Haunting processions, stately monuments, and works of art mark the final resting place of unique Kentuckians; we remember the legend of the Witches Tree in Old Louisville in this Kentucky Life Memory; Civil War soldiers and current residents still find no rest in haunted Perryville; and they may have come in peace, but the Little Green Men who visited the small town of Kelly were not welcome.
Famous Graves in Kentucky
Across the commonwealth, famous Kentuckians of the past have been memorialized with notable gravesites. Kentucky Life took a closer look at four of those unique memorials:
The Witches Tree
In a Halloween-themed memory, Kentucky Life took a look back at a segment on The Witches Tree in Louisville.
The DuPont Mansion and Inn at the Park dates back to 1887, when it was built by Russell Houston, then president of the L and N Railroad. The showpiece mansion remains an impressive attraction to this day. But as with many notable old buildings, there are ghost stories associated with the DuPont.
The central Kentucky town of Perryville was the site of a Civil War battle in 1862, and some locals believe that the ghosts of that battle remain in the town today.
“There is a mass grave at the Perryville battlefield site,” says local resident Chris Brummett. “It’s filled with 300 Confederate soldiers. They couldn’t afford the time and the ground to bury those men individually.”
Many of the wounded soldiers from that battle were brought to makeshift hospitals in people’s homes in town. Some of those homes are still standing, and evidence of the conflict remains.
“There are several homes in town that have handwriting on the walls from soldiers who lay convalescing in the homes, maybe died,” says Vicki Goode, executive director of Main Street Perryville. “It was typical for them to write their name, their rank, and where they were from. There are blood stains on the floors that could make you relive what that time was like.”
Goode says that residents of Perryville and visitors of the town report seeing or hearing ghosts. Some have become familiar to locals.
“According to legend, Sam is a Confederate soldier who fought and died in Perryville,” says Goode. “It is said…that you can see him sometimes on a dark night, usually hot. He will walk out of the opera house dressed in his full Confederate uniform, cross merchants’ row, and walk up the hill to the cemetery.”
Brummett shares the tale of two friends who were enjoying a summer evening on the front porch of a home near the battlefield.
“They were just enjoying the night when they had a confederate soldier walk out of the field, and addressed them in generic form,” says Brummett. “He said to them, ‘Ladies, the lamp will give our position away.’ And he turned and walked back in the same direction from which he had come, materializing as he approached and dematerializing as he walked away.”
Whether the stories are true or not, the town of Perryville doesn’t mind having the haunted reputation.
“We have a wealth of history, and the hauntings are a part of that history,” says Goode. “Our motto is ‘Our history is our future.’ That’s what makes Perryville.”
The Kelly Little Green Men
Have aliens visited Kentucky? Some residents of the town of Kelly believe so.
“It is a fantastical story that has lasted all these years,” says Geraldine Stith, speaking about the tale of the alien invasion during August, 1955. “I heard it from the main source, and that was my father, Elmer Sutton.”