A House Alive With Whispers

A House Alive With Whispers

Whispers Estate was built in 1894,  a Victorian mansion located at 714 W Warren St in Mitchell, Indiana, has been proclaimed the most haunted house in the US. In 1899, Dr John and Jessie Gibbons purchased the house from the original owners, Dr George and Sarah White. Dr Gibbons was a prominent doctor in town, having his office in the 1st floor rooms in the house.

On its official website, http://whispersestate.com/ they say the Whispers Estate is a place “where the walls really do talk” referring to the multiple ghosts and spirits that are found living in the house, there are so many, that it even feels like they are continuously whispering in your ear and people who have visited before, even said that they felt like the whole house was stalking them.

Old World Charm and Ghosts in the Schenck Mansion, Indiana

One of Indiana’s most outstanding examples of the Second Empire style, the Schenck Mansion is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. “The house on the hill” is located in the beautiful Ohio River town of Vevay. Built by Benjamin Franklin Schenck, son of a fabulously wealthy “hay king” of the steamboat era, this palatial mansion was the marvel of its time with its four storied tower, thirty-five rooms from basement to attic and five baths. This house was built in 1874 at a total cost of $67,000. Its towers, bay windows, high ceilings and spacious rooms are characteristic of the architecture of the time. The architect of record was George P. Humphries of Cincinnati. Amazingly, the original architect’s plans have remained with the mansion.

In November 1874, on account of failing health, he and his family spent the winter and spring in Florida. He was able to spend the next two summers in his newly finished mansion in Vevay, but returned to Jacksonville, Florida where he died in April of 1877 at the age of 42. Mr. Schenck died before his palatial home was finished. Mrs. Celestine Schenck lived in the mansion intermittently until her death in December 1885.

A ghostly lady in white Victorian dress haunts the second floor. She is said to walk the hallways, taking no notice of anyone around her. Guests also have reported hearing voices, footsteps, and something moving in their rooms at night.

Hollywood Hauntings at the Bern Harlow House In Beverly Hills

The chilling deaths of two of Hollywood’s power couples connected by one house...

Howard Hughes helped the young starlet Jean Harlow shoot to fame in Hollywood in the 1930s. He hired her to be the star of Hell’s Angels that was being converted to a talking picture. 

Harlow quickly became Hollywood’s original “Blonde Bombshell.” On film, she eluded a smooth, sexy attitude.

Jean, who never dated her fellow actors, shocked the Hollywood community when she became romantically involved with Paul Bern, an MGM executive. Bern was short, slight of build and 22 years her senior.

Paul Bern and Jean Harlow, in several accounts of their courtship it is stated that Harlow pursued Bern and not the other way around.

The couple married in 1932. Rumors began to spread that their relationship was a tumultuous one.


Just four months after their marriage, Bern alone at the house that he had given to Harlow as a wedding present, was found dead by the butler. Jean had stayed overnight at her mother’s house.

Bern’s body was found nude and lying on the floor dead from a bullet wound. He had bled all over Jean’s white bedroom. His body was drenched in Harlow’s favorite perfume. A suicide note was found in the bedroom.

Later one employee, Davis the gardener stated it was not Bern’s handwriting. Bern’s secretary, Mrs. Harrison, said she felt it was a murder. There was also a female bathing suit and two wine glasses left with a blood spot at the edge of the swimming pool–so it appeared Bern had entertained someone at the home after he had sent Jean to stay with her mother a second time in just two days.

Curiously, Harlow was not called to testify at the inquest into Bern’s death. Right after the murder, the police were told she was “too hysterical” to undergo questioning. Several accounts state Harlow supposedly tried to commit suicide after she heard the news. The butler after discovering the body actually called MGM before the police, so the studio execs Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg arrived first to the scene. At one point Mayer even took the suicide note–in an attempt to protect Harlow, but the man in charge of the studio’s public relations, Howard Strickling convinced him to turn it over to the police.

Quickly, rumors spread that Bern had not committed suicide but had actually been murdered by his unstable ex-girlfriend, Dorothy Millette, who he still supported financially. She committed suicide after his death. Was it a suicide, or was it murder? This remains a mystery.

Tragically, Harlow died just 5 years after Bern’s death in 1937 at the age of 26 from uremic poisoning. Rumors after stated that Bern had beaten her and injured her kidney causing it to fail five years later.Subsequent owners of the Bern-Harlow house all have felt the ghosts of both Bern and Harlow haunt the place. In one well know sighting Sharon Tate saw what she believed to be the ghost of Paul Bern. A struggling actress at the time, Tate was dating a Hollywood hairdresser, Jay Sebring.Sebring had bought the Bern Harlow house in the mid-1960s. He was the real-life character that Warren Beatty’s character was based upon in the film Shampoo. Tate staying in Harlow’s old bedroom awoke to see the apparition of Paul Bern. He was not aware of her and instead wandered around the room apparently in search of something. She quickly left the room. As she walked down the stairs, she stopped halfway down. She was shocked to see Sebrings’ apparition now tied to the stair rail. He was bleeding from several slashes to his throat and appeared to be struggling to stay alive. After this, when Tate and Sebring were murdered by Charles Mansion’s followers in 1969, many stated that Tate’s sighting was a premonition–a warning of what was to come–because when the murdered Sebring was found he was tied to a stair rail.

