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Friday, March 03, 2006

"I have drove pass there alot."

Our good friend Carnacki has linked to a long list of haunted places in Kentucky. I'm reminded of Linda Lue Linn's delightful collection of Kentucky Ghost Stories, which I can wholeheartedly endorse to anyone with an interest in eerie tales from Appalachia and the Bluegrass region.

If you're ever trawled the depths of free hosting services like GeoCities or Tripod in search of ghostly or paranormal stories, you're familiar with the kind of dreck that's out there -- story after story of credulous encounters with sleep paralysis, hypnogogia, pareidolia, apophenia, or just plain overactive imagination. "Dude! You were asleep!," you shout at the screen, to no avail.

Linda Linn's site may look superficially like a million other sites, and in truth you'll find the occasional sleep paralysis story reprinted there. But her real stock in trade is the surviving threads of the traditional storytelling that's been the hallmark of Appalachia since Daniel Boone wondered what was on the other side of the mountains. The echoing death songs of slaughtered Shawnee warriors. Confederate soldiers on perpetual patrol. The eerie cries of an infant, abandoned in a holler during the Great Depression. Small-town tales of lost loves and broken hearts.

For the most part, don't expect "littacher." These are the stories told by people who go out and get their hands dirty while you sit behind a computer all day. But their voices are direct and authentic and distinctly American. As we say in regard to that other great Kentucky product, have a little taste:
A White House in Russellville Kentucky that has a small square tower room upstairs has a window that has been boarded and painted. A large graveyard is behind and to the side of the house. The house sits at the corner of two crossroads at a stoplight. I have drove pass there alot. I have heard different stories about this place but the story I hear the most is that the girl who lived in the house years ago wanted to go to a dance. The night of the dance there was a bad thunderstorm so her parents would not let her go. She was mad and upset so she went to the tower room to take off her dress. She started cursing and swearing at God when she was struck by lightning and killed. Another story is that she was waiting for her boyfriend to come over during a bad storm. She was in the tower room looking out of the window, worried about him because he was late when she was struck by lightning and killed. Also heard that she was taking a bath. Whichever story is true it is said that on stormy nights when it is thundering and lightning that you can see her image in the window glass.

And behold! "The Russellville girl house," complete with painted-over tower window:

Update: More images of the Russellville girl house (actually, "the Sexton's House"):

  • A beautiful portrait at the Russellville Kentucky Cemetery Department Official Home Page. (No kidding! Does your city have a Cemetery Department? Does it have a home page? I thought not.)

  • The Logan County Chamber of Commerce virtual tour stops by the Sexton's House.

  • An article at Roadside America.