It’s been 150 years since the Civil War ended, but for those who’ve visited places like Gettysburg, it’s clear that the battles fought between the North and South left a lasting impression on the nation that lingers to this day. No clearer is that impression felt than Kentucky’s Perryville Battlefield, where the ghosts of the state’s deadliest battle still wander. Now, you can spend the night investigating it with the star of Ghost Adventures.
Considered one of the most well-preserved battlefields in the nation, the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site was the place where thousands of young soldiers lost their lives on October 8, 1862. In the battle that decided the fate of the entire state, 7,600 men were dead, wounded, or missing in a matter of hours, the local Chaplin River turning red with the blood of the fallen as a result. While the Union looked after their dead, Confederate soldiers were left to the elements, only to be unceremoniously buried in mass graves, or haphazardly in unmarked plots on the battlefield.
Considering the amount of pain, fear and suffering bestowed upon one place, it probably comes as no surprise that countless visitors have reported seeing phantom figures wandering the grassy fields, sometimes in complete daylight.
“Long before investigations began at the Perryville Battlefield, locals, visitors and re-enactors spoke of claims of ghostly activity,” Lee Kirkland, founder of the Spirit Hunters of Central Kentucky, told me. “Today, there have full bodied apparitions seen still marching, several have heard the deep percussion of heavy artillery and cannon fire echoing across the rolling hills, and disembodied voices are caught on digital recorders that give intelligent responses to questions that were indicative to 1862.”
In fact, the strange activity on the grounds caught the attention of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, who visited the battlefield not once, but twice, capturing some of their best paranormal evidence in the process.
But while the Perryville Battlefield might receive most of the spotlight when it comes to bumps in the night, its the nearby Dye House that really gets the ghost hunters clutching their flashlights. After all, the former makeshift medical facility saw hundreds of emergency surgeries, amputations, and gruesome, painful deaths. So much blood was spilled in the house that it’s proved impossible to remove, and to this day, the remnants of Civil War surgeries still stain the floors.
“There have been many EVP’s captured in the Dye House,” Kirkland says. “On one occasion, a group heard on their digital recorder, ‘Who’s in there?’, when no one else was talking. Immediately following, the same voice came through saying ‘Hide! They’re here'”
Among the evidence he and his team at SHOCK have personally witnessed at the Dye House are the sounds of disembodied footsteps descending the stairs, doors opening and closing on their own accord, and even recordings of ghostly voices that claimed to be Civil War doctors.
“The investigator asked, ‘What do you do here?’ The reply was from two different voices saying, “I’m the doctor,” and the second voice said louder and more aggressive, ‘I’M THE DOCTOR!'”
Even those who aren’t looking for ghosts seem to find them, like Joni House, the park’s preservation and program coordinator.
“I’m in my office and I hear people talking to me and there’s nobody else in this building,” she told Kentucky Living. “Or I come in here and see things that have happened in the museum. There’s no real explanation for why a mannequin’s head has been pulled off and is now in the middle of the floor.”
Now, one of the founding members of Ghost Adventures is returning to the Battlefield, and he’s inviting curious adventure seekers along with him for an overnight investigation. Not only is the opportunity to chase phantoms with Nick Groff rare, so is the location. When it comes to properties like battlefields, typically owned by the state or national government, there’s usually a pretty strict rule against night-time paranormal investigations. At Perryville, Kirkland and his fellow Nick Groff Tour managers have managed to open up the grounds for public ghost hunts.
“Every stop thus far on the Nick Groff Tour has been amazing and we expect this one to be the same,” Lee says. “We (the organizers of the tour) are all from this area and have investigated the Battle Field and Dye House many times. This place is EXTREMELY active and fans who have these experiences right along side of Nick are in for an awesome time!”
Lee’s claim is something we can vouch for. On one of the previous tour stops, we managed to have a few bizarre experiences of our own, including some physical contact with the unexplained in Ohio State Reformatory. Each stop on the Nick Groff Tour has only gotten stranger and more exciting since then.
The Nick Groff Tour hits the battlefield on June 20th. Spots on the tour are limited and expected to sell out, so those looking looking to seek the spirits at Perryville should snag their tickets before they slink back into the shadows. You can grab them here. Who knows, you just might make contact.