things that go
bump in the night
Grange business owners capitalize
on ghostly tales with annual walking tours
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (June 2011) Linda Foster bought
her circa 1840 home in La Grange in 1993. She purchased it expecting
to live there and run a business from the lower floors. But what she
didnt count on was the house being haunted.
I dont know how much I believe, and I dont know how
much I disbelieve, said Foster. I do know that Ive
never been truly afraid in this house.
Living alone at the time, she bought the large, old house and set up
her business, Christmas in Kentucky, on the first-floor. Her bedroom
is on the second floor, and one night she awakened in the middle of
the night to a very strong sensation of someone holding her hand. The
feeling persisted for five to 10 minutes then went away, she said.
The second strange occurrence took place downstairs in the back of the
foyer by a closet under the stairway. I needed to get something
out of the closet, and when I opened the door, I was nearly knocked
down by the strong smell of ammonia, she said.
Many people experience strange or unexplained occurrences and wonder
if they are the result of a spirit world. Some shrug it off but others
seek to quench their curiosity by calling on paranormal researchers
or groups who specialize in documenting such activities. In fact, in
recent years dozens of clubs in Louisville and surrounding cities have
seen growth in memberships and the number of organized paranormal gatherings.
The Internet is full of websites dedicated to paranormal groups and
events and information. And right here in Kentuckiana, Gen. Butler State
Resort Park now plays host to two paranormal weekends a year at its
Butler Turpin Historic Home.
Groups in the Area
Green Light Paranormal Investigations
Kentuckiana Paranormal Investigators
Paranormal Researchers of Ohio Valley (P.R.O.O.V.)
Real American Hauntings
Soul Warriors Paranormal
Society for Paranormal Occurrences of Kentuckiana (S.P.O.O.K.)
The Friendly Ghost Hunter
Valley Ghost Chasers
More information can be found at www.ParanormalSocieties.com.
Puzzled by the odd happenings at her home, Foster called
in a team of paranormal experts, P.R.O.O.V. (Paranormal Researchers
of Ohio Valley). The team investigated her home and found an image in
a tall mirror in her foyer. The mirror had come from an old Red Cross
building in Louisville, and the figure of a nurse had traveled with
This would explain the hand holding, said Foster, since nurses commonly
hold patients hands, and the strong smell of ammonia. The silver coating
on the mirror was peeling off, which could explain the image
of a nurse. Still curious, Foster then called in a clairvoyant who looked
all around the house.
by Helen McKinney
Foster of La Grange, Ky.,
lives and works at her Christmas in
Kentucky shop (pictured below),
which is on the annual Ghost Walking
Tour because of the unexplained
paranormal activity that
frequently occurs there.
She told Foster that the original owners were in the living
room: a man was going in and out of the front door daily (probably a
businessman on his way to work); a woman was standing on the staircase
landing waving goodbye or welcoming him home; there was a lot of activity
in the kitchen area from a spirit she termed Mabel, who
was very busy; and several little girls were happily playing on the
stairs. The clairvoyant told Foster that the spirits were there constantly,
but meant her no harm.
Foster cant explain the happenings and has never had any interaction
with the spirits. Ive witnessed all sorts of things. I know
what Ive seen, she said, even though she cant put
her finger on any plausible answers.
Her home isnt the only structure that is supposedly haunted in
La Grange. Each fall, Discover Downtown La Grange conducts The Spirits
of La Grange Ghost Tours at several locations around town. All
of the locations visited on the tour have had their occurrences investigated
by paranormal teams and they have verified happenings, said Foster.
Volunteers lead the tours and all proceeds fund future community events
such as Light Up La Grange and The Blue Hydrangea Tea Party.
The building that houses Big Rs BBQ has also seen many mysterious
happenings. Rich Savage, a paranormal researcher, has visited the home
several times and participated in a stakeout at the former Peak Funeral
Home on Main Street. It is now a residence owned by former La Grange
Mayor Elsie Carter.
Savage is part of a group of five people who operate a
paranormal research entity known as S.P.O.O.K. (Society for Paranormal
Occurrences of Kentuckiana).
Ive always been interested in ghost hunting because of experiences
I had when growing up, said Savage, who is from Prospect. His
parents home had been built over a graveyard, the gravestones
having been removed, but eerie circumstances left behind.
When members of S.P.O.O.K. go into a building they look for certain
clues to what is really going on. They base their interpretation on
the history of the house, personal experiences, electro magnetic fields,
temperature and humidity readings, and the use of digital video recorders.
We take baseline readings and look for a plausible answer. We
try to go back and disprove it first, he said.
Starr Williams has been interested in the paranormal all of my
life. In the late 1990s, she saw a TV show that sparked her interested,
and she became hooked on ghost hunting. I had a lot of questions,
and was looking for answers.
Williams said she is called into a lot of homes and businesses in an
effort to explain paranormal occurrences. More than once she has visited
Butler-Turpin Historic House located inside Gen. Butler State Resort
Park in Carrollton, Ky. Her most recent visit there took place May 14
during a Spirits of Butler Paranormal Weekend event.
She said there is usually a lot of activity at every paranormal event
she attends there, but this time there was more than usual. There
was activity in several rooms. The patriarch of the Butler clan,
Thomas, tried to communicate with several people, she said.
Williams herself is sensitive to spirit energies, she said.
Upon entering a building, I dont want to know a lot about
what a homeowner is experiencing. I like going through and getting my
Williams of Lexington, Ky.,
often speaks at Paranormal
Weekend events held at Butler
Turpin Historic Home inside Gen. Butler
State Resort Park in Carrollton, Ky.
Williams, who lives in Lexington, Ky., has conducted paranormal
research officially since 1997. She has traveled as far away as San
Diego to hold seminars. She and her team of two daughters and a couple
of close friends help people accept the fact that they have something
in their home or business and how to deal with it, or help them set
boundaries that will send the spirits on their way.
She said that in the past she has recorded a lot of activity in the
graveyard near the Butler-Turpin home. Its a very sensitive
area, just because of its history.
Evelyn Welch, Historic Site Museum Manager at the Butler-Turpin State
Historic House, said she holds many public paranormal events there because
of the public interest in the topic. Most notable are the Spirits
of Butler Paranormal Weekends held in May and October.
She has worked at the historic house since 1993, and one of the most
frequently asked questions is whether or not the house is haunted. Based
on my experience, the people interested in this type of thing enjoy
networking with others, sharing technology and stories of their experiences
just like with any hobby, said Welch. I do think there are
people who attend that have lost a loved one and are hoping to reconnect.
Most of the information collected by paranormal groups are posted on
their websites if the home or business owner agrees to do so. Williams
said she would like to compile the findings from the Butler-Turpin house
and put them on a CD that could be used as a fundraising project in
the future for the historic site.
If youre really serious about doing this for your client, you
wont charge them, she said.
She advises to be careful of this when looking for a paranormal team
of researchers to avoid being the target of fraud.
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