• Tayden Bundy

Mayhew Cabin Event

Event hosted by P.R.I.N.T. at Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City

Each year Paranormal Research and Investigation Nebraska Team hosts an event at Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The event took place on October 13th and 20th this year. On both nights P.R.I.N.T. discussed how paranormal equipment is used, gave a tour of the grounds, and hosted a paranormal investigation involving the guests. I also discussed and sold my book Beyond Lincoln: A History of Nebraska Hauntings.

The night started off with a discussion of how the equipment works, what types of equipment they most frequently use, and what to expect during the paranormal investigation of Mayhew Cabin and the other buildings on the property. They had an entire table set up displaying their equipment. Director of Mayhew Cabin, Bill Hayes, also provided a brief overview of the history of the cabin, cave, and the rest of the property.

Brief History of Mayhew Cabin:

Allen and Barbara (Kagy) Mayhew moved from Ohio to Nebraska Territory in 1854. Allen and Barbara had married on May 9, 1849 after she became pregnant earlier in the year. By the time they moved to Nebraska City they had two sons, Edward and Henry. They began building their log home in July of 1855. The home was completed after six weeks. They would later have four more children and all eight members of the family would live in the small cabin together.

Barbara’s younger brother, John Kagi (he preferred the Swiss spelling of the name) moved to Nebraska City in 1855 after being forced out of Virginia by slave owners who did not like his abolitionist views. John lived with his sister in the cabin for a short time before moving on to Kansas to continue to promote his anti-slavery views. During his time in Kansas, John Kagi met the famous abolitionist John Brown and joined his fight to make Kansas a free state.

One day a standoff took place at Mayhew cabin after John Kagi joined John Brown’s cause. In December of 1858, Kagi was involved in a raid in Missouri in which 12 slaves were freed and taken to Iowa. On the trek to freedom, the group stopped at the cabin in February 1859. The group was provided breakfast before moving on. Kagi stayed behind at the cabin, but was met with hostile locals who arrived to arrest him. Allen Mayhew informed the group of locals that Kagi was indeed inside the cabin, but was well armed. The group retreated in an attempt to acquire a larger number of men before returning. While they were away, Kagi managed to escape to Iowa and avoided capture.

John Kagi would later die at Harper’s Ferry, but the legend of the cave underneath the Mayhew cabin lived on. The cave entrance was reportedly in the cabin through a trapdoor that led down into a cellar. The cellar was about the size of the cabin above and was used to store wine and brooms that Allen Mayhew produced for sale. Directly off of the cellar was a narrow tunnel that led to two rooms, one on each side, which were used to hide slaves overnight before they were able to escape out another tunnel that led to a ravine with an opening covered in brush.

The legend associated with the tunnel linking to the Underground Railroad has managed to stand the test of time. Articles and letters were written about the cave and the supposed use of the underground tunnels to help in providing safe passage for slaves who were on their way to free states. Edward D. Bartling, who had heard about the history of the cave and wanted to preserve it, later purchased the cabin and land. In the 1930s, Bartling moved the cabin 50 feet north in order to avoid it being demolished when plans for a new highway route were approved. There are different iterations as to the actual site of the cave. One story states that Bartling built the cabin over the original cave and others seem to suggest that the cave was in another spot and the cave today is a reproduction. The site, although shrouded in legend, turned into a tourist spot and remained that way for several decades until the cabin was donated to the Mayhew Cabin Foundation in 2001.

The paranormal investigation of Mayhew Cabin was eventful. The two mediums on the property sensed varying degrees of grief, fear, and even anger. We were able to catch quite a few responses on the spirit box and one distinct voice that was later found after analyzing the audio recorder. The EMF meters went off frequently throughout the night, but we had a more difficult time receiving direct responses with these devices.

The cabin and cave have a rich history associated with some of the darkest elements of American history. The fact that such a presence may have lingered on is not unheard of.

Perhaps the Mayhew’s stayed behind or John Kagi found the home to be a safe haven worth going back to. Or perhaps the slaves who passed through, found their way back to a place where they felt safe in a world that had turned against them. Whatever the case may be, the spirits that remain at the site of a reported Underground Railroad stop are felt and heard by many and will most likely remain for some time.

P.R.I.N.T. will host another event next year. Keep up to date on dates and times on their Facbeook page at:

Check out Beyond Lincoln: A History of Nebraska Hauntings at:

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*Haunted Nebraska does not support trespassing in order to visit haunted locations. Before visiting, ensure that permission and/or permits are received in order to avoid destruction of property, trespassing on privately owned land, or altering landmarks. The above mentioned offenses are punishable by law and help to ensure the preservation of these places. Check the hours of operation, city and county regulations, and rules before visiting.*

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