Kentucky is best known for horse racing, bourbon, bluegrass music and basketball, but it is also a state with a massive amount of paranormal activity. There are many locations throughout the state where very compelling evidence of the afterlife has been captured.
Let’s explore 9 of the most haunted places in Kentucky:
9 – Pope Lick Monster, Fisherville
The ‘Pope Lick Monster’ – also known as Goat Man has apparently been luring unsuspecting people to their deaths for as long as the locals can recall. Depending on which story you favor this hairy, horned monster is either a survivor from a circus train wreck or a local goat farmer who tortured his goats on behalf of the devil and therefore forfeited his own soul. He is said to mimic the voice of children calling for help to lure people onto the train tracks where they then become frozen in place as a speeding train hurtles towards them!
8 – The Gates of Hell (Grandview Cemetery), Elizabethtown
Grandview Cemetery is the official name for this graveyard, but it has also been known as Kasey’s Cemetery or the Gates of Hell! All that remains here are the graves of those who died in the 1700s ad 1800s and the ruins of an iron and stone gate. There are a variety of stories relating to odd occurrences here including large balls of glowing green light, shadow figures, and disembodied screams. Some have even claimed to have car trouble when visiting the area.
7 – The Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown (Book Now)
The Old Talbott Tavern is actually the oldest stagecoach stop in Kentucky and today, as it always has, it offers weary travellers impeccable service along with a chance of catching a glimpse of none other than the outlaw Jesse James!
On entering The Old Talbott Tavern one thing is evident – the passage of time. Since opening in 1770, the hotel has never been closed and the building seems to have soaked up all of the energy of times gone by and the people who have taken refuge here on long journeys. Some of the most notable guests that have spent the night include Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and King Louis Philippe of France! Then of course, there is the outlaw Jesse James who has contributed to the hotel’s reputation as one of the most haunted places in Kentucky.
If you pay a visit to The Old Talbott Tavern today, you may have the chance to see the painting that hangs on the wall which is riddled with bullet holes. It is said that Jesse James was the one to shoot up that painting and that his ghost still visits the inn from time to time. However, he is certainly not the only spirit at work here! There is also a mysterious female spirit who makes regular appearances and guests have reported a variety of other unexplained events including items moving on their own and items vanishing only to turn up elsewhere in the hotel. Shadows are seen darting around and doors open and close by themselves. There have also been reports of phantom footsteps and of furniture jumping up and down for no apparent reason!
6 – The Mammoth Caves, Mammoth Cave Park
The Mammoth Caves are believed to be more than 4000 years old. It is thought that Native Americans mined the cave walls for minerals and then buried their dead inside. It is now rumoured to be haunted with visitors hearing disembodied cries and having rocks thrown at them!
5 - The Seelbach Hilton, LouisvilleStay at the Seelbach Hilton
5 - The Seelbach Hilton, LouisvilleStay at the Seelbach Hilton
The Seelbach Hilton in Louisville is very much considered to be the premiere hotel in all of Kentucky. It has also earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. However, we are interested in this particular hotel for one of its other accolades – as one of the most haunted places in Kentucky thanks to the resident spook known as the lady in blue.
The Seelbach Hotel opened in 1905 and over the years it has hosted a number of historical figures. The hotel was built by immigrants Otto and Louis Seelbach who dreamed of creating a grand European hotel in the United States. With its French Renaissance design the hotel quickly became one of the finest in America. It was sold to Abraham M Liebling in 1925 before being sold on a year later to Eppley Hotel Company. For a short time it was under the Sheraton Hotels banner and today it is part of the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.
You will likely hear many different accounts of the lady in blue and how she came to be at the hotel, but all of the accounts agree that she is the spirit of a Ms Patricia Wilson. In 1936 she had moved to Louisville from her native Oklahoma and had recently separated from her husband. The pair wanted to try and patch things up and so they arranged a meeting at the Seelbach. Unfortunately, the husband never made it to the hotel as he was killed in a car accident on his way there. Ms Wilson was understandably devastated and not long afterwards her body was discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the hotel. Opinion remains split on whether this was a suicide or simply a tragic accident. Since then her apparition has been spotted up on the eighth floor and also on the mezzanine level. Everyone who sees her agrees that she is dressed in blue and has long dark hair.
