Ghosts of the Prairie



Of all of the states in the Upper South Kentucky may be the most haunted. Here in the land of the legendary Hatfields & McCoy's feud, ghostly caves, abandoned mines and untamed mountains... strange things are at work. Many portions of the state ride that fine edge between civilization and wilderness, between wealth and poverty. The ghost stories are much the same, teetering on the brink between frightening ghosts stories of the Appalachian foothills and real-life documented cases of the supernatural. The ghosts in Kentucky still walk, attracting travelers, ghost hunters and ghost enthusiasts from all over the country. Sometimes, they walk in places where you would least expect them!

Exclusive Article! One of America's Most Haunted Places is located in Louisville and you can read more about the WAVERLY HILLS TUBERCULOSIS SANATORIUM in this article from Keith Age, Jay Gravatte and Troy Taylor!

Click on the Links Below for More Information about Some of the Stories!

Pike County is located in the far southeastern corner of Kentucky and is likely the richest county in the state when it comes to coal, timber and also in historical lore. This region was once home to the legendary McCoy family, whose feud with the Hatfield's of West Virginia lasted for decades and became a staple of American history. The city of Pikeville is also home to a lasting legend of a young woman whose life led her to an early grave and created a ghostly tale that is still being told today. Discover the chilling story of OCTAVIA HATCHER.

The city of Bardstown, located south of Louisville, has a number of ghost stories and haunted places. One of the most famous involves the grave of John Rowan, which is located in the FEDERAL HILL CEMETERY at the famous landmark called "My Old Kentucky Home". This strange tale is one of America's most famous stories of restless grave markers!

Bardstown is also home to the story of a small cemetery, which was sent to me by Karen Drake. She mentioned that the story " is one of my favorites, I guess because it is a tangible link to the spirit world!", she wrote. The story goes: "The old stone jail at Bardstown has been there 200 years. A coffee tree grows beside it, the only one known in the state of Kentucky. Also located beside it is a very small, old cemetery. Though very rare, this cemetery has some above ground crypts that are in disrepair, and the bones they contained have long since turned to dust. There are no inscriptions readable on these crypts. A large black cat haunts this cemetery, and it is very unusual.... Larger than an average housecat, it always appears from the largest of the old crypts. A chill wind will always begin to blow, even on the hottest summer day. It follows you with large eyes that seem to glow with an intelligent, supernatural light. If you glance away, it will disappear and reappear in another part of the cemetery, without any noticeable movement, always watching. Some people say it is the ghost of a woman that was hanged for witchcraft in the early 1800s. Others say that is the guardian of the family that are (or were) buried in the crypts. It has been seen for years, and I have personally seen it myself several times over a time span of 25 years. It always disappears as you leave the cemetery. It always looks the same, no matter how many years have passed since I have been there. I like to pay occasional visits to this cemetery, just to see if the cat appears, and he has always done so. If he is just a regular ol' cat, he sure has aged well!"

As far as historic Kentucky hauntings go, you won't find many as intriguing as the tales from LIBERTY HALL , located in Frankfort. 

Located in Cambellsville, there was once an abandoned stone house called the HIESTAND HOUSE. This structure was said to be haunted by the Hiestand family, who built the place in the 1800's. Their ghosts haunted the house and the small family graveyard that was located nearby for more than 50 years. Most of the reports about the now-destroyed house came from a destitute family who lived in the place during the 1930's. They witnessed a wide variety of ghostly activity, from phantom footsteps to apparitions to oil lanterns that would mysteriously light by themselves.

In Glasgow, old legends tell about two ghostly brothers who haunt the RIDGE CEMETERY. According to the stories, the feuding siblings killed each other during an argument that took place in this very graveyard. Locals say that, even though the murders took place during the 1880's, the ghost still make their presence known by the tinkling sound of a small bell.

Perhaps one of the strangest unsolved mysteries of Kentucky involves the mysterious young woman who is buried in the HARRODSBURG SPRINGS PARK. She appeared in town many years ago and then died, leaving a ghost and an intriguing legend behind.

