The Mystery of the Lady in Black; Acton, Indiana

Sherri GranatoStarred Page By Sherri Granato, 6th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

The supernatural events that occurred thirty-five years ago on the lonely, Indiana highway are believed to be nothing more than a visit from one of the members of the Methodist Church that set up camp in the nearby Acton Campground, established in 1859. The "lady in black" was seen by several witnesses, saying a prayer over accident victim, Robert Davidson. Did this divine intervention save his life?

Defying Scientific Explanantion

Fact can have a way of ruining an otherwise good and colorful story, even when those facts are true to the people that experienced the unusual, yet significant occurrence and then they further share the strange details with other people who then find the heightened features of the story hard to believe. Strange happenings that defy scientific explanation, unexplained phenomena and angel or ghost sightings are factual to those who experience them, but to a skeptic or non-believer, the proof is in experiencing it directly by personal observation. This is precisely what took place in the summer of 1980 when Robert Davidson, mourning the loss of his father's recent death, decided to visit his daughter in nearby Indianapolis.

He packed up his motorcycle and began his short trip. As Robert was riding on Interstate-74 through the outskirts of the small community of Acton, Indiana, Marion County, en route to Indianapolis, a heavy rain storm suddenly hit out of nowhere. Robert claims that the rain was pelting his face so hard that it stung, forcing him to pull over and put on his protective rain gear. Just as Robert got off of his bike, he was struck directly in the chest by a powerful bolt of lightning, knocking his boots completely off of his feet.

He had no clue as to what had hit him since the force of the high-voltage electrical discharge knocked him out and into an unconscious state that would keep him from telling the first responders what had taken place, even though they could see what appeared to be smoke, exiting from his wound. This is where the cloudiness takes over, concerning fact, personal observation and skepticism. These things are mingled into a blur of events that left some of the witnesses believing in the paranormal and others claiming to have seen absolutely nothing.

The Strange Visitor Touches Robert's Chest with Her Bible

Described by several paramedics as a woman dressed in a long black dress, was later thought to be an apparition of a 'lady in black" walking straight for Robert's lifeless body. By those that witnessed her presence, she was described as being dressed in 19th century garb, and she was carrying a Bible. At the time of her arrival, ambulance driver and paramedic, Randy Neibert, claims that the emergency vehicle completely shut down, losing all power and rendering itself useless for several minutes during the visit from the strange visitor. He also claims that this occurrence should have been an impossibility considering that the ambulance was equipped with a dual battery system that would make this event highly improbable. Randy did not witness the "lady in black", only the sensational singular event that others claimed took place at that very moment.

Meanwhile, the paramedics tending to Robert were fighting to save him when the "lady in black" approached, softly touching Robert's chest with the Bible, all the while hovering over his body while praying. She then looked profoundly heavenward while lifting her Bible, and began to talk in tongues. The "lady in black" then turned to the paramedics and smiled. At that exact moment they realized that Robert's vital signs had returned and he was showing very definite signs of life. Afterward, the mysterious lady lifted her kneeling body up and drifted into the crowd, disappearing just as fast as she has appeared. Robert was rushed to the hospital and awoke from a coma just a few months later. The woman who pleaded for Robert's life was not seen again after that day, but her profound visit has forever dubbed her with the name the "Lady in Black," and she is believed by all accounts to be a ghost who once lived in the Acton Campground during the late 1800s in direct connection with the Methodist church.

The Nearby Spirtual Campground May Hold Clues to the Identity of the "Lady in Black"

To the paramedics that witnessed the "lady in black", they have no doubt that this strange, spiritual woman saved Robert's life, but to the skeptics, they claim to have never seen her at the site of the accident, nor did they witness her praying over the victim. That day's events came back with mixed reviews with several people witnessing her arrival onto the scene, but the majority of the crowd claims that they didn't witness any such miracle or divine intervention. It is believed by those that watched her go into action, that she was something out of the past, at least that is the story that her 1800s clothing gave to anyone lucky enough to see her on that fateful day that was a real eye opener to those who believe in the unexplained.

The supernatural events that occurred thirty-five years ago on the lonely, Indiana highway are believed to be nothing more than a visit from one of the members of the Methodist Church that set up camp in the nearby Acton Campground, established in 1859. The community included a group of fourteen Methodist members. The group held regular worship meetings and in August 1861, for the first time, held camp for one week that was later described as being a "glorious success". The next several years were not as successful due to concerns over the Civil War. By 1878, the group had established a headcount of nearly ten-thousand people during one Sunday gathering. Even the local railroad refrained from coming through during Sunday services.

Miraculous Intervention and the Legend of the "Lady in Black"

Looking back on that day, for the people who witnessed such a miraculous intervention, they are believers. Even the skeptics are left scratching their heads. One thing that everyone can agree upon is that the power of prayer and the glorious belief in divine intervention from such a large group in one spiritual location, awareness of unexplained and miraculous events, along with community participation has led some to believe that the area is still basking in the remnants of such love and faith of these followers who believe in God and his work a century ago. Sadly, in 1905, a spark from a train passing by ignited and completely destroyed the tabernacle, hundreds of shade trees and all 110-cottages that offered housing on the property. Today, the legend of the "lady in black" lives on and for most, the event will never be forgotten.

Unsolved Mysteries Features the Supernatural Phenomena of the "Lady in Black"

A few other theories have surfaced since that rainy day in June, thirty-five years ago as to who the lady in black's identity just might be, and one of the strongest comes from local resident, Philip Woolman, whose family once owned a nearby cemetery. The location of the old graveyard is somewhat of a mystery today, but the "lady in black" has been seen in the vicinity of the old Fendler estate where Philip used to hang out with his neighbor, Mike Shearer, a Fendler descendant. The lady donning the Victorian-style black dress had once lived approximately 200 yards south east of the accident site that was originally featured on Unsolved Mysteries in 1996. A dress similar to the one worn by the "lady in black so many years ago was donated to the Franklin Township Historical Society by Velma Fendler Reedy. It is believed that the dress originally belonged to Velma's aunt, who happened to live approximately 200 yards south, southeast of the accident site.



Church, Divine Intervention, Electrical, First Responders, Ghost, God, High-Voltage, Lightning, Methodist, Miracle, Paranormal, Scientific Explanation, Supernatural

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
6th May 2015 (#)

Sherri, excellent article as always. This is an amazing story. We will never know for sure who the "lady in black" was but a lot of people saw her. Amazing.

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author avatar snerfu
7th May 2015 (#)

Yes, the power of prayer is awesome. Lady in black, you have added more mystery to my day. Great article Sherri.

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author avatar brendamarie
7th May 2015 (#)

Great article, I have read much about the lady in black.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
7th May 2015 (#)

I do believe in supernatural or spiritual beings and happenings. The accident that happened to Robert Davidson and the apparition of the Lady in Black who saved him has registered in my memory because of your perfect presentation. Kudos for an excellent works!

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
9th May 2015 (#)

I think I saw this story on a show on cable a few years ago. This is really odd. Hard to prove it as anything but supernatural.

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author avatar Carol Roach
12th May 2015 (#)

such a fascinating story

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author avatar Joyce Plymate
1st Jun 2018 (#)

My granddaughter and I saw the same ghost 10 years ago in the same place yes my granddaughter saw her and thought she was a nun because of the long black dress so unsettling not the 1st spirit I saw.

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