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Ghosts across Kentucky

William Montell

Publication Year: 2000

"Lynwood Montell has collected ghost tales all over the state of Kentucky, from coal mining settlements to river landings, from highways to battlefields. He presents these suspense-filled stories just as he first heard or read them: as bona fide personal experiences or as events witnessed by family members or friends. There are over 250 stories in Ghosts across Kentucky that are set in specific places and times. They include tales of graveyards, haunted dormitories, animal ghosts, and vanishing hitchhikers. Montell describes weird lights, unexplained sounds, felt presences, and disappearing apparitions. Phantom workmen, fallen soldiers, young lovers, and executed criminals appear in these pages, along with the living who chance upon them. Though the focus is on the stories themselves, Montell also includes a chapter explaining our fascination with the supernatural and the deep truths these storytelling traditions reveal about our lives and our pasts.William Lynwood Montell, emeritus professor of folk studies at Western Kentucky University, is the author of several books, including Killings."

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Title page

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pp. iii

Copyright page

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pp. iv


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pp. v


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pp. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii

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pp. ix-x

I began gathering the stories contained in this book during the early months of 1998 and continued on a regular basis through August 1999. The compilation of this collection of folk narratives about ghosts was greatly aided by the assistance of numerous persons. ...

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pp. xi-xxi

Across the centuries, people have passed along from one generation to the next their cherished heirlooms, such as beliefs, traditions, and historically significant family and community stories. Sitting around fires or under a shade tree at night, older men and women told stories to entertain, also to explain the unexplainable. ...

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1. Graveyard Ghosts

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pp. 1-18

This friend of mine, Kay, grew up here in Bowling Green. After she got married, they continued to live here but moved out on the Old Morgantown Road after they had this little baby girl. The house that they moved into there on the Morgantown Road was an old three-story structure that was surrounded by a big lot. ...

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2. Disappearing Ghosts

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pp. 19-44

One evening, my four friends and I were sitting around talking. Earlier that evening we had been playing various card and dice games, which was somewhat of a tradition among us, and we had grown tired. A fellow in the group mentioned that he was anxious about an upcoming trip to some woods in the neighborhood. ...

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3. Ghostly, Unnatural Sounds

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pp. 45-61

There was an experience that happened to me back around 1973. Mom and Dad, Granddad, and I had moved into a house that belongs to Harry Richardson. This house is in Irvington on U.S. 60, real close to the Irvington Drive-in. This house belonged at one time to two brothers, Bob and Emmitt Smith. ...

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4. Headless Ghosts

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pp. 62-72

Not more than a half mile from where we're sitting right now is a hollow. It goes by the name Benton Hollow. There's a peculiar legend about this place, a legend called "The Headless Woman of Benton Hollow." It seems to be that on certain nights, a headless woman appears and canters about, always within a certain vicinity and always looking for her head. ...

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5. Animal Ghosts

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pp. 73-94

My brother told me this story, which he claimed was a favorite of his scout troop. It's a story about a pig woman of the woods. Many years ago there was this young lady who lived out in these woods with her parents, who raised hogs that were caught in traps in the woods. We're not talking about the fat, tame pigs that people nowadays raise. ...

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6. Scary Tales

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pp. 95-117

There was this boy scout troop in Jefferson County that always camped out in wooded places near old mansions. There was a story that claimed that an old man who lived in a certain house would always come out on the full of the moon to place flowers on the grave of his dead wife. ...

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7. Hanged or Murdered Persons' Ghosts

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pp. 118-154

After we moved out of the gray house in Brandenburg, we moved into another house owned by the same woman. It was a white house. Had no upstairs. It was also in Brandenburg, and still is. When you walked into the front door of that house, you went into the living room. ...

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8. Ghosts of Persons Killed Accidentally

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pp. 155-165

It all started one dark evening. The janitor at this high school, located here in central Kentucky, was sweeping the dirty floors. All the people had been out of the building for hours, and no one was in sight except Carl, who was the janitor, and his "friend." ...

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9. Ghosts of Suicide Victims

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pp. 166-172

There is an old story that goes around 'til this day about the old fire tower that was located not far off Highway 56, going out of Morganfield. The tower was on one of the old abandoned gravel roads that used to run along through there. ...

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10. Weird, Eerie, Ghostly Lights

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pp. 173-186

Sometimes there are certain happenings that make you wonder about the possibility of ghosts. I've been down in a cave in Sloans Valley, a cave that they once called the Old Moonshiners Cave. It was located just at the north end of the Sloans Valley bridge. ...

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11. Haunted Spots on the Landscape

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pp. 187-209

It was a rainy day on October 13, 1956. Back then, my grandfather, whom I shall call Cawood, drove a Greyhound bus. Early that morning, he was getting ready there in Harlan to run his route for the day. Like any other rainy day, it was just miserable and gloomy. Cawood's first bus stop was in Pine Mountain, then on to Evarts and Baxter. ...

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12. The Vanishing Hitchhiker

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pp. 210-214

My grandmother never did say what she'd consider right-down lies. They're either stories that she's heard or things that actually happened to her, I'm just not sure. This story is one that her uncle had told her that happened back in the late 1800s. And there'd been some talk of haunted woods. The woods are still there. They're along Kino Road in Barren County. ...

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13. Felt Presences of Ghostly Beings

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pp. 215-219

My grandmother died in February 1988. She and my aunt lived together in a house that was extremely large for two older women. After my grandmother died, my aunt insisted on remaining in the house, even though it meant living alone. ...

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14. Civil War Ghosts

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pp. 220-231

There's an old haunted house near Ft. Boonesboro that has been the home of five generations of the same family since the Civil War era. The house is situated on a very tall hill. It has tall windows reaching from the floor to the ceiling, and doors with paneling that gives the impression of a cross. ...

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15. Haunted Dorms, Fraternities, and Sororities

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pp. 232-239

I went to this Lindsey-Wilson College in 1975. They had one girls' dormitory and its kinda built in a square. It's a large, two-story building, but the second story of the building had remained unfinished for several years. It was just a shell up there: just the walls, but no finish. ...


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pp. 240-251

Index to Counties

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pp. 252-255

Index to Cities, Towns, and Other Locations

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pp. 256-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780813127842
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813190075

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2000