The Hoosierist: Usual Haunts
Q: Is there any place in Indiana that has a real claim to being haunted?
Debby L., Greenwood
A: The Hoosierist is a confirmed skeptic, so asking him to point out ghosts is like expecting an astronomer to cast your horoscope. But here goes. After consulting the roughly 3 gazillion websites devoted to haunted places, he suggests the French Lick Springs Hotel. There, deceased former owner Thomas Taggart supposedly rides down the hallways on a horse, lingers in the service elevator, and throws ghostly ragers in the hotel’s ballroom. If you don’t actually witness any of this (a near-100 percent probability), you can always console yourself with a round of golf on the hotel’s course. If you’d like something closer to home, try Hannah House, an 1858 mansion on Indy’s south side that allegedly holds more spirits than a liquor store.
Q: I hear Notre Dame actually has its own plaid pattern. Is this true?
Susan P., Carmel
A: Actually, it’s the school’s Marching Guard (um, band) that has its own tartan, created in 1970 by a band director with the straight-from-Central-Casting name of Robert O’Brien. His green-and-blue design was submitted to Scotland’s Tartan Advisory Committee, which is absolutely a real thing. The organization declared that the pattern wasn’t associated with any Scottish clan or family, which meant the Golden Domers could claim it as their own. Getting this approval is apparently a big deal, because Scots (and, one assumes, the Irish) can get mighty touchy about who wears which plaids. It’s not such a big deal now, but back in the day (say, the 18th century), wearing the wrong pattern could create misunderstandings. The kind that could only be settled by the use of those big Braveheart swords.
Q: The city is installing that giant sewer tunnel near my house, and I swear I can feel the vibrations above ground. Am I crazy?
Elliot Y., Indianapolis
A: The Hoosierist can’t judge your sanity without a battery of tests. However, if you think you feel the massive machine that’s drilling Indy’s new underground wastewater system, you might indeed be just a bit touched. The project, which is excavating a roughly 27-mile tunnel network, is being built 250 feet down. Which means that no matter how much racket the machine makes, a person really can’t sense it through all that bedrock. So the next time you hear a deep, subterranean rumbling, do what the Hoosierist does: Make yourself a sandwich and see if it goes away.