By Mary Jo Harrod


Susan and Ernie Powell’s suspicions of ghosts in the 1880 house in Bardstown were confirmed by Patti Acord Starr, a certified ghost hunter.


Light and ceiling fans turn on and off. An open paint can falls from the middle of a table onto the floor. It’s not just on Halloween that this happens, but your-round at the Powell’s house in Bardstown.

In the 10 years since Ernie and Susan Powell bought their brick home, which was built in 1880, unusual things have happened. A repairman working in the basement felt someone kick him in the pants, but no one was there.

Finally the Powells contacted Certified Ghost Hunter Patti Acord Starr of Lexington to investigate their home.

"A psychic did a prayer in the guest bedroom to let the spirits know that no one would hurt them." Susan Powell explains. "And a newspaper reporter was busy snapping numerous rolls of film as we went through the house and outside."

With the aid of brass dowsing rods, cameras, tape recorders, and a magnetic field detector, Starr noted the presence of five ghosts inside the house and five more on the outside. The Powell’s suspicions of ghosts were confirmed.

"Normally nothing unusual happens here on Halloween," Powell begins, "but last year was different. On the Saturday before Halloween, we had a birthday party here for a friend and invited several people. One of the birthday gifts was a brass dowsing rod…some of the guests decided to use the rod to hunt for the ghosts.

"No one knew how to use the dowsing rod and nothing strange happened, so the guests made fun of the ghosts. Then on Halloween, after Ernie and I had given out the candy to the trick-or-treaters, I decided to go to bed at 11 pm when I saw the light on in the guest bedroom."

Powell continues, "We have two Casablanca ceiling fans with computer chips, so the fans jingle when you turn them on and off. I heard the fans jingle in the guest bedroom and the den as the fans turned slowly, then faster and faster. Suddenly, the fans went off. Then the lights in both rooms came on dim and became brighter and brighter before they went off. This happened over and over until I was a wreck. Ernie yelled at the ghosts to stop, but everything just continued.

"Ernie turned off the power and called Patti Acord Starr. After Patti heard about the birthday party and the guests teasing the ghosts, she suggested that we go apologize to the ghosts, which we did," Powell admits. "I went to bed, but I was afraid that I would see a ghost. It really scared me for two or three days!"

Another believer in ghosts is William Lynwood Montell, a retired professor of folklore at Western Kentucky University and the author of numerous books about ghosts in Kentucky. Montell had his first experience with a ghost before the age of 8. He relates that one night he awoke to see a figure "dressed in a multi-colored nightgown" walking near his bed and staring at him.

When Montell told his family about his experience the next morning, his mother replied, "Lynwood, young man, you didn’t see that!"

Protesting, the young Montell said, "Mama, I did see it. Why do you say that I didn’t?"

His mother responded, "Because that was the gown my mammy had on the night she died, and when she died you were less than a year old, so you couldn’t recall seeing her gown. And by the way, she did die in that room where you were sleeping last night."

"All I can say is, I did indeed see my grandmother’s ghost, "Professor Montell explains. "At least, to me that’s what it was."

Although you’ll have to make up your own mind about ghosts, it’s interesting to note the large number of accounts written about ghostly encounters in Kentucky. You be the judge!

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