Waverly Hills Sanitorium – this is the obvious choice, but it’s the obvious choice for a reason. It is not simply the most haunted place in Louisville, it’s often attributed as the most haunted place in America. We’ve all heard the tales of ghost kids, pregnant nurses, and bitter patients (some of whom were experimented on to the extent it could be classified as torture), and that’s exactly why no matter what, no real Louisvillian is ever surprised to see Waverly Hills at the top of the local haunt list. These stories are engrained in brains, etched on our bones, whispers echoing through our childhood wonderment. Who cares if they’ve cheapened it a bit by putting a “conventional” haunted house up there? Does it really matter that a place so striking and beautiful and full of lore has become played out? There is something deep inside all of us that will always hold some level of affection for the dark, twisted lore that is Waverly Hills.
Seelbach Hotel– I know what you’re thinking, the haunting of the Seelbach has nothing to do with the lingering smell of burning vodka outside of Donnie Wahlberg’s hotel room. It’s actually been said that the ghost of a homeless woman haunts the lobby – she often shows up in the reflection of hallway mirrors as guests are walking by or stopping to glance at their attire as they head out for the evening. There is also the ghost of Patricia Wilson, The Lady in Blue, who fell to her death in an elevator shaft at the hotel in 1936. She has been spotted on the 8th floor and in the elevators themselves…The Lady in Blue, scaring Seelbach guests for 79 years.
Pope Lick Goat Man – I’m sorry, girls – this has nothing to do with that drunken one-night stand from sophomore year of college. No one is quite sure where the tale of The Pope Lick Goat Man comes from – but it is as persistent as any other story in our local lore. It has been handed down since at the least the 1940’s from generation to generation about the evil half-man/half-goat being that hypnotizes and lures impressionable teenagers out on to the train trestle that crosses Pope Lick Creek between J-Town and Fisherville. And once they are stranded half-way across the tracks with no way down and nowhere to go a train comes along killing the young thrill seekers.
The Brown Hotel – You know…besides Hotel Louisville, the other nice hotel on Broadway. Many guests and employees have reported seeing the spirit of J. Graham Brown, the man that built The Brown Hotel looking down from the second floor to watch the bustling lobby below, just checking from beyond the great divide, making sure his staff is giving guests the most opulent treatment that a hotel of this stature can provide.
Church of Christ Scientist – You can ignore blatant paradox in the name of this church, because there have been several sightings on the front steps of the building located on 3rd Street of an attractive young woman in a white dress. She is usually described as also wearing a silk gray shawl while pacing back and forth, distraught, bellowing loud, tearful sobs into the Old Louisville night, mourning the loss of her one true love (or something like that).
A Soldiers Retreat – A once giant farm located just outside of J-Town that stretched for miles northward, has been reduced to a stone house squeezed onto a small plot of land beside the old family grave yard, just off of Hurstbourne Lane. You’ve most likely driven by it a thousand times and just never noticed the 18th century home. Built by Richard Clough Anderson in 1785, the large plot of land was gifted to Anderson for his heroic service in The Revolutionary War as a captain in the 5th Virginia Continentals. He led the advance of the Americans at the battle of Trenton (24 December, 1776) and crossed the Delaware River in the first boat into battle. Clough buried two wives on the property, the second after a cholera outbreak in J-town in the early 19th century. But to this day, many of the local businesses in the area, all of which are built on the old Soldiers Retreat property, have reported ghostly figures and happenings in their establishments. Whether it’s it’s disembodied footprints, a pale young woman in old fashioned clothing, or just the odd occurence of things disappearing and reappearing or getting knocked over when there is no discernable reason for them to have moved from their place. Perhaps it’s just the spirits of Clough’s family out exploring the now unrecognizable remnants of the old property; surely, confused by the gentrification of suburban sprawl.
E.P. Tom Sawyer Sauerkraut Cave – I’m sorry, guys – this has nothing to do with that drunken one-night stand sophomore year of college. Sauerkraut Cave is located near Lakeland Asylum for the Insane, sometimes referred to as Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. The cave was sometimes used as an escape route for more restless patients of the hospital, as they tried to break free from its looming walls. They seemed to think a tunnel near the back of the cave would eventually lead them to freedom, but little did they know the tunnel was dark and flooded, so many would-be escapees just ended up drowning or freezing to death in the furthest depths of the cave. It has also been speculated that pregnant patients (who weren’t pregnant when they arrived at the institution) would be taken there to give birth, and it was there they would dispose of the illegitimate babies. Some people report seeing shadows emerging from the cave, or hearing screams of pain originating from deep inside.
Belle of Louisville – The ghost of Captain Ben Winters still holds his post over The Belle of Louisville. But as any real seaman will tell you, a man’s boat will always be his boat. Winters piloted the vessel in the days when it was called The Idlewild, and was a hub for illegal gambling filled with card tables and slots, the steam boat would cruise up and down the Ohio letting the wealthy folks eat, drink, and be merry. Finally authorities caught on and raided The Idlewild, and it was during the raid that Capt. Winters died onboard of a heart attack. Many current and past employees claim that he still keeps watch over the ship this many decades later.
Sleepy Hollow Road – This has nothing to do with Ichabod Crane or pumpkinhead. Along Sleepy Hollow Road near Prospect supposedly a black hearse appears out of nowhere, will speed up behind cars and force them off the road and into a ravine. People have heard crying and screams beneath what used to be a covered bridge called Cry-baby Bridge, where settlement women would allegedly toss unwanted or sickly children into the water below. And during the 1970’s and 80’s it was widely rumored that satanic rituals were performed at Devil’s Point just off Sleepy Hollow Road.
Eastern Cemetery – One of the oldest cemeteries in the city, it has been a topic of controversy for decades, mostly regarding the city’s lack of upkeep for the old decrepit grounds (people claim that the grounds are eroding to the point that coffins are sticking out of the ground). People have seen shadowy figures all over the cemetery, as well as in the chapel that sits over top the first crematorium to ever be opened in the city of Louisville. Also, the ghostly figure of a woman has been seen tending the babies’ gravestones near the back of the property.