Another female phantom story, that of THE RUSSELLVILLE GIRL, tells of a strange happening on a story night and an incredible and ghostly image that was left behind!

Located near Greensburg is a place called HAPPY HOLLOW. This ghostly legend tells of the apparitions of four men who have been seen carrying a black coffin in the kitchen of a private residence that is located here. It has been reported that a tiny lamb sits atop the casket. This bizarre scene was first reported by the Ragland family back in 1932 and they reported it to the local sheriff, J.W. Thomas. He could find no evidence of pranksters and no explanation for what had occurred.

Kentucky also boasts a couple of different "vanishing hitchhiker" legends, tales in which a young girl frantically searches for rides from the location where she was killed. On such tales involves a haunted highway called MESHACK ROAD, near Tompkinsville and the other is a place that is locally referred to as HOTROD HAVEN. Here, a very real accident claimed the life of a young girl... who does not rest in peace! Another phantom rider is said to haunt a stretch of HIGHWAY 55 near Campbellsville. They say that she appears in rainy, dismal weather and is usually seen wearing a wet, cotton dress. She always disappears before the luckless driver can reach the spot that she asks to be taken to.

There are many stories of Graveyard Ghosts in Kentucky and several of them are featured in Troy Taylor's book BEYOND THE GRAVE. One such story is the tale of CARL PRUITT, who was referred to as the "Killer Ghost" of Eastern Kentucky for generations!

ASHLAND, which is located in Lexington, can count itself as another haunted historic spot in Kentucky. The mansion was built by American patriot Henry Clay, who ran for president three times (unsuccessfully) before his death in 1852. The statesman's white-haired ghost is often observed wearing a black frock coat and leaning against the fireplace mantel in the parlor. Strangely, Clay's ghost may be very well-traveled. According to legend, he also haunts Oaklawn Manor in Franklin, Louisiana. He often visited the mansion while he was among the living and the stories say that he loved it so much that he still visits there after death!

Along the tracks between Jackson and Hazard in Kentucky is another ghostly spot that has given goosebumps to travelers and railroad men for many years. This old RAILROAD TUNNEL was once the scene of a tragic death and legend has it that a ghost still walks because of it!

Near Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, a traveler in search of the strange can find an intriguing mystery of the state. Called the SAND MOUNTAIN GHOST LIGHTS, these odd anomalies have been puzzled witnesses for years!

In my opinion, one of the largest haunted places in the world is legendary MAMMOTH CAVE. The natural wonders of this spot, and the long and sometimes strange history, combine to create many ghost stories and hauntings!

Perhaps the most haunted location in Kentucky, and one of the most haunted in America is BOBBY MACKEY'S MUSIC WORLD, located just across the river from Cincinnati. This popular nightclub is believed to be home to many vengeful spirits and plays an important part in a famous ghost legend from Indiana. Check out the section, which includes an exclusive excerpt from Troy Taylor's 2001 book, NO REST FOR THE WICKED!



Haunted Kentucky / Ghosts of the Prairie
Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

Sources and Recommended Reading

Beyond the Grave by Troy Taylor (2001)
No Rest for the Wicked by Troy Taylor (2001)
Haunted Places: The National Directory by Dennis William Hauck (1996)
More Kentucky Ghost Stories by Michael Paul Henson (1996)
Ghosts Along the Cumberland by William Lynwood Montell (1975)
Ghosts Across Kentucky by William Lynwood Montell (2000)
Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham (1987)
Ghosts of the Southern Mountains and Appalachia by Nancy Roberts (1993)
The Ghostly Register by Arthur Myers (1986)
More Haunted Houses by Richard Winer & Nancy Osborn Ishmael (1981)
Great American Ghost Stories by Hans Holzer (1990)
Hell's Gate by Douglas Hensley (1994)
Southern Fried Spirits by Rob & Anne Wlodarksi (2000)
Personal Interviews and Correspondence