Many believe that Friday, the 13th is the unluckiest day of the year! To egg on the superstition (because we are mischievous here at UPK), we thought we would supply you with some creepy ghost stories from Kentucky! Mwah-ha-ha!
“Ghosts That Prefer Libraries”
Two Louisville ghosts prefer libraries, namely the Shively-Newman branch on Dixie Highway and the old Jeffersontown Library on Watterson Trail. Charles Harris, who has worked at both libraries, had spooky experiences at each.
“I was at Newman from about 1989 to 1992,” he says. “I noticed the presence more in the evening when I was working late alone. I never felt threatened, but I couldn’t concentrate. One winter night in 1990, I smelled the fragrance of fresh flowers coming from the browsing room, which connects the main library to the older auditorium. I couldn’t imagine who had brought fresh flowers in winter, so I checked. There were no flowers.”
The suspected ghost first attracted the staff’s attention in 1990 in the auditorium, a part of Shively City Hall to which the library was added. A man’s voice came through the speakers in the ceiling, sounding as if he were in pain, but no source could be found. Then books and other objects began to disappear and mysteriously turn up elsewhere. Lights went off and on. Once a picture of Father Joseph Newman, for whom the library is named, fell from the wall, apparently without reason, and broke.
Recently, librarian Virginia Messer was summoned by a patron to watch her tap the keys on the electric Panasonic KX-E4000 typewriter kept in the library for public use.
“It was the strangest thing,” Messer says. “It was typing different letters from the keys she was striking. The backspace went forward and the space bar went backward. We turned it off and reset it, but it did it a couple of times.”
Shively mayor Jim Jenkins says he hasn’t heard about the odd happenings, but notes that the building was the center of community happenings when Father Newman was alive.
“They had police court there around 1970,” he says. “Father Newman had clubs and activities for teenagers. There was a lot of energy here.”
The atmosphere at the old Jeffersontown Library, on the other hand, was dreary, says Harris. “I suppose the fact that the library was on the site of the former county poor house could account for the dreary feeling,” he explains.
“Many patrons came into the library describing a woman wearing a frilly white or pink dress looking out the front window. Once a family from St. Louis drove by and stopped to tell us they’d seen the woman and realized she couldn’t be real.
“The ghost seemed unhappy and made me feel like it wanted privacy. I often heard footsteps there, and once I saw a whole row of books fall off the shelf. That many books do not fall off the shelf by themselves. Yet they did, and I was standing right there looking at them when it happened. I know there was no vibration or anything to cause it.”
Harris, now the manager of the Bon Air Library, says that when the Jeffersontown Library moved into a new building next door in 1996, he never felt the presence again.
“A Haunted Apartment”
Upon my arrival in Kentucky in March 1981, my husband and I stayed with my mother in her apartment on Alexandria Drive in Lexington, until Nick and I got our own apartment. While there, I slept on the couch and could hear a man come in the front door of the building, then go up the steps, [and] knock on the door to the apartment directly above my mother’s. His voice would then call out, “Melody, Melody.” The door never opened, and then the man’s footsteps could be heard coming three-quarters of the way down the steps, then disappear. This went on time and time again. Both my husband and my mother heard this man, yet we never saw him.
Several months later I confronted the young woman who lived above my mother. I asked her about how much her boy friend really loved her. She said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have a boyfriend; don’t have time. My job takes up all my time at the office and at home.” I told her about the man we had been hearing. She told me that she doesn’t hear anything. But she did say that her two cats will often stand hunched, hair standing out, and growling toward the door.
My husband and I were able to get an apartment in the same building. The first night was the beginning of a nightmare for us both. We thought someone was in our apartment. We heard this noise like someone scraping the heater vent in the living room, slamming the kitchen cupboard doors, then making the noise on the vent again. The noise sounded like what a child makes while taking a stick down a picket fence. My husband got out of bed but found no one.
This went on night after night. We laid there and watched our bedroom door swing back and forth about five times, then slam shut with great force. I said, “I think we have a ghost and it wants us to leave.” After the third night of the swinging and slamming shut, a white figure (hot human shape) jumped over both of us there in bed.
The woman who lived above us couldn’t take the slamming of our bedroom door and cupboards anymore. She got up and began stomping on the floor, got her kids up to make noise all night, and dropped pots and pans. It got so bad that they plotted to kill us. I assured her that we weren’t the culprits, that it was a ghost. She wouldn’t believe me, so we all wound up in court. Due to her death threats, the judge in Lexington made her move out of the apartment.
One night, my husband, Nick, woke up sweating. He said he was going to turn on the air conditioner. Nick only got one foot out of bed when we both heard a “click.” The air conditioner came on by itself. On another occasion, having taken on a job at this apartment complex as maintenance worker, Nick went running out the door and down the back steps. He was scared out of his wits. I said, “What in the world is the matter with you?”
He told me that while he was painting the bedroom above ours, he heard little children laughing. I went to investigate, but heard nor seen nothing. . . . About two months later, the man who moved in above us told his wife, said, “Janet must have her children this weekend. I heard them laughing.”
His wife replied, “No, Janet had her kids here last weekend.”
I wondered if these kids might have lived here on this land years ago before the apartments were built. Could they have been killed by the ghost that keeps trying to run us off?
Nick gave up his maintenance job, and took on a regular one. He came home for lunch one day, and while getting ready to return to work, I said to him, “I think I will take a nap.” Well, as soon as I had laid down, a car passed right by the bedroom window, and I felt a super strong invisible force on me. I couldn’t move nor breathe. Making grunting noises, I kept trying to call on the name of Jesus. Finally, it moved away from me; just got up and left.
For more ghost stories, check out the book Haunted Houses & Family Ghosts of Kentucky by William Lynwood Montell on our website!