Louisville is the birthplace of the Kentucky Derby, the Hot Brown, Happy Birthday song, and some of the most amazing preserved pre-Victorian and Victorian-era architecture in the world. We just recently wrapped up the three-week-long party known as the Kentucky Derby Festival, which is like our version of Mardi Gras. What many people don’t know is that the most haunted city in Kentucky is likely Louisville.
Why is Louisville the most haunted city in Kentucky? Here are 13 reasons off the top:
Louisville seems to be a vortex for spirits, according to some.
13. Woodland Hills
This pleasant community in Middletown has a old women that will chase the cars near her old home with a camera. Her husband was killed by a hit and run years ago, and she searches for the killer. However, if you snap a photo of her, it shows as just a white fog-like image. She passed away more than 20 years ago. Neighbors said her basement was filled with hundreds of photographs of people driving away.
12. Portland Family Health Center, in the back
Behind the health center is the old army hospital’s original building. The building is two stories high and sits near the river. That made it convenient to take in wounded or sick soldiers. People have reported hearing strange sounds and seeing soldiers walking on the property. Some say lights click on and off at night as well.
11. Belle of Louisville
This boat is part of the Great Steamboat Race during the Kentucky Derby Festival, but its history hasn’t always been so glamorous. Captain Ben Winters ran the ship back in WW II, though it was known as the Idlewild. He was a gambling sort, and installed a few slots and tables for fun and profit. Unfortunately, the authorities found out and raided the vessel. The Captain fled and hid in his quarters, where he apparently died from a heart attack. The gaunt captain still wanders the ship checking on the crew. A deckhand, Floyd the whistler, also died in a tragic accident on the ship. He was known to whistle while he worked, and though he was crushed by a mechanism that controls the paddle wheel known as a pitman arm, crewman still swear they hear his tunes wafting through the air.
10. Brown Hotel
This beautiful 16-story hotel at 335 W Broadway was built and designed by J. Graham Brown in 1923. Mr. Brown believed in the highest standards of customer service, and made the penthouse suite his home to watch over business until his death in 1969. The Kentucky Hot Brown was first made here, and is still a house special. It is beilieved that Brown continues watching over the hotel, especially during busy times. His spirit has been seen looking over the rails since his body left the suite. Employees also find themselves dashing up the stairs to ask a cigar smoker to extinguish their smoke, only to find no one there and no actual smoke.
9. Camp Taylor, circa 1917
Camp Taylor Historical Society
Though many don’t make mention of this neighborhood, it was a place for dead and dying soldiers during the war. Many of the homes that now stand were once old barracks, shops, officer quarters, or they sit atop the foundations of the old buildings. According to old military documents from the time that are now public record, when the White Plague struck, soldiers were shipped in from all around the country with varying ailments. Camp Taylor became a death camp, and many a soldier never left this place. Neighbors still see the soldiers wandering on some nights, some are patrolling, others stagger alone. Residents have also seen a woman with blond hair dressed in blue that appears angry, an old woman, and a child. All assumed to be victims of the deadly disease. The camp was contaminated so they had to contain everyone. It was written that bodies were stacked from floor to ceiling in some of the barracks.
8. Dupont Mansion B&B
Two industrialist brothers, Alfred and Biederman Dupont, had this extravagant 3 story Victorian Mansion at 1317 S 4th Street built in the early 1870s. Alfred was a bit of a playboy during the time, so he lived separate and brought his mistresses here to play. When one mistress became pregnant, Alfred tried to send her away. The scorned woman shot and killed him. Despite the best efforts by family to cover up the unpleasentries behind the incident, Alfred won’t behave. He has been known to wander about in his tux, including the fashionable bullet hole. A designer even claimed to have received a goose to the behind, and feel warm breath in her ear when no one was there.
7. Louisville Palace
The Palace has been around for a while, entertaining thousands that enter its doors. Around October 27th in 1965, Ferdinand Fred Frisch, the chief engineer at Loews United Artists Theater, died of natural causes in his basement office after 40 years of dutiful employment. During renovations, workers have attributed the avoidance of accidents to Fred. One painter swears he passed out and was awakened by someone saying wake up, and he was on the edge of the scaffolding. Workers have seen Fred’s name in the basement dust and heard his cheerful whistle.
