Wendy Youk didn’t believe in ghosts until she and her husband, Justin, moved into their turn of the century home in Marion.
“It’s an ongoing drama,” Youk said. “Things happen in our house that you can’t explain.”
Youk knows that old houses often move, shift, and make noises as they settle over the years. However, she said some of the strange occurrences she and her husband have experienced include more than just eerie sounds.
“Sometimes we hear footsteps upstairs and the dogs look up as if they sense it,” she said. “Other times we get a whiff of cigarette smoke that leaves just as soon as it comes — like someone just exhaled in your face — and neither one of us has ever smoked.”
There is one room upstairs where bizarre things often happen, she said.
“We were told it was a nursery and a sewing room,” Youk said. “Pictures always seem to fall off the wall in there and one night we both heard someone humming.”
Youk’s husband was skeptical at first, but one night while he was at home alone, she said, he heard someone knocking on the windows and there was no one there.
Youk also said her father was skeptical too until he had an unusual experience in the basement in which the lights went off and on.
“He checked all the light bulbs to see if any were loose, and they were all fine,” she said. “He shut the lights off and left the basement.”
He joined Youk outside and about 10 minutes later, the lights came on again. No one else was home, she said, and all the wiring in the house is current and up to code.
“Dad used to tell me to quit telling stories because people would think I was crazy,” she said. “Then that thing happened and he never said anything again.”
Denise Matz also witnessed the most telling thing Youk said she has seen in her house.
“Denise and I were downstairs in my house with two other ladies during a Christmas party,” Youk said. “All of a sudden Denise’s face went white.”
Youk said she looked in the direction where Matz was looking and saw what looked like a woman in a flowing Victorian era A-line dress.
“It was like a transparent shadow but it couldn’t have been a shadow because it was night,” Matz said.
Youk said the other two women didn’t see it but it wasn’t the first time she had witnessed what may have been a ghost passing through entryway of her house.
“Sometimes we go weeks without anything happening,” Youk said. “I don’t know if it’s a repeat of an event or what but there is never a face, just a long flowing black dress.”
Many similar things happen on an ongoing basis but she said she has never felt threatened.
The ghost’s identity?
In researching the history of her house, Youk found a couple interesting facts.
“In 1885, a sanitarium was built on the land our house sits on,” Youk said. “It was a place sick people went — like Eureka Springs — because they believed the sulfur smelling water could heal them. But it never really took off and was torn down in 1900.”
After the sanitarium was torn down, the current house was built. Youk thinks it’s possible that one of the former residents could be responsible for the strange events.
“It might be Lulu Stone Carpenter,” Youk said. “She was married to William H. Carpenter and they had two sons but the second one died at birth.”
Youk has a copy of an obituary that stated Carpenter passed away Feb. 18, 1940 in San Diego Calif., after being separated from her family, home, and friends because of an unspecified illness.
“The illness may have been post-partum depression,” Youk said. “You can’t truly know, but it is possible that if it is her she returned to the house and is still searching for her baby.”
Marion Historical Museum Director Cynthia Blount has also read the obituary and researched Carpenters past.
“Something happened to Lulu,” Blount said. “It’s hard to say, maybe she had a breakdown after her baby died. But she was sent off to California for the better of her health.”
The obituary also states that Carpenter took great pride in the house because she designed it and her husband built it, Blount said.
“Anything is possible, you just don’t know,” Blount said. “People can draw their own conclusions.”
Last year, Youk shared her ghost stories with patrons who attended the Marion’s Ghost Tour, during which she also showed a picture taken by her sister in which Youk believes a ghost can actually be seen.
This year Youk took part in the ghost tour again and during the preparation, Blount provided her with a picture of Lulu Carpenter.
“It kind of gave her the creeps,” Blount said. “She thought there was some resemblance between the two pictures.”