In 1916, a man from Maine known as Dr. Eugene Irving Belle and his young bride, Elizabeth, settled in the New England area of the United States. The doctor quickly became known for his experimental medical procedures. However, as a result the authorities became suspicious and looked into his practice. They discovered that he had no real medical schooling, training or experience. As they looked further and deeper into his background, they also learned that Belle had been expelled from several towns in the New England States. This discovery quickly exposed his medical malpractices and his surprisingly high death rate statistics. As a result of many inquiries into his license, Dr. Belle had gained a notorious reputation. Belle sat with his Bride Elizabeth where he explained all of the opportunities that the midwest could promise. Within days he decided he and his wife needed to move away from this part of the country. Dr. Belle never discussed his medical experiments or his practice with his wife, but Elizabeth was often curious as to why they had to move so often.
It was not long before Belle set his sights on the Midwest, deciding to settle in Indianapolis Indiana. He chose the south side of the city and quickly searched for a facility and discovered a building at 1929 S. Meridian Street, just outside of the city limits at the time. This building was large enough to hide from prying eyes and his true ambitions, but far enough away from ears that might possibly hear the screams of pain and torture coming from his patients. This would also prove to be a space large enough to allow his wife to settle in and call home.
His plan was to start out quiet and small-basically opening a field clinic for the homeless and poor. This would include any hobos or gypsies that traveled on the trains that ran next to their property. He would begin to bring in patients and offer free medical services. As his reputation began to grow in Indianapolis, more and more people began to volunteer to test his experimental “miracle” drugs and procedures. Quickly this would become Belle’s ambuscade, allowing him to lure victims into reach. After a patient was cured by Dr. Belle for their initial ailment, they found themselves having to continue visiting his office for other illnesses and/or complications. This would keep the patients coming back for continued treatment. Little did they realize that this could be linked to his poor cleanliness and lack of sterilized medical tools! Some people seemed to disappear without a trace. People in the area became suspicious and began to talk.
Dr. Belle’s practice in the warehouse at 1929 S. Meridian Street soon became known in the area as the House of Trepidation. Trepidation is a feeling best described as the emotion experienced in the presence of threat or danger. This is how many of his patients found themselves feeling under the care of Dr. Belle. He continued to experiment with whatever procedures he thought might be fun and entertaining. Since many of his patients were homeless or hobos, no one would notice if they disappeared or their appearance was altered.
Dr. Belle had a way of making people believe his opinions, often labeling them with an obscure illness that no one had discovered yet. This would make the patient very cooperative with Belle’s instructions that often required investigational surgery. After many complex operations, sometimes the patient may awake with serious side effects, a variety of physical alterations or maybe not awake at all. Others suffered mental issues as he sometimes gave them experimental drugs or therapies that altered their brains.
Shortly after moving to Indianapolis, Elizabeth discovered the crude habits Belle has brought to his practice. This explained why she heard the cry’s and screams at all hours of the night. She also began to understand why they had to move so frequently from town to town. Even though she did not agree with his bedside manner, she supported and loved him.
In late 1918, there was an influenza epidemic sweeping the United States. Dr. Belle suddenly had more patients than ever and was becoming more and more vital to the needy citizens of Indianapolis. He turned to his wife to help him care for those with the flu. Elizabeth suddenly found herself infected with the influenza virus. Dr. Belle was concerned he was not prepared to cure his beloved Elizabeth since his medical treatments had been an experimental hobby. The virus rapidly began to take over no matter what he tried to do.
Elizabeth was not bothered by death, as she had seen it with thousands of her husband’s patients. They began to discuss their future, where she explained that she loved Eugene dearly and her existence would not end. She explained that her spirit was earth bound and that the Grim Reaper had visited her in her dreams to explain this. On October 2nd, 1918 the virus took dear Elizabeth’s life and Belle realized that he would be a broken lonely doctor, occupying this massive warehouse all alone. The result drove him to madness. He decided to build a crypt inside the structure to house her body so she would never truly leave him. This gave him the idea to create an entire mausoleum in the warehouse. He would continue his experiments on humans and now when he killed anyone, he could bury them in his home alongside his beloved wife.
The horrid rumors around Indy were that the stench coming from Trepidation was one result of Dr. Belle’s failed medical practices. It was also rumored that the spirit of Elizabeth would visit Eugene from time to time. Many years later, it became a common story amongst Indianapolis residents that Dr. Belle was still working in Trepidation and that late at night you will see a light on and shadows moving about the windows. It is said that on any night in the eerie glow of the moon, you can still hear the screams and cry’s replay from Trepidation. It is whispered that the spirit of Elizabeth is also still alive in the House of Trepidation. If you dare visit the warehouse, you can hear her voice even when you can’t see anyone.
The town’s people have still termed that old warehouse “House of Trepidation” and when you pass it there is an evident gloomy feeling from the angry, restless spirits left behind. No matter how hard the townspeople try to forget about the rumors of Dr. Belle, his deranged personality and horrendous experiments, many still believe that the spirits of those who died under his care live on in the warehouse on the south side of Indianapolis.