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Haunted happenings

This scary artwork is for The Ghost of Windsor Manor Murder Mystery Weekend at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Photo: Kentucky State Parks
Douglas Tait suiting up as Halloween slasher Michael Myers.
In Cadiz, Trigg Terror is set in a former seed mill building. Photo: Richard Knight
Industrial Slaughterhouse owner Jack Chapman costumed as his alter ego, LaughTrack Jack. Photo: The Industrial Slaughterhouse
Cartwright Grove’s Haunted Town Fall Festival, Mayfield, is fun for all ages. Photo: Mayfield-Graves County Tourism
Carter Caves State Resort Park Naturalist Paul Tierney takes visitors inside the cave for Cascade After Hours: The Legends of Carter County. Photo: Kentucky State Parks
At Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park, Pumpkin Man on stilts is a big hit with visitors and a scary sight to behold. Photo: Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park
Just hanging around Trigg Terror in Cadiz. Photo: Richard Knight

What goes bump in the night in Kentucky?

CRAZY CLOWNS, sepulchral storytellers, things that go bump in the great beyond. Kentucky has it all for the witching hour, and in settings guaranteed to chill spines and raise goosebumps: hundreds of feet belowground in the murky subterrain of a cave; an abandoned slaughterhouse; a bloody battlefield; and a haunted seed mill straight from the imagination of a Walking Dead actor. 

Ghost Hunting and Ghost Stories on the Battlefield 

Follow the torchlit trail at Perryville Battlefield as park manager Bryan Bush, in full uniform, recounts the history of the October 8, 1862 battle, reads letters and diary accounts from soldiers who were there, and describes its bloody aftermath. Bush also spins ghost tales and discusses paranormal activity associated with the battlefield. 

“We’re about as haunted as Gettysburg,” says Bush, noting Perryville recently was recognized by the American Battlefield Trust as the “most intact battlefield of any major battle of the Civil War.” 

Now in its third year, the tour is on the scary side—especially during a full moon and because of its unexpected ending. 

“Sometimes we have a little surprise for our guests,” says Bush. 


Cascade After Hours: The Legends of Carter County 

In this new event dreamed up by Carter Caves State Resort Park’s recreation team, journey through the darkened chambers of Cascade Cave in Olive Hill. Move from storyteller to storyteller to hear hair-raising tales based on local legends. 

“Most see Cascade Cave with all the lights on,” says park naturalist Coy Ainsley. “For this, everything will be done by lantern light. It sets the scene well.” 

Bwahaha … You can almost hear an evil laugh echoing through the cave, known for its 30-foot-high waterfall, reflecting pool and beautiful cave formations. 

Trigg Terror 

What mayhem lurks within the mind of a bandit from The Walking Dead? Lee Vervoort, who played a Savior for three seasons of the show, takes the stuff of nightmares and brings it to life at this Cadiz haunted attraction. 

A former seed mill, built in the 1940s, provides an atmospheric backdrop for the sets Vervoort designs from scratch each year and then populates with a cast of creepy characters. Vervoort estimates it takes around three months to get everything ready for opening night. And to get through the house? 

“That,” he says, “depends on how scared you are and how fast you’re moving.” 

Cue spooky music. 

The Industrial Slaughterhouse 

It’s a meeting of the macabre in Mayfield, with undead monsters, distorted dolls, deranged psychopaths, a crazy clown called LaughTrack Jack and the Industrial Butcher madly crying out, “It’s time, it’s time, I smell fresh meat!” 

They’re all lying in wait in an abandoned slaughterhouse, biding their time, ready for you. 

In spite of the ominous atmosphere, co-owner Jack Chapman, one of the masterminds behind the scares, calls the live-action horror show family friendly. 

“It’s tame enough for a child,” he says. “Some kids handle it a lot better than the adults.” 

Things don’t get too intense—until Sunday nights. 

“That’s when we turn out all the lights and it’s black-out Clownfestation,” he says with a cackle. 

Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park 

Warning: You may go all “scream queen” a la Jamie Lee Curtis. 

Skeleton’s Lair on Cemetery Road outside Bowling Green (the childhood home of Halloween director/writer, John Carpenter) is a journey into the very belly of the beast: haunted woods, hayride, house and 3D maze. Each stage is set with animations, special effects and pyrotechnics, like unexpected flashes of flames shooting from a rooftop. 

