Kentucky is home to many winding roads through heavily wooded rural areas. Most Kentuckians know someone with bizarre stories or who experienced unexplainable events while on the road. Legends, myths, folklore, and true stories are passed down for generations about these places. These are Beargrass Thunder’s Top Ten Haunted Roads in Kentucky:
Please be advised that the following entries contain information on sensitive subjects like death, violence, and genocide that some may find disturbing.
Hal Rogers Parkway, formally known as Daniel Boone Parkway, is just over 90 miles, stretching from Somerset to Hazard, Kentucky. While it can be a scenic drive, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of Kentucky’s nature as it winds through Daniel Boone National Forest, it also has one of the highest fatality rates from crashes out of all Kentucky roads.
Sharp inclines and steep hills make for a difficult drive in some areas. Mysterious lights and thick, rolling fog have been reported in the thick forests surrounding the road.
Man O’ War Boulevard is a 17-mile road circling Lexington, and has been identified by Kentucky State Police as one of Kentucky’s deadliest roads. The fatality rate of crashes here is unusually high. Vehicles involved in collisions have been known to catch fire and become engulfed in flames. It's almost as if an eerie and unknown force takes hold of drivers - lowering their intelligence and sense of awareness.
Kentuckians tell stories of driving down Man O’ War and all of the sudden ending up somewhere else hours later. Stories of lost time, torrential downpours out of nowhere, mysterious fog, and other strange phenomena have been reported here.
Officially known as the Martha Collins Bluegrass Parkway, named for Kentucky's first woman governor in 2003, it starts east of Elizabethtown and runs about 71 miles ending just short of Lexington in Woodford County. According to records from Kentucky State Police, Bluegrass Parkway has high rates of crashes as well as fatality rates, meaning you are more likely to get in an accident, and you are more likely to die if/when you're involved in an accident.
As a highly traveled road, Kentuckians have reported many unusual or unexplainable events driving this way. Even before the road was made, people and wildlife have traveled along this path for thousands of years - many of Kentucky's roads follow buffalo trails made during migration. Rolling fog and other types of unusual weather have been known to appear out of nowhere, decreasing visibility and making fatal accidents more likely.
Cane Creek Road, close to London KY, is a short stretch of road running alongside Cane Creek in Laurel County. Legend has it that an abusive husband lost his temper, beat his newly-wed wife to death after drinking too much on their wedding night, and dumped her body in the creek. Filled with hate and remorse, “The Woman in White” will chase after any vehicle who dares to drive along Cane Creek Road after midnight.
They say if the ghost catches up to your car, the engine will shut off, static-filled cries will emanate from the radio speakers, and the ghost will try to beat you to death. If she catches the car before the top of the hill, you’re as good as dead, but if you make it to the top, you should be able to coast down the hill to safety, away from the site of her death.
The tales surrounding the Old Richardsville Road bridge near Bowling Green, KY are well known by locals. This bridge runs over Barren River, a tributary of the Ohio River, and was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Locals say this bridge is haunted due to the many suicides that have allegedly taken place here. The ghost of one woman, who jumped off the bridge after discovering she was pregnant continues to haunt the area to this day. Legend says that if you pull your car to the start, turn off the battery and engine, and shift into neutral, the ghost will push your vehicle across the bridge, so you do not meet the same fate as her.
Tales of Kentucky’s Sleepy Hollow have been heard around the world. This two mile stretch of road in Oldham County’s city of Prospect can be a nice, calm Sunday afternoon drive through the woods. However, after the sun goes down, the road turns dark - as if any light is being absorbed by unseen forces.
It’s said if you drive Sleepy Hollow Road after midnight, only your headlights will illuminate the way - a bone-chilling blackness completely surrounding you. Out of the darkness, dim headlights of a sickly yellow hue will come into view in your rear view mirror. An old hearse speeds out of the darkness and attempts to run you off the road - engines roaring and tires squealing, just barely gripping the asphalt as you navigate around the blind turns.
As you pass Dead Man’s Curve, you make it to a clearing. The ghostly hearse has completely vanished - no trace of the vehicle remains. You decide to pull over next to the bridge to try to slow your racing heart before crossing Harrods Creek.
Out of nowhere, you hear what sounds like an infant shrieking. The hair on the back of your neck stands up as you try to figure out where it’s coming from. The ghostly crying continues. It seems as if it’s emanating from the bridge itself. Having enough, you put your car into gear and speed across Cry Baby Bridge, winding back up the hills, up and out of the hollow.
Lakeland Road appears to be just another suburban park road along the edge of E.P. Tom Sawyer Park of Louisville. However, an ominous presence fills the air at night when park-goers are away. A history of death and torture haunt this place here - beneath this very road lies a system of caves and tunnels that used to be connected to what once was the legendary Lakeland Asylum.
