Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Ghost of Octavia Hatcher

There's no shortage of spooky Kentucky ghost stories (all of them sworn to be totally true, of course) circulating on the web as myths turned memes. Dozens of books and websites exist that are packed with these tall tales that are unverified and probably unverifiable. That's fine if you're in the mood for a simple vicarious chill around the campfire, but I'm only interested in things we can research, dissect, and work towards verifying and understanding.

The "Octavia Hatcher" meme is a curious one. A search for this name brings up only a handful of relevant hits, like this one and this one.

As Troy Taylor notes in the Prairie Ghosts link above, "Students at nearby Pikeville College can tell you a dozen different versions of how this ghost died, how she lived and how she makes her spectral presence known in the local graveyard. Unfortunately, few of these stories are actually true."

What I want to know is, on what basis do we assume any of them are true?

The Prairie Ghosts page also states, "According to a number of reliable witnesses, unexplained things still take place around the place where her life ended in terror." Okay, that's great. So, uh, like what? Who are these reliable witnesses? Who deemed them reliable? Exactly what did they say??

I won't bother recounting the soap-opera-esque Octavia Hatcher legend here, but instead I'll skip to the meat of the matter, which is the allegations of sightings of Octavia's ghost near her grave, as well as paranormal phenomena such as weird sounds. I'm very interested in getting firsthand reports about all this for a future book I'm working on.

Hatcher is buried at Pikeville Cemetery, Johnson Cemetery Rd, Pikeville, KY.

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