Let's All Drink With Ghosts in Louisville's Most Haunted Bars
One of Louisville’s biggest draws is its rich history, soaked with tales of bourbon business, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Underground Railroad stops, and Gatsby-esque grandeur. With such rich history comes some shadowy stories, however, like those that surround the infamously haunted Waverly Hills Sanitorium. You don’t have to go far to find a good ghost story in Louisville -- you may just find one at your local bar.
So elegant that it served as inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the Seelbach has a long history that’s left room for a ghost story or two. The most famous is the Lady in Blue, a specter in a blue dress thought to be the ghost of Patricia Wilson, a woman who died in the hotel after finding that her estranged husband was killed in a car accident on his way to make amends with her at the hotel. She was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft in July 1936, but it is unknown whether she ended up there through suicide, accident... or worse. She makes herself known by the sound of footsteps, the scent of her floral perfume, and the feeling of cold spots throughout the hotel. Though she favors the eighth floor, she’s been spotted throughout the building. Sit in the Seelbach’s bar, and you may feel her pass by on her way to the mezzanine.
The bar at The Brown Hotel sits in a building with a history that goes all the way back to 1923. Since then, ghost stories have floated around, most prominently of the hotel’s namesake, J. Graham Brown. The hotel paused operations after Brown’s death in 1969, resuming a decade later. Since then, mysterious occurrences have led visitors to believe that Brown is still occupying his 15th floor suite -- the elevator makes mysterious stops on the floor, and guests on the 14th floor can sometimes hear footsteps and furniture being pushed around. Brown can also be spotted in the mezzanine and other parts of the hotel, leaving behind the telltale smell of cigars.
Meta’s resident ghost takes the form of a former dancer from the next-door Show-n-Tell Lounge. Her nude image was painted on the wall inside the building, and was moved into an office after the bar opened. She used to like to come and sit with her painting… until a customer of the strip club killed her. The bar’s owners have reported feelings of unease, which might be explained by the fact that they’ve also claimed to see a woman walk through into the back hallway -- even though no one else was around. After a search, they still couldn’t discover anyone living.
Housed in one of the oldest firehouses in the country, the former Hook and Ladder No. 3 is host to a ghost named Kevin. Kevin died in a fire and, as is customary, was brought back to the station before his funeral... except Kevin was mistakenly taken to the wrong station. Now, he seems to like to hang around The Silver Dollar, and has been known to play small pranks on the employees.
Catty-corner to The Silver Dollar, Hilltop Tavern is another famously haunted local spot. Behind the bar, you’ll see tons of toys and figurines -- which have been placed there for a reason. It seems that there used to be some mysterious happenings (objects moving with no explanation, glasses breaking), attributed to some ghostly activity. When the owners put up the toys, it seemed to appease the ghosts, keeping them happy and harmless. The toys have stayed up ever since.
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