Looking to read about ghosts, spirits, phantoms, or unexplained phenomena? Want to read a spooky story about Kentucky or one that originates in your own back yard? Do you think your house may be haunted and want to research its history? Look no further than the Kenton County Public Library. We have numerous local history books and resources filled with haunting tales, ghost stories, and documented unexplained experiences that will give you a good fright just in time for Halloween.

The true story of Pearl Bryan’s murder in Fort Thomas has captivated Northern Kentuckians for over a century, inspiring countless ghost stories and legends. Learn more about the macabre case in The Pearl Bryan Murder Story by Anthony W. Kuhnheim, Unwanted: A Murder Mystery of the Gilded Age by Andrew Young, and The Perils of Pearl Bryan Betrayal and Murder in the Midwest in 1896 by James L. McDonald . You can also read online newspaper accounts from the investigation and trial in the Cincinnati Enquirer – Historical 1841-1922 Database.  If you can’t get enough Pearl Bryan, attend local author Larry Tippin’s presentation on his new book The Betrayal of Pearl Bryan: Unraveling the Gilded Age Mystery that Captivated a National on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 @ 7 PM at the Erlanger Library. What hair-raising stories have you been told about what happened to Ms. Bryan’s head? Leave us a reply and let us know!

Join paranormal investigators Zak, Nic and Aaron as they investigate the paranormal experiences at Bobby Mackey’s Music World.

If you’re thirsting for spooky tales from Kentucky, sink your teeth into Ghosts Across Kentucky by William Lynwood Montell or Ghosts, Spirits, and Angels True Tales from Kentucky and Beyond by Thomas Lee Freese. If you have regional supernatural interests, try Haunted Louisville: History and Hauntings from the Derby City by Robert W. Parker or Appalachian Ghost Stories Tales from Bloody Breathitt by Jerry Deaton.

For local hauntings, dare to turn the pages of Cincinnati Ghosts and other Tristate Haunts by Karen Laven, or The Cincinnati Haunted Handbook and Haunted Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio by Jeff Morris and Michael A. Morris. Or, if you don’t find the truth stranger than fiction, A Vampire in Covington by Tim Kelly incorporates many famous people and locations from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Also, don’t forget to read or re-read books about the widely-known Northern Kentucky haunting of Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Books in our collection include Haunting Experiences at Bobby Mackey’s by Christel Brooks, Ghosts of Bobby Mackey’s Music World by Dan Smith and the fictional Hell’s Gate: Terror at Bobby Mackey’s Music World by Douglas Hensley.  We also have copies of the Ghost Adventures television program that investigated Bobby Mackey’s in Season 1 and Season 4. Have you experienced something you can’t explain at Bobby Mackey’s? Creep us out in the comments!

Do you hear bumps in the night? Here are a few basic steps for researching a potentially haunted house. Obtain a copy of the deed from your local courthouse.  (This will tell you who has owned the house and more details on when it was built.) Visit the Kenton County Public Library and start researching! Use our city directories and find out more on the families who lived there. To find more information on the previous owners and the home search the Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index, geNKY and our online map collection. Remember to document all your sources and keep organized records. Do you have any unsettling stories about your home?

If you’re feeling in the spirit to peruse cemetery records of your ancestors, our geNKY database contains many indexes to local cemeteries including Linden Grove, Highland Cemetery, St. John’s, St. Mary’s and Mary E. Smith African American Cemetery.

Once you’ve had your fill of eerie tales, you might try researching a few of your own. If you fancy yourself a ghost hunter and want to learn more about people and places from the past, the library has many resources for you to investigate. The Local History and Genealogy Department’s Faces and Places Photograph Database contains many spooky images. Take a minute to search for yourself or your family members. You may be surprised by who haunts the database.

Do you have any ghost stories about local places or Kentucky? Leave us a comment and let us know what spooky stories we have in our own backyard!

This blog post was written by Cierra Earl, MA from the Local History and Genealogy Department in Covington.

In the back row: Mark Kluemper (16), Tyrone Rice (21), and in the front row: Lori Young (12), Mary Bales (18), Greg Washington (17) rehearsing for haunted house sponsored by Covington-Kenton County Jaycees on October 15, 1975. This photograph was found in our Faces and Places Database.

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