Before the land was a park, the hospital, now demolished, was close by Lakeland Road. By the 1940s, the facility was hundreds of patients over capacity with hundreds of people being buried on the grounds in unmarked graves.
In this period of history, treatment for mental illness was inhumane at best. Like many other 20th century asylums - cruelty, torture, and neglect was abundant. It was common knowledge that the patients were beaten and horribly abused by hospital workers. Stories of orderlies accused of murdering patients by holding their heads underwater in bathtubs were told amongst locals.
However, it wasn’t just the orderlies that were out of line. The doctors also used "experimental" treatments that would be considered dangerous and inhumane today. Outdated and ineffective treatments such as lobotomies and electric shock therapy as punishment were common when treating patients at Lakeland Asylum. If those same patients were born today, they would likely be diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
According to folklore, the cave below was where female inmates were taken when they became pregnant in the asylum. It's not known what happened to the infants, but the patients were always sent back to their rooms without their baby.
The cave was the go-to method of attempted escape for the desperate inmates. Unfortunately, they were often ill-equipped to handle the deep water, sharp rocks or freezing cold of the brutal Kentucky winter and perished within. Many of them died en-route to what they thought was freedom. Thousands of dead inmates are said to be buried on the property that is now E.P. Tom Sawyer Park, the spirits of which rising up from the caves below, haunting Lakeland Road and the surrounding areas. To this day, strange murmurs and voices can be heard echoing from the caves.
Waverly Hills Sanitorium is famous for being one of the most haunted places in the country. Opening as a tuberculosis hospital in 1910, Waverly Hills Sanitorium treated tens of thousands of people over the course of history. Also known as the “White Plague”, the antibiotic cure for tuberculosis hadn't yet been developed and was an epidemic in the area, due to Louisville being developed on swamp land which was ideal for the disease to spread.
At the peak of the disease, Waverly Hill facilities were treating more than 400 patients at a time with at least one person dying every single day. Medical workers started using the infamous tunnel to transport dead bodies to avoid lowering living patients’ morale.
Needless to say, there was much suffering and death that took place at “the hill”. There have been many reports of paranormal activity with investigations occurring regularly. As you enter the woods, approaching the grounds on Paralee Ln, you can feel the shift in energy. Thousands of people have come here on this very road, never to leave again. Will you be one of them?
Some say the monster is a Native American skin-walker who hunts settlers of the area. Others tell of a crashed circus train and a hybrid goat-human escaping into the woods. Even more tell of a satanic farmer who sacrificed goats to gain devilish powers. No matter what version of the legend you heard growing up we can all agree on the method in which the monster hunts.
The monster has telepathic powers, luring people to come onto the trestle where there is nowhere to run or hide. It’s then that the person meets their fate. The monster has been known to drop down on top of cars passing underneath the trestle while traveling along Pope Lick Road.
The deaths and tragedies that have taken place here are no myth. Dozens of deaths and injuries have been documented over the years since the trestle’s construction in the 1800s. It’s important to resist the monster’s telepathic powers and stay off the trestle, or you will meet the same fate as many others.
Yahoo Falls Road is a stretch of road found in Daniel Boone National Forest. It traverses along the grounds of one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Kentucky, often referred to as the ‘Children Massacre at Ywahoo Falls’. Unlike some of the legends and folklore above, the following story is true.
In August of 1810, just before the Trail of Tears, a Franklinite militiamen from Tennessee named Hiram ‘Big Tooth’ Gregory led a group of Indian Fighters to ‘Ywahoo Falls’ after discovering a plan to evacuate hundreds of Native American women and children to safety at Reverend Gideon Blackburn's' Presbyterian Indian School at Sequatchie Valley outside of Chattanooga Tennessee.
After slaughtering and scalping the Cherokee front guards, including Jacob "Big Jake" Troxell, Big Tooth Gregory and his men set upon the falls, where hundreds of young children and women were waiting to make the journey under the guard of War Women Standing Fern and her warriors.
Completely surrounded by the Indian Fighters, Standing Fern, her warriors, and the children old enough to hold a weapon fought valiantly but were eventually overwhelmed. The men systematically scalped and slaughtered the Native Americans - violating the women and younger female children, and slicing open the bellies of those who were pregnant.
Big Tooth Gregory and his men’s ultimate goal was to “kill the nit to kill the lice”, as they went out of their way to murder pregnant women and children. There were a handful of survivors who carried the memory for generations so the story could be told today.
While driving along Yahoo Falls Road just after midnight you may hear the cries of children echoing from the woods, and even catch glances of the spirits of Native American messengers on their way to warn Standing Fern of the oncoming attack.
Do you have a strange or unexplainable story from on the road in Kentucky? Let us know in the comments. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Kentucky-centric content, and check out our other articles and videos for stories about the Pope Lick Monster, the history of the train trestle, and the local history of surrounding areas.
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