October 22, 2010

Wolf Man of Versailles

As we close in on Halloween I thought it might be fun to share a local legend (inspired by Living in a Zoo's spooky ...very spooky....story). The story unfolds in Versailles Indiana and involves a man named Silas Shimmerhorn, a confederate soldier and one of Morgan's Raiders who passed through this area in 1863. For whatever reason Shimmerhorn deserted , slipping away from the group, perhaps he decided he objected to the war (who knows...), but he hid out in the woods of Versailles. According to legend Shimmerhorn took shelter in a cave commonly known in my childhood era as the bat cave at Versailles located in the area where the State Park is today. He began raiding local farms for food at night and then hiding out during the daylight hours. Shimmerhorn may have had a problem though as a pack of wolves took up residence in his cave. Shimmerhorn somehow worked out a partnership with the wolves and ran with the pack if you will, hunting with them for his survival. Sounds like Silas had gone a little off the beam about that time and local residents at times would spot the scraggly, bearded man running naked in the night with the wolf pack. As more and more of the farmer's livestock was being killed by the pack (with Silas in the fray) the menfolk decided to hunt down the wolf pack and the wild and naked Silas, now dubbed "The Wolf Man of Versailles." Gradually the wolf pack was killed off, but Silas evaded capture. Eventually the wolf possee found the cave but Silas was nowhere to be seen, only his makeshift bed and his civil war era rifle was found. You say not so spooky? Problem is that occasionally Silas and or the pack are sighted running in the woods at Versailles. I know this because before I ever heard of the legend I was told to be careful in the woods as various riders would come off of the trail talking about some scraggly dirty man streaking buck naked out there in the woods!

I also had my own ghostly experience out on the XYZ trail (also prior to reading the legend in Weird Indiana, by Mark Maimen, James A. Willis, and Troy Taylor. I was training Puddin for her first LD out on the XYZ and natured called. Having taken care of that I led Puddin out of the bushes onto the trail, went to mount up and felt a "boost" of two hands on my behind assisting me into the saddle. I was so startled that I jerked around to see who was there...and the answer is NOBODY. So I took a deep breath and said "well okey dokey then" and rode on down the trail at a very brisk clip that day. So who knows, maybe Silas appreciated a good horse (or a lady's fanny?), but definitely something unexplained offered its assistance out there in the woods. I later also discovered that where this occurred was very close to a hidden civil war era cemetary in the same woods.

Spooky....I'd love to read your haunted happening here or on your own blog. ~E.G.


  1. EG, what a fascinating story! Especially your own experience of the invisible "helper!" Wow! I guess you did meet up with a ghost that day. I wonder if Puddin noticed anything or seemed "spooky" when it happened? Do be careful when you ride in those woods!

  2. Stay tuned to my blog, EG, I'll post a REALLY GOOD 'UN for Hallowe'en!

  3. Jan,

    I haven't ridden the XYZ alone since! It would probably be very exciting to see the "apparition" of Silas running with the wolves, but only if PHEBES DIDN'T SEE IT because she'd leave me in the dirt and head back to day parking *LOL*


  4. I love this story! Thanks for being a great inspiration (for scary tales and riding too). I think Phebes definitely needs to stay away from any ghosts, though a night ride on that XYZ trail sounds like a fun adventure...(with friends!)