The Praying Nun

Pulaski County, located not far from Indianapolis, is a tiny county not many Hoosiers are familiar with. But you may have heard of Pulaski County’s claim to fame–the Praying Nun.

The town of Monterey, with a population of only about 230 in a quiet corner of Pulaski County, harbors its very own centuries-old ghost. While eerie and unsettling, the apparition has never caused anyone harm. Over the years, the gentle spirit has earned Monterey the reputation as one of the most haunted places in Indiana. The Praying Nun, as she is known throughout the Midwest, disappears during the day. But each night, as soon as darkness falls, she can be found drifting through one of two Catholic cemeteries in the small town.

Both of the cemeteries are named after the church of Saint Anne’s, one old and one new, and gradually the name was given to the spirit who haunts the burial grounds as well. At first Saint Anne the nun was described in whispers as only a vague-shaped, halo-like glow, moving slowly through the tombstones in the moonlight. The visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious figure gradually deduced the unearthly glow was coming from a halo atop her head.

So the story goes that not only does St. Anne wear a holy headpiece, but she also carries a crying baby that was abandoned many years ago next to the graves, to die alone. It is believed that Saint Anne’s ghost was just waiting to discover and save the child from certain death. She now protects and soothes the cries of the baby night after night when the sun goes down.

And the Praying Nun doesn’t confine herself and her adopted child to the two cemeteries. While some citizens of Monterey swear you can only see her halo glowing brightly against the cold gray of the headstones and hear the baby’s mournful cries echoing through the ground of the Saint Anne’s grounds, young children have told the tale of seeing her sitting atop a barn on the other side of town, praying for her child. The barn is located along a winding river next to the oldest cemetery in town.

This Halloween, if you think you’ve seen all the horrors and haunts that Indiana has to offer, head to Pulaski County and see for yourself the Praying Nun and hear the cries of the child whose life she saved. And for more scary autumn adventures, check out this comprehensive list of haunted houses in Indiana.

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