“Hants” in Casey County

Published 4:29 pm Saturday, October 28, 2017

An interesting article about “hants” in Casey County appeared in a May 1887 edition The Advocate-Messenger.

“A most extraordinary case of ‘hants’ is reported from the Dunnville neighborhood in Casey County.”

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Many people there are convinced there were ghosts in the house.

In fact, so absolutely positive were the ghostly manifestations, two families moved from the haunted house, terror-stricken, and the coroner of the county of Casey made an official investigation of the matter.”

The ancient house in question was the old Bailey house on the old state road from Somerset to Jimtown. The house is thought to have been a tavern in years past.

Families move out

After the house had been vacant for some time, a Turner family moved in.

The Turners didn’t have the least suspicion the house was haunted, but their experience the first night convinced them they were sharing a house with others.

They heard all sorts of curious noises, moans, groans and yells, and sounds of people walking about in adjoining rooms.

The next night a white-robed figure of a ghost entered Mr. Turner’s room, pointed a finger at him, and said, in solemn tones: “Move.”

Turner moved the next day.

The house was vacant for two weeks when William Cravens of Russell County, moved in unaware of any “hants”.

The first night in the house, they family paid no attention to the noises and disturbances. They were not afraid of ghosts and had not heard about the Turner family’s evacuation.

It was a different story the second night at the house.

“They thought that hades had broken loose over their defenseless heads. A whole troupe of mysterious visitors held high carnival all over the building.”

It was about midnight when Mrs. Cravens woke up to find a figure of a woman, dressed in white, standing by her bed. She was tall with long white hair, bony hands.

“Her eyes glared in approved phantomesque style, and there was everything about the cut of her garb and general appearance to indicate that she patronized only the best establishments in spirit land.”

Mrs. Cravens was very disturbed by the rather rude behavior of her guest, who neither rang the door bell or sent up her card. She asked the woman what she wanted.

The ghost slowly raised its arm, pointed to the door and said, “Move,” and disappeared.

Old man Craves, when awakened and told about the event, said he’d be blankety blank blank if he was going to be bull-dozed by a ghost and he’d stay in the house or bust.

The family retired for another night. About midnight, Cravens was disturbed. As he opened his eyes he felt a cold, clammy hand pass over this face, and noticed a white object flitting toward the door.

On the threshold it turned, glared at Cravens, and said, “Move.”

Cravens began packing up after breakfast and moved.

Ghost hunters curious

After the news spread about the community, a group of young men from Dunnville went out one night to investigate the “hants”. They entered the house, took positions and sat quietly waiting for the noises that Turner and Cravens heard.

About 11 p.m., just as the watchers had begun to tire of their jobs, a series of unearthly yells, moans and groans issued from the floor beneath them.

The ghost hunters were convinced, and were on their way out of the house.

Officials decided to visit the place in the daytime and seek evidence of a bloody crime. The premises was inspected and beneath the floor of the main room were three graves.

Evidence showed the bodies had been murdered and robbed then moved to the burial site. The holes were six feet long, two feet broad and two feet deep.

The mystery was solved.

Three men had stopped there for shelter years ago. They had been surprised, murdered, robbed and their bodies hidden in the cellar. Later, they were moved and buried elsewhere. But their troubled spirits stayed and haunted the scene of the crime.

Coroner investigates

The coroner was informed of the case and decided it was his duty to make an official investigation. He summoned a jury and examined witnesses.

Cravens and Turner testified and the hunting party gave its evidence.

The verdict: Three “hants” had met foul play years ago by unknown parties.

When the coroner call to collect for his labors in the case, the judge call back: “Nothing. We do not pay for ghost hunting”.

Checks out story

The unidentified writer of the article checked with his friends Capt. Ed Pelley and Thomas Chelf, for confirmation on the facts of the article. The response was:

Ed Pelley, merchant, and Thomas Chelf, tavern keeper, of Dunnville, certify that they know the house which is said to be ‘hanted’, and they knew the families who moved because of disturbances at night which they could not account for and scared them.

Chelf checked out the house one night and became scared and left because of the recurrence of things described by Cravens and Turner.

They said the graves were found beneath the old Bailey house and people in the neighborhood would not pass it at night.