Believe it or not, there are plenty of weird things to do in Indianapolis. When people think of strange and unusual things to do, they think of places like Austin, Texas or Portland, Oregon. However, Indianapolis has it’s own arguably large share of weird, dark, and unusual things.
You may think – oh Indy is just a midwest city where nothing crazy has happened – but there’s plenty of dark history here.
Jim Jones, the mastermind behind the Peoples Temple, called Indianapolis home for a while and even started the first official church of the Peoples Temple right in Indy.
So, as you can see, we could have an entire post on just the dark history of Indianapolis, but first, let’s start by letting you in on all the weird things to do in Indianapolis.
Weird Things to Do in Indianapolis
Indiana Medical History Museum
Located on the grounds of what was formerly the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane, visitors can explore the autopsy room and anatomical museum of the old pathology building which houses preserved specimens.
See my full story on the Indiana Medical History Museum.
Rotary Jail Museum
Since the late 1800s, Camp Chesterfield as been a spiritual home and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This 44-acre campus is one of the largest Spiritualist communities in the country and the largest in Indiana.
For those interested in phrenology, clairvoyance, spirit contact, trance speaking, and more, you can visit Camp Chesterfield for for spiritual renewal and attend a variety of classes among other activities.
City Market Catacombs
The Tomlinson Hall was Indianapolis’ exposition hall until it burned down in 1958. The catacombs are all that remain from the original hall.
The catacombs served a variety of purposes but was commonly used as a homeless shelter in the early 1900s. It is supposedly haunted.
Museum of Miniatures
The Museum of Miniatures is exactly what it sounds like – tiny things. The museum includes fine art in miniature form. and is one of only a few of its kind in the country.
You’ll find thousands of miniatures including miniature houses, individual items, and room boxes.
The Hannah House has a haunted history – whether it is actually haunted or not.
The story of the Hannah House started on one night when a group of slaves where in the cellar waiting for the right time to leave the house and head to Canada for their freedom. An oil lamp was tipped over and they were all either burned or died of smoke inhalation. The dead were buried in the cellar to cover up the trace of their involvement in the Underground Railroad.
Ever since, the Hannah House has been known for its paranormal activity.
While you can still go see the outside of the Hannah House, it looks like it has been closed until further notice.
Apparently tiny things are all the rage in Indianapolis.
Duckpin bowling is basically bowling but with smaller pins and smaller balls. This sport became popular in the early 1900s and today, this is the only place in the Midwest where you can play authentic duckpin bowling.
Museum of Psychphonics
Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum
See Jim Jones’s first ‘Peoples Temple’
If you’ve heard the saying “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid,” you’ve inadvertently heard of Jim Jones.
The Peoples Temple [the “church” started by Jim Jones] is best known for the events of November 18, 1978 in Guyana, when 918 people died in a mass murder at its remote settlement, named “Jonestown.”
The incident at Jonestown resulted in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
What does this have to do with Indianapolis? Well, Jim Jones was a long-time resident of Indianapolis [before relocating to California and then Guyana] and this is where the first official church of the Peoples Temple was started.
While it is no longer the Peoples Temple, you can visit the site [now the Restoration Baptist Church] where Jim Jones started the movement that eventually led to this tragic event.
Located at 1502 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Head to this hill and watch the impossible become possible. What has been dubbed “Gravity Hill” is a spot where you put your car in neutral and watch it roll up the hill.
While it isn’t really a phenomenon, it’s rather an optical illusion.
The legend is that a school bus stalled at the bottom of the hill and was struck by a train killing several children. It’s the spirit of the children on that bus that push things uphill and out of harm’s way.
Part of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, this stretch on the 700 block of Massachusetts Avenue smells unusually pleasant for an alley – just like a bouquet of roses.
Conceived by Alaska-born artist Sean Derry.
H.H. Holmes House
H.H. Holmes, the alias of one of the first documented serial killers in modern history, lived for a short time in Irvington.
While here, he killed Howard Pitezel, the son of his partner in crime Benjamin Pitezel. The home where he murdered Howard was burned and rebuilt. However, it is rumored that if you walk on the sidewalk across the road, the temperature notably gets colder.
Located at 5811 Julian Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Weird Things to Do in Indianapolis Overview
It turns out Indianapolis is full of weird things to do and as far as I can tell, Hoosiers really enjoy the weird, unusual and occasionally macabre things.
In case you want to find like-minded people while you’re visiting, check out the DarkIndy Facebook Page.