Ghosts of the Prairie


Harrodsburg, Kentucky

William Montell's book, "Ghosts along the Cumberland", is one of the most essential works of folklore and oral ghost stories in Kentucky. The book was published in 1975 and while it makes for fascinating reading, it doesn't offer much in the way of a key to find the haunted places mentioned in the book. There are a few exceptions however, and while this story doesn't offer much in the way of detail in Montell's book.... something about the story just intrigued me.
I believe that it may possibly be the saddest ghost story that I have ever heard.

On an unspecified date in the late 1800's, a young woman checked into the Harrodsburg Springs Hotel in this small Kentucky town. She used a false name, and while no one knew her true identity, they recalled that she was quite beautiful. That night, as music played in the ballroom, the girl came downstairs and began dancing with various partners. The young men of the town eagerly lined up for their turn to dance with the beautiful young girl.

The girl danced passionately and at the end of the night, her final partner realized, that to his horror, the young girl had literally died in his arms. The shocked staff and guests held a funeral for this mysterious girl and she was buried on the hotel's property. The hotel is gone now. It burned down more than fifty years ago, although the grave remains in what is now a public park. There is a metal marker over her resting places that reads... "UNKNOWN - Hallowed and Hushed be the place of the dead. Step Softly. Bow Head."

As time has passed, local residents claim that this mysterious girl still returns to the site of the hotel. She has been seen lingering in the moonlight, slowly dancing and twirling to music that only she can hear.... still recalling that tragic night so long ago.

Harrodsburg, Kentucky is located about thirty miles southwest of Lexington on Route 68 and just a few miles north of the Perryville Battlefield. The city park where the hotel once stood is located in the center of town.

Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.