Editor's note: This is the first installment in a series of ghost stories for the month of October.

The Kentucky Standard 



Patti Acord has a new title to add to her business card: certified ghost hunter.


Acord, former manager of the Old Talbott Tavern, has a lifelong fascination with the paranormal.

"All my life things have just happened to me," Acord said. "When I was a I kid I would see things, like kids standing around my bed asking me questions.

"I would get in trouble with my mom because I would keep everyone in the house awake talking to those kids. My mom used to tell me they were dreams and sometimes dreams seemed real. But I knew what I saw was no dream."

As she grew older, Acord said she kept her experiences to herself. "I stopped talking about it because I didn't want people to think I was weird," she said.

Her fascination began to peak while she was working at the tavern. "One night I was working and someone told me a man wanted to see the manager," Acord said. "At first

I thought he wanted to make a complaint, but instead he had a question for me."

The man asked Acord if the tavern was haunted. Acord said she was taken back by his question, but the man went on to describe a strange occurrence that had taken place in his room.

The guest went on to tell Acord he was awakened in the middle of the night to find balls of light floating over him. While they floated above him, the man could not move.

When they disappeared, he was able to get out of the bed.

"To my surprise the man wanted to stay in the room another night," Acord said.

Acord watched in horror the morning the Talbott Tavern burned, and in an effort to document the devastation, she took pictures of the scene. When the pictures were developed she was shocked to see balls of light floating around the tavern site.

"The lights are orbs," Acord said.

Acord is well versed in paranormal lingo after completing a ghost hunter's certification course from the International Ghost Hunter's Society (IGHS).

The society is operated by the Revs. Dave Oester and Sharon Gill. "Dave and Sharon are genuine ghost hunters," Acord said. "I found out about them from their web site, When I saw the site, I told myself if I was going to do this (ghost hunting), I was going to do it right."

The course offers a variety of paranormal subject matter including the study of folklore and traditions, understanding the nature of the dead, psychology of earth bound spirits and understanding orbs, ectoplasm and vortices.

"When I read about orbs, I knew what I saw in the tavern pictures." Acording to IGHS, orbs consist of the life force that can no longer be contained in the body once a person has died.

Protocol is important when studying paranormal activity, Acord said, particularly when it pertains to taking photographs. "I always ask the spirits if I can take their pictures," she said. "I let them know that I am not there to make fun of them."

Acord also makes sure false images aren't created in her photos by dust, light or other circumstances. A quote on her web site,, sums up her methodology: "No fingers, no strap, hair's back and I'm holding my breath."

Acord's most prized paranormal experience occurred one evening when she and some friends spent the night in the tavern after the fire.

"We decided to do an experiment," she said. " We set up equipment like video cameras and tape recorders. When I played back a tape from that night I thought I heard a woman's voice."

"I took the tape to the radio station where they have equipment to slow it down," Acord said. "When they slowed it down you could distinctly hear what the voice was saying."

The recording began with, "Welcome to the Talbott."

Acord said what fascinated her the most by the ghostly voice was she knows people today refer to the restaurant as the tavern, not the Talbott.

Acord speculates the voice may have been Annie Talbott, the wife of George Talbott who once owned the building. When George Talbott owned the building, it was referred to as the Neiman House. However, when George Talbott died in 1912, Annie took over the building and changed the name to the Talbott Hotel.

"How proud she would have been to welcome guests to the Talbott Hotel," Acord said.

One of the tavern's current owners, Betty Kelley, said of the tavern's paranormal activity, "A lot of people think ghost hunting or believing in ghosts is nonsense. I'm not totally convinced yet about the ghosts, but I will say that I am a whole lot closer to believing now than before the fire."

While Acord's interest in paranormal activity peaked with the Tavern, she has had other ghostly encounters. She has taken photos of orbs at a friend's house on Demure Drive and at a restaurant in Elizabeth town.

Acord left her position with the tavern in April for a job with Cracker Barrel. Although she no longer resides in Bardstown, she hopes to continue searching for paranormal activity in Lexington where she currently lives.




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