Monday, October 12, 2020

Haunted Carbondale Hundley House

Since the Carbondale Times does not post its material online, we got their permission to post the Haunted Carbondale series on the store blog and will link it to the Haunted Carbondale Page on the store website

Located at 601 West Main Street, Hundley House has attracted national attention for its reported hauntings and for the double murder that took place there the night of  Dec. 12th 1928. That night, someone shot banker and former Carbondale mayor J. C. Hundley and his wife Luella. The murder remains unsolved and the ghosts still active.

Quite active socially, the Hundleys had returned from an evening out and were finalizing plans to close up the house for the Christmas holidays and decamp for Florida until the New Year.  According to the Hundley’s butler, the last person to see the couple alive, Hundley had gone upstairs to prepare for bed while Mrs. Hundley went over last minute details with him before the couple left by train the following day.  He said later that both appeared in good spirits and were anticipating the trip.

Sometime after midnight, a neighbor across the street up nursing a sick baby heard a gunshot and saw the light go out in Hundley’s bedroom. She called the police but, due to the late hour, the authorities from Murphysboro responded (Carbondale was significantly smaller than Murphysboro at the time and the Hundley property was located at what at the time was the edge of Carbondale) but, due to the rain and muddy roads, took well over an hour to arrive. When they arrived, no one answered at the house and the front door was locked. Entering through the kitchen door, which was shut but unlocked, they found Luella Hundley dead at the foot of the servant’s staircase at the back of the house, while J. C. Hundley lay on his bed, barely alive, but did not survive the trip to the hospital. Both had been shot with what the police later determined was a .45 caliber Colt army revolver.

Suspicion immediately fell on Hundley’s son from his first marriage, Virgil, who, while well liked in the community, had a reputation as a bad businessman continually in need of money. Reportedly, the elder Hundley had just cut his son out of his will but Virgil testified, during his later trial for the murder, that the two men had patched up their differences before the murder. No changed will was ever found and Virgil’s wife testified that he was at home at their house next door the night of the murder. Acquitted of the murders,  Virgil and the other principals in the murder, his wife and his sister Dora left Carbondale. Reportedly working for the railroad for several years, Virgil divorced his wife and eventually returned to Carbondale, purchasing a house on the south side of town where he died in the 1960s. He, his father  and stepmother are all buried near each other in Carbondale’s Oakland Cemetery . The case still remains open and a reward offered.

Since the 1990s, at least, Hundley House has been reportedly haunted by the spirits of J. C. and Luella. Passersby have reported hearing a gunshot and seeing the porch swing moving without a breeze.  Past owners of the house have reported televisions and CD players turning on and off by themselves, doors slamming and groans as if someone in pain, especially around the back staircase.  The  Ghost Lab paranormal investigators investigated Hundley House in 2010 with their investigation appearing on the Discovery Channel on  Jan 8th 2011. Hundley House recently sold and is in private hands with no indication the new owner welcomes visitors, so best to view Carbondale’s best known haunted house from the sidewalk.

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