We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
13. Ashland House, Lexington
The beloved former home of Kentucky politician Henry Clay is said to be haunted by Henry Clay himself. While none of his three attempts to win the United States presidency were successful, he still had quite a prosperous political career as a U.S. senator, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of State. Clay used Ashland House as a refuge to escape his busy political life. It’s said that a ghost of a white-haired man wearing a black frock often appears leaning against the fireplace mantle in the parlor.
12. The Grave of John Rowan at Federal Hill, Bardstown
Another famed Kentucky politician, John Rowan, is buried in his family cemetery in Bardstown. However, it seems that he’s not very happy with his final resting place. His will stated that he did not want an extravagant grave marker because his parents were buried in modest, unmarked graves. He felt his mansion at Federal Hill was enough of a monument to his life. After his death, his family disregarded his final wishes and marked his grave with a large obelisk-shaped tombstone. The stone unexplainably fell over several times, even after being repaired and put back upright by stonemasons. Eventually, the workers who repaired the stone refused to come back to the cemetery, believing the angry spirit of John Rowan was the cause.
11. Narrows Road, Erlanger
This urban legend states that a police officer was struck and killed by a vehicle during a routine traffic stop in the 1950s. The story claims that if you’re driving down Narrows Road around midnight, a 1950s-style police car will pull you over. Some claim they actually spoke to the cop, who then disappeared while walking away from them. Others say he disappeared while approaching the car. Another version of the story says he’s a friendly ghost looking out for other police officers.
10. Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort
One of the oldest bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, Buffalo Trace is said to be haunted by Colonel Albert B. Blanton, a former distillery president. Employees and visitors have reported seeing apparitions, unexplainable cold spots, and hearing voices. The distillery was even featured on the show "Ghost Hunters." If you visit Buffalo Trace, you’ll have the option of going on a ghost tour to see some of the spots rumored to have the most paranormal activity. And the best part— a free bourbon tasting is included.
9. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Most colleges have stories of a particular haunted dormitory or lecture hall, but Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green boasts nine different buildings that are rumored to be the homes of spirits. Many of these haunts are said to be the ghosts of students who tragically died there. The Kappa Sigma fraternity house is supposedly home to the ghost of a cowboy who introduces himself as “Jim” on Ouija boards.
8. Phillips' Folly, Maysville
This house, whose construction was finished in 1831, was also visited by a ghost hunting television show when the Travel Channel’s "Ghost Adventures" made a stop there in 2011. Supposedly, the house’s second owner, John Armstrong, haunts the upstairs porch with his Newfoundland dog. Sometimes the pair can be heard rolling around on the floor playing with each other. The basement is a little more eerie, however, as it was used as a jail for runaway slaves. According to the episode of Ghost Adventures that was shot at Phillips’ Folly, slaves were tortured and even killed there, and the figure of a woman with a child has been spotted in the basement.
7. Paramount Arts Center, Ashland
During some renovation work of this theatre in the 1940s, a construction worker supposedly died there. His ghost, who is known as Paramount Joe, still hangs around the theatre. The most popular story about Paramount Joe is when country music star Billy Ray Cyrus filmed the music video for “Achy Breaky Heart” at the theatre, he left autographed posters for all the female employees, as well as one for Joe. They hung all the posters on the wall, but were eventually asked to take them down as the theatre collected more autographs from notable musicians. They decided on removing Joe’s autograph, and the next morning discovered that Joe was not a fan of that decision. All of the other posters had been thrown on the floor. Joe’s autographed poster now hangs in Paramount Joe’s Rising Star Cafe.
6. Perryville Battlefield, Perryville
The Perryville Battlefield was the site of Kentucky’s deadliest battle in the Civil War, with 7,600 men losing their lives. The bodies of Union soldiers were respectfully removed and buried, but the Confederate soldiers were either just left in the field or carelessly buried in mass graves. "Ghost Adventures" has visited the battlefield twice, but even before Perryville’s claim to ghostly fame, visitors reported seeing apparitions and hearing voices and the sound of marching footsteps when no one else seemed to be around.
5. Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is known as the world’s largest haunted place. It’s believed that people have been involved with the cave for 6,000 years, as the remains of Native Americans and even mummies have been discovered there. In more recent times when the complexities of the cave were still being explored, tragic accidents happened, curious people wandered in and never found their way out, and tuberculosis patients even stayed in a makeshift “hospital” down there. Whether these ghostly tales about the cave are true or not, Mammoth Cave is quite a fascinating place and is worth a visit whether or not you hope to see a ghost.
4. Land Between the Lakes, Golden Pond
The Land Between the Lakes is an area in western Kentucky popular for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. It welcomes around two million visitors per year, but it also has a few creepy urban legends. One of them is the Phantom Trucker, a strange light that follows cars until they leave the Land Between the Lakes. The other is more widely known: the Beast of LBL. Stories of a large wolf-like creature in the area go back hundreds of years. The most gruesome story is from the 1980s, when an entire family that was camping was found dead, appearing to have been eaten. No credible evidence of this massacre can be found, so people chalk it up as just a spooky story to scare campers. People still claim to hear odd growling noises, find unusually large dog-like footprints, or see red eyes lurking in the forest.
3. Pope Lick Train Trestle, Louisville
This urban legend says that a half-man, half-goat creature, called The Goat Man, will reveal himself if thrill seekers step onto the train trestle, or cross the entire bridge. The myth goes that The Goat Man lures people to their deaths by hypnotizing them or using familiar voices. Several people have died on the Pope Lick Train Trestle, but unfortunately, several of these deaths have been people out looking for the monster that have ended up falling or getting hit by an oncoming train.
2. Bobby Mackey's Music World, Wilder
This infamous bar is known as “the most haunted nightclub in America.” Legends of murders, suicides, and Satanic rituals have earned Bobby Mackey’s a reputation of not only being haunted, but even housing a “gateway to hell.” The bar offers regular ghost tours of some of the most active parts of the building— including the portal to the underworld. Guests have said they’ve heard an eerie growl coming from the portal, as well as screaming, the feeling of be touched, jukeboxes turning on and off, furniture moving on its own, and unexplained bangs and thuds.
1. Waverly Hills Sanitorium, Louisville
A “haunted places in Kentucky” list is not complete without this one. It’s known as one of the most haunted places in the world. Thousands of people died within the walls of this now-closed tuberculosis hospital. Waverly Hills hosts many ghost tours and paranormal investigations where people can come experience the creepy atmosphere for themselves. The old hospital has been featured on several TV shows, including "Ghost Hunters," "Scariest Places on Earth," "Ghost Adventures," and "Most Haunted." People have reported seeing apparitions, hearing disembodied voices, smelling food cooking, and leaving the building with unexplained scratches.