Solve the Mystery of the Moving Mannequins of the John Lawson House
By Dana Newkirk
The John Lawson House
might be the creepiest house in America. No one knows who lives there… aside from a number of mannequins with a habit of changing clothing and moving on their own during the night. Their gestures point towards an unsolved riddle, a story that unravels every day, regardless of whether anyone is there to see it.
Many believe the secret to the dolls lies in the history of the house and property. During a two-week cold wave in the winter of 1871, a train crashed two-hundred feet from the house, killing 22 people on impact. Often times the dolls are found pointing towards the area of the crash site. Other times, they’re discovered with their heads looking towards the only other historical house left of the street, which has sat abandoned for many years.
The house itself was built in 1845 and was one of the only surviving buildings left after a massive fire destroyed nearly all the property on the block. Curiously, the dolls are regularly found holding strange objects which change places as frequently as they do. Books, empty birdcages, towels, brushes and overflowing cups of potpourri have all been photographed by curious passers by, tucked into plastic hands or perched in laps. Sometimes at night a faint light can be seen in the kitchen, shining through the dark drapes that conceal the inside of the house from curious eyes.
Though the dolls have been known to disappear from the porch on rainy days, there’s no sign that they will be disappearing for good any time soon. It’s clear that whoever owns them has a story to tell, and that story is far from being finished.