Our ghost hunts at the extremely haunted Vincent House will are not for the weak of will.
The Vincent House is the oldest structure in Fort Dodge, Iowa and one of the most haunted in the state.
Activity at this intensely active location includes apparitions, lights turning on by themselves, objects moving, unexplained footsteps, music playing, knocking, giggling, and disembodied voices.
In visiting Fort Dodge, Iowa, you can imagine how things looked more than 150 years ago, when the land was sparse, and the Army was in control.
As you stroll around the streets and take in the historic properties, you are likely to learn about how the community sprang from the remnants of the old fort in 1869 and became the spot for the first gypsum mill west of the Mississippi River.
In traveling south on 3rd Avenue, an imposing brick structure stands ominously on your left. Was that light in the 3rd story ballroom turned on just a moment before? You can’t be certain, but one thing is for sure…You’ve arrived at the legendary Vincent House, Fort Dodge’s oldest building, and absolutely one of its most haunted!
Shortly after Iowa became a state in 1846, The Army’s 6th Infantry (E Company), began construction of a fort at the intersection of Lizard Creek and the Des Moines river. This structure was originally called Fort Clarke but was changed to Fort Dodge to avoid confusion with a fort in Texas.
In 1853, the Army abandoned Fort Dodge, which led to William Williams purchasing the property the very next year. In 1869 the town of Fort Dodge was founded, with Stillman Meservey, George Ringland, and Webb Vincent forming Fort Dodge Plaster Mills.
Fort Dodge Plaster Mills mined, ground, and prepared gypsum for use in commercial settings. This was the first gypsum mill west of the Mississippi river, and the land on which the mill was constructed is known as Gypsum Creek.
In 1872, the same year that Fort Dodge Plaster Mills was constructed, James and Adeline Swain built what is known today as The Vincent House. Adeline Swain spent a large portion of time in the house teaching higher education to women, as Adeline was the first woman in Iowa to fight for the rights of women. The room of the house were rented to travelers who were newly arriving in Fort Dodge.
During this period the house was rented out for receptions, parties, and many other types of events. With the assistance of A.H. “Gus” Hilton and Mary G. Laufersweiler, the Swains took an interest in spiritualism and communicating with the dead, which Adeline Swain believed could help in furthering her cause for gender equality. Due to this belief, seances were held in the 3rd floor ballroom.
In 1874, Adeline was elected state secretary. Her spiritualist friends helped plan and host her state convention. Adeline soon found her away into the Greenback political party, which led to lifetime membership and government meetings being held at the house.
After the death of James Swain in 1877, Adeline moved from Fort Dodge. The house was sold to Webb and Catherine Vincent in 1879. Sections of the house were not yet finished, which resulted in Webb and Catherine’s son Donald falling into the heating register and suffering a broken arm.
Donald eventually married a woman named Ann, and the house remained in the family until Ann’s death in 1969. The Vincent house was placed on the National Register of Historic placed in 1973 and stands today as a venue available for hosting a variety of events.
The haunted Vincent House is brimming with paranormal activity! It just may be that Adeline Swain’s early seances may have resulted in communication with spirits who came through and have never left!
As you enter the ominous brick building with the wraparound porch and 30” thick walls, what will you encounter? Have a seat at the piano and see if you encounter the apparition of a little girl who runs around, waves and then disappears.
If you begin playing a tune, perhaps you’ll see spirits gathering at the staircase to form an impromptu audience. If you leave the piano, perhaps one of them will sit down and begin to play, which may be the cause of piano music that is known to be heard through the house.
As you walk through the hallways, you may again encounter that same little girl as she walks past you and makes her way down the steps. Maybe she’s the one who leaves the handprints that are often seen on the ballroom windows by those who drive past?
Take a seat in the kitchen and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the spirit that likes to play with the light switch. Or head to the second floor and into the children’s room where objects are thrown to the floor and a spirit likes to play with that light switch as well.
The middle room on the second floor holds a bed where indentations appear as if someone were laying there. You might be able to find out if it’s a former family member catching a nap or a traveler taking a much-needed rest from the road.
Have a seat anywhere on the second floor and listen for the bumps and footsteps that are commonly heard. Or return to the ballroom where music is often heard. You may just hold a conversation with Charles Vincent, who passed by suicide, and is likely to answer “No!” to all your questions before commanding you to “Get Out!”.
The Vincent House is a hotbed of sometimes frequent and intense paranormal activity. The imprint of tragedies and Adeline Swain’s early seances may have created the storm of energy that remains to this very day! Spend a night with us inside this incredibly haunted structure and see what you encounter…If you dare!