Jacob’s Funeral Home – Contribution

07/04/2003: This story was very odd, especially since the person who sent this story in sold haunted items on eBay. The story comes to us from Jacob’s Funeral Home in Kokomo, Indiana. The owner there was selling haunted items on eBay that he had collected. The auctions were listed when this story was originally posted, but they have ended long ago. Click Here to visit a website dedicated to Jacob’s Funeral Home.

In 2000, I purchased some property in downtown Kokomo, Indiana. One of the lots was the only black-owned funeral home in central Indiana during the early 1900s called Jacob’s Funeral Home. We spent the next year or so remodeling the 2nd level which we now rent out as a downtown apartment. The second level was remodeled for office space used by law offices and insurance companies. The total square feet is about 14,000. In 2003, we started remodeling the 4,000 square foot basement. After a few months of knocking down walls and moving old doors and windows left down there, we came into problems with piles and piles of old rotted boxes in one of the old store rooms in the basement that had been blocked off by the debris. Since then, my wife has been going through boxes and all the items inside them, cleaning up anything she can salvage.

A lot of boxes contain stacks upon stacks of old funeral home records and documents that are rotted and you can hardly read them, but several of the first boxes she has went through have items like artwork, old photos, picture frames, jewelry, melted candles, antique candle holders, old gas lighting equipment, and even an old wash basin which was used during the embalming process. Some of the boxes were marked “personal belongings,” which was kind of creepy and disturbing none the less. We kept putting them aside. We finally opened a few of them up and dug through them. We believe these items inside the boxes are actual belongings that was not properly placed on the corpses and in their coffins. Some of the boxes we’ve gone through have things like old bibles which are in bad shape, jewelry, one has a gold wedding ring, and another a creepy little rotted stuffed animal. Kind of sad, but creepy as hell, especially since a lot of them have photos inside.

Anyhow, after we are finished with the basement and demolish the coal chamber, we hope to start remodeling the 3rd level, which is an estimated 3,000 square foot attic with many rooms. I’ve seen a bunch of old funeral home furniture, new-looking boxes, dusty old frames, chairs, and other miscellaneous junk in it. We hope to sell most of the stuff on eBay or at local antique shops. I looked through stuff in the attic a little with a flashlight on several occasions. The first box I opened had an unopened 1940s steel Coke can inside with a bunch of old newspapers with dates ranging from 1932-1954. I don’t know everything that’s up there, but we’re guessing it was stuff from when the funeral home was open. It will take us a lot of time to sort everything in the attic and the basement. The problem with remodeling the attic and why we keep delaying is not just because we are doing one level at a time.

Our original plan was to remodel from the top down, but we skipped the 3rd level because the walls up there contain old gas lines, which during the early and mid-1900s, was used for lighting. It’s going to slow us down and cost a lot to have them removed. Plus, we don’t want to stir any lead paint, which we believe is on the walls of the 3rd level, until we are prepared to handle it. Lead paint can be really nasty stuff to work with and clean up. Slowly but surely, we will have everything sorted and we’ll be adding all these antiques and odd items to our eBay auctions.

You’re probably wondering when am I going to get to the “haunting” part of this. So here is the story according to my accounts and local legend. I’d have to say the strangest thing about this building is not the fact it was a funeral home since 1901, but the local Kokomo legend that surrounds it, which claims it as being extremely haunted. Personally, it can sometimes be a real mess with all the people that drive by and park out front during the Halloween holiday, but it’s not too bad. Though I must admit, I’ve had to call the police on some kids that actually tried climbing the roof! According to local legend, the funeral home was a history of racial tension and abuse. Being the only black funeral home in Kokomo, and the only one owned by a black funeral director didn’t help things during those times, I assume. The courthouse is just down the block and they used to hang criminals or “the accused” in the courthouse lawn and take them straight to this funeral home. Something I’ve always wondered is why are there slave doors in the back of the building if it was black-owned? The history is so mixed and strange about this building. It’s impossible to find anything useful in our historical documents at the recorder’s office and the library. But, it’s very haunted and has a violent history according to Kokomo legend and folklore. Our community newspaper called “Kokomo Tribune” did an article in 2002 that speaks about this haunted funeral home. The reporter that covered this article was the Indiana award-winning Feature Editor – Tom Carey.

More than likely, once we get rid of all the original funeral home items, the personal belongings we found, and finish remodeling the building, we’ll rid ourselves of the hauntings and the haunted stigma the building has here in town. Over time we have plans to remodel it enough so people probably won’t see it as a funeral home anymore from the outside. I must admit, I’ve seen black shadowy figures on several occasions since I bought this building, but I don’t really believe in ghosts or spirits coming back from the dead. I feel there has to be a perfectly logical reason for them.

Many people that have worked here or rented have told me about hearing sounds and seeing black shadows during all hours. One of the things that has turned me to wonder about all this even more is the children saying things about a “black fog” in different rooms during the night. It’s apparent that something is causing all this. Whispers in the hallways, lights going out and coming back on, leaving rooms with the lights off and seeing them turn on. Een water turns on and off. Finally, when the people remodeling came to me and something about a high-pitch drilling noise from the basement one afternoon, I told myself and my wife I’d humor everyone and speak with a local psychic. I did so the same afternoon of the drilling. The psychic was a nice little lady, but I was frustrated that all she kept saying and insisting to me was that I shouldn’t remodel and stir up the spirits in the building and I’m causing nothing but problems some people in the community would choose to forget. It was a creepy thing to say, I thought, and it really wasn’t what I wanted to hear from her. She didn’t help and what she told me, I didn’t feel was what I was calling her about, but either way she refused to come over and answer questions about black figures in the building for me and she kept on and on about stopping what I was doing to the building. Before the phone call ended, I remember very well the last thing she said, “You, sir, are playing with fire.” Whatever that means, but it stuck with me.

So after a few days, I called a local Christian preacher who prayed for me and claimed I was involved in a demonic process and should come to church Sunday morning before it’s too late. He did finally come over to the building and did some water sprinkles, or whatever it’s called, around the place but when he left, everything started freaking out. Lights would turn off and on and we started getting light-headed sometimes when we walked through areas of the building. So now ever since that day, my wife won’t stay in a room alone when we are here. We still really don’t have any clear answers on the building, the items aside, or it’s terrible history, but after we finish remodeling, we hopefully clean and rid ourselves of the spirits of Jacob’s Funeral Home. We hope by getting rid of the items we are unearthing that the spirits will go with them to people who can help them. If you’d like to be involved, you can look for all the items we find here at the funeral home to be placed on eBay for auction.