The John Lawson House is named as one of the most creepiest places to visit in America and is known to people because of a collection of mannequins which are said to change their position of their own accord on the porch within a ten year period.

The John Lawson House was built in around the 1840s and is situated in New Hamburg. Nobody seems to know who originally owned it and over the years has faced numberous tragedies and many are suprised it even still stands.

On 6th February 1871 a 25 car freight train detailed due to a broken axle and when this happened a oncoming passenger train collied with the freight train. This resulted in 22 people losing their lives that day.

The bridge in which this accident occurred, which is only 200 feet away from The Lawson House collapsed. There was a raging fire due to the freight train containing alot of oil as well as many other flammable substances and the whole site was very dangerous but The Lawson House remained untouched.

6 years later in 1877, another fire occurred in the area. Every single building but the Lawson House was burned to the ground.

From the early 2000s to later 2016, mannequin’s started to appear on the porch of the house. They would often change positions, wigs and clothes and yet nobody would ever see anybody doing this. If it rained, the mannequin’s would quickly disappear as quick as they appeared and again not a soul in sight had been seen moving them.

Many believed the house to be still empty during this time with neighbours stating they never seen any lights on in the house or anyone come or go from the house to suggest it was being lived in. However, one neighbour did state that during the night at times they had seen a faint light coming through the crack of one of the windows which could have suggested someone was inside, but that was it nobody was ever seen there.

Many thought it may have been the ghosts of the 22 people who died on the train crash in 1871 and they had possessed the mannequin’s. Sometimes, all of the mannequins would even be turned directly toward the crash site, as though looking sadly back into the past.

The theory that ghosts possessing the mannequin’s seems a tad extreme to me but the idea of them being placed on a porch in various different positions is enough to give me the creeps.

Over the years people have dug on the full history of The Lawson House to solve the mystery on the mannequins and who were exactly doing them. Records shown that the house had been brought by two people between 2003 and 2015, the years the mannequin’s were displayed. Whether they actually ‘lived in the house’ is unsure but it was owned by them and indeed they could have come back to the house at night to do the mannequin arrangements. However, with all the speculation, It would seem that they have never came forward to admit to it or to explain why, even after the mannequin’s vanished in 2016 when they sold the house. The mannequin’s have not be displayed here since.

Neighbours who have been obsessed with the mystery, further looked where The Lawson House old occupants had moved to – to see if they had displayed mannequin’s at their new house and sources state that they are indeed displaying the mannequin’s in their garden but the house and its surroundings is a bit more private compared to The Lawson House .

So we have the possible answer to ‘who’ may have done it but it does not explain ‘why’. Is it all part of some art project? or just a hobby to pass time?

Charlene Lowe Kemp

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