It doesn’t have to be near Halloween for you to have a good scare, but also have fun while doing it. Kentucky has some truly creepy and terrifying places, so we compiled a list of 10 of the scariest places in the state. All of these locations are rumored to be haunted, and people hoping to spot a ghost visit them frequently.
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:
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville
Waverly Hills is known as one of the most haunted places in Kentucky. People travel from all over the country to tour this old tuberculosis hospital in hopes of seeing (or feeling) something unexplainable. One of the creepiest parts of Waverly Hills is an old tunnel that was used to transport bodies to be buried or cremated without the other patients being able to see how many people were dying in the hospital each day. It is now nicknamed the "death tunnel." Waverly Hills is located at 4400 Paralee Drive, Louisville, KY 40272.
Bobby Mackey's Music World, Wilder
This night club and live music venue is said to be home to a portal to hell. The building used to be home to a slaughter house, and remains of the animals were said to have been dumped in what it now known to be the passage to the underworld. Two female spirits named Pearl Bryan and Johanna are also thought to haunt Bobby Mackey's. Pearl was supposedly murdered, and her corpse was found 2.5 miles away. Johanna was a dancer at the club in the 1950s, and she committed suicide after her father killed a singer at the club named Robert Randall, who got Johanna pregnant. Bobby Mackey's Music World was featured on Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures, the Syfy Channel's "Ghost Hunters," and various other shows about terrifying and haunted places. It is located at 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, KY 41071.
Kentucky State Penitentiary, Eddyville
This ominous maximum security prison is located on the banks of Lake Barkley, and is nicknamed "the Castle of the Cumberland." It is Kentucky's execution facility, and houses the state's male death row inmates. Both inmates and guards have reported hearing foot steps when no one else was around, disembodied voices, and seeing orbs. The penitentiary is located at 266 Water Street, Eddyville, KY 42038.
Phillips' Folly, Maysville
This mansion in Maysville may look gorgeous, but it is said to have a grim past. The town of Maysville was an important stop on the Underground Railroad because the free state of Ohio was right across the river. However, a makeshift jail exists in the basement of Phillips' Folly, and it was said to be the site of the jailing and torture of many runaway slaves. When the Travel Channel's show "Ghost Adventures" visited the mansion, they supposedly got contacted by the ghost of a female runaway slave, who made it clear that she was very afraid of whoever held her captive in the basement. A more whimsical story says that the ghost of one of the house's former owners, John Armstrong, can sometimes be seen playing with the ghost of his dog on the upstairs porch. Phillips' Folly is located at 227 Sutton Street in Maysville.
Perryville Battlefield, Perryville
The Battle of Perryville was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. It began on the morning of October 8, 1862 as a fight for the control of the border state of Kentucky. Both the Union and the Confederacy suffered huge casualties, with the total number being around 7,600. Many of the bodies were abandoned, and local farmers ended up burying the corpses in mass graves. Two houses that were in the thick of the action, the Dye House and the Bottom House, were eventually used as field hospitals for wounded soldiers. Both houses are said to have large amounts of paranormal activity. The Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is located at 1825 Battlefield Road, Perryville, KY 40468.
Pope Lick Train Trestle, Louisville
The Pope Lick Train Trestle in eastern Louisville is home to an eerie urban legend. The story says that a monster, half-man, half-goat, lives at the top of the trestle and lures victims to their deaths. People have actually died while searching for this goatman, so it's important to remember that you should never climb to the top of trestle. Also, trains still do cross the trestle, so it's extremely dangerous up there.
The Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown
This old restaurant has been around for 237 years, and is the
oldest bourbon bar in America.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a great place to grab a bite to eat or sample some local bourbons. However, it is also said to be the home of some spirits. One of the spirits is said to be that of the infamous Jesse James, the outlaw who visited the tavern frequently. The Old Talbott Tavern is located at 107 W. Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY 40004.
The Jailer's Inn Bed and Breakfast, Bardstown
Not far from the Old Talbott Tavern is the Jailer's Inn Bed and Breakfast, another Bardstown building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This cozy bed and breakfast served as the Nelson County Jail until 1987, and was the oldest operating jail in Kentucky. One of the spirits that is said to haunt this place is the ghost of a woman named Ms. McKay, who was one of the original jailers. Many guests and employees have said they've seen this woman, but her spirit is said to be friendly. The Jailer's Inn Bed and Breakfast is located at 111 W. Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY 40004.
Ashland House, Lexington
This beautiful old house in Lexington was once the beloved property of Kentucky politician Henry Clay. Ghost stories say that a white-haired man wearing a black frock appears leaning against the fireplace mantle in the parlor. This man is thought to be the ghost of Henry Clay himself. The Ashland House is located at 120 Sycamore Road, Lexington, KY 40502.
Sleepy Hollow Road, Prospect
Luckily, there's no headless horseman in this Sleepy Hollow story. This road in Prospect is home to some creepy folklore. Urban legends say that an old bridge on the road, called Crybaby Bridge, was the site where mothers would throw sick or unwanted babies over the side. People say they hear the sounds of babies crying and women weeping around this section of the road.