The Bern Harlow house still stands. It is located at 9820 Eastern Drive in Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills.

Hole in the Wall

July 16 – September 12, 2019


Hole in the Wall is a capsulized study into unnoticed aspects of the physical world as well as the dark corners of Michael Long’s mind. Blending aspects of real, typically local, architecture with images from his imagination, Long creates unique assemblage boxes that emit a preternatural vibe.  He draws from the twin wellsprings of his recurring childhood dreams, nightmares, and memories and his careful observations of actual buildings in Santa Barbara. These small, precisely constructed works are eerie reminders of forgotten spaces – both interior and exterior – surreal architectural fragments that evoke curiosity and a myriad of associations and feelings in viewers.

For this series, Long built his wooden boxes by hand and incorporated vintage papers as well as “discarded, recycled, and unwanted things”.  Each of these creepy yet elegant “dream boxes” conjures up a time and place that only exists in his mind.  Like miniature, psychological movie sets or weird, diminutive stages, they bubble up from the depths of a restless soul seeking and often finding a strange stillness and evocative beauty. 

Through-line: Brooks Institute, a culture for photographic education

January 24 – March 6, 2019


This exhibition looks at the experience of the school through the art of three alumni who became educators, bringing with them pieces of the Brooks’ legacy to be passed on in their own classrooms.

For over 70 years Brooks Institute provided a visual arts education to an international gathering of students in Santa Barbara. Brooks was unique in its immersive focus on imaging arts – photography, film, photojournalism – and in its educational philosophy of hands-on learning provided by practitioners in their field. 

Christopher Broughton, Christy Gutzeit and Ralph Clevenger came to Brooks with a passion for the art and craft of photography. What they encountered was an intangible mixture of location, pedagogy, and mentoring which fueled their unique professional paths.

Through-line showcases moments from each photographer’s career. Christopher Broughton’s photographic black and white series, “Anhydrous – Our Unquenchable Thirst”, explores the anthropogenic landscape shaped by our endeavor to control water in the west. Ralph Clevenger exhibits a selection of work that demonstrates the connection between the photographer, the subject, and the viewer. In this case the subjects are animals from around the world, each animal’s portrait revealing a story in a single frame. Christy Gutzeit’s personal work is inspired by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s energy, calm one moment and forceful the next. Using multiple layers of materials combined with photography, she explores the transient nature of the waves of water and the power they have to imprint and erase.

Each of these image-makers has continued the legacy of their education by becoming educators themselves, teaching craft and professionalism while imparting their passion for photography to new generations of students. Currently, they are all part of a new collaboration established by The Ernest Brooks Foundation called “Brooks at UCSB” which is hosted by UC Santa Barbara’s Professional and Continuing Education department.

Into Nothing: New paintings in Ash and Oil

February 15 to March 23, 2017


Into Nothing is a momentary foray into the darker side. The darker side is to be understood not as something necessarily evil for its own sake, but ‘the’ something as an obverse of light.  In the truest sense of the nature of humans and nature itself, one cannot have light without the dark, positive without its negative aspects.  The potential in fire as the ultimate destructive force hides within it its polar opposite – that of the regenerative potential of what is left behind.  In creating a void, fire nonetheless immediately fills the space upon which it acted.  As Gaston Bachelard observed, “It shines in Paradise. It burns in Hell.” Fire is therefore ‘the’ conflicting force about which, to this day, we know very little. It is both good and evil.  Pazderka negotiates the subject of fire via depictions of local wildfire smoke, clouds and portraits of in/famous philosophers, artists and cabin dwellers, painted and drawn into burned wooden substrates treated with ashes and charcoal.  Ghostly images emerge, subtle and soft, yet quietly disturbing at the same time.

Tom Pazderka is an interdisciplinary installation artist, painter, sculptor, teacher and writer. He holds an MFA from the University of California Santa Barbara where he was a Regents Fellow and is currently the Artist in Residence for the 2016/2017 academic year. He is a lecturer of art at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA. Half Czech and half American, the son of working class immigrants, he moved to the US at the age of 12 shortly after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. His works have been exhibited at UCSB’s AD&A Museum, Asheville Art Museum and Cameron Art Museum in NC, Parasol Projects, NYC, Trafo Gallery in Prague, and Pink Dog Creative and the Push Gallery in Asheville, NC.  The recipient of numerous awards including the Howard Fenton Award for Painting, residencies, his works have been reviewed and profiled in many publications including New American Paintings and Daily Serving.