Spirits of Civil War soldiers never left Octagon Hall in Kentucky

Weekend Extra

Just over the Tennessee state line is a house rumored to be one of the most haunted in the South.

Once a refuge for the Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, Octagon Hall is now known as a sanctuary for the supernatural.

News 2’s Morgan Hightower spoke with people who swear they’ve seen and felt spirits.

“It’s what they call an enigma. You just can’t say one way or the other,” said Billy Byrd, Executive Director of the Octagon Hall Museum.

The building served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers and a target for the Union Army during the Civil War. Ghost hunters say some of the soldiers who invaded never left.

“He was a spy,” explained Maria Duff, with NightStalkers Paranormal Research, as she looked a picture of Jerome Clark.

“He would dress up as a woman, and his nickname was Sue Mundy. He doesn’t particularly like that name here in the house, so we try to always call him Jerome Clark, but that is his gun, and I think that’s the reason why he is here,” she continued.

Duff, a ghost hunter, says she’s had run-ins with most of the lingering spirits. Some, like Clark, she says she’s talked to. Others, like a man they call Eddie, “You’ll hear in the house.”

She mimics the sound she says Eddie makes, saying, “It’s like he’s dragging his leg.”

Duff told News 2 Eddie mostly keeps to the attic in the three-story house. It’s where she says he died.

During a session where she says she made contact with Eddie’s spirit, he explained he shot by a Union soldier somewhere near Octagon Hall and ran into the house for safety, hiding in the attic.

“He was up there for three days before the Union Army left, so [the homeowners] could go find him and he was already deceased,” Duff said.

The family who lived in Octagon Hall during the war had their own share of tragedies.

Mary Elizabeth Caldwell was just 12 years old when she died. She was in the winter kitchen in the basement of the house when she got too close to the fireplace. Her dress caught fire and she died seven days later.

Duff says she’s seen her, heard her, and felt her.

“I just felt this gentle grab right here on my arm, and she just held onto me for a while and then she was done and left,” she told News 2.

Billy Byrd says he was a skeptic of the supernatural until he says he saw Mary Elizabeth down in the basement.

“I assumed that some of the tourists had stopped and the little girl had come in and I said, ‘Hun, can I help you?’ And the best way I can describe it is that she turned away from [me] and basically encapsulated herself and then just poofed into black dust,” said Byrd. “I’m sure it took me 10 minutes to get my jaw off the floor.”

He said he was certain he lost is mind or saw something, and he went with the latter.

As executive director of Octagon Hall Museum for 17 years, Byrd says, “I’ve just seen and heard so many things.”

Some of those things were caught on camera. Cameras are set up around the house and are constantly recording.

In one video Byrd shared, the door to Mary Elizabeth’s bedroom door is seen closing. Byrd says it happened after the house was empty for hours.

“I’m pretty sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that that’s an unusual occurrence,” he told News 2.

In another clip, recorded last Halloween Eve, a light appears above the candelabra out of nowhere. Not only was the house empty when it happened, Byrd says there wasn’t even a candle nearby.

“Disbelief, actually. Again, I try to wrap my mind around it and I try everything I can think if that can possibly be a natural occurrence, and then you finally come to the position that if it’s not natural. It has to be supernatural,” he said.

Strange happenings can also be heard on recordings made by paranormal researchers.

In one clip, Byrd explained the investigator asks, “Did they take good care of you here?” Shortly after, you hear, “Yes.”

Byrd says they only heard the answer after playing back the recording.

A question Byrd and Duff get often is, “How can you prove any of this is real?” Their answer is always the same. Visit Octagon Hall to experience it yourself.

Click here for more stories about Haunted Tennessee.

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