Walking through the “Belle Louise” last week, I got chills as I traveled from room to room. The house, which is our cover story this week, should be on a map AS one of the creepiest places in the world.
Hearing the history and the stories behind the house — the guests who were awakened by a little girl yelling for her mother, the footsteps, the mumbled talking coming from seemingly no one at all — makes you wonder how Brent Dukes even lives there.
Although the “Belle Louise” is one of the coolest houses I have ever been in, it is not, by any means, the only haunted house in Paducah. Downtown, where people walk nightly for dinner and drinks, ghosts are around us. I can’t tell you how many places I have heard ghost stories in the year since I moved here.
They usually start at the C.C. Cohen building, now Shandies, which has been notoriously haunted for years. The lore was so strong that it brought a television show to investigate, and ITS findings were just as creepy. Former and present staff report noises on the upper level of the restaurant at night, when everyone goes home and nothing is left to do but clean, are typical of haunting stories.
But where C.C. Cohen’s is well-known, there are 20 more places that report hauntings that are further off the radar. Last week, paranormal investigators came to the Hotel Metropolitan to check out reports of the strange happenings there. What they found completely rattled director Betty Dobson.
“There were footsteps, they recorded voices,” Dobson said. “At one point, the watches of the people there stopped. Gosh, it was definitely something.”
In a place where almost every building has a story, it is hard to stay away from the ghostly inhabitants. Paducah’s history is so thick — from hundred-year-old cemeteries to the riverfront and the many museums and historic houses — and the unexplainable creeks, groans, and thumps in the night fit right in.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.