Octagon Hall Investigation

In 1847, Andrew Jackson Caldwell laid out the foundation for his new family home. With a desire for distinction, his home would not be a simple structure with four walls like so many others, but an eight sided edifice unique to the region.

Completed in 1859, it would soon become a landmark in the south-central Kentucky area.

Built for his growing family and as a headquarters for the plantation, it was occupied by the Caldwell family even after Andrew's death in 1866. His widow, Harriet, lived in the Octagon Hall until selling the house in 1918 to Doctor Miles Williams, an osteopath from Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Williams moved from Nashville and made the Octagon Hall his residence until his death in 1954. At that time, the Octagon Hall was made rental property by his heirs.

The Octagon Hall remained rental property until The Octagon Hall Foundation was formed and obtained the building in 2001. Dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the only eight-sided house in Kentucky, The Octagon Hall Foundation is furthering the efforts to save the past for the future.

Located at: 6040 Bowling Green Rd., Franklin, KY. 42134, 270-586-9343

Website: www.octagonhall.com

Hauntings: Billy Byrd says that at night when he is there alone, he often hears many strange noises as though someone were walking about the house--footsteps, doors moving. The basement kitchen is a particularly spooky place. Many years ago, in the 1860s, there was a little girl who burned up in the fireplace. She was helping prepare a meal for the Caldwells. During one of the Halloween ghost tours for 2003, the fireplace kettle, which hangs from a moveable arm, swung out into the room. This was not part of the ghost tour. What's interesting about this is the fact that it takes effort to move this arm. It would not have done it on its own. Perhaps a ghost wanted to be noticed. Another ghost that has been seen is that of a man riding a wagon in the back yard. It is not known who this man is; perhaps it's Andrew Caldwell himself.

A few years ago, During a February reenactment of the confederate withdraw from Bowling Green and the subsequent encampment at Octagon Hall, some strange things happened. A group of the reinactors decided to spend the night inside the house. Noises such as footsteps and opening and closing doors were heard throughout the night. The next morning they discovered that a feather bed in an upstairs bedroom had a deep imprint the shape of a body, as though someone had slept there, although no one had. This might have been explained away as, maybe, a joke had it not been for what happened a few days later. The wife of one of the restorers of the home was there alone cleaning up the house and noticed that the feather bed looked like someone had been lying in it so she straightened it up. She hadn't heard about the bed mystery from the previous weekend, so thought nothing of it. A little later, she returned to the room and was shocked to see that again the bed looked as though someone had been lying in it.

On another occasion, the burglar alarm went off at the house. A police officer arrived to discover no sign of any intruders, at least none of this world. Walking into one of the front rooms, the officer and one of the home's restorers heard the doorknob to the parlor jiggling. The officer pulled out his gun and went around to the other parlor door to try to sneak behind the intruder. But when he got there, no one was there. The two watched as the doorknob turned, and the door opened.

On December 15th 2003, the house suddenly filled with the smell of flowers, much like the smell of a funeral home. The smell was particularly strong in the parlor. There were no live flowers in the house at the time. A few minutes later, the smell changed to a smell of decay like rotting meat. This date is significant because Andrew Jackson Caldwell died on December 15th. It is known that his body was displayed in the parlor, as was a common practice at the time. This was before the days of embalming, so the body would have likely had an unpleasant smell.

A family that had a five-year-old girl recently visited Octagon Hall. The girl wandered around the house and went downstairs. When she came back up, she said that there was a little black girl downstairs wearing a blue dress. She said that the girl was hiding because she was scared. When asked why the girl was scared, she said that the girl was scared because she had accidentally shot her brother. Upon further investigation, there was no girl in a blue dress to be found in the basement. There is also no record of this incident happening in the past. During the past 150 years there are likely many things that have happened here that have been forgotten. But if you listen closely, the ghosts will tell you stories.

                                                                                                                                                                               Dale with curator of Octagon Hall Billy Byrd.

The Ghost Research Society investigated Octagon Hall on September 20, 2011. Team members included: Stan Suho, and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Mike McElhiney.








Equipment setup: The Command Center was on the main floor with IR camcorders placed in the Winter Kitchen and another back room. The G.E.I.S.T. and ghost Microphone was set up also in the Winter Kitchen. A full spectrum camcorder was setup on the bed facing the fainting couch upstairs along with an EM Pump and REM Epod.  

Experiments performed: EVP sessions were conducted in the Winter Kitchen, upstairs in the room with the fainting couch and a small bedroom upstairs.  

