The House of Blue Lights
The House Of Blue Lights was the name given to a house on the far northeast side of Indianapolis. Decorated year round with blue Christmas lights, it was actually the home of eccentric Indianapolis millionaire Skiles Edward Test. It gained a reputation for being haunted.
According to local folklore, Skiles' deceased wife was embalmed in a glass coffin inside the house, surrounded by the eerie blue lights. Test himself encouraged the rumors when he began burying the remains of some of his 109 pet cats in carpeted caskets under brass nameplates. After Test's death, no evidence was discovered that indicated his wife was buried on the property, for, in fact, he had been married three times and all three women survived him. The public sale at auction of the possessions from the property did enhance the rumors of his eccentric later life. Nevertheless, the house was widely regarded as a "haunted" site well past Skiles' death in 1964, and is still recognized in the folklore and culture of Indianapolis.
The house itself was originally of wood-frame construction, with a full exterior facade of white opaque glass brick. Many additions to the original farm house included glass solarium/greenhouses, and numerous lightning rods on the roof. A unique feature of the Test estate was an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a three-story diving tower and motorized surfboard pulley system, and alongside of the pool, an ornate brick "pool house" with guest quarters. The pool circulated its water through above ground pipes that were heated in the sun and recirculated in the pool to keep the water warm. This was the first solar-heated pool.
Following the death of Skiles and the destruction of the house, his heirs bequeathed the property to Indy Parks and it was developed into a natural resource area called the Skiles Test Nature Park. A view of the property from the air in 1937 can be found at the IUPUI Skiles Test Nature Park page.
The legend of the house was the subject of a gothic comedy play, The Creeper of the House of Blue Lights, which was performed by the Stage Actors Workshop in Indianapolis in October 2007.
- Bodenhamen, David J.; Robert Graham Barrows and David Gordon Vanderstel (1994). "The House Of Blue Lights". The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. p. 714.
- Skiles Test Nature Park. Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, IN.
- IndyArts.org Theater Event
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- Neville, Susan. In the House of Blue Lights. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998.
- HouseofBlueLights.com by Skiles Test's daughter
- skilestesthouseofbluelights.com by Patricia Hicks
- Skiles Test at Find a Grave