Every town has their own haunted house. Rumors swirl about what might be occurring behind the overgrown shrubbery and fenced-in grounds of these creepy estates.
The House of Blue Lights was well known in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Legend has it that the owner Skiles Test was an eccentric millionaire that had buried his wife in a glass casket in the middle of his swimming pool and surrounded her with blue lights (reported to be her favorite color).
Skiles Edward Test was born in Indianapolis on October 19, 1889. His father, Charles Test made his fortune as president of the Indianapolis Chain Works, founded by the future owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
When Charles Test passed away, he left Skiles his fortune.
In 1913, Skiles married his first wife, Josephine Benges, and moved northeast of Indianapolis into a small house, tucked away in a huge, heavily wooded property.
No one knows exactly when the Skiles Test property gained its fame. Rumor says it began in the 1940s, when Skiles used blue lights around the property at Christmas time. The rumors of the dead wife and glass casket emerged, seemingly out of whole cloth. Supposedly, Mr. Test, whose wife in fact had not died, was amused with these stories, until the property was overrun with so many trespassers. He fenced the entire estate away from the world. The curiosity continued into the 1960s and remained even after his death on March 19th, 1964.
The estate sale that followed his passing was nearly as legendary as the house itself.
It even made the local news! An estimated 50,000 people showed up to bid on items that Skiles had accumulated throughout his years including hundreds of cans of soup, and multiples of other household staples. The real driving force was people wanting to get a better look at his mysterious property.
As a 12 year old, I was fascinated with the lore of the House of Blue Lights.
My summers were spent on my blue Schwinn bike trying to solve mysteries, like my favorite character, Nancy Drew. One of my neighborhood friends had taken me to the estate before Test had died. There was a secret hole in the fence that allowed us to squeeze through. We climbed the overgrown hill and passed a pet cemetery with hundreds of tiny markers. As we got closer to the house, we could see the pool. It was in bad shape, as were the rest of the buildings. No glass casket or blue lights to be seen. Out of nowhere, came a groundskeeper, brandishing what looked like a rifle. You never saw two girls move so fast, down the hill, past the cemetery and through the hole in the fence. Of course as a true detective, I returned many times that summer, approaching the estate through underground tunnels and long roadways that were protected by guard dogs. You may wonder, where was my mother? Times were so different then; when the long days of summer were about leaving the house early, returning for a quick lunch and then back on the bike until dinner time.
There is little left of what was “The House of Blue Lights,” as it is now a nature park named after the owner. I wonder if the legend might still remain, especially for young boys and girls that spend their summers on a bike. Do the blue lights still shine through the trees as legend has it? Do Skiles and his wife haunt the place? I dare you to go find out.