LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 2004) They dont like to talk
about it much with strangers or nonbelievers for fear
of ridicule. Most people just dont understand their curiosity.
In fact, many of their own family members and friends think theyre
But they persevere.
Some like it that way. It makes the challenge of finding tangible
proof of their cause even more exciting. In doing so, they find camaraderie
among their group members and enjoy sharing their experiences through
photos, videos and regular social outings at restaurants or in group
members homes. They communicate via newsgroups, email and message
boards on the Internet.
They are ghost hunters, and their numbers are growing throughout
Kentuckiana. There are about a half-dozen clubs in Louisville alone.
Some belong to more than one club, but more groups continue to sprout
up because it is better to keep them small in number, explains ghost
hunter Carrie Galloway, 34.
She teaches a how-to class on ghost hunting at the University of Louisville.
An office administrator by trade, she became interested in the hobby
after attending a seminar at Lexington (Ky.) Community College taught
by certified ghost hunter and author Patti Starr, president of Ghost
Chasers International Inc. Galloway came away from that seminar two
years ago thinking, I can do this.
She wrote a curriculum for a continuing education course called Ghost
Hunting 101 and submitted it to U of L. The college accepted
her proposal, and the next thing she knew, she was signing up students
who yearned to chase ghosts in the night. Her next class session
the third of its kind begins in March 2004. It meets on Tuesday
nights for five sessions and costs $99.
A lot of people come into the class thinking were going
to sit around and tell ghost stories, but its more hands on
than that, said Galloway, a Kentucky representative of the American
Ghost Society who says she saw her first ghost at age 14. Its
an instructional class that teaches you what tools to use and how
to go about documenting what you see during an on-site visit.
Or perhaps what youd like to see. Or thought you saw.
Galloways 27 students come from all walks of life warehouse
workers, a psychologist, an office administrator, a computer technician,
a mailman. The list goes on.
Galloway teaches them how to approach property owners about gaining
permission to visit a home or building or cemetery. They take with
them cameras, video equipment, tape recorders and other electronic
gadgets in hopes of capturing something anything that
may hint at the existence of a ghost, or orb, as they
like to call them.
At parties, they share their photos and recordings with each other
and plan their next trip to a supposedly haunted location.
Sometimes they must get in line. Rumors of such locations are often
inundated with calls from other ghost-hunting groups wanting to visit.
Some property owners refuse; others make quiet arrangements with the
promise that their location wont be advertised to other such
groups, or eghad! the press.
Thats apparently what happened last Halloween when Louisville
Courier-Journal columnist Byron Crawford published a story and large
photo of a Carrollton, Ky., couple who live along the Ohio River in
a supposedly haunted house. The couple received so much attention
from ghost-hunters that they refused to participate in our report
for this issue of RoundAbout.
You cant blame them. But the ordeal further illustrates the
growing popularity of this hobby in the area.
One of the better-known locations among Louisville ghost hunters is
Waverly Hills, a former sanitarium in Pleasure Ridge Park in the southern
end of Louisville. Though its entrance is protected by security guards,
ghost hunters often find a way to get in. In fact, the guards have
gotten good over the years of playing tricks on the ghost-hunting
intruders so that they go away with stories to tell, further propagating
the myths that ghosts in fact lurk in the midst of the now-empty sanitarium
Galloway has been there and says that the organized trips that allow
the ghost hunters in usually attracts so many people that no ghost
would be caught dead there that night.
You need to have a small group when you go on a visit; you dont
want a bunch of people tromping around, she says.
That was part of the reason Galloway broke away from a previous ghost
hunters group and formed her own it became too large and
unwieldy to function. Now Galloways group, Kentucky Paranormal
Research, operates as a separate society of like-minded folks investigating
paranormal activities wherever they can find it. Their most recent
trip was to a well-known cemetery in Louisville.
It was awesome, said group member Tanya Okes. Just
being there in the middle of the night gave you goose bumps.
Okes, who runs a landscape firm with her husband in Bullitt County,
just south of Louisville, and her mother, Pam Rogers, took Galloways
class at U of L after seeing it in the class listings. Ive
always been curious about the spirit world, and this was something
we could do together, Okes said. Its fun, and you
meet a lot of interesting people.
But what about meeting ghosts?
I believe they are there, she says as she flips through
a binder of photographs she has taken on ghost hunting trips that
reveal faint balls of light, or orbs. This is a good one. And
you can see one there if you look real hard.
The search for tangible evidence of the spirit world has been practiced
by people on this planet for centuries. And if the old adage, Seeing
is believing, still rings true, then rest assured that these
ghost hunters are on the job.
If you want to learn how to become one yourself, then you can take
Galloways class. Passing the course does not require seeing
or even believing in ghosts. But Im sure
To learn more about Galloways club, visit: www.kyghosts.com.
To learn more about Patti Starrs Ghostchasers International,
visit: http://ghosthunter.com. To inquire about Galloways class,
call U of L at (502) 853-6456 or visit: http://delphi.louisville.edu/enrichment/recreation.html.