From abandoned sanatoriums and centuries-old stagecoaches to grim battlefields and creepy caves, Kentucky has got plenty of paranormal activity to keep you occupied this Halloween. Here are some of the most haunted places in Kentucky – but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Scary Places in Kentucky
1. Sleepy Hollow Road, Prospect
Kentucky has its own ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and, sadly, it doesn’t involve Johnny Depp. The story goes that if you drive down the road at night, a pair of headlights will stalk you, getting closer and closer until you lose sight of the road and crash.
If that doesn’t spook you, further on is Cry Baby Bridge, where legend tells that a local woman would discard unwanted babies. Listen hard, and you might be able to hear their cries. A little further on, Devil’s Point used to be a hotspot for sadists in the 1970s and 1980s, and residents still report sightings of mysterious figures in black robes.
2. Sauerkraut Cave, Louisville
Sauerkraut Cave actually does have a connection to Germany’s favourite fermented vegetables – once upon a time, it was used to age sauerkraut. But unless you really hate vinegar, that’s not the creepiest thing about the site. It sits beneath what was once Lakeland Asylum for the Insane. When it opened in 1873, the asylum took in juvenile delinquents, children aged between seven and sixteen who were “legally committed for any criminal offence less than murder”. The facility converted into an asylum less than four years later, and no one know what happened to those children. The hospital notoriously mistreated patients during the century or so that it remained open.
According to local legend, the cave was used as an escape route for inmates. Others say it’s where the bodies of the abused are buried. Visitors have reported strange visions, disembodied voices and eerie whispering.
3. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to spook us, it’s an abandoned hospital – and Waverly Hills Sanatorium is up there with the creepiest of them. Built in 1910, the sanatorium supposedly aimed to treat victims of the ‘white plague’ (tuberculosis) that gripped the county. Obviously, at this point, there wasn’t a known cure for it, so doctors here tried out all sorts of experimental methods to help cure the patients. Around 8,000 patients died here, with a record total of 152 recorded in 1942. Visitors have reported the sounds of disembodied children playing, doors slamming, mysterious footsteps and the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s been abandoned for decades, but you can now take an official tour of the premises.
4. Bobby Mackey’s Music World, Wilder
According to the website, Bobby Mackey’s Music World is “the most haunted nightclub in America”. Country singer Bobby Mackey opened the dance hall in 1978, but before that, it was a slaughterhouse. It’s been described as a “gateway to hell”, haunted by a woman called Pearl Bryan who was allegedly murdered by Satanists, and a pregnant dancer called Johanna who committed suicide in the 1940s after her father murdered her lover by hanging him in the dressing room.
5. The Talbott Tavern, Bardstown
Built in 1779, The Talbott Tavern is one of the oldest western stagecoach stops in America, so it follows that a few former patrons might have stuck around. One of its most famous paranormal guests is a man called Jesse James. A former bookkeeper claims to have seen a man in a long coat strolling across the landing late at night. A cook, at around the same time, claims to have seen him in the kitchen. Both followed him, but he disappeared down the fire escape. A few weeks later, the bookkeeper saw a picture of a man called Jesse James on TV – and recognised him from the meeting a few weeks before.
The Lady in White is another popular visitor. Several people, including the current owner, have woken up to her hovering over them during the night. Other spooky occurrences including disembodied voices, objects that move on their own, disappearing keys and a piano that occasional plays itself.
6. Perryville, Boyle
Perryville is known as the most haunted town in Kentucky for good reason. On October 8 1862 was the site of one of the Civil War’s biggest battles, with 7,600 people killed or wounded in just four hours. Union troops collected their dead and took them for a proper burial in regimental graves, but confederate soldiers were left where they fell. Later, hundreds of bodies ended up in a mass grave or in one of the unmarked graves across the battlefield. Locals say it’s home to more ghosts than people today.
7. Phillips’ Folly, Maysville
Williams B. Phillips starting building this three-story brick house in 1828 and became mayor in 1833. He set up a jail cell in the basement for runaway slaves and drunks, and many of those incarcerated otherworldly spirits are said to have stuck around.
John Pearce, a former resident, either committed suicide here or died fighting in a duel. Locals have reported eerie sounds of a duel. Another resident spook is John Armstrong, who later owned the property and died there in 1851. Visitors claim to have seen his apparition, along with his dog, sitting on the front porch.