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The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites provides visitors with thousands of ways to experience the story of Indiana. At all 12 locations, visitors can discover the stories of real Hoosiers who changed the course of our state, and step inside some of the real buildings where history was made.

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State Historic Site to host annual ‘Night Spirits’


Contact: Paige Southerland, 317.234.5078,

MADISON, Ind. – The public is invited to the 11th annual Night Spirits at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site on Friday, Oct. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. Costumed actors portraying ‘spirits’ will recount several historic fires and explosions from the 19th century, including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.   

Located in rooms throughout the beautiful home, the ‘spirits’ will vividly describe four additional disasters including the appalling explosion of the Steamboat Moselle in 1838, the incineration of the St. Louis Wharf in 1849, a train collision that annihilated Philadelphia’s St. Michael’s Sunday school group in 1856 and the tragic explosion aboard the USS Princeton in 1844. Although all these stories involve death and destruction, the ‘spirits’ will inject humor to

lighten the mood of the evening. All scripts for the stories were written by author and historian Wayne Sanford of Indianapolis.

The first tour group will leave the Lanier/Madison Visitor’s Center at 7 p.m. Additional groups will depart in 15-minute intervals thereafter. Each tour will last one hour with the final tour departing at 9 p.m. 

Admission is $10 per person in advance, $12 per person at the door. Reservations can be made by calling Gerry Reilly, Lanier Mansion State Historic Site manager, at 812.273.0556.

The Lanier Mansion State Historic Site and Lanier/Madison Visitor’s Center are located at 601 W. First St. in historic Madison, Ind.

About Wayne Sanford
Wayne Sanford is an author and historian from Indianapolis. Over the last 30 years he has conducted extensive research on Madison’s history as well as the history of the United States and Indiana. In addition, Sanford is the author of the book Cradle of Hoosier Heritage: Anecdotes of Madison People, Places & Events, from Territorial Times through the American Civil War, which is available for purchase in the Lanier Mansion Gift Shop.

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Lanier Mansion State Historic Site is located in downtown Madison, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, the Lanier Mansion sits on 9 acres and boasts a heroic story and superb architecture. The 1844 Greek Revival home belonged to James F.D. Lanier, a wealthy banker who helped finance Indiana's part in the Civil War. For more information, call 812.265.3526 or visit

Posted by Paige Southerland at 6:00 AM