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The history books would have you believe that Louisville KY is simply a fairly young river town which was founded by George Rogers Clark before going on to game fame for the Derby. However, what they certainly will not tell you is that there is a much darker side to this city. Louisville has more than its fair share of creepy tales to tell!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Louisville, KY:
10 - The Brennan House
The Brennan House is a 3 storey Victorian style residence that was built in 1868 for Thomas and Anna Brennan and their family of 8 children. This was their dream home and they cared very deeply for it – both in life and after their death! Visitors have reported seeing a number of different apparitions around the house and it is common for the spirits to manifest in photographs taken in the property. Two of the Brennan girls, Beulah and Mae were musically talented and they have been known to entertain visitors with piano and violin music. Meanwhile, Dr. John Brennan, one of the sons makes his presence know via the smell of his cigar smoke! Several visitors have also captured a face in their photographs which looks a great deal like Mr Thomas Brennan himself.
9 – The Brown Hotel Spend a night at the Brown Hotel
The Brown Hotel is an impressive building that spans 16 storeys and boasts a total of 293 rooms. It was built in 1923 by J.Graham Brown who also lived in the penthouse suite of the hotel right up until his death in 1969. In life, Mr Brown believed in offering the very best in customer service and it seems that he has not given up that ideal even following his death! It is very common for Mr Brown’s spirit to make an appearance at busy times at the hotel including Derby week and during receptions or conventions being held at the hotel. His apparition usually appears standing in what was his favourite spot, under the arch on the mezzanine, where he is able to survey the hotel ensuring that guests have everything they need. A number of staff say that they have locked eyes with the ghost at which point he may or may not nod his approval before vanishing leaving behind him the faint smell of his favourite cigars!
8 – First Church of Christ Scientist
The First Church of Christ Scientist is home to a pretty famous apparition that has come to be known as ‘The Lady of The Stairs’. Those who have seen her describe her as a beautiful young woman who is dressed in a white gown and a grey silk shawl. She is usually seen pacing around in a nervous fashion and is often said to appear distraught. Some witnesses have even heard her crying. It is believed that she is so upset due to a tragic misunderstanding regarding her fiance. The pair were said to have planned to elope during the flu epidemic of 1918-19, but he never showed up to meet her. The girl waited for hours in the cold night air and ironically ended up contracting the flu. Completely unbeknownst to her, the reason that her love did not arrive at the designated meeting was that he too had contracted the deadly flu virus and was unable to come to her. Within three days both of them were dead. The lady is said to remain at the church, still waiting on the arrival of her sweetheart.
7 – Seelbach Hilton Hotel Book a room at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel
The Seelbach Hilton is probably one of the most luxurious hotels in Louisville. It also happens to be one of the most haunted! The hotel dates back to around 1903 and over the years staff members and guests alike have encountered a variety of paranormal activity. One of the most common reports is of televisions turning on at full volume dead on 4am and also the sound of running footsteps when there is nobody there! However, the most well known spirit that is said to remain in residence at the Seelbach Hotel is ‘The Lady in Blue’. There are a number of variations on her story and it is not clear which one is most accurate, but the key points that most people agree on are that her name is Patricia Wilson and that she fell to her death in one of the hotel’s elevator shafts. Depending on which version of the story you choose to believe she may have been pushed, fallen by accident or taken her own life. Those who have seen The Lady in Blue describe Patricia as a pretty lady with long dark hair and a beautiful blue dress. She is most often spotted on the eighth floor and also close to the mezzanine elevators.
6 – The Belle of Louisville
One of the most haunted places in Louisville KY is the Belle of Louisville, a well known steamboat that is considered to be one of the city’s crowning jewels. The ship was previously known as the Idlewind and during World War II, Captain Ben Winters apparently decided to install some gaming tables and slot machines on the boat. However, it was soon raided by authorities and the Captain suffered a heart attack during it. He passed away in his cabin, but according to employees and visitors he certainly did not leave! A number of strange occurrences have been reported in the years sine his death including the main wheel in the pilot house moving on its own despite the bridge being locked down and several crew members have seen the Captain in his dress uniform around the ship. Captain Winters is by no means the only spirit haunting The Belle of Louisville. There are also reports of a deckhand named Floyd hanging around. Floyd was crushed to death by one of the pitman arms that controls the paddle wheel and ever since the crew say that they can hear Floyd whistling a jaunty tune just like he was known to do when alive!
5 – Cave Hill Cemetery
Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery is the largest Victorian era cemetery in the United States that remains in a good state of repair. It was established back in 1848 and among those buried there are the Earthly remains of both Union and Confederate soldiers. The cemetery is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in Louisville, KY. Among the reports of paranormal activity linked to this particular burial ground are sudden blasts of icy cold air, unexplained light anomalies and disembodied whispers when nobody else is around. Most witnesses who have braved the cemetery at night describe a floating green light flitting around between the headstones and also say that they have heard a number of strange noises including what sounds like headstones being knocked over!
4 – Louisville Palace Theatre
When it was originally built back in 1928, Louisville Palace Theatre was known as the Lowes Theatre. These days it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Louisville KY. There are a number of different spirits who are said to call Louisville Palace Theatre home including a faceless woman in forties attire, a man in thirties style dress and a small giggling child. However, the most well known spirit that haunts the Louisville Palace Theatre is Fred, the former chief engineer from back when the theatre was known as Lowes. In 1965 he actually died of a massive heart attack in the basement of the theatre where he had been working for nearly 40 years. He is now seen all over the building dressed in his uniform and a flat top hat. Those who have seen the apparition have confirmed via photos of the man in life that this is indeed Fred Frisch. He is most often encountered making his rounds in the evenings, but on one occasion during renovation work he apparently saved a construction worker’s life by waking him up just before he fell from the scaffolding where he was napping!
For more information visit www.LouisvillePalace.com
3 – Phoenix Hill Tavern
The Phoenix Hill Tavern is another one of the haunted hotspots that Louisville has to offer. Staff have reported hearing the sound of someone walking down the stairs and also of hearing footsteps traveling across the floor when nobody is there. There are also frequent cold spots and staff have frequently noticed strange white flashes in the mirrors! Perhaps the most compelling reports of paranormal activity coming out of the Phoenix Hill Tavern is that objects regularly move by themselves or disappear completely!
2 – Old Louisville
Old Louisville is one of the city’s most historic districts. This Victorian suburb was built in the 1870s, and it is one of the largest preservation districts in the United States. It is a beautiful area to visit, but during the tuberculosis epidemic a large number of residents died and many of the homes were burned to prevent the spread of the disease. That probably explains why so many spirits are seeing wandering around the area day and night. Local police say they have lost count of the number of times they have been called to investigate intruders seen wandering into houses dressed in Victorian clothing!
1 – Waverly Hills Sanitorium
If you have any kind of interest in the paranormal then you probably know all about Waverly Hills Sanitorium. It is probably one of the most famous haunted buildings in the entire United States, so of course it tops our list of the most haunted places in Louisville KY! The former tuberculosis hospital has seen thousands of deaths (an estimated 63,000) over the years and has featured on just about every paranormal themed television show that there is! Ghostly figures, disembodied screams and other unexplained noises have been reported in just about every single inch of this hospital. Of all the paranormal hotspots in the building, the main focal point seems to be the so called ‘Death Tunnel’ which was used to transport the dead bodies out of the hospital. Other well known spots include room number 502 which is where a pregnant nurse took her own life and still haunts the building, and there is also a little boy named Timmy who will frequently play with balls and other toys that visitors bring for him.
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