The Legend of The White Wolf
the white wolf
Lafayette, indiana is no stranger to ghost stories. But in 1872, one event in particular put this town on the map of the most haunted places in indiana. The story of the White Wolf is still told around Halloween each year all over the town.
In the 1800s, one of the most influential newspapers in the area was called the Evening Courier. Early in the summer of 1872, the paper published a widely read article titled “Among the Spirits.” This story recounted an alleged dark, supernatural experience that occurred in the lives of William Lingle and his friends.
Lingle lived on a spectacular house overlooking the Wabash Valley, and had invited the town judge, a professor from London, and two reporters from other newspapers over for an evening visit. During this lively gathering, the men began to talk of ghosts and other unexplainable phenomena, as all were very interested in the topic.
Lingle’s tale of a haunted house that graced the site of an old abandoned yard of bricks garnered the most interest, so the men decided to go check it out themselves to see if they could spot any unearthly spirits or spooks. They arrived at the house after dark had fallen and inspected it carefully for any hidden passages. They found none; there weren’t any closets in the crumbling structure.
The men sat amongst the rubble and talked amongst themselves about the ghostly ghouls and goblins they hoped would come out of hiding. Finally, their patience was rewarded–after a couple of hours, a bright bluish light burst into the room. As the men watched in stunned silence, the light abruptly took on the form of a stunning, blindingly white wolf.
The wolf seemed unconcerned with the presence of his visitors, and lifted his head for a long, mournful howl. Then, before his audiences’ transfixed eyes, he transformed again, this time into a strange-looking creature that resembled a giant frog. While the men could do no more than gape open-mouthed, the creature took one final shape, that of a tomahawk-wielding Native American, then vanished before their very eyes.
The stunned group made the quick trek back to Lingle’s residence to retrieve a metal wand that one of the men had brought along. They then returned to the site that had transfixed them earlier. The professor, who quietly dabbled in the dark arts, drew a large circle in the dirt with the wand and sketched a series of mysterious images inside.
Once again, as the men observed in silent awe, the Native American, fiercely adorned in war attire, rose from center of the circle in a puff of smoke. The professor, to the shock of his companions, began a dialogue with the spirit in a language not known to any of the others.
After several unnerving minutes, the professor turned to his friends and translated that their ghost, in life, had been referred to as “White Wolf.” On his right arm was the clear mark of the frog-shaped creature the Native American had become earlier in the night. According to Native American legend, the animal came from western rivers.
The spirit, anguished, told the men of his peaceful burial in a reservation cemetery just outside of Lafayette. Before his spirit could be fully settled, development began on the city and his soul was brutally disturbed by the metal shovels digging into the dirt where he lay.
As two of the men that heard the Native American’s story that fateful night were reporters, it became headline news the next day, not just in Lafayette but all over indianapolis and the hoosier state. The frightening tale was published in the Evening Courier as well as other newspapers.
The Courier soon received an ominous letter from another resident of Lafayette, who had an employee of Native American heritage. The employee claimed to have conversed many times with the White Wolf, who told him his spirit would never achieve peace until there was a fence built around the cemetery that housed his grave.
The only way to find out for sure if these respected men of the community truly encountered the supernatural is to find out for yourself if the White Wolf exists. Head just outside of Lafayette city limits, on the northeast side of town, and pay a visit to the grounds of Sunnyside Junior High. The school now occupies the space that was once home to the tortured soul of the White Wolf–and might very well still be today.