The Octagon House, located in Simpson County Kentucky just north of Franklin, was built in 1843 by Andrew Jackson Caldwell. During the Civil War, Andrew Caldwell offered shelter to many Confederate soldiers. According to an article by Amy Biggs published in the Franklin Favorite Feb. 1, 2001, as many as 12,000 Confederate soldiers camped on the property surrounding the home on Feb. 13, 1862. And generals Johnston, Hardee and Breckenridge spent the night inside the home.
When the Union troops moved in they were not as welcome. Because Caldwell was a slave owner, the house was concidered enemy territory. The Union troops took what they wanted and the family's favorite cow, Spot, was killed and the remains were thrown in the drinking well, contaminating it for months. It is also said that Confederate soldiers were hid in the house while it was being occupied by federal troops. One Confederate soldier lost a leg due to a gunshot wound. He was quickly helped to the attic when union soldiers came to the house. After the union soldiers left, the Confederate soldier was found dead-he had bleed to death. There is rumored to be a secret tunnel that leads from the basement to the barn. This tunnel may also have been used to hide soldiers.
The house is currently being restored by brothers Billy and Barry Byrd.
Billy Byrd says that at night when he is there alone, he often hears many strange noises as though someone were walking about the house--footsteps, doors moving. The basement kitchen is a particularly spooky place. Many years ago, in the 1860s, there was a little girl who burned up in the fireplace. She was helping prepare a meal for the Caldwells. During one of the halloween ghost tours for 2003, The fireplace kettle, which hangs from a moveable arm, swung out into the room. This was not part of the ghost tour. What's interesting about this is the fact that it takes effort to move this arm. It would not have done it on its own. Perhaps a ghost wanted to be noticed. Another ghost that has been seen is that of a man riding a wagon in the back yard. It is not known who this man is; perhaps it's Andrew Caldwell himself.
Look closely at the above window. There appears to be a transparent person in the bottom half of the window. The face is in the center pane, second from the bottom and appears to have a beard like a soldier during the Civil War might have had.
Newly restored slave cabin behind Octagon Hall
A few years ago, During a February reinactment of the confederate withdraw from Bowling Green and the subsequent encampment at Octagon Hall, some strange things happened. A group of the reinactors decided to spend the night inside the house. Noises such as footsteps and opening and closing doors were heard throughout the night. The next morning they discovered that a feather bed in an upstairs bedroom had a deep imprint the shape of a body, as though someone had slept there, although no one had. This might have been explained away as, maybe, a joke had it not been for what happened a few days later. The wife of one of the restorers of the home was there alone cleaning up the house and noticed that the feather bed looked like someone had been lying in it so she straightened it up. She hadn't heard about the bed mystery from the previous weekend, so thought nothing of it. A little later, she returned to the room and was shocked to see that again the bed looked as though someone had been lying in it.
On another occasion, the burglar alarm went off at the house. A police officer arrived to discover no sign of any intruders, at least none of this world. Walking into one of the front rooms, the officer and one of the home's restorers heard the doorknob to the parlor jiggling. The officer pulled out his gun and went around to the other parlor door to try to sneak behind the intruder. But when he got there, no one was there. The two watched as the doorknob turned, and the door opened.
On December 15th 2003, the house suddenly filled with the smell of flowers, much like the smell of a funeral home. The smell was particularly strong in the parlor. There were no live flowers in the house at the time. A few minutes later, the smell changed to a smell of decay like rotting meat. This date is significant because Andrew Jackson Caldwell died on December 15th. It is known that his body was displayed in the parlor, as was a common practice at the time. This was before the days of embalming, so the body would have likely had an unpleasant smell.
A family that had a five-year-old girl recently visited Octagon Hall. The girl wandered around the house and went downstairs. When she came back up, she said that there was a little black girl downstairs wearing a blue dress. She said that the girl was hiding because she was scared. When asked why the girl was scared, she said that the girl was scared because she had accidentally shot her brother. Upon further investigation, there was no girl in a blue dress to be found in the basement. There is also no record of this incident happening in the past. During the past 150 years there are likely many things that have happened here that have been forgotten. But if you listen closely, the ghosts will tell you stories.
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