Passionate for the Paranormal
walks are flourishing,
boosting area tourism
have a flair for the dramatic
Helen E. McKinney
2012 Edition Cover
(October 2012) Enter a world of dark secrets,
fleeting mysterious apparitions and unexplained floating orbs that give
you goose bumps. This is the world of reputed haunted sites often encountered
on ghost walking tours.
People have always been intrigued by the possibility of spirits
among us, said Angie Satterfield of the River Towns Rock Tour
Co. She will be giving a Walking Ghost Tour in Vevay, Ind., on Oct.
12-13, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26.
The Original Vevay Ghost Tour explores four different haunted
locations in Vevay: the Julia Knox Gift Shop, the Switzerland County
Historical Society, Historic Hoosier Theatre and the Old Vevay Jail.
Vevay is chock full of great stories, said Satterfield.
These sites are not just your normal haunted houses, with
morbid half-living, half-dead entities jumping out of the dark at every
corner. Rather, the tours present a mix of true stories and local lore,
she said. We present the facts, things that are intriguing to
people. The tours share a lot about the history of the town, too.
Satterfield is taking advantage of the recent fascination by the public
in ghosts and ghost hunting, as illustrated by dozens of TV shows on
the subject. Many ghost hunting groups have formed throughout the region
and the growth in ghost hunting has not gone unnoticed by tourism offices.
Ghost walks, overnight hotel packages centered on ghost hunting, and
trolley tours have flourished in recent years in Louisville, La Grange
and Carrollton in Kentucky, and at several towns in southern Indiana.
Those visitors who take the Vevay tours are about a 50-50 mix of locals
and out-of-towners, said Satterfield. Due to a lot of ghost hunting
exposure in the media and TV shows centering on the topic, ghost walking
tours and ghost hunting is very popular right now, she said.
Walking Tours in the Region
The Original Vevay Ghost Tour. Offering ghost
tours and ghost hunting class and overnight stay in Vevay, Ind.
Tour four locations on a guided walking tour. 7 p.m. on Oct. 12-13;
Oct. 19-20 and oct. 26. Tickets $25 and a portion of proceeds
benefit the Hoosier Theater and Switzerland County Historical
Society. The Southeastern Indiana Ghost Hunting Specialists will
conduct the class for $89, including food and walking tour. To
reserve for either call (812) 427-3338.
Night Spirits at Lanier Mansion State
Historic Site. Costumed actors will portray spirits
Oct. 19 in the dimly lit rooms of the Lanier Mansion, downtown
Madison, Ind. Beginning at 7 p.m., groups of 15 will depart from
the Lanier-Madison Visitor Center, 601 W. First St. at 15 minute
intervals. Tickets $10 and includes refreshments. Call to reserve
at (812) 273-0556.
Hectors Haunted Happenings Mysterious Dinner and
Ghost Walk. Oct. 12-13 at the North American House Museum,
Vernon, Ind. 6 p.m. seating Friday; 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. seatings
Saturday. Tickets $15 for dinner or $16 for dinner and ghost walk.
Must purchase in advance for dinner by Oct. 9 at (812) 346-346-8989.
Featuring ghost stories and folklore acted out by local high school
drama students. No reservations needed for the 9:30 p.m. ghost
walk only. Sponsored by the Jennings County Historical Society.
The Spirits of La Grange Ghost Tours. Guided
walks through downtown La Grange, Ky. Tours last 1-2 hours and
visitors are taken inside several locations. Tickets $18 for ages
12 through adult. No one under age 12. Proceeds benefit Discover
Downtown La Grange (Main Street Program). To reserve call (502)
Louisville Ghost Walks. The Brown Hotel, 335 W.
Broadway, Louisville. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday. A 90-minute
walk downtown. Reservations suggested. Tickets $15. (502) 689-5117
Louisville Ghost Tour. Starting location varies.
8 p.m. daily. Tickets $15 adults, $8 ages 7-11, free for ages
6 and under. For starting location, call (502) 339-5445.
Old Louisvilles Victorian Ghost Tour. 6-7:30
p.m. on Oct. 26-28. Meet at Rock at Central Park (St. James Court
and Magnolia Avenue). Tickets $25 or $20 in advance. Sponsored
by the West St. Catharine Street Neighborhood Association. (502)
Ghosts of Old Louisville. The 90-minute bus tour
departs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays from the Visitors Center in Historic
Old Louisville. Tickets $25. Private group tours also available.
We encourage people to bring cameras and digital
recorders, said Satterfield. Visitors who have taken previous
ghost walking tours of the town have captured pictures of orbs and sounds
on ghost hunting equipment.
A new addition to the ghost walking tours this year will be an Introduction
to Ghost Hunting Class and Overnight at the Historic Hoosier Theater
on Oct. 26. The class will be conducted by Southeastern Indiana Ghost
Hunting Specialists and begin at 10 p.m. at the theater.
From 10 p.m. to midnight, the group will review the necessary equipment,
how to use it and how to engage and speak to an entity. From midnight
to 7 a.m., participants will be able to move around for hands-on
experiences with the equipment, Satterfield said.
The building was not always a theater, she said. It was
a warehouse building and the Ku Klux Klan held meetings inside. It
has quite a diverse history for a building.
Such ghost hunting classes are becoming a popular addition to ghost
walking tours. The Vevay tours provide a way for people to meet individuals
who had actual experiences there and can speak of them firsthand.
Its known for its paranormal activity, she said. So
many people have had experiences or seen something there. Participants
are allowed to bring cameras.
Many times, the tour guides have as much fun or more fun than
those taking the ghost tours, said Barbara Manley Edds. She has
been a tour guide for the Spirits of La Grange Ghost Tours
for the last eight years. The tour is currently in its 10th season.
