5 Weird Reasons Why I Love Louisville

1. Pope Lick Goat Man:

There’s a train trestle that runs over several roads that are fairly close to my parents’ house. And there is a goat man that haunts that bridge! Legend has it that a fearsome half-man, half-goat creature haunts this lonely trestle that arches ominously over Pope Lick Road. (Before you think that we Kentuckians use street names as religious commentary, a “lick” refers to a natural deposit of salt that animals like to come…well, lick.) There are many origin stories for this wretched creature, my favorite is that the goat man was a circus performer and his own circus train ran over him one dark creepy night, decapitating him in the process. He replaced his lost head with that of a goat, and there you have it – goat man! (This version of the legend doesn’t even appear in the Wikipedia entry, which you can check out here.)

The sad part of this story is that teenage boys, high on hormones and adrenaline, occasionally try to walk across this trestle and often get hit by trains – go figure. Never underestimate the stupidity of teenage boys.

For your edification, you can watch an independent movie about the trestle and the goat man, if you can find a copy. It's called The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster, and if you live in the 'Ville, you can rent a copy at Wild and Wooly video.

For your further edification, you can check out this picture of the Goat Man by Jeffrey Scott Holland. I think it's the creepiest, and therefore the best.

2. Potential Satanist Church:

In high school (particularly Catholic High School), there's nothing like the story of a Satanic Church hidden in the back waters of a suburb on the fringe of the Metro area to make you want to...jump in a car and go looking for it. Turns out, it was supposedly right near the Pope Lick Trestle, where the Goat Man roamed. So, we would pile into the car and take off into the night to look for it. All we ever found was a bunch of satanism-themed graffiti (probably done by other bored teenagers that couldn't find this church). Now that I look back on it, I wonder what we thought were were going to find? A little white board church with an upside down cross on top and a changeable-type sign out front that said "First Union Satanist Church - Newcomers Scarified Daily"?

3. Waverly Hills Sanatorium:

This one is the biggie, the one that nearly everyone has heard about. And it is supposedly the most haunted site in the country/the world (take your pick.) It probably is the most haunted site in Kentucky, and probably the region (but not the creepiest, I'm saving that for last).

Waverly started out as a tuberculosis sanatorium, and was hugely expanded during the tuberculosis epidemics that swept through Kentucky 1920's. It's history (along with the sheer number of deaths that took place during the height of the epidemic -- some people say 1 death an hour) and it's subsequent conversion into a nursing home in which the residents were often neglected and mistreated makes for ripe haunting grounds.

And haunted it is. There are the ghostly children that play outside on the grounds. There's the eerily haunted Room 502, which contain the ghosts of two suicides. There are the eerie black shadow people that populate the upper floors. There's the ghostly kid I saw peering out a window of the third floor. There's the glowing old lady in a wheel chair I saw on the 4the floor. And those are just a few of the ghostly creatures meant to inhabit this place.

Waverly has appeared on more "hauntings" TV shows than you can shake a stick at.

I've visited many times and taken rolls and rolls of pictures. (You can get guided tours through the place). I'll post some pictures in the future. The building is in terrible disrepair due to previous owners who wanted to get it condemned so they could knock it down. The current owners are slowly refurbishing it, bit by bit.

A horror movie has been made which used Waverly as a set. It's called Death Tunnel, but I've not seen it yet -- I bet you could pick up a copy at Wild and Wooly Video.

However, a local writer (and old friend of mine) produced a War of the Worlds-type radio play called Live At Waverly Hills, which I thoroughly enjoyed (probably because I performed in it.)

4. Fatal 48

This is fire call box number 48, which was located at 6th and Main street in downtown Louisville, and the site of many many fatal fires (statistcally more than there should be at one call box).

5. Eastern Cemetery

It's a little cemetery on Baxter Avenue here in Louisville that was started in 1843. By 1858, graves were already being reused. Yeah, you read that right -- reused. Whole sections have been renamed, resold, and reburied multiple times throughout the cemetery's history.

This is, by far, one of the creepiest places in town, despite the fact that cemeteries usually are not home to a lot of haunting phenomena. It's also home to the coolest grave stone I've ever seen.

The sad part of this story is that due to repeated mismanagement by various management companies, the cemetery is largely uncared for -- except for the efforts of locals and those who have family buried there. The chapel and columbarium at the back of the cemetery is now home for gangs and homeless people regularly camp out on the grounds.


Dalim said...

How cool are some of these places - we are soooo going to see them when we get to go to the Ville right???
Oh and I think we should write a radio play - or at least produce one those pics look like fun was had!!
Hope you are having a great time - I know of a few people here that miss you...
Oh Tol and I went to a Max party and wheren'e expected to buy anything!!! WooT

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