My Old Kentucky Ghosts

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Mammoth Cave Ghosts and the Legend of Floyd Collins

Mammoth Cave

With over 300 miles documented, Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world. The cave has been toured by the public since the early 1800s and is even mentioned in Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.

One of the first and most famous cave guides of Mammoth Cave is said to still walk the corridors. Stephen Bishop was a slave who is said to have refused freedom due to fear he would have to leave his beloved cave. Bishop discovered many previously unknown passages and drew many maps. Some say his ghost still haunts the cave, looking to guide anyone lost to safety. Whether or not Bishop's spirit has left the cave, his legacy remains. Many of his maps are still used today

Another famous ghost at Mammoth Cave is known as Melissa. Melissa is reported to have been a very beautiful bell who fell in love with her tutor, a northerner from Boston. When the tutor rejected her, she mischievously lead him deep into the cave, which she knew very well, and left him there alone. When she went back to find him again, he was gone and was never found again. Some say the distraught woman is still searching for him until this day.

Joppa Church

When the Mammoth Cave area became a national park, the people who lived there were forced to move. It seems, however, that some have returned to their beloved land. Buried in the graveyard beside the old, abandoned Joppa Church in the park lies the earthly remains of a woman who was a very talented violin player. It's said that if you walk past her grave at night, you can hear the haunting music of a violin. The church beside the cemetery now sits empty, but people seem to be there in spirit. Furniture and other objects have been said to move about. I've talked to people who have witnessed this in person. One witness stated that he had visited the church with some friends and that a book that had been placed on a table was not there when he went to pick it back up. It was found on the other side of the church, and no one of the group had moved it. One night around one A.M. a ghostly white light was seen moving out of the church and into the surrounding woods. Another ghost that haunts the park is that of a man who hanged himself. The house where the man lived is now torn down, but the tree the man used is still there. Two friends were recently driving past this tree when an orange ball of light appeared. The two drove away quickly, not wanting to disturb any restless spirit on a lonely road in the darkness of night. In this place people used to call home, you will now find only a haunting silence, broken only occasionally by the faint music of a violin, footsteps on the squeaky floorboards of the old church, and the whispering voices of those who have returned.

The above picture was taken between Joppa Church and the Joppa Cemetary in October 2009.

My girls went to Joppa Church one night, because we always heard it was haunted. They pulled the car between the church and the cemetary and snapped a picture of the car window. When they looked at the screen on the digital camera, they could see a little boys face looking in the window. After that they started the car and left. - Tammy B. Edmonson County

Floyd Collins

Sand Cave is said to be haunted by Floyd Collins. Floyd Collins was a very brave cave explorer until one day, back in 1925, while trying to crawl through a very tight spot, he found himself hopelessly wedged between rocks. Rescue workers tried their best to free him, but nothing they tried worked. His unfortunate situation soon caught the attention of the media, and people came from all around to visit the sight. Not wanting to let a good opportunity pass them by, his own family made a nice profit selling Floyd Collins souvenirs. Floyd died before he could be rescued, but I'm sure he would have been happy to know that his body was displayed for a time at the cave entrance in a glass coffin for everyone to gawk at. The body was stolen for a time but was safely returned minus one left leg. Perhaps someone thought it would be nice to keep the leg as a momento. Given the horrendous circumstances surrounding his death, it's no wonder some believe Floyd' s spirit still dwells there.

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