Kentucky may be known for its rolling green horse pastures, world-renowned bourbon and awesome outdoor adventures, but those who know where to look may also find earth-bound ghosts, paranormal activity and real haunted houses in Kentucky.
Where can you find ghosts in Kentucky? Try one of the many frighteningly fun ghost tours throughout the state. Take a candlelit walk through historic downtown Paducah, meet the phantoms of Civil War-era plantations, embark on a real paranormal investigation in a state park and more.
Though there are some spots where you can always find a ghost in Kentucky, the state really comes alive with the spooky spirit in the month of October. View our Events calendar to find seasonal haunted hayrides, ghost tours and haunted houses in Kentucky.
For year-round frights, read about the state’s ghost stories and urban legends and make plans to visit haunted lodging and attractions for an eerie encounter with a ghost in Kentucky.
Have you heard of the "Gray Lady" or any of the other popular ghost stories of Kentucky? Whether you choose to believe these Kentucky urban legends or not, they’re intriguing pieces of local culture and folklore. Read up on some of the better-known creature and ghost stories of Kentucky below.
Octagon Hall, (Franklin) - Besides being a very uniquely-shaped antebellum mansion, this historic house museum has been featured in several ghost-hunting TV specials and is believed to house the spirits of family members who lived in the mansion, enslaved people, as well as soldiers from both sides of the Civil War who are tied to the history of the home.
Reel Sites, Real Scary: A John Carpenter Driving Tour, (Bowling Green) -
While no movie scenes were filmed in Bowling Green, Carpenter did make numerous area references in a few of his flicks, using local street and community names like the fictitious Warren County- Smiths Grove Sanitarium from where Michael Myers escapes in Halloween.
General Butler State Resort Park (Carrollton) – Ghost tours of the Butler-Turpin State Historic House (built in 1859) are given around October each year. Many sounds and sights have occurred in the mansion and around the grounds.
Gaines Tavern History Center (Walton) – Featured in several “ghost-hunting” shows, the reportedly haunted Gaines Tavern is worth checking out during the spookiest time of the year.
Whitehaven (Paducah) - Though now a welcome center, this mansion was built in the 1860s. Today, visitors to the mansion claim to experience paranormal activity attributed to previous residents of the house, including apparitions and the smell of food coming from the former kitchen.
Haunted Carriage Rides (Paducah) - Visitors will take an hour long carriage ride on a haunted tour of downtown and the Lower Town neighborhood in Paducah. Guests will hear haunted stories of a Confederate solider, a former newspaper owner, child spirits, and local mummy legend Speedy.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville) – The infamous former tuberculosis sanatorium has been featured in countless television shows and offers tours (and even overnight investigations!) for guests to view the hauntings for themselves.
Cave Hill Cemetery (Louisville) – While some cemeteries may be a place for resting “in peace,” hauntings have been reported throughout this cemetery. Strange sightings and sounds are often reported at night.
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill (Harrodsburg) – Spirit Strolls - This tour provides visitors the opportunity to learn more about the various hauntings and “darker” side of the former Shaker community.
Liberty Hall Historic Site (Frankfort) – Built in Frankfort in 1796 for the Brown family, stories of the hauntings within this early-Kentucky mansion date back to the 19th century. The famous “Gray Lady” may be the spirit of a family member who passed in the home after a long trip from New York. Visitors to the site claim to still see the Gray Lady and perhaps two other spirits, including a Spanish opera singer who disappeared from the house in the early 1800s.
Portal 31 Coal Mine (Harlan County) – Eastern Kentucky’s coal mines have an eerie vibe, and that is certainly the case with Portal 31, which is believed by many to be haunted by the coal miners who spent countless hours deep within its tunnels. Strange lights and sounds have been reported.
Cumberland Falls State Park (Whitley County) - In the 1950's a bride and groom came to Cumberland Falls for their honeymoon. They wanted to take a photo with the falls in the background. It is rumored while the bride was on the edge of the cliff she lost her balance and fell to her death. This area is called "Lover's Leap".
Blue Heron Mining Community (McCreary County) – This coal mining ghost town is said to still be haunted by the miners who were once employed here years ago.
International Paranormal Museum and Research Center (Somerset) - A small museum residing in the basement of John Sherman Cooper Community Arts Center that is dedicated to all things paranormal. Here you will find artifacts, an extensive library as well as a gift shop.
Paramount Arts Center, (Ashland) - The ghost of “Paramount Joe,” an employee who passed in the building, is said to still haunt the building. While filming the music video for “Achy Breaky Heart,” musician Billy Ray Cyrus even signed an autograph for him.
Van Lear Coal Mining Museum, (Johnson County) This museum, which is tied to the former coal mining companies that used to operate in the area, is allegedly haunted and offers specialized paranormal tours and even the opportunity for people to come investigate for themselves.
Haunted Walking Tour (Owensboro) Take a walking tour of some of downtown Owensboro's rumored haunted buildings like The Creme Coffee House, Daviess County Courthouse, and Famous Bistro on 2nd Street. This tour will cover some of Owensboro's favorite ghost stories and sightings.
The Miller House (Owensboro) -The spirit of a little girl is rumored to haunt the local eatery and loves to play with a ball she bounces up and down the restaurant’s wooden staircase.