Hoosier History Live banner

Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM.
Or stream audio live from anywhere on WICR Online!
You can listen to recent shows by clicking the podcast links below, or check out our extensive archive of past shows available as podcasts.

In case you missed our October 02 show, "A flock of bird issues in Indiana"
Click here to listen to the podcast.

In case you missed our September 25 show, "Indy wife of Treasure Island’s Robert Louis Stevenson: encore"
Click here to listen to the podcast.

In case you missed our September 18 show, "Population shifts: 2020 Census and Indiana"
Click here to listen to the podcast.

October 9, 2021

Weird and spooky stories from Wabash County

Map with flag

Hair HarpAbout 700 residents of Wabash County in northeastern Indiana once donated locks of their hair to create a harp. Well, an intricate artwork in the shape of a harp. That sounds weird (or at least offbeat) today, concedes, T.J. Honeycutt, director of archives and outreach at the Wabash County Museum, where the "hair harp" is among the exhibits that continually astonish visitors.

As T.J. will explain when he joins Nelson for a show about weird and spooky true stories related to Wabash County, hair frequently was used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to create artwork. The "hair harp", which was completed in 1917 after taking nearly a decade to create, became one of the largest pieces of hair art in the entire country.

Martha HollowayOrganized by Wabash County artisan Martha Holloway (1842-1921), the hair harp was biblically-themed around the number seven. In selecting hair donors,  both men and women in groups of seven were chosen: seven 70-year-olds, seven brothers, seven sisters, seven ministers and even a 107-year-old county resident who had been married 77 years to his wife.

During the 1880s and ‘90s, hair artifacts also were created for courtship rituals. "An interested lady would make jewelry out of her own hair and gift it to her suitor to affirm her mutual interest," T.J. Honeycutt says.

He adds that artifacts created from hair were even more commonly created as mourning rituals: "Artisans would make jewelry and other adornments out of a deceased loved one’s hair. They would wear the handicrafts for one year."

Our show will broaden to explore other stories related to offbeat artifacts at the Wabash County Museum, which is housed in a former Sears Roebuck department store in the historic city of Wabash.

TJ HoneycuttSome of the artifacts are connected to a local circus strongman and early professional wrestler during the 1930s and ‘40s. As part of his wrestling routine, Wabash County resident Bob Printy would be "hung" by his neck by opponents during matches. According to T.J., Printy would often practice his "hanging" stunt on his front porch and his yard. This regularly alarmed passing motorists.

Printy, who never was injured when performing his stunt, was employed by Ringling Brothers circus. Along with other circuses, Ringling Brothers frequently spent the winter months in Peru, Ind., not far from Wabash County.

Also during our show, T.J. will discuss an unusual skeleton housed in the basement of the museum. Among several creepy aspects of the skeleton: It has more than one skull.




Core Redevelopment logo


Logo Indiana Medical Museum

The Indiana Album Historical Photgraphs

Lucas Oil Products Inc.

Donate button.

Support independent journalism! Your contribution helps keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web and in your inbox.

Roadtrip: Fort Ouiatenon on the Wabash River

Guest Roadtripper Sarah Halter, executive director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, suggests a visit to Fort Ouiatenon, a former French trading post originally built in 1717 about three miles southwest of West Lafayette. The name 'Ouiatenon' is a French rendering of the name in the Wea language, waayaahtanonki, meaning 'place of the whirlpool'. It was one of three French forts built during the 18th century in what was then New France, later the Northwest Territory and today the state of Indiana.

Feast of the Hunter's Moon re-creation
In 1928, a local physician, Dr. Richard B. Wetherill, acquired the land around what was believed to be the site of the trading post. In 1930, he built a 452 sq. ft. replica of a fort on this land that you can see today. You can also visit the Blockhouse Museum which is owned and maintained by the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Department and the Tippecanoe County Historical Association

The annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon is a re-creation of the annual fall gathering of the French and Native Americans which took place at Fort Ouiatenon. It now is recreated every October.  In fact, this Saturday our Roadtripper will be calling in from the festival!


Nelson Price, host and historian
Molly Head, producer/general manager, (317) 506-7164 
Ryan DeRome, associate producer

Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Richard Sullivan, senior tech consultant
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, consultant

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in the show and in podcasts, email molly@hoosierhistorylive.org, or call or text (317) 506-7164  for information. Our podcast listens are increasing and we are being distributed on Indiana Memory and the National Digital Public Library. Grow with us as our podcast and internet presence expands! Thanks also to Visit IndyFraizer DesignsWICR-FM, Henri Pensis, Genesis Brown, Kielynn Tally, Heather McIntyre, Justin Clark, and many other individuals and organizations.

Support Local Journalism

Thank you!

We'd like to thank the following recent, new and renewal contributors whose gifts help make this show possible!

  • Charles Schisla
  • Ann Frick
  • David Yount
  • Tom Swenson
  • John Stanton
  • Kathleen Angelone 
  • Tim and Meg Shelly
  • Dr. William McNiece
  • Michael Freeland and Sharon Butsch Freeland
  • David E. and Lynne J. Steele
  • Greg Larson
  • Ryan Zumbahlen
  • Melissa Martin 

Copyright 2021

Share this email
Manage your preferences | Opt out using TrueRemove®
Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
View this email online.
This email was sent to [% member:email %].
Continue receiving our emails, add us to your address book.