Madeira has ghosts in its own haunted house


By Regina Villiers.  Originally Published in October 26, 1994 in The Suburban Life, added October 14, 2015.

The Fowler House at the corner of Summit and Euclid avenues as it looked in earlier days. It was built in 1856 by Leonard Fowler and is now owned and occupied by Ed and Wilma Hillman. It's said to be occupied by a ghost.

The Fowler House at the corner of Summit and Euclid avenues as it looked in earlier days. It was built in 1856 by Leonard Fowler and is now owned and occupied by Ed and Wilma Hillman. It’s said to be occupied by a ghost.

Madeira may or may not have its own haunted house, depending on who tells you about it.

There are those who solemnly swear that the house is haunted.  Others will tell you the things that go bump in the night there can be explained with logical reasons.

But, the house, located on the southeast corner of Summit and Euclid avenues, has enough historical significance to make its own story, even without being haunted.

Originally a farmhouse, it was built in 1856 by Leonard and Eliza Fowler, who were the grandparents of Mill Nelle Hosbrook.  The Fowlers owned a 56-acre farm surrounding the house.  The farm, running along Euclid Road, extended east to what is now Miami Avenue and to the west and south a farm owned by the Black family bordered it.

The southern boundary of the Fowler farm was just south of the present Southside Avenue area.  Former Mayor Don McDonald’s house is located on the land that was once a part of the Fowler farm.

The farm was a working farm.  Two barns stood near Euclid Road.  The larger barn was for farm animals, and the smaller one was used for feed storage.  There was a smokehouse, for meat curing and storage, and a chicken house.  The Fowlers also had a pear orchard, and they raised chickens and pigs.

The house is a brick house, now painted white.  Originally, the bricks were red, and it’s said that the red bricks used in the house were made there on the farm.

Mr. Fowler died in the large master bedroom of the house in 1887.  His ghost, reportedly, still lives there.

The house is currently owned and occupied by Ed and Wilma Hillman, who bought it in 1962.

“The ghost stories didn’t bother us,” Ed says.  “We had five children and we needed a house with four bedrooms.”

The house is a large, 10-room house.  All five of the Hillman youngsters grew up in the house with the ghost, and they reveled in the stories, especially the boys.  Halloween was always a big deal at the Hillmans, and the boys, especially Eddie, the oldest, always tried to scare the neighborhood kids out of their Halloween pants, Ed says.

Ed tells about kids sometimes coming to the door and timidly asking, “Please, sir, can we see your ghosts?”

“Oh, there are not ghosts here,” Ed would answer, and he then would show them the house.

Although the Hillman boys delighted inn having their own ghostly house, the daughter, Lisa, the youngest of the children, wanted not part of it.

“To this day,” Ed said, “Lisa will not sleep in our bedroom where Mr. Fowler did.  Lisa is now married and living in Macon, Ga. She was happy to move to Georgia because she says there are not ghosts there.”

Ed says his wife, Wilma, is Irish and tends to believe in ghosts.

“She thinks we have poltergeists and puts out saucers of milk for them.”

Ed will relate some of the ghostly goings-on that have happened since the Hillmans have lived in the old house, but he doesn’t do it with much conviction.  His voice lacks authority as he tells the stories.

There was an incident when a babysitter started to show a friend and old saber and strange noises broke out.

There are many instances of the sounds of shattered glass being heard, but not a trace of anything can be found.

Then one night, a big clatter from the back area where the boys’ bedrooms were located startled the family.  No one was back there at the time.  On investigation they found things scatted everywhere and a clothes tree had been moved.

“I figure it was a cat, or maybe a squirrel,” Ed said.

The Hillmans have tried to preserve the history of the old house, and it’s pretty much furnished as it was.  Ed says that Miss Nelle, when she still lived down at the Hosbrook house, would walk up to the Hillman house for Sunday dinner.  “It still looks like my grandma’s house,” she would say.

There are two stairways leading to the upstairs, but neither of them will accommodate the passage of a bed bigger than a double bed.  King-sized beds were not in existence in 1856.

Since the Hillman kids have grown up and moved away, ghostly appearances at the house have declined.  “We haven’t had a ghost for years,” Ed said.

But who knows?  If you happen to be out trick or treating in the area of Summit and Miami this Halloween don’t say I didn’t warn you.