Old Louisville comes alive this weekend in Victorian Ghost Tour

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of the most haunted neighborhoods in the country comes alive this weekend. Old Louisville's Victorian Ghost Walk guarantees history and hair-raising fun for the whole family.

It's considered one of the nation's most premiere historic neighborhoods. With a lengthy past, comes stories, not all as lavish as the dwellings they reside in.

"Down here in Old Louisville, people are proud of their haunted houses. A lot of people, they like to brag about their ghosts and tell people what's been going on in their house," says David Domine, author and organizer.

This weekend, caretakers invite visitors inside for the 11th annual Victorian Ghost Walk. "In recent years, it's really been taking off, people are coming from all over," Domine said.

The two-hour tour covers about ten blocks of history.

"Death was a common thing. So, when you have stone foundations and brick walls, and these 140-, 150-year old homes, they hold energy and that's what supernatural activity is," says homeowner Susan Shearer.

It wasn't until Shearer took bought her home and started restoring it, that she found out it was haunted.  

"Things started happening that I couldn't explain," Shearer said. "That energy is released and it comes out in many different forms.usually spirits. Sometimes they leave, sometimes they hang around."

In Shearer's case, it was the ghost of a little girl.

"For the first six months I lived here, there were three knocks at the door every night at six o'clock. No one was ever there. I've had voices at the back of my neck in the middle of the night, call my name," she said. "My grown son was working in the house one day by himself before I moved in and he saw her on the stairs. She looked right at him and then disappeared."

The ghost still walks alongside them today, 13 years later. "I kind of kept a list. Then, I met David Domine and he helped me do the research."

Domine is the author of 12 books, which mostly focus on Old Louisville haunts like Shearer's place. Another stop on the tour is the witches' tree from 1889. As legend goes, witches sent a curse after the city knocked it down so it could use it for its May Day celebration. The next year, a tornado destroyed the city, sent sparks and magically ignited a new tree. 

"With these burls, the twisted trunk, the craggy bark, the dead branches and limbs overhead. They said, 'this is much more fitting for witches' and ever since then, the Louisville witches came back in full force," Domine said.

Now, visitors from all over stop by, leaving trinkets for good luck.

Domine and the West Saint Catherine Street Neighborhood Association first started the tour to promote the neighborhood. "It's a way to reconnect with your past, learn more about your history, your neighborhood, your town."

It's described as a theatrical experience beyond the grave, promising the city's most famous legends and ghost stories.

"We're comfortable with them [ghosts]. I'd miss them if they left," Shearer said.

The tour also hopes visitors will have an appreciation for this dignified neighborhood where the living and the dead, coexist.

"We love to see the look on people's faces when they come in and their mouths just drop and that's thanks enough. It gives us so much pleasure."

The walks are Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22. Tours leave every half hour starting at 6 p.m. from Smokey's Bean, located at 1212 South Fourth Street. Space is limited.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. For more information, call (502) 718-2764.

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