6. Old Louisville
This is probably one of the most haunted areas in the state. There are stories on top of stories in this historically preserved community. Homes burned down, people were murdered, duels were dealt, gamblers collected debts and finally, Tuberculosis set in. Many families died, some homes were burnt, and some carriage homes were burnt to prevent spreading the disease. Due to the close proximity, many were sent to Waverly for treatment. Those that were too far gone were prepared for their eventual, eternal rest. It is not uncommon to see people just fade out when walking around 6th and Hill, or shadows that shouldn’t be there. We even heard tales of an old woman who was there one minute, and replaced by a cat the next. There is also the Witch Tree in Central Park. It was once used by a local coven but was cut down to discourage their craft. The witches cursed the spot and lightening was said to strike this spot and now a tree with an unusual form grows there. It has large nodules almost like heads.
5. Seelbach Hotel
The renowned Seelbach has seen some esteems and frightening visitors over the years. Some of the most noted were 9 US Presidents, F. Scott Fitzgerald, a barrage of producers, directors, actors, actresses and even Al Capone. One of the most noted visits that never left is Patricia Wilson. The story starts 2 ways. One, she was meeting her husband to reconcile in her best blue dress with her dark hair hanging in waves. Two, she was in the same attire, but was awaiting her husband to be on the night prior to the wedding. Sadly, Patricia’s fiancé/husband was killed en-route. They say she fell to her death down an elevator shaft. It was never determined if it was a suicide or accident. Her spirit can now be seen near the Mezzanine elevators and on the 8th floor, wearing that blue dress.
4. Tucker Station Lake
This was a favored swimming spot back in the 1980s, complete with diving boards. Unfortunately, one diving board was 3 stories tall, and many people were compelled to try it, even unsupervised children. Sadly, several children died because of that fact, and it is said their laughter can still be heard in the area.
3. Central State Hosptial, aka Lakewood Asylum
In 1873, this Tudor Revival/Classic Revival style facility was built as the Home for Juvenile Delinquents in Lakeland. In 1887, it was converted into the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum and given its own post office. It went through several name changes until 1912, at which point Central State Hospital stuck. There were consistent allegations of abuse and neglect, including an unknown number of patient deaths in which “records were lost”. It was built to accommodate 1,600 patients but held more like 2,400. There are over 600 death certificates for patients buried on the hospital property, including mentally disturbed, disabled, elderly and those just stuck there by families. The amount of oddities that occur in the hospital and around the grounds, especially the cemetery is truly disturbing. People have experienced footsteps, screams, power surges, light flickering, orbs and cold spots.
2. Waverly Hills
In the 1920s, Louisville was ravaged with the White Death, aka Tuberculosis. Waverly was built to provide treatment for those sick with the disease, but soon became overwhelmed and had to add space to compensate for incoming patients. Some treatments were barbaric, requiring removal of the rib cage and bloody balloons, others were more humane. It is said far more patients left via the body chute than the front door. Room 502 saw the death of 2 staff members. One young nurse hung herself, another leapt from the tower. Waverly has also been a geriatric center and a mental hospital during times when compassion and modern technology were unheard of. They also have a very large cemetery area in which records were not well kept. The facility has been featured on several paranormal television shows, was the subject of a movie, has been the spot of a “commercial” haunted house, and is possibly being renovated for a hotel.
1. Cave Hill Cemetery
For over 160 years souls have rested in Cave Hill. It contains some of the most phenomenal monument art in the world. It was designed to be a sanctuary for the living to visit their ancestors. There were beautiful gardens, life size monuments, angels, and pleasant walking paths. There are celebrities, musicians, magicians, Civil War soldiers and more laid to rest here. The renowned Colonel Sanders of KFC resides in Cave Hill. Since there are so many spirits in residence, it is only logical that orbs and strange fogs appear on film even when the sun is shining. People have claimed to be followed, see unexplainable things and hear sounds in certain parts of this amazing cemetery. It is truly a work of historic art in some areas.
There are a lot of ghost stories scattered around the state, but most people consider Louisville the most haunted city in Kentucky. There are plenty more creepy places around town with stories of mystery, murder, and spirits who like to extend their stays. Lexington would probably be a close second for hauntings though. What city do you deem the most haunted, and why?