The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Haunted Louisville

From the Louisville (Ky.) Courler-Journal:

Even before he moved into his 1895 chateau-like mansion, Domine learned he might not be the only person residing there. Despite some frightening encounters with unusual phenomena, Domine, a university professor, remains a skeptic, but that's an asset. He doesn't just relate stories told him by others; he's done hundreds of hours of research in local archives to determine if there's any corroborative evidence to support their stories. His conclusion? There usually is. Perhaps the most "haunting" tale, if you will, is the well-documented story of a young woman hoping to elope with her military sweetheart as World War I raged. Their likely rendezvous: the steps of a Christian Scientist church. Unfortunately, the Spanish flu epidemic hit and took her lover shortly before they were due to skip town, but she didn't get the news. Three days later, she also succumbed. Now, "The Lady on the Steps" sadly paces on the portico, forever searching for a boyfriend who never shows up. Then there are the ghosts at the J.B. Speed Art Museum. Several employees and visitors have seen a woman in white wandering the lower level, and in a main-level gallery the faint smell of rose perfume can often be detected. The ghost -- commonly thought to be "Miss Hattie" Bishop Speed, the museum's founder -- is generally benign but has shown a jealous streak: Odd things have occurred around a portrait of another woman, the first Mrs. Speed, who died several years before Hattie came along. In an area devoted to Native American culture, there may also be the ghost of an angry warrior. Did he once wear one of the beautiful articles of clothing displayed there? No one knows. The most startling story involves the "Phantom of Brook Street," probably a Victorian maid named Jennie Bowman. One day in April 1887, Bowman surprised two burglars while everyone was out of the house. Her bloody murder was a local sensation. Fortunately, the perpetrators were soon caught and later executed. End of story? Hardly. Many area residents say she still roams the street, and one resident of a house where the murder may have taken place gave Domine a meticulously detailed story of the strange goings on in her kitchen and a creepy servant's stairway in the back.


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