• Graveyard Shift

In Kentucky, You'll Encounter Ghostly Witches, Phantom Hearses, And The Dreaded Hillbilly Beast

List RulesVote up the most spine-tingling tales from the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky is a beautiful place that straddles a line between the modern era and a time when southern gentry roamed sprawling estates and sipped on homemade brandy. The old world feel of the Bluegrass State makes it the perfect setting for some of the strangest ghost stories you'll ever hear. Creepy stories from Kentucky have a classic Americana feel to them that makes the tales feel familiar, yet still surprising. These Kentucky urban legends are perfect for retelling over a snifter of your favorite barrel-aged brown liquid.

If you’ve ever spent time in Louisville, you know that creepy Kentucky is waiting just outside of the city limits. Beyond the thoroughly modern metropolis, cell service is spotty, there are no streetlights, and shadows reach out at you from every conceivable angle. It’s a scary place to be, and it’s no wonder that most of these stories come from the heart of Kentucky’s countryside.

Whether you're from Kentucky or simply curious about the state, these spooky tales are sure to give you chills.

  • Photo: flöschen / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    The Witches' Tree

    The Witches' Tree stands in the middle of Louisville. But another tree grew there in the late 19th century, and it was rumored to be a favorite spot for a local coven to meet. When they heard their tree was going to be cut down by a local merchant for a May Day celebration, the witches went to work. They left a warning on the trunk of their beloved maple:

    "This tree shall stand and not be cut,

    We’ve fed her with our laughter.

    Our leafy haven you’ll not gut.

    Or pay forever after.

    But if you, Wooden King, prevail,

    And Mother Maple dies,

    The force of Fate shall strike this town

    And right between the eyes.

    If our tree falls, yes, Fate will call

    To teach you, heartless Dunce,

    That all man’s work can disappear.


    That didn't stop the townsfolk from chopping down the tree – and 11 months later, one of the deadliest tornadoes to touch down in Kentucky ripped through the area, flattening the city.

    Is this scary?
  • Photo: Modern.Wayfarer / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Headless Woman Of Iroquois Park

    If you go to Louisville's 739-acre Iroquois Park in the middle of the night, you might spot a ghastly apparition. It's said to be the spirit of a farmer's wife who was beheaded by Native Americans in the 1800s. She still walks the grounds, carrying her severed head as it drips blood.

    Is this scary?
  • Photo: kissingtoast / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Witch Girl Of Pilot's Knob

    In the small town of Marion, KY, a six-year-old girl was burned alive under suspicion of being a witch. Her charred corpse was buried in a steel-lined grave in Pilot's Knob Cemetery, which was then covered in concrete and surrounded with a white fence made of interconnecting crosses. Supposedly, the girl's ghost can't go beyond the cross fence, but she can grab passersby and pull them into her grave.

    Just beyond the cross fence supposedly stands a spirit known only as "The Watcher." It desperately wants to claim the girl's soul, but is stopped by the fence as well.

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  • Photo: MSVG / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    The Ghostly Cop Of Narrows Road

    According to local legend, while making a routine traffic stop on Narrows Road in Erlanger, KY, in the 1950s, a police officer was struck by a passing vehicle and killed. His spirit apparently stayed. Supposedly, if you drive along the road at midnight, you might get pulled over by an officer in a vintage police car. He'll stop and speak to you before vanishing into thin air.

    Is this scary?