Encounter monsters both familiar and concocted from the imagination of Amy Burge, co-owner of the park, and her team of like-minded ghouls. Like a twisted circus ringmaster. Or Krampus, the beast from the eponymous horror movie. Or this year’s special guest, actor/director/stunt performer Douglas Tait, suiting up as Halloween slasher Michael Myers. 

Tait has appeared in such horror film faves as Hellboy and Annabelle Comes Home, and performed in both Freddy vs. Jason and 2021’s Halloween Kills—the next-to-last installment of the Halloween franchise. (Halloween Ends was filmed earlier this year.) 

“It’s a nice tie-in to the year of Michael Myers,” says Burge. “And he has a beautiful Michael Myers costume.” 

And by that, Burge means utterly terrifying. 

So, choose your scare if you dare. And get ready to scream. 

Get your haunt on. Scary caves, spooky driving tours, creepy locales and traditional “haints.” How many of these can your nerves take? 

Cascade After Hours: The Legends of Carter County at Carter Caves State Resort Park 

344 Caveland Drive, Olive Hill; (606) 286-4411 ext. 1. Fridays, Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28. $20 adults; $10 children ages 3–12. Limited space. Not recommended for young children. Find updates on the park’s Facebook page: Carter Caves State Resort Park. Served by Grayson RECC. 

Ghost Hunting and Ghost Stories on the Battlefield

Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, 1825 Battlefield Road, (State Route 1920), Perryville; (859) 332-8631. Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 and 29. $10 adult; $5 children ages 10–17. No walk-ons. Tickets are nonrefundable. Tour goes rain or shine. Not recommended for children under 10. Served by Inter-County Energy Cooperative.

The Industrial Slaughterhouse 

10537 State Route 80 West, Fancy Farm; (270) 623-6493. Open every weekend through Halloween and open on Halloween. $22 per person; children 6 and under free. Served by West Kentucky RECC.

Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park 

48 Locketts Dream, Allen County (near Bowling Green); (270) 622-8171. Open evenings Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30–Oct. 29 plus Sunday, Oct. 16, 23 and 30 and on Halloween. Check website for hours; $35 per person. Tickets can be upgraded to a FastPass—see website. Not intended for small children. Served by Tri-County Electric.

Trigg Terror 

Next to exit 65 on I-24 in Cadiz; Facebook: Trigg Terror. 7 p.m.–midnight Friday and Saturday in October. $15 per person; $10 per person, groups or five or more. This is a “no-touch” haunted house. Served by Pennyrile Electric.

Other haunted happenings around the state: 

Spooky Cave-in Movie Night at Carter Caves State Resort Park 

344 Caveland Drive, Olive Hill; (606) 286-4411. Saturday, Oct. 8, 15 and 22. Family-friendly spooky flick inside Cascade Cave. $6 per person (cash only). Drinks, snacks sold separately. Served by Grayson RECC.

Copper Canyon Ranch Haunted Hay Ride 

14750 Ovil Road, Hopkinsville; Facebook; Copper Canyon Ranch, (270) 269-2416. 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $10 per person; kids 7 and under free. Served by Pennyrile Electric.

Talon Falls Screampark 

2932 State Route 849 West, Melber; (270) 674-5690. Wicked Grove theme features 13 Terrifying Mazes, Dead End Haunted House Psych Ward and Blood Creek Haunted Hayride with a theme of Carnival of Evil. Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 30–Oct. 29 and Sundays, Oct. 9–30 and on Halloween. Open Nov. 4–5 for Flashlight Fright Nights. $35 double combo; $50 triple combo. Other pricing options available; check website. Served by Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative.

Cartwright Grove Haunted Town Fall Festival 

1104 Housman Street (Mayfield-Graves County Fairgrounds), Mayfield; Facebook: Cartwright Grove 1880, (270) 970-0790. 1880s Old West Town. Oct. 14–15, 21–22, 28–29. Admission: $5. Live music, bonfire, covered wagon rides and haunted occupants, hamburgers and hot dogs, ghosts and goblins and more. Served by West Kentucky RECC.

Murder Mystery Weekend at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park 

7351 Highway 90, Corbin; (606) 528-4121. The Ghost of Windsor Manor interactive performance is at DuPont Lodge Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28–29. $130 single occupancy; $150 double occupancy. Served by Cumberland Valley Electric.

John Carpenter Reel Sites, Real Scary Driving Tour 

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 352 Three Springs Road, Bowling Green; (270) 782-0800. Driving tour highlights streets and locations mentioned in some of Carpenter’s films as well as his childhood home, high school and other sites associated with the Master of Horror. Download map from website. Free. 

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