Lights and ceiling fans turn on and off. An open paint
can falls from the middle of a table onto the floor.
It’s not just on Halloween that this happens, but year-round
at the Powells’ house in Bardstown.
In the 10 years since Ernie and Susan Powell bought
their brick home, which was built in 1880, unusual things have happened. A repairman
working in the basement felt someone kick him in the pants, but no one was there.
Finally the Powells contacted Certified Ghost Hunter
Patti Acord Starr of Lexington to investigate their home.
"A psychic did a prayer in the guest bedroom to
let the spirits know that no one would hurt them," Susan Powell explains.
"And a newspaper reporter was busy snapping numerous rolls of film as we
went through the house and outside."
With the aid of brass dowsing rods, cameras, tape recorders,
and a magnetic field detector, Starr noted the presence of five ghosts inside
the house and five more on the outside. The Powells’ suspicions of ghosts were
"Normally nothing unusual happens here on Halloween,"
Powell begins, "but last year was different. On the Saturday before Halloween,
we had a birthday party here for a friend and invited several people. One of the
birthday gifts was a brass dowsing rod…some of the guests decided to use the rod
to hunt for the ghosts.
"No one knew how to use the dowsing rod and nothing
strange happened, so the guests made fun of the ghosts. Then on Halloween, after
Ernie and I had given out the candy to the trick-or-treaters, I decided to go
to bed at 11 p.m. when I saw the light on in the guest bedroom."
Powell continues, "We have two Casablanca ceiling
fans with computer chips, so the fans jingle when you turn them on and off. I
heard the fans jingle in the guest bedroom and the den as the fans turned slowly,
then faster and faster. Suddenly, the fans went off. Then the lights in both rooms
came on dim and became brighter and brighter before they went off. This happened
over and over until I was a wreck. Ernie yelled at the ghosts to stop, but everything
"Ernie turned off the power and called Patti Acord
Starr. After Patti heard about the birthday party and the guests teasing the ghosts,
she suggested that we go apologize to the ghosts, which we did," Powell admits.
"I went to bed, but I was afraid that I would see a ghost. It really scared
me for two or three days!"
Another believer in ghosts is William Lynwood Montell,
a retired professor of folklore at Western Kentucky University and the author
of numerous books about ghosts in Kentucky. Montell had his first experience with
a ghost before the age of 8. He relates that one night he awoke to see a figure
"dressed in a multi-colored nightgown" walking near his bed and staring
When Montell told his family about his experience the
next morning, his mother replied, "Lynwood, young man, you didn’t see that!"
Protesting, the young Montell said, "Mama, I did
see it. Why do you say that I didn’t?"
His mother responded, "Because that was the gown
my mammy had on the night she died, and when she died you were less than a year
old, so you couldn’t recall seeing her gown. And by the way, she did die in that
room where you were sleeping last night."
"All I can say is, I did indeed see my grandmother’s
ghost," Professor Montell explains. "At least, to me that’s what it
Although you’ll have to make up your own mind about
ghosts, it’s interesting to note the large number of accounts written about ghostly
encounters in Kentucky. You be the judge!
Patti Acord Starr-Ghost Chasers International
Linda Linn’s Kentucky Home and Ghost Stories
Shadowlands Haunted Places Index-Kentucky
Haunted Houses and Kentucky Family Ghosts, William Lynwood Montell.(University
Press of Kentucky, September 2001) $25.00, cloth
Ghosts Across Kentucky, William Lynwood Montell. (University Press of
Kentucky, 2000) $17.00, paper
Hans Holzer’s Travel Guide to Haunted Houses, Hans Holzer. (Black Dog
& Leventhal Publications, 1999) $9.98
No Rest for the Wicked, Troy Taylor. (Whitechapel Productions Press,
Tragedy at Devil’s Hollow: And More Kentucky Ghost Stories, Michael Paul Henson.
(The Overmountain Press, 2000) $17.95, paper