Its fun to see what their reaction will be. Each tour is
different, and each experience as a group is different, said Edds.
Each guide has new experiences as well.
The La Grange ghost walking tours are well known because they
are authentic. We dont stage anything. Were authentic with
the history we tell and in checking out each story, Edds said.
And strange, unexplained things have been known to take place. While
Edds was giving a tour to a group of 25 individuals at the former Heads
Pharmacy on Main Street, all that were present heard footsteps above
them. The tour group were the only people in the building at the time.
is curious. People are interested in the paranormal."
Louisville ghost walking guide Robert Parker
In the former Peak Hotel on Main Street, the group she
was with experienced some type of movement in the former hotel and funeral
home. What happens on the tours is the real deal, she said.
New actions are recorded all of the time. There is always something
new to tell, Edds said.
She loves to go inside Linda Fosters residence, the former Christmas
in Kentucky gift shop at 203 E. Washington St. Another favorite of Edds
is the former Big Rs barbecue restaurant on the corner of Main
and Cedar streets because of the research I did and uncovered
a murder. The historical facts fit in with the actions that were recorded
Edds said the ghost walking tours are also popular because there is
a certain feel to La Grange. It feels good to be here. People
do like to be a little bit scared with ghost stories.
As a testament to this, Edds said she had a woman take one of her tours
who had also taken bigger tours in more notable locations such as Savannah,
Ga., and New Orleans. The woman told Edds that the La Grange tours were
the best Ive ever been on.
For this reason, the tours are an excellent way to introduce people
to La Grange, she said. There is a very rich history here.
A new addition to this years Spirits of La Grange Ghost Tours
is a Dinner with the Spirits planned for Oct. 4 at the Irish
Rover, Too. Space is limited and special guests will be present so that
more in depth discussions about the sites can take place as well as
giving attendees time to share their experiences.
These tours are the biggest fundraiser of the year for Discover Downtown
La Grange, officials say. They help keep the historical district
vital and healthy, Edds said.
by Darrel Taylor
Edds dresses the
part when she leads
the Spirits of
La Grange ghost
walking tours on
weekends in October.
Many ghost walking tours are not only offered in the fall,
even though participation may pick up in October. Two tours that basically
operate from May to November are Louisville Ghost Walks and Louisville
Participants on Louisville Ghost Walks can visit four haunted sites
that each have a little Louisville history attached to them,
said Robert Parker. Better known as Mr. Ghost Walker, Parker
began this ghost walking tour business a decade ago.
A teacher for 21 years in Jefferson County, Ky., Parker runs his business
from May to November. The tour begins at the Brown Hotel on Broadway,
proceeds to the Brennan House at 631 S. Fifth St., and the Louisville
Palace Theatre, 625 S. Fourth St., before ending at the Seelbach Hotel,
500 S. Fourth St. The latter hotel is the only location tour guests
may enter. They are taken to an area on the second floor mezzanine for
Not only entertaining, the tours are informational as well, Parker says.
Guests need to know the history of the sites, said Parker,
who has been a guest at both hotels.
At the Brennan House in the Old Louisville section of the city, Parker
shows many pictures that tell of the lifestyle of the former residents.
This three-story Victorian home was built in 1868 by tobacco wholesaler
Francis Slaughter Jones Ronald. The house was purchased in 1884 by Thomas
Brennan, a native of Ireland, and it stayed in the family for 75 years.
He and his wife, Anna Bruce, had nine children, eight of whom survived
into adulthood. It has been said that apparitions have made their presence
known in several rooms of the Brennans house: the first floor
parlor, main hallway, third floor childrens play room and the
medical office of Dr. John Brennan.
Louisville ghost walk tours
stop by the Brown Hotel.
In 1912, Dr. Brennan added a doctors office, along
with waiting and exam rooms, to the north side of his house. Brennan
was a surgeon and general practitioner in this office until just before
his death in 1963. The Brennan family was known to have loved their
home and evidently didnt want to be parted from it even in death.
Parker tells tour participants what to expect up front. Like the Ghost
Walking Tours in Vevay, the Louisville Ghost Walks are comprised of
about 50-50 locals and out-of-towners, he said.
Everyone is curious. People are interested in the paranormal.
Most ladies enjoy things about the paranormal, while guys enjoy the
history and architectural detail of the buildings, Parker said.
He encourages participants to come early and look around the haunted
landmarks. His tours are suitable for ages nine years and up.
Parker said he began his business because I always loved ghost
stories. Ive taken other ghost walking tours and was fascinated
with the history of these places, some of which were out-of-the way
He said many locals may have heard about the tours or the sites on the
tour, but not been on a tour. Its an interesting way to educate
them about their own local history.
Frank Harris is one of the managers of Louisville Ghost Tour. All of
his tour guides dress the part in Victorian costumes, and have some
type of experience in theatre. This heightens the participants encounter
with the haunted side of some of Louisvilles well-known historic
buildings during their lantern-lit tour.
We focus on telling authentic stories, said Harris. Like
Edds, he thoroughly researches the landmarks on his tour route, using
at least three sources for every story that is related on the tour.
I tried to find locations that have not only a great haunted history,
but history in general, and also architecture that is interesting to
view, said Harris. Louisville Ghost Tour lasts 90 minutes and
covers six sites. Like Parker, the only site he takes visitors into
is the Seelbach Hotel.
There have been several haunted happenings on his tours, such as participants
seeing silhouettes and smelling a trace of perfume worn by the long-gone
inhabitant of the home or hotel.
Louisville Ghost Tours is a subsidiary of Timeline Ghost Tours. The
tours, guides and stories have been featured on the Travel Channel,
TLC, NBC, CBS, FOX and PBS.
Many of these tours sell out quickly and reservations are strongly suggested.
Back to October 2012