Personal experiences:  

Stan Suho: This was an unusual 8 sided house, quite large, and dating back to the Civil War.  Our team was quite small, Dale and myself, and Mike from the St. Louis group. However we did almost a full setup with G.E.I.S.T. and several small Monitors. The G.E.I.S.T. equipment was setup in the down stairs "Winter Kitchen" where a little girl reportedly died in a fire. We began our setup after a walk through and tour of the grounds given by the proprietor of the property.

I setup the G.E.I.S.T. equipment, including Ghost Camera and Ghost Microphone in the area of the Fire Place where the little girl’s clothes reportedly caught on fire. The area had an unusual attraction for me, and while I was setting up, I had the feeling of not being alone. Once the investigation began I noticed an unusual amount of activity on the Geiger Counter and the Tri-Field Meter. Many pictures were taken on Ghost Camera.  We also did an EVP session in this area although we did not have the A team present. During the evening I took many 35mm and Digital pictures as well as Video.  


I think this place could use a follow up investigation with a full crew and the A EVP team, if we ever get back in the area again. We were well treated by the proprietor and given full run of the house. I’d like to get a Camera in the Slave Quarters and one focused on the family Grave Yard nearby. Both of these places are about 100 feet away and should be an easy cable run.  

Evidence collected:  

Disembodied response.MPG an EVP session in the upstairs, a question is asked, “Is there anybody here, upstairs, downstairs?” A faint disembodied response is heard.  

Faint response.MPG an EVP session in the Winter Kitchen, a comment was made, “Mary Elizabeth, I know that your life did get cut short. I know your father misses you...” In the background a faint female response can be heard.

Sound.MPG an EVP session in the winter kitchen, a sound is heard in the background and all heard in real time. We couldn’t figure out what it was.  

Twelve daddy.MPG an EVP session in Mary Elizabeth’s Room, a question is asked, “How old are you?’ The Ghost Box first responds with an older man voice that says ‘twelve’ followed shortly thereafter by a high-pitched child’s voice yelling, ‘daddy.’

Well then leave then leave.MPG an EVP session in the winter kitchen, a question is asked, “If you’re not going to say anything, we’re going to leave and go to another part of the house.” The Ghost Box responds with, “Well then leave then.” A follow up question is asked, “Do you want us to leave?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Leave.”  

Whining.MPG an EVP session in the room with the fainting couch, a question is asked, “Mary Elizabeth, would you like to play with this ball?” A strange whining sound is heard as the possible response.  

Winter Kitchen: The Ovilus in dictionary mode said: Frank and grandmother and the Ghost Radar application said change and I’m.  

Master Bedroom: The Ovilus in dictionary mode said: fist, length, alien, nose fist (again), tablet and hello; the I-Ovilus said: exciting, yell, girl, desk, boy, my, men, week, earth, ninety, daddy, finish, help, shove, brother, Sandra and grandma; and the Ghost Radar application said: complete, mistake, future and heaven.  

Mary Elizabeth’s Room: The Ovilus in dictionary mode said: jacket, leather, five and Barry.  

Conclusions: I found this location to be absolutely fascinating but time constraints in setting up and breaking down equipment with only three people took a lot of our time so therefore we weren’t able to conduct any other experiments in the slave cemetery, Mary Elizabeth’s graves or any of the other older buildings on the property or other rooms inside the Octagon. Another investigation is warranted with a larger crew, more equipment, cameras and EVP sessions.

I did find interesting references to grandmother and grandma both on two different Ovilus devices in different rooms. While conducting an trigger object experiment with a ball in the Master Bedroom, the first three words spoken by Mike’s I-Ovilus were exciting, yell and girl which was fascinating as we were attempting a communication at that time with Mary Elizabeth.

I also believe there is a possibility that we might have actually communicated with Mary Elizabeth several times during EVP sessions especially in her room when the question was asked to her age and you her the child’s voice in the Ghost Box respond with “daddy”, the Master Bedroom during the trigger object experiment when the (whining.MP3) was picked up and possibly the (disembodied response.MP3). I also believed that I saw a figure very briefly standing in the doorway to the Winter Kitchen while we were conducting our first EVP session. After panning the IR camera there and monitoring the area for quite sometime, the figure did not reappear.

With all the history of the location, the artifacts in the basement and tragedies in the past, I believe the Octagon Hall is indeed haunted by several possible individuals however I believe that we were only in contact with Mary Elizabeth that evening. Subsequent visits might uncover additional evidence for multiple hauntings within this structure and I welcome the opportunity of revisiting and investigating this location again if the prospect ever presents itself again in the future.

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