Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Strangeness in the Bluegrass State

The state of Kentucky took it's name from an Iroquois word, translated by some as "dark and bloody ground."  So it's only fitting that the bluegrass state has more than it's share of mysteries, legends, and just plain weirdness.  We've put together some of these tales for your reading pleasure. 

The Pope Lick Monster
An old railroad trestle in Fisherville, outside of Louisville, is said to be the home of a half-man, half goat creature that terrorizes anyone brave enough to venture out to the remote location.  The creature is said to have the head of a goat, the body of a deformed man, and short, sharp horns protruding from its forehead.

The Pope Lick Monster
The most commonly accepted story has the Pope Lick Monster being captured in Canada by a traveling circus.  While traveling to the next show by train, the creature escaped  by some means, or was the lone survivor after lightning struck the tracks, derailing the train and killing all other passengers.  Some people say the creature possesses supernatural powers such as the ability to vanish, teleport, and control minds.  Many say it has the ability to mimic the voices of loved ones, presumably known because of its ability to get inside your head and know your thoughts, and create the illusion of an oncoming train.  More bizarre origin stories say the creature is the twisted reincarnation of a local farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers.

The Pope Lick Monster has been said to use its mind control abilities to lure teenagers up onto the railroad bridge, where many have met untimely deaths by falling off.  In reality it’s more likely that dares and curiosity about the creature lured them onto the bridge, but whether there is a basis for the legend or not, it has nonetheless claimed several victims.  

The earliest reports of the creature come from the early 1900s, but peaked in the 1950s and 1960s.  During this time an entire Boy Scout troop and their scoutmaster were allegedly attacked by the Pope Lick Monster, which threw rocks at them and let out an ear piercing shrieking howl.  The goat monster was said to have jumped a fence, grabbed a full-grown pig under each arm, and jumping off with them.  Later reports have the creature wielding a blood-stained rusty axe.

Martin Van Buren Bates
Our next story comes out of  right here in Letcher County, which gave birth to Martin Van Buren Bates, who grew to a height of 7 feet 11 inches. Bates worked for a short time as a schoolteacher until the outbreak of the Civil War.  He rose to the rank of captain in the Confederate army and soon became a legend, as Union soldiers told tales of a giant soldier who was as tall as five men and could fight like 50. After the war Bates left the mountains and joined the circus.  While performing in Canada he met Anna Haining Swan, who stood at nearly seven and a half feet tall and also traveled with a circus.  The two wed and became known as the tallest married couple on the record books.  

Martin Van Buren Bates in uniform
Controversial UFO preacher Sherry Shriner claims that Bates' giantism was caused by genetic manipulation by extraterrestrials.  Her website is a hodgepodge of such claims, citing that as her forefather King David stood against giants in his day, so shall she today.  I suppose her theology doesn't allow for anyone over a certain height being anything other than an alien mutant damned to hell.

Charles Manson is commonly thought of as the worst serial killer the world has known.  Some people realize that while in the end responsible for the murders, Manson himself never killed anyone.  What makes him so evil was his method of convincing impressionable runaway hippies, under the influence of acid and other hallucinogens, to carry out the brutal slayings of several people, including the pregnant actress Sharon Tate.  

Lesser known is the fact that Charles Manson is from right here  in Kentucky.  His father wasn't in the picture and his mother lived in Ashland, choosing to cross the river and deliver her baby in Ohio.  

Also lesser known is that Manson auditioned to be a member of the Monkees.  He idolized the Beatles, seeing their music, the White Album in particular, as messages from God that prophesied a coming race war in which Manson and his Family would rise from the ashes and rule the world.  Imagine how widespread his twisted ideologies may have gotten had he gotten the gig and had a nationwide fan base of television viewers and radio listeners.  

Kentucky's Area 51  
There are so many sightings of UFOs and black helicopters near the Bluegrass Army Depot in Madison County that they aren't even reported anymore. Its rumored that the military is housing and studying crashed UFOs at the site. While the Depot shut down it's own webpage, the Pentagon's Industrial Operations Command says the Depot's main function is to supply and maintain Special Mission aircraft for Special Operations, or Spec-Ops.  

signs outside BGAD, notice the authorization of the use of Deadly Force

The stated yearly budget for the Depot is over $35 million, with over 2/3s of that going towards payroll.  Apparently this means there are some highly paid individuals working there.  Also of note is that the facility is the Army's primary housing site of chemical weapons.  A sarin gas leak was reported in 2011 but officials assured local residents they were at no risk of exposure.

Devil Deer
We had to include this one once we came across it, if nothing else for it's originality.  Every region has some sort of supernatural creature said to be lurking around, but the same old tired tales are repeated so often it gets boring.  That's not the case just outside of Richmond, where hunters have reported being charged at by an impossibly large deer.  

Said to be bigger than an elk, the Devil Deer has large asymmetrical antlers and black eyes like marbles.  They're bigger, meaner, and crazier than anything else in the woods, and it's said they can't be killed.

Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce, known as the Sleeping Prophet, was born in Hopkinsville in 1877. The most documented psychic of the 20th century, Cayce gave thousands of readings while in a self-induced trance state, diagnosing illnesses and seeing past lives.  He would lie down on a couch, fold his hands across his stomach, and put himself into a semiconscious state.  He would then be asked questions, often about people thousands of miles away, and give answers.  He called these sessions ‘readings’ and each one was recorded by a stenographer and then sent to the person requesting the reading. 

A devout Christian and Sunday School teacher, was Cayce able to tap into an UberEnergy at will?  Once he awakened, Cayce was only aware of what he had said if he reviewed the transcripts.  While reviewing some of his readings, things he said led him to have a great interest in researching subjects such as the lost city of Atlantis and seeing auras.

Edgar Cayce
Today Cayce is often regarded as the father of holistic medicine.  He read the Bible all the way through for every year of his life.  When asked how to develop a person's psychic abilities, his response was to become more spiritual.  The Association for Research and Enlightenment was founded by Cayce in 1931 in Virginia Beach, and his archived readings are available there for public viewing.

This journey through weird and spooky Kentucky wouldn't be complete without quick stops by Waverly Hills Sanartorium and Bobby Mackey's Music World, two locations included in every most haunted list online.

Bobby Mackey's
Wilder, KY in Campbell County is home to Bobby Mackey's Music World, often cited as the world's most haunted honky tonk. For years patrons have witnessed spooky goings on in the building that once witnessed a sensational grisly murder. The Travel Channel’s bumbling Ghost Adventures crew, led by Zak Baggins, have investigated the site multiple times, Baggins famously taunting the spirits to come up through the portal and drag him down to hell in the show’s opening credits. 

Bobby Mackey's Music World

The building dates back to the 1800s and served as a slaughterhouse for 40 years.  The legend goes that satanic worshipers used the slaughterhouse as a place to hold their rituals. In 1896 the headless body of Pearl Bryan was found nearby.  Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson, who were known to practice the occult, were arrested and became the last two people hanged in Campbell County.  From the gallows Walling vowed to torment his executioners after his death.  

An old well in the basement of Mackey’s is where it is commonly believed the two men did away with Bryan’s head, as part of a satanic sacrifice.  They believed it was a portal to hell.  The story goes they were offered life in prison if they would tell authorities where the head was, but feared doing so would incur Satan’s wrath, so presumably they went on to meet him.

The ghosts of Bryan, Walling, and Jackson have all been reported being seen at Mackey’s, along with several others who met untimely deaths in the building, some while it served as a casino. Another popular resident ghost is Johanna, formerly a cabaret dancer who poisoned herself and her mafia-associated father who had murdered her boyfriend.  Several patrons have reported partial or complete possession by the spirits occupying Bobby Mackey’s Music World, and a sign hangs out front warning those who enter that the establishment is said to be haunted and the owners are not responsible for anything any spirits may do to anyone inside.

Waverly Hills
Said by many to be the most haunted place on earth, Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville was a tuberculosis hospital from 1910 until 1962.  It then served as a nursing home until it was shut down by the state in 1982 because of patient neglect and abuse.  Over the years it is estimated that as many as 63,000 people died inside Waverly.  There were so many bodies an underground tunnel originally installed to transport supplies in the winter was used to move the bodies so that other patients and staff wouldn't have to see them.  It became known as the Death Tunnel.  

Visitors to Waverly have reported practically every type of paranormal phenomena there is to experience.  Among the most common occurrences are the sightings of shadow people.  Disembodied voices are heard, unexplainable cold spots are encountered, screams have been heard, and several apparitions have been seen.

Waverly Hills Sanitarium

One popular resident ghost is that of Timmy, a little boy.  Visitors to Waverly have seen a ball rolling down the hallway towards them and it is believed this is Timmy wanting to play.  Ghost Hunters often bring along a ball to use as a trigger object, and report surprising success with them.  The figure of a small child has been seen running across the hallways.  A strange shadow figure has came to be called The Creeper by those who have encountered it.  Instead of appearing as a person, this thing moves on all fours and charges towards visitors in the dark of night.  When it gets close, it runs up the wall and continues to approach running upside down on the ceiling..

Perhaps Waverly's best known ghost is that of a nurse who is believed to have committed suicide in Room 502.  Distraught after learning she was pregnant, often told as a Waverly doctor being the father, the nurse hung herself.  Other claims list another suicide in the same room, also a nurse, who jumped to her death. Newer stories are circulating about yet another death in the infamous Room 502, that of a homeless man.  Some tales say he was killed as the result of a dispute over drugs while others claim he was the victim of a satanic sacrifice. 

Any photo you take inside Waverly's walls, with it's paint chipping off and standing empty except for a few relics left over from it's medical days, is gonna be creepy.  Over the years ghost hunters have captured some intriguing pics inside the sanatorium.  Following are some of out favorites:

Said to be an apparition of a little boy

The original photo...

Cropped and zoomed...an extra soul?

And finally, we saved the best for last. Our favorite photo to come out of Waverly:

The Bluegrass State is full of tales of the weird and spooky.  The following links are to previous blogs that are set in Kentucky:
The Ghost of Ellen flannery - Letcfher County's Lady in White
Specter at the David Rocks
The Blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek
Ghosts of the Killing Rock Massacre 

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