In the spirit of the season, so to speak, I thought I would pass on a few Lexington, Kentucky ghost stories. Since this blog only deals with Lexington History of the Nineteenth Century, I’m going to skip the modern tales and spend some time this week talking about ghost in old Lexington.
Let’s begin with First Hill, and the pioneer graveyard, where many of the city’s founders were buried. The gravestones are gone, and most of the bodies have been moved to Lexington Cemetery. Not all of them were found. What remains of the cemetery lies under the foundation of the First Baptist Church. The ghosts those pioneers are reported to be upset at having their final resting place disturbed and their loved ones moved. They haunt the area and have been seen walking around the grounds, one even wanders into the bell tower to cause mischief.
Of course, there is Lexington Cemetery to consider. There is a sinister force supposedly lingering in one of the mausoleums. Visitors claim to have seen a dark spot hovering near the back of one particular tomb in the old section. I have made many trips to the cemetery and set part of a story in one of the tombs, but have never encountered the ghost. I really don't want to meet up with this lost soul. Witnesses who have come close to the sinister shadow claim he gives you an odd, prickling, feeling followed by an overwhelming feeling of dread, some claim that all they could feel was anger radiating from the black blob. What ever vibe he gives off it is powerful. One grave robber had to be committed to Eastern State Hospital after picking the wrong tomb to raid.
Speaking of Eastern State, the mental hospital, which was founded in 1817, has lots of ghost in residence. There are scattered patient records before the twentieth century to tell us how many people died there, but an archeological report in 2005 estimated over 10,000 bodies buried on the grounds. I have heard that the insane and small children are more likely to be attuned to the supernatural. Maybe that's why the asylum has more than its fair share of ghost stories. Ghost of almost every sort are reported to haunt the hospital, my favorite is the little girl who comes knocking at the director’s door.
Ghostly encounters have also been reported from some of the city’s historic homes. Loudoun House has a pair of ghostly Victorian women and a black cat in residence. People who visit the house often claim to smell the ladies flowery perfume in the hallways. The Don Young Farmhouse has the ghost of an old man who died in there in the 1800’s raising a fuss when visitors stay too long. The former owners of the Hunt-Morgan House still linger around and occasionally give a fright to visitors. My personal favorite is the founder’s cabin at Transylvania University. The story is that the founder cursed the cabin and the school. Some people claim that upper classmen invented the story to scare the freshmen, but others swear that they won’t go near the cabin.
There are lots of other ghost from our past still hanging around town. Maybe I will find time to talk about those in the historic buildings downtown at a later date.