La Grange Ghost Tours

Ghost tours enter their 13th year,
giving guests a little ‘scare’

Strange happenings are known to occur on each tour

LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2015) – Every time Barbara Manley gives a guided tour for the Spirits of La Grange Ghost Tours, she experiences something new. After 11 years, the tours never get old, and the stories are still fresh and evolving.
“People like the fact that we’re authentic,” said Manley. The stories are researched and historical connections made. “That’s how we find out who the spirits are. Without knowing the history, there is just activity.”

File Photo

Barbara Manley of La Grange, Ky., leads ghost tours of the downtown area in September and October.

The walking tours are sponsored by La Grange Crossroads District, a Main Street Program. Tours are given September through October, with two tours nightly in October at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Space is limited to 15 persons a tour. “We offer private tours for groups of 10 or more on a week night, usually Thursdays,” said Manley.
There are seven locations that can be toured, and buildings that aren’t open for the tour are talked about from the sidewalk. “We have new stories and activities,” Manley said.
“There is always something happening in all of the locations. We hear stories all year long. There are a couple of places that are very active and new things have already taken place this year. We don’t stage anything.”
Some of the spots included on the tour are Rails Restaurant, a 150-year-old building inhabited by a young girl’s spirit who died of typhoid fever. The William T. Barbour house, built in 1840, has had several paranormal groups and clairvoyants confirm hot and cold spots, and felt the presence of energies.
The Blue House, built in 1875, reportedly has a cash register that runs until the paper tape runs out, complete with random numbers on it. The cellar door also refuses to close.
In the Old Pharmacy Building, which now houses Gallery 104, heavy footsteps have been heard overhead and a ringing doorbell. At the Main Street Bourbon & Ale House, a son named Gilbert murdered his mother, Annie. This latter location is the last stop on the walking tour.  
Manley said there is “so much history on these tours.” The guides often tell about their particular experiences on the tour, adding much to their presentations. You could take the same tour with a different tour guide and get a totally different perspective each time, she said. There are many repeat visitors on these highly popular tours.
One of the strangest things Manley has ever experienced was while giving a tour for a group of about 25 people. “We heard footsteps above us in one of the locations. It was definitely footsteps. The next week, I had another larger tour and it happened again in the same location. And these were loud footsteps. But there was no one there.”
The original script for the Spirits of La Grange Ghost Tours was written by Dottie Lammlein in 2003. “She did the initial historical research,” Manley said. Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center, added to it as well.
What each person takes away with them from the tours “depends on the person. Once you get in the locations and talk to people who had experiences there,” the tour may take on a different meaning for each person, said Karen Eldridge, Director for La Grange Crossroads District.
It is thought that one reason La Grange is haunted is because it sits on a series of five springs with water running through limestone, which acts like a giant battery from which energy can feed.
Those interested in participating in future paranormal investigations or “Dinner with the Spirits” should contact the Spirits hotline at (502) 291-1766. Children under 12 are not allowed to take the tours.

Money from the Ghost Tours goes into facade grants for La Grange Crossroads District. Tickets are $18 and can be reserved by calling the Spirit line or ordered online with a two-day advance notice at www.spiritsoflagrange.com.

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