Poor Ms Wilson is not the only spirit that guests have encountered at the Seelbach Hotel. Other reports of paranormal activity include disembodied voices, unexplained footsteps, cold spots and the scent of lingering perfume. One couple who were spending their honeymoon at the Seelbach say that they woke to find a man standing at the window and when the light was turned on he vanished. Others have reported seeing a woman in rags in a mirror down in the cafe area.
4 – The Louisville Palace Theater, Louisville
The Louisville Palace Theater opened in 1928, originally known as Lowes Theatre. Staff, visitors and actors alike have all claimed to see a faceless woman in forties attire and a man in thirties clothing. There have also been reports if a child giggling in an empty bathroom and some say that a projection operator who had a heart attack on the job has never clocked off!
3 – Perryville Battlefield, Perryville
The biggest Civil War battle that Kentucky has ever seen happened at Perryville on October 8, 1862. It is estimated that 7600 people were killed or wounded. The Confederate victims were left to rot right their on the battlefield which is likely why this has become one of the most haunted places in Kentucky.
2 – Waverly Hills Sanitorium, Louisville
There is something special about all old abandoned asylums and sanatorium’s but some are just creepier than others and that certainly applies to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville. Without any doubt this building can be counted among the most haunted places in Kentucky if not the entire United States!
Waverly Hills was officially opened in July of 1910 and over the next 50 years it housed thousands of patients suffering from tuberculosis. The sanatorium eventually closed its doors in 1962 when advances in medication brought new drug treatments that could cure tuberculosis so that it was no longer a death sentence. The hospital was renovated and reopened as Wood Haven Medical Services. However, by 1980 that too had closed following claims of patient neglect and abuse – not that the tuberculosis treatments used prior to that were any less inhumane. There is no exact figure for the number of deaths that have occurred in Waverly Hills, but the best estimates put the number at well over 6000.
There are many ghosts that walk the halls of Waverly Hills and shadow figures, disembodied screams and agonising moaning are all very normal. We could never mention every spirit that resides here, so instead let’s summarize some of the hot spots of paranormal activity. Perhaps most famous is the so called Death Tunnel. This underground tunnel runs from the main building to the bottom of the hill and it was used to remove corpses so as not to disturb other patients. Room 502 is said to be where a pregnant nurse committed suicide after the doctor who fathered the child rejected her. Her spirit is said to be eternally tied to the room. Finally, there is the ghost of a little boy called Timmy who died in Waverly Hills at the age of 6 or 7. He likes to play and investigators often bring balls and toys for him to play with!
1 – Bobby Mackey’s Music World, Wilder
Bobby Mackey’s Music World is not only one of the most haunted places in Kentucky, but possible one of the most haunted locations in the entire world! Anyone with an interest in the paranormal is sure to have heard of this nightclub and it has featured on pretty much all of the big paranormal television programs! Over the years, this place has been dubbed a gateway to hell and the mere mention of it is enough to send a chill up the spine of many a paranormal investigator.
Poltergeist activity is the norm in America’s most haunted nightclub so much so that there is even a sign inside stating that management cannot take responsibility for any paranormal attack on the premises. Several visitors have signed sworn affidavits detailing their terrifying experiences. Bobby Mackey’s is known for its darker paranormal side, but not all of the spirits here are malicious. One of them is the spirit of a dancer named Johanna who performed at the club and died in the club. She had been seen several times ‘performing’ on stage with the live music acts and owner Bob Mackey has also written a song about her – despite the fact that he claims not to believe in ghosts!
However, it is the darker entities that get most of the attention at Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Patrons have been touched, scratched and even possessed while in the building. A former caretaker of the building named Carl was actually exorcised in the bar and following his death his distinctive voice has been heard via EVP. There is a well in the basement which is said to be a portal to hell and many claim that demons reside in this bar! It all seems to stem from the fact that not only was the building once an abattoir, but it was also the site where a woman’s skull was found detached from her body. A grisly murder took place several kilometers away where a pregnant woman was beheaded and her head was allegedly disposed of down the well.
Ghost Hunts in Kentucky
Other Kentucky Haunted Hotels
Other Haunted Locations in Kentucky: