Secrets of The Allen House

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

Located in Monticello, Arkansas, the Allen House is a beautiful home with a checkered past. Many locals believe that their beloved antebellum home is one of the most haunted houses in America. The story concerns the Allen family, especially the Allen’s daughter Ladell. On Christmas of 1948, it’s said that Ladell consumed cyanide, dying just eight days later.

The room where Ladell died was sealed off by her mother and not opened again for close to four decades. When it was finally reopened, the owners of the home found a cyanide bottle on a closet shelf. The home’s current owners later found close to one hundred letters pertaining to a secret relationship that led Ladell to consume the poison.

A few years after the remaining family members passed away, the Allen House was divided into apartments — not long after that, stories of ghostly activity began in the home, with many tenants seeing a woman standing in the window of what would have been the sealed-off bedroom.

History of the Allen House

The Allen House’s history dates back to 1906 when it was built by renowned architect Sylvester Hotchkiss and builder Josiah Barkley White for Joe Allen and his family. Joseph Lee Allen was born in 1863 to Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Allen. Joe’s father passed away before he reached his sixth birthday.

In 1894, Ladell Allen was born. The Allens had a few more children after her, and by 1900, they owned their own family home on North Main Street in Monticello. The original Allen House, a much smaller dwelling, once sat at 713 North Main Street until it was moved across the street to make room for what Joe Allen hoped to be the most impressive home in the area.

The Allens enjoyed their home and their lives in Monticello, with Joe finding much success in the area when the Allen Hotel opened its doors in 1912. Because of his role as a significant owner, Joe was given the opportunity to name a new town just south of Monticello — he named the city Ladelle after his middle daughter.

Joe Allen passed away during a demonstration of a motor vehicle for sale.

In 1914, Ladell married Boyd Bonner. Just a year later, in 1915, the two had a child, Elliott. All was well for Ladell and Boyd until 1927, when Ladell was granted a divorce from her husband, who died in 1948.

Ladell's Suicide

On Christmas Day in 1948, Ladell consumed mercury cyanide in the master suite of the Allen home. She was taken to the Mack Wilson Hospital for treatment. Just over a week later, Ladell died at the age of 54. On her Certificate of Death, the cause was listed as ‘suicide by mercury cyanide poisoning.’

Her mother, Caddye, preserved the master suite as a memorial to Ladell. This is said about her death:

‘Although the front-page announcement of Ladell’s death in the January 6, 1949, edition of the Advance Monticellian states that “she lived her entire life in Monticello where she was beloved by a wide circle of friends,” newspapers from 1916 indicate that she was living in Dumas, Arkansas, and the 1917 papers indicate she lived in Indiana.  The 1920 census reveals that she was living in Ft. Worth, Texas; the 1930 census shows that she was living in Memphis, Tennessee.  The newspaper announcement of her death makes no mention of the cause of death, much less suicide.  A brief eulogy on page 3 of the same newspaper describes her as follows: “Possessed of a charming personality and lovable disposition, she believed that to be loved was to love others.  She practiced her philosophy of life in her everyday living, never feeling that anything was too hard to do for a friend.”  The newspaper coverage of her death is probably reflective of the Allens’ social standing and of the journalistic courtesies of the time. The “Allen secret” of the time was that Ladell was an alcoholic, a condition that possibly contributed to her decision to commit suicide.’

Allen House Monticello

Could Ladell’s alcohol addiction have caused her to follow through with suicide? Or could there have been another secret reason? In August of 2009, close to 90 letters are discovered in the Allen home under the attic floor. These letters all pertained to Ladell’s 1948 love affair and revealed her motivation for deliberately consuming mercury cyanide in the house.

Who was the subject of her love affair? What happened between her and her beloved that caused her so much pain?

Hauntings of the Allen House

These days, staff, tenants, and visitors say that they see Ladell in and around the home almost daily. Ladell is seen by the naked eye and in photographs in the home’s mirrors, peering out at the living. Another couple who lived in the apartment homes saw Ladell inside their closet. After they closed the door in a hurry, they heard a woman giggle.

Items are known to go missing throughout the building, and the sounds of crying, footsteps, and laughing are commonplace. The police have been called to the home numerous times for fear of intruders, only to find no one inside when they checked the house.

These days, the home is a private residence, and its current owners, Rebecca and Mark Spencer, have slowly gotten used to all of its ghostly happenings. They have also written a book about their experiences, ‘A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House.’

Want to discover more haunted locations in Arkansas? Book a ghost tour with Little Rock with Little Rock Ghosts!

Instagram: usghostadv

TikTok: usghostadventures

Facebook: US Ghost Adventures