South-Central Indiana is covered in cemeteries, nearly all of them in the woods. While this place is not technically abandoned (as its most recent tenant came to rest there in 2010), Stepp Cemetery is a notorious local haunt of Morgan and Monroe County. According to legend, a woman in black can be seen sitting on a tree stump humming to her child, who was laid to rest on the east side of the grounds days after his birth. As most folk tales are apt to spread, it appears that many patrons of the supernatural have laid their offerings at the child’s grave. Whether or not this is the baby spoken of in the stories is unclear at this point. However, there are teddy bears, small toys, candles, and even money covering the tombstone of Baby Lester. Perhaps some paranormal enthusiasts wanted to coax the spirits of the mother and child out of their graves, or perhaps they merely wanted to show respect. Either way, it is clear the tale is well-known.
The most prominent family featured on the grounds of Stepp are the Hackers. Though some of the graves have become illegible, Monroe County records claim that all of these family members are buried in the cemetery. At the head of the family lies Sir Malcom Dunbar Hacker. According to census records from 1880-1910, Hacker and his wife, Anne, had eight children during their marriage. Unfortunately, half of their children died before the age of 30, most under the age of 12.
The grounds are home to the bodies of children taken too early from this world. With their grieving parents laying next to them, it is understandable how locals would see the haunting potential of Stepp Cemetery. Though my friend and I ventured to the site during the day (a perhaps unlikely time to witness a ghost), we did not witness any voices, apparitions, or otherwise spooky feelings. However, Stepp is a beautiful area full of history and definitely worth a visit.