While Bowling Green, Kentucky, is already well known as the hometown of “Halloween” film director, John Carpenter, he isn’t the only thing chilling about the city. There are several locations throughout the town that have reported heightened paranormal activity, as well as several scary fun Halloween-centric attractions - all of which are worth visiting during October.
440 Main Restaurant
The Getty Building, located in historic downtown Bowling Green, was built in 1871 and has been the home of several businesses and organizations over the years. It's now 440 Main, a popular restaurant for locals and visitors alike. And while the restaurant serves mixed drinks, there may be an extra “spirit” there as well. Mary, said to be a book-loving ghost, resides on the second floor of the building. According to the historic plaque outside, she “appears in long, flowing gowns, and is sometimes quite bothersome at night, but will settle down if told to read.” Mary seems to be a big reader and books are kept in the closet on the second floor. She is said to get upset if the books are moved. The plaque provides advice on how to deal with Mary though – just tell her to go read, and she will quiet down.
Old Richardsville Road Bridge
The Old Richardsville Road Bridge is just off of Hwy. 185, north of Bowling Green, KY. The bridge was built in the late 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though closed a few years ago due to structural issues, it has recently reopened. Most of the ghostly legends say a young woman either jumped off, was pushed off, or drove off the bridge – resulting in her death. It is said if you drive onto the bridge at night and put the car in neutral, your vehicle will be pushed to the other side of the bridge. History says she is trying to keep others safe so they don’t suffer the same fate she did. Some say if you are quiet, you can even hear a loud splash, like something falling into the water. Many people have tried this and some have even placed baby powder or flour on their bumper before driving there. After the vehicle is pushed across the bridge, some have said a handprint can be seen in the powder on the bumper.
Capitol Arts Center
416 E. Main Avenue was the location of a vaudeville house in the late 1890s. The original building was destroyed by fire and a new Art Deco style structure was completed in 1925, which is now the Capitol Arts Center. There is a lot of history at this address, which may account for the odd sounds and sightings people encounter there. Several occasions are noted below -
In the lobby area, staff would hear footsteps, described as sounding like men’s dress shoes, as they crossed the floor. The men’s restroom doors are heavy and have a unique sound to them, but the weight doesn’t stop “something” from opening them from time to time, with the unique sound confirming which door is being opened.
More disconcerting though was the evening a staff member was working alone in the building. She turned off her computer, but before she could get up to leave, she saw the reflection on the now-darkened computer screen, of someone walking past her. When she turned around, nobody was there.
On another occasion, a youth theatre group was rehearsing and one instructor took a smaller group of children upstairs to the conference room to practice their song. As they were leaving to go back downstairs, the instructor turned back and saw three young girls standing close to the doorway of the conference room. She knew the only children up there were with her, so she scurried them down the stairs quickly. When she turned around only a moment later – the three girls were gone.
Footsteps have been reported on several occasions, going up the stairs, even when the person working knew they were alone in the building and it was all locked up. No one ever appears at the top of the stairs after the footsteps are heard.
If you are driving down Fairview Avenue in Bowling Green, KY, you can’t miss the beautiful historic home featuring tall, white columns, sitting back off from the road. It is an impressive house built on nearly two acres in 1856. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it has a nickname that is also well-known throughout the town - Murder Mansion. While lovely, the home is the scene of a double murder in late June 1948.
An intruder, Harry Edward Kilgore, broke into the home and killed Dr. Charles B. Martin and his wife Martha. Kilgore was said to be upset because his girlfriend had jilted him and went on to marry the Martin family's son, Stonewall. Kilgore took his revenge by murdering Stonewall’s parents. The Martins are buried in Fairview Cemetery down the street from their home, with their gravestone visible from the road. While there is little to confirm or even suggest any ghostly activity in the home, its history continues to be shared and the nickname remains. The murders and the trial were sensational news stories at the time, with national news coverage of the events. The story is now well documented in a book, “The Cemetery Road Murders: The Shocking True Tale of Kentucky’s Murder Mansion.” The book covers the arrest and trial of Kilgore and reveals several twists in the case. One includes that Martin's daughter, Ruth, moved to Florida with the murderer, Kilgore after he was paroled from prison in 1965.
Unseen Bowling Green Tours:
Historic RailPark & Train Museum’s UnSeen Bowling Green walking tours have returned this season and tickets are already going fast. Pauline Tabor’s XXX Tour, the Murder Mansion Tour and the Backstories & Backstreets Tour, which run through Oct. 31, gives guests the opportunity to learn about the town’s histories, mysteries and past scandals. Tours will be given on select Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. To learn more about the Unseen Tours click here.
Skeleton's Lair Screampark
The unofficial destination for fear and fun in Bowling Green and Warren County during the Halloween season, enjoy the Skeleton’s Lair Scream Park – if you dare. Haunt lovers can enjoy four fright-tacular attractions with the purchase of general admission tickets. The season opens on Sept. 23! This year is the 45th anniversary of the “Halloween” movie franchise and celebrity guest Tyler Mane will visit Bowling Green. Mane played Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” (2007) and “Halloween II” (2009). For more information on Skeleton’s Lair, click here. For those who want more information on “Halloween” and the movie’s connection to Bowling Green, click here.