A house in Brandenburg, Kentucky, has changed occupants many times, but one who quit paying rent years ago stays on.
After we moved out of the gray house in Brandenburg, we moved into another house owned by the same woman. It was a white house. Had no upstairs. It was also in Brandenburg, and still is.
When you walked into the front door of that house, you went into the living room. Off the living room was a kitchen, and the kitchen had a back door leading out into a carport. Mom and Dad’s room was off the hallway to the left; the second room on the right was the bathroom. But before you got to the bathroom, there was another room on the left. It was my room but I didn’t use it. At the end of the hallway was Granddad’s room.
I slept on the couch in the living room. That’s where the TV and all was. Had an electric lamp on a table behind me, and my dog Krypto was still with me. One night I was laying there on the couch close to midnight, reading a book. I happened to look up over the book and standing at the corner of the living room and the hallway was a woman looking at me. She was wearing a pink nightgown and she had pink curlers in her hair. She never said a word. I thought it was my mom, who was there to see what time I was going to bed.
So I just said, “I’m going to bed now.” And I just reached behind me and turned the light out. Didn’t think a thing about it. Went to sleep. Well, I did notice that the dog was acting kinda peculiar. His hair was standing up on the nape of his neck, and he was trembling and doing a combination of a whine and growl. I couldn’t figure out why he was acting that way, knowing Mom was standing there.
So the next morning, I got up and go ready for school. While I was eating breakfast, I asked Mom what she wanted the night before.
She said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “What you did you want last night?”
She said, “I don’t know what you mean.”
I said, “Well, you was standing there looking at me reading my book, but you didn’t say anything.”
She said, “I didn’t get up last night.”
I said, “Yes, you did. You was standing there looking at me. You had on a pink nightgown, and you had pink curlers in your hair.”
She said, “Well, first of all, I don’t have a pink nightgown, and another thing, I don’t have any pink hair curlers. You can go in there and look.”
So I did. I went into the bathroom and looked. She had hair curlers, but they were yellow and green. No pink hair curlers at all. I couldn’t figure it all out.
Well, we had a next door neighbor that lived there in front of us at the time. Her name was Thelma Miller. She has since died, but was alive at the time.
Well, I went over there and talked with Mrs. Miller about what I had seen that night. She said, “Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but now that you’ve told me on your own, I’ll tell you what that probably was.”
She went on to say, “At one time, a few years ago, there was a young couple lived in that house – a young girl and her soldier husband. I knew he was a soldier because he had on a uniform.”
She said that he was stationed at Ft. Knox. I guess that he apparently just married this girl but didn’t know anything about her family. I guess they eloped.
So he went back to Ft. Knox, where he was stationed. Of course, the girl was there. Mrs. Miller said that this girl got sick and was in bed. The girl’s brother came to see her and visited with her for a while. Well, on the day that the brother came to see her, this girl’s husband got out on a surprise furlough. He was going to come home and surprise his wife with a visit. Didn’t call to tell her that he was coming in or anything.
Well, when he walked in the front door, the girl’s brother was getting ready to leave. When he came through the front door, he opened the bedroom door to surprise his wife. When he opened the door, he saw this man bend over his wife and kiss her. Well, that was just her brother kissing his sister goodbye, but the man didn’t know that the man who was kissing his wife was her brother. What he saw was a man that he didn’t know kissing his wife, and his wife was in bed in a nightgown and all.
So her husband thought the worst. Well, he run this guy off, then ran back in the house and beat his young wife up. Didn’t even give her a chance to get up out of bed. He just beat the stuffings out of her. Then he went out on the carport and got a can of gasoline and took it back in the house and completely drenched his wife from head to toe. Then he set the whole thing on fire.
He didn’t kill his wife when he beat her up, but he did knock her out. But when he set her on fire, that killed her. When he saw that she was burning, he ran out of the house yelling things like, “She will never cheat one me again,” and things like that.
Well, Mrs. Miller saw what was going on, so she called the police, then called the fire department because she saw smoke coming out of the windows. Well, the police got there and caught the soldier and put him in custody. But by the time the fire department got there, it was too late to save this girl. She was dead.
Mrs. Miller said that when they carried the girl out on a stretcher, she was dressed in a pink nightgown, or what was left of it, and it looked as if she had pink curlers in her hair.
She said that every time that somebody new moves into the house, this girl will come back to see who it is and to see if it’s her husband. I guess that she’s wanting to get revenge on her husband.
I don’t know what ever happened to him. I don’t know if he’s still in prison, or if he died, or what. I don’t even know who he was. I never found out what this girl’s name was or what this guy’s name was.
But the way that Mrs. Miller described the girl that got murdered, she looked exactly like this woman that appeared to me that night. That house is still standing there in Brandenburg.
Note: This story comes from folklorist William Lynwood Montell’s collection Ghosts across Kentucky. Dr. Montell’s prolific research in The Haunted State has produced a second collection, Tales of Kentucky Ghosts, this year. Many thanks to the author and publisher University Press of Kentucky for kind permission to reprint this tale.
Photographer Carolyn Courtney lives 50 miles east of Brandenburg, in a gray, unhaunted house in Louisville. See more of her work at http://carolyncourtney.com/.