Over the past few years Old Louisville has attained a reputation that some leaders may have understandably been reluctant to embrace: most haunted neighborhood in the country. David Dominé has successfully shown that, if it's not the most haunted, it's at least near the top.
Dominé has now gathered twenty of his most chilling tales into one book, America's Most Haunted Neighborhood. Among them is one of my favorites, the story of the Little Girl in the White Dress. Earlier in the last century, she purportedly ran down the stairs, out the front door, and into the road where she was run over by an automobile. Current owners of the house say they can still see her occasionally on the stairs. Eerily, behind a dining room mantel in a secret pocket they uncovered an old photo of a young girl. Could it be her?
Then there's Avery, a former occupant of the Pink Palace, one of the area's most iconic homes. Long a private residence, it started life as a gentleman's club. The patrons have long since moved their cards and bootleg whiskey elsewhere, but the ever faithful Avery doesn't seem to have noticed. Former residents have actually felt comforted by his presence.
Dominé, who once owned a haunted mansion in the neighborhood, remains skeptical and attempts to explain many of these sightings as best he can. My guess is he just doesn't want to sound like a crackpot. After all, he's a respected educator. But many residents who've encountered these spectres are convinced there is indeed something afloat in this enchanting Victorian neighborhood.
Let the reader decide in this spooky collection of enthralling, well-researched tales.
From the Author
Dominé (Old Louisville, 2014) returns to Louisville's local haunts in this smooth cocktail of history, architecture and the macabre.
"Who says you have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good ghost story?" asks the author, a self-identified skeptic, as he opens the floor to more than just stories of urban legends and creaky floorboards. He introduces readers to the city of Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby and Colonel Sanders' universally recognized chicken. Since its founding in 1778, it's become a "Victorian time capsule"--home to Millionaires Row, brooding Gothic churches and lavish mansions boasting Art Nouveau interior design. (It's also home to once-controversial modern high-rises.) But for every humbling structure, Dominé notes, there's an equally sinister accompanying tale. In one such story, a woman is tormented by loud knocks on her second-floor window and heavy footfalls on her staircase; after hearing them, she finds fireplace pokers laid out in the shape of a cross. In another particularly tantalizing fusion of history and legend, he tells a story of a hairless creature with massive wings who's alleged to dwell on the spires of the Walnut Street Baptist Church. Those eager to dismiss the stories as flights of fancy may be surprised by the fact that an overwhelming number of levelheaded, sensible folks have allegedly had these encounters, making them lifelong, if reluctant, believers in supernatural phenomena. Likewise, Dominé's skepticism adds an intriguing dimension to this collection. He occasionally relays stories whose historic origins can't be traced, but he supports his most enticing tales with centuries-old images and newspaper headlines. In one impressive display of investigative journalism, he links Louisville's Demon Leaper to a string of similar incidents reaching as far back as London's legendary Spring-Heeled Jack. "Like so many of the legends and unsubstantiated stories in Old Louisville," he says, "reports of these ghostly encounters suggest at least a tenuous connection with the past, a correlation borne out in neighborhood folklore and modern oral traditions." His own unnerving experience at a séance at the city's Spalding University provides a fitting endnote.
A well-researched, spooky slice of Southern American history.
So, thanks for checking out True Ghost Stories and Eerie Legends from America's Most Haunted Neighborhood! This, my eleventh book, brings together the most popular accounts of hauntings in Old Louisville in one edited and updated volume. I've added great photographs and lots of historical substantiation in the form of death certificates and old newspaper articles, just to name a few. Old Louisville is an acclaimed historic preservation district at the heart of Kentucky's largest city and if you love old houses and ghost stories as much as I do, this is a place you'll want to visit. Every night of the year at 7:30 we offer guided ghosts walks of the sites mentioned in this book, and often I am your guide. The tours depart from the Old Louisville Information Center in Central Park. Google "Louisville Historic Tours" online and the web site will give you more information about this interesting and informative tour, as well as other daily tours of what people have also been calling "America's largest Victorian neighborhood" for years now. You can also see more images of this lovely and spooky neighborhood at the Facebook page dedicated to "America's Most Haunted Neighborhood"
- Thanks and see you soon! David