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The Haunted Places of Bowling Green, Kentucky

Shops along Fountain Square in Downtown Bowling Green – Image from Wikipedia

Located in the southern portion of the state, Bowling Green is Kentucky’s third largest city. It’s 60 miles from Nashville, Tennessee and 110 miles from Louisville, Kentucky. It was honored with a Dozen Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation because of its dedication to showing off its past through its many historic districts and restored landmarks. It’s smack dab in the midst of cave country, and is home to Western Kentucky University and the National Corvette Museum.

It also happens to be one of Kentucky’s most haunted cities. Below are some of Bowling Green’s most haunted places.


Bowling Green boasts two New Orleans-inspired restaurants, both of which happen to be haunted.


440 Main - Photo: Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
440 Main – Photo: Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

This restaurant serves steak, seafood and New Orleans cuisine. It overlooks Fountain Square Park and is rumored to have a ghost that acts up when books are moved. Events Coordinator Chas Goshorn has been with 440 Main for 15 years and has heard numerous stories throughout the years about a female ghost in their second floor banquet room. The rear wall of that room is shared with the 2nd floor apartment’s closet wall. Apparently the ghost causes trouble when a stack of books in that closet are moved. New tenants are advised to simply leave them there! This hearsay is even highlighted on the Heritage Walk plaque on the side of the building.

Lovers of Victorian architecture will adore the inside. Pressed tin ceilings and grand mahogany staircase beckon to a bygone era. Also be sure to check out Micki’s on Main, 440 Main’s sister restaurant. It offers a French Quarter style bar with New Orleans verve. Perhaps that’s why ghosts roam this property? They’ve truly captured the spirit of Cajun country.

To view their menu, get directions or make reservations, visit their website:


Tea Bayou - Photo: Courtesy of Tea Bayou
Tea Bayou – Photo: Courtesy of Tea Bayou

Another romantic haunted restaurant in Bowling Green, Tea Bayou, sits adjacent to 440 Main mentioned above. As owner Theresa Shea describes it, “our cafe is heavily drenched in our New Orleans heritage.” She also was recently interviewed for an episode of My Ghost Story about the paranormal activity that occurs within her cafe. You may or may not encounter a ghost while quenching your thirst with one of their coffees, teas, chais or flavored lemonades, cooling off with a freeze, or indulging in one of their decadent bakery items, but the spirit of this restaurant will surely move you to slow down and savor Life’s sweet side.

Tea Bayou's bakery case - Photo: Courtesy of Tea Bayou
Tea Bayou’s bakery case – Photo: Courtesy of Tea Bayou
An example of the type of treat I'd indulge in at Tea Bayou- Photo: Tea Bayou
An example of the type of treat I’d indulge in at Tea Bayou – Photo: Courtesy of Tea Bayou

To view their menu or get directions, visit their website:



I did not know until I visited the Bowling Green’s convention and visitor’s bureau site that horror movie making legend John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, They Live, etc.) hailed from Bowling Green. While none of his movies were filmed there, they’ve paid him tribute with a driving tour in return for paying them tribute.

You see, Carpenter made reference to the area in his movies using community and street names, such as with the Warren County-Smiths Grove Sanitarium that Michael Myers escaped from. (Bowling Green is in Warren County.)

The driving tour goes past places Carpenter either frequented or resided in. Not sure if any of them are haunted places, but this is a macabre sort of thing a haunt jaunter (and horror movie lover) like me would get a kick out of so I included it.

To get a driving map, stop in the Visitor’s Centers. To learn more about it, check out their website:


The Rotunda Room at Mammoth Cave – Image from Wikipedia

Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system currently known of in the world. It is a World Heritage Site and is quite the impressive place. When we first moved to Nashville, people would suggest if we wanted to see something neat we head north and check out Mammoth Cave. We did. Several times. Anytime we have visitors or someone asks if we’d like to go, we hop on it. It’s one of the places impossible to get tired of.

According to Troy Taylor, Mammoth Cave may also be the world’s largest haunted place. The cave probably can feel creepy and spooky, but it never has to me. I did, however, sense it was haunted upon my first visit.

I knew even before our first guide spoke of Native American remains that were once discovered in the cave that people had died there. (Well, I could’ve sort of pieced that together anyway since by then I’d already learned the cave had once been used for people with tuberculosis.) Our guide explained how the remains were once on display, but out of respect were taken off of display. I want to say he even said they were later returned to the spot where they had been found. Or maybe I imagined it. After he revealed the remains story I got the distinct sense that something beyond people protesting the decency of displaying remains caused them to stop doing it.

One of the most delicious ghost stories, and one I have heard guides mention if you ask them about ghosts in the cave, is of a girl who died of consumption but is sometimes heard calling for a man she is said to have taken in the caves then left as revenge for unrequited love. She didn’t intend for him to get lost and never come out but he did. She went back every day calling for him, but she got sick and ended up dying.

The cave offers a variety of tours. Some are offered less often or have more limited spaces than others and can sell out quickly, especially in summer months.

To learn more about Mammoth Cave and visiting it, check out its website:


Van Meter Hall – Image from Wikipedia

I don’t watch Ghost Hunters anymore, so I did not know an episode in which they’d investigated one of Bowling Green’s haunted places had recently aired. But my contact at the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau made sure to clue me in, which is how I learned about Van Meter Hall.

It’s on Western Kentucky University’s campus. In fact, it was the first building ever built there. It was built in 1911 and was named for Captain Charles J. Van Meter, a local riverboat captain and developer. It’s now an auditorium. A haunted one at that.

