Halloween And we bought the V.I.P. Tickets to go through the jail and that might we went home and saw Charles Butler Standing outside of the building and I never slept that night And i still remember every detail form that night and i still live in Columbia City IN On Van Buren Street.

  3. This building serves as a haunted attraction, “The Haunted Jail” during the month of October, as well as various charity events throughout the year. I am a volunteer and spend quite a lot of time on the inside. I’ve never seen anything personally, but I have felt a general uneasiness (especially on third story.) There have been times that I’ve suddenly had the urge to vomit, felt cold spots, heard footsteps, and heard a scream that seemed to permeate the entire building, offseason, only two other people in the building, in the room with me.
    We do have to do rigorous checks of our smoke detectors as the batteries are always dying. Phone batteries drain quickly as well when you are inside, particularly on the third floor.
    Note: The owner does not allow recording devices in the jail, and if you do want to take pictures of the outside please get permission first.
    Attraction Website: http://www.columbiacityhauntedjail.com/

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. HauntedPlaces.org 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.