Old Louisville is famous for its ornate mansions, built between 1885 and 1905, in 45 square blocks of its historic district. It’s also famous for its ghost stories. David Domine, author of “The Ghosts of Old Louisville,” gives ghost tours and history/architecture tours of the neighborhood.
Domine moved into the neighborhood in 1999 on Third Street. The previous owner told him there was a ghost in the house, but he didn’t believe her. “A couple of months later, the strange things started happening,” he said. “I have heard unexplained footsteps in the middle of the night. And I’m not talking about creaks and groans, because I discovered living in an old house that they do make sounds. But I could hear hard-soled shoes walking down the wooden hallway outside my bedroom at night, usually around 3, 3:30 in the morning.
“I had pets that acted like they could see things that I couldn’t see. I would wake up in the morning to the unexplained smell of coffee in the kitchen. It smelled like someone had just brewed it.” He even saw things move a couple of times. “I saw a vase slide across the mantel shelf one night,” he said.
Does Domine believe in ghosts? “If you forced me to give an answer, I’d say I probably don’t believe in ghosts,” he said. “But ask me if I believe in the paranormal, I’ll say I definitely believe in the paranormal.”
Those paranormal occurrences prompted him to start writing books, then giving tours.
Old Louisville homeowner Ron Harris said Domine has done thorough research for his tours. “He’s worked hard to make sure they’re correct and that he has as much information as possible packed into each story,” Harris said.
The Pink Palace
The Pink Palace in St. James Court was built in the 1890s as a “gentlemen’s club,” but is known now as a private residence with a ghost named Avery, who makes appearances to warn people who live there that they are in danger, Domine said. “He’s what they call a ‘crisis apparition’ in the paranormal world,” he said. “If you have to have a ghost in your house, he’s the kind that you want.”
The Little Girl in the White Dress
Susan Shearer said her home is haunted by the ghost of a little girl in a white dress who stands on the staircase. Domine researched Sheraer’s home and discovered that a little girl who lived there was killed in about 1915 or 1920 when she was hit by a car.
In Louisville’s Central Park, one of the DuPont brothers, Alfred Victor, known as Uncle Fred, is said to haunt the area. The ghost is said to be a tall man in a black tuxedo and top hat, often holding a gold-tipped walking stick. In 1893, it is said that Uncle Fred’s mistress showed up pregnant at the Galt House. Uncle Fred refused to claim the child, and his mistress shot and killed him. Local newspapers helped cover up the scandal, Domine said, and printed that Uncle Fred died of a heart attack.
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2110 which originally aired on October 29, 2016. Watch the full episode.