Skiles Test Nature Park
Skiles Test Nature Park

Remember the “House of Blue Lights”?

Every city and town, in every state, in every country there are a handful of urban legends. Fantastic stories of hauntings and mysterious, unexplainable events that are passed down from generation to generation.

In Knightstown, where I grew up there was the haunted “Pest House“. It’s still there today, Built in the 1800’s.  Underground railroad runs underneath, and for 6 weeks in 1902 it was used as a small pox hospital while the town was quarantined. Owners today say there is no negative energy in the house.

Wow!  I got really side-tracked!  Back to the “HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS”!

The House of Blue Lights” was a giant home on acres of land just off of Fall Creek on Indy’s northeast side.   Built and owned by millionaire SKILES TEST.  “The House of Blue Lights” got its name because Mr. Test decorated the house with blue Christmas lights year round.  According to folklore, he kept his deceased wife embalmed in a glass coffin inside the house, also surrounded by blue lights.  That’s the story anyway!

DR. CHRISTOPHER MOORE, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at UINDY led a project called “THE MATERIALITY OF GHOSTS“, which led him to Skiles Test Nature Park, where Mr. Test’s home used to be located on the property.  It was torn down in the 60’s.

Dr. Moore says that the project is designed to look at “Legend Tripping”, “People will visit legendary sites where they hope to engage with the super natural or see something spooky.  They take these trips in hope of something spectacular happening and they might leave something behind.  For the last 3 years, students and I have been looking at Indiana sites where legend tripping is happening to see if we can understand the process of what and why people leave things behind.  

Dr. Moore says that Skiles Test was known to be an eccentric likened to “The Great Gatsby“. “He was a bit of a hoarder!  If you’ve hiked the trails at Skiles Test Nature Park, you’ve seen what’s been left behind.  We’re documenting that material. We’re interested in looking for objects that might inform us about the legend. .we were able to recover a blue Christmas light!  We’ve also found large slabs of blue glass where the pool was located, which is where the stories of the aura come from.”  

Dr. Moore said that  Skiles Test he knew all about the legend of his “House of Blue Lights” and he liked having a little fun with those who stopped by for an unannounced visit.  Dr. Moore & his UINDY students continue the “The Materiality of Ghosts” project today with a survey going on in the Stepp Cemetery in Martinsville.


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