Indianapolis Graverobbing: A Syndicate of Death
Indianapolis Graverobbing: A Syndicate of Death (2023)

In the fall of 1902, Indianapolis police uncovered a prolific graverobbing ring operating across the city. At the time, cemeteries across central Indiana were relieved of their dead by ghouls, as they were called, seeking fresh corpses desperately needed by the city's medical colleges. The ring was also accused of multiple murders. In Hamilton County, a former Confederate soldier named Wade West delivered stolen corpses by floating them down the White River. His counterpart in Indianapolis, Rufus Cantrell, an itinerant preacher and full-time graverobber known as the "King of the Ghouls," ransacked Indy's cemeteries for years before being caught.

ByGone Muncie
ByGone Muncie (2017-Current)

Bi-weekly public history column about Muncie and Delaware County. Appears twice a month in the Star Press newspaper.

Lost Towns of Delaware County, Indiana
Lost Towns of Delaware County, Indiana (2019)

Nearly one hundred distinct settlements existed in what we now call Delaware County. Some of these communities survived the ebb and flow of history to prosper, while others disappeared, becoming lost in the collective memory. Today, many residents would only recognize the city of Muncie and the towns of Albany, Daleville, Eaton, Gaston, Selma and Yorktown. A few might know of villages such as Desoto, New Burlington, Smithfield and Wheeling. Most have probably never heard of Dogtown, Gate's Corner, Granville and Soccum. Drawing on years of research, local historian Chris Flook uncovers the stories of these lost towns.

Beech Grove Cemetery Comes to Life
Beech Grove Cemetery Comes to Life (2017)

Beech Grove Cemetery Comes to Life is an exploration of the cemetery’s history and evolution, but also the lives of those buried there. Pioneers, politicians, soldiers, the rich and poor, doctors, shopkeepers, industry titans, suffragettes, and former slaves—44,000 unique individuals lay at rest in Beech Grove Cemetery. Those buried there represent the movers and shakers of Muncie, the men and women who shaped the city from an agricultural backwater, to a regional manufacturing capital of the industrial revolution, and have helped guide it after industry left. Cemeteries are depositories of our ancestors—the men and women, over 44,000 in Beech Grove Cemetery alone, who shaped the evolution of our current times. While the intricacies of the lives of those interred are not readily available in each headstone, their burial markers do provide a crucial memorial designating the mortal remnants of the generations that precede us, while offering a reminder of the ultimate fate awaiting each and every one of us. Beech Grove Cemetery is a valuable resource for genealogists, historians, students of architecture and landscape design, photographers, and the general public. It is our hope that the information contained within this book will instill a deep interest and respect for the 44,000 buried within the walls of Beech Grove Cemetery.

Native Americans of East Central Indiana
Native Americans of East-Central Indiana (2016)

Mounds and enclosures built by Adena and Hopewell peoples still stand near the White River and reflect their vibrant and mysterious cultures. The Lenape tribes moved to east-central Indiana many years later after the Northwest Indian War. Led by the great chiefs Buckhongehelas and Kikthawenund, the White River Lenape attempted to forge an identity after being forced from their homeland on the Atlantic coast. Place names like Delaware County, Muncie, Yorktown and Anderson demonstrate the importance of the tribe in local history. Author Chris Flook explores the unique yet often untold history of the Native experience in east-central Indiana.

Visit Indiana
Visit Indiana (2017-2022)

Blogger for the Visit Indiana tourism website. Series also features my photography.