The Haunting of Henderson House

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The Haunting of Henderson House

Pete Tubbs and Nick Robertson, Contributing Reporters

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Disclaimer: Everything reported from here on is as close to the truth as we experienced.
Nothing is embellished, and as can be noted at the publication of this article, video evidence is
provided for several of the occurrences.

When walking up to the house for the second time of the night, Nick and I noticed that a
figure was watching from one of the top windows. While this shape was most likely just a
curious tenant, it still added to the already spooky atmosphere that threatened to engulf us…
Aside from being a lauded haven for guests in “a Great Place to Call Home,” the Captain
Henderson House has also long since been rumored as being haunted. Last week, a student
reporter, Nicholas Robertson, and I decided to investigate the claims.

The nine thousand square foot mansion known as the Captain Henderson House, which is
located on the corner of Tenth and Henderson right across from the college, has been a
mainstay of Arkansas history since 1906. The house began as two small cottages which were
built by Captain Charles C. Henderson in 1876.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Henderson moved to Louisiana for nearly 30
years, and upon his return, he began construction on the house as it is now known. The building
has moved hands several times since Henderson’s ownership, and was eventually sold to
Henderson State University in 1978 where it was used as a museum until it was added to the
National Register of Historic Houses in 1999.

For over twenty years, the Henderson House has been utilized as a bed and breakfast. It
contains seven gorgeous guest rooms, and features a complimentary personalized breakfast in
the dining room each morning. I made reservations for last Thurs., Oct. 24. The customer
service was extremely kind and fastidious, and I had no problems getting into the room.

Upon arrival in room six, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. The appearance was tidy, if a
bit dated, and had a very homy feel to it. I left my bag and exited the room, as I wouldn’t be
returning for the night until the sun had long since been absent from the Arkansas sky.

Several hours later, Nick, a couple of assistants for the night (Brady Moore and Connor
Nations) returned to the site. We let Brady and Connor into the room, then quickly realized we
left some things in the truck that we had to retrieve.

As we got to the pin pad equipped side door, which is the only option for re-entrance after
nine p.m., Nick and I realized that we had misplaced the code. We had to call Connor to let us
in, and although the wrap around porch is well lit, the noisy boards combined with a lightly cool
wind still has the power to chill the bones.

Connor finally made it downstairs and opened the door for us, and an eery creek resounded
from its hinges. Walking into the Henderson house at night, especially this close to Halloween,
truly recalls something out of late 50’s and early 60’s “House on Haunted Hill” genre films.

The lobby is undeniably beautiful and it is surrounded with artifacts from the past such as
large wall mirrors, busts of unnamed heads, and plant laden paintings that Bob Ross would be
proud of. Still though, one can’t shake the feeling of charged nerves and hair standing up on
one’s neck when walking through through the admittedly pristine first level.

Our trio returned to the room and found Brady hiding in the closet, attempting to pull a scare
on us. Enough of the silly business, it was time to work.
I’ve had a Ouija board for years and never once have I believed it to actually work, having
tried it on several occasions (even in a graveyard late at night). I figured that Thurs. night would
be the perfect time to try it.

We got out the board and Nick, Connor, and I each put two fingers on the planchette. At first,
we all had suspicions that one or both of the others were moving the small plastic piece which
resided on the board. As time wore on and more questions were asked, our collective opinion

We asked questions such as “is this place haunted?” The response? Yes. “How old are
you?” 138. “Did you die here?” Yes. “Do you have any bad intentions toward us?” No.

Connor, Nick, and I each vehemently denied again and again that we were moving the
planchette. As for the two writing this story (Nick and I) we still concur that it wasn’t us. Several
times throughout the process, each of us had to remove ourselves from physical contact with
the board, as the stress and curiosity was getting the best of us. It’s hard to explain, but as the
“game” went on, an energy was transferring between us and the board. It felt as though the
plastic planchette were being pulled from us.

Multiple times, we each removed our fingers from the object in turn and found that it was still
moving. The planchette did not move in a smooth fashion. Rather, it rigidly jerked back and forth
on its journey to the letters and numbers on the board.

It went on like this for at least an hour. The group was visibly affected. Tears were in our eyes
and nervous laughter squeaked from behind our chittering teeth. After we said goodbye to the
board, the group decided to relocate to the bedroom to see if we could get a different
experience. After the group had moved, I went back into the now-dark living room to retrieve my

On my way to and from the room, I recorded a video to document if anything happened, and
something did. As I passed the restroom on my way back to the bedroom, I heard a hushed
whisper which caused me to sprint back to join my friends.

As for the second Ouija board trial in the bedroom, not much happened. It just didn’t feel the
same. Little did we know, our experience wasn’t yet over.

When we tried to leave the room, Nick discovered that the door was jammed. Each of us
tried to pull it open, but it felt like something was pulling the door from the other side.

As soon as Nick noted this, the door released, and slowly opened to show the empty
darkness of the hall that led to the location of our first encounter. Our quartet slowly moved out
of the bedroom into the rest of the suite, but found nothing other than a slightly colder living

Nick and I were the only two who were spending the night in the hotel, so we bid Connor and
Brady adieu. While they were in the process of leaving, I lifted the cushion off of the pullout
couch where I was going to sleep that night.

A single wasp flew from under the couch and headed straight toward Brady, but it was
quickly killed. We searched the couch, but no nest was found. As an act of nervous caution, I
decided to stay in the master suite with Nick for the night.

The bed was comfortable, and after Nick and I talked over the strange occurrences of the
previous several hours, we decided to get some shuteye. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I just
couldn’t shake the feeling that Nick and I weren’t alone in the room. I was awakened several
times throughout the night. Strangely, each time I was jolted from sleep, I wasn’t afraid.

Rather, I felt fully alert. In fact, I felt like I had had an entire night’s sleep. I checked my watch
each time I awoke, but each time I looked, I found that it was still early in the morning and there
was no sunlight in sight.

At around 7:45 in the morning, Nick and I packed and retreated downstairs for breakfast. The
food was delightful, but seeing as we were the only ones in the period-set dining room, the
house felt ominous as ever. We thanked the staff and quickly loaded our things into Nick’s truck,
it had gotten progressively colder throughout the night and the sky was spitting mist from its
dimly lit clouds.

As we left I couldn’t help but feel the urge look back and see if someone was again peering
at us from low drawn shades on the second floor. I didn’t look, but I have the feeling that if I had,
I would see the very same eyes that met mine not ten hours before.