There are different stories that try to explain the ghost. Two versions have it that someone fell. One says it was a construction worker, the other that is was a student hanging lights. The third explanation is sort of Phantom of the Opera-esque. It is said caverns run under the campus (it is cave country after all so this is possible) and that a hermit with a blue lantern living in the caverns comes up into Van Meter Hall and the blue light people claim to see is his.

There’s actually a lot of ghost stories on WKU’s campus, and what’s totally cool is they embrace them. Western Kentucky University’s site has a WKU Ghost Stories section. To read more about the ghost stories, visit the school’s website:

I’d also like to note that apparently Van Meter Hall is on College Hill, which offers a scenic overlook of Bowling Green and is a romantic place for couples to take a walk. In fact, my contact at BG’s CVB said Van Meters’ fountain overlook happens to be a popular wedding venue. Scenic, romantic and haunted? My kind of place!

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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14 thoughts on “The Haunted Places of Bowling Green, Kentucky

  1. Has anyone ever tried to get to the bottom of the ‘books’ mystery at the 1st restaurant?? And even though Tea Bayou’s bakery has a certain appeal, the Mammoth Cave is where I’d head!! Have a great weekend!

  2. I just love your stories about the world’s haunted places. It never ceases to amaze me how many there are. Our wolrd certainly has a ghost sub culture.

  3. I will be in Kentucky this summer but not sure if I will time to visit this cute town. I will put it on my list of places to see. I enjoyed the stories and pictures.

  4. Kentucky gets a bad rap IMO, Michael. It’s a gorgeous state with lots of neat history, places (especially for outdoors enthusiasts of all varieties) and culture. If you ever get the chance to go I HIGHLY recommend it!

  5. You won’t be too far. You’re going to Louisville right? Easy trip down south from there. Although, Louisville will keep you plenty amused. I sure hope you enjoy your time in KY!

  6. Have you heard of a femal ghost that haunts cemetery road? One night at about 11:30 pm me and my friends were at the area by fountain trace subdivision like a half mile from the grey stone church and out of nowhere a woman in a long white dress appeared in our lane and just stood there. We of course slammed on the breaks trying not to hit her and when we got out and look around nobody was there. Me and my mom got to talking about ghosts and she told me about when her and my aunt were driving on the same road between the side by side cemetery’s about a half mile from McDonalds and a lady in a white dress walked to the yellow center line and disappeared, this was before I described my sighting of the same ghost, I really need answers and writing this post keeps sending chills through my body

  7. Wow, Austin! No, I have not heard about this lady before you shared your story. It sent shivers up my spine. Thanks for sharing. If I happen to hear of anyone else having a similar encounter, though, I’ll let you know. But as of yet you’re the first one. Makes me want to go see if she’ll appear for me!

  8. I have heard of a haunted bridge about a quarter to half mile on the left. It is said that you get on the bridge, turn your car off, put it in neutral and something will push your car. Anyone heard about this? When I was a teenager(Long time ago) there was a lady said to hover over your car when you parked outside her old shack in the dark. It was out in old Allen County Rd. I had a friend that tried it and if it started to get dark she would get off the entire rd These are just some things I remember, I;ll have to go out and check for actual directons to these places now. Stay tuned yall.

  9. Wow, what great creepy additional ghost stories from up in Bowling Green. Thanks for sharing, Deborah! The one with the lady hovering over the car…eeek! Not much gives me chills but for some reason that did.

  10. For those who may have interest, I have been looking into ley line convergences that occur all over the planet, i.e. Geomancy and world grid theory for some years now. I didn’t go looking for this, rather I stumbled into this by accident, through my travels and observations. It’s been a bit of an Alice goes down the rabbit hole experience to say the least. Pay attention to synchronicity, it’s all there in front of you when you know what to look for.
    Anyway, there is a significant convergence of several major ley lines just west of Bowling Green that centers near Warren. The Eastbound ley line passes right through Western KY University campus, which is noteworthy and quite interesting I think. It never fails, the more I investigate the statistical correlations become uncanny. Along these lines there is always a high coincidence in three activities; paranormal, UFOs, and Masonic ritual.
    Draw your own conclusions.

  11. WOW! GMeier, I’m SO glad you stopped by to share your analysis. Ley lines fascinate me, but I’m too lazy to take a look at them. I’m really glad you stopped by to share this. THANK YOU! Because it is really wild and there HAS to be some kind of connection between them and the kind of activity that happens, right? Seems like it at any rate.

  12. Bowling Green, KY is a fascinating city and surrounded by a number of interesting haunted locations. Southeast of the city is Octagon Hall in Franklin which has more than its fair share of paranormal activity and then southwest of Bowling Green, just over the Tennessee state line, is the famous Bell Witch Cave. The famous Bell Witch was a poltergeist that haunted the Bell family in the early 19th century. This cave, located on the family property, is believed to be where the spirit resided and may still reside.

    Also, your mention of Mammoth Cave includes a note about human remains on display. Crystal Cave, which is part of Mammoth Cave, once displayed the remains of Floyd Collins. He was a local landowner and cave explorer who died after being trapped in nearby Sand Cave. The attempt to rescue him in 1925 created a media sensation with newspapers and radio around the country reporting on the rescue. Sadly Collins died before he could be saved. His remains were put on display in Crystal Caverns in a crystal casket until the cave was closed in 1961. He was later interred in a local cemetery. Collins’ intrepid spirit has been encountered at Sand Cave, Crystal Caverns and the cemetery where he was finally interred. Just as this area is rife with caves, it’s rife with spirits as well.

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