In my many years of genealogy hunting and helping locate cemeteries back in the 1990s, I also became the recipient of several ghost stories and supernatural tales that I filed away for future research and amusement. In the early 90s, I encountered several tales of the so-called Green Mansion, a small abandoned farm out in the county, off the Jack Brown-Oil Well Road. In my travels through this area, I became familiar with several other stories about places that were the scenes of tragedy, and I would like to share some of them.
This area is home to Skaggs Creek, a very prominent waterway in Barren County, that flows in a basic westerly fashion across this county until it flows into the Barren River a few miles southwest of Glasgow at the northern tip of Barren River Reservoir. There are several places along this fabulous creek that are a fisherman’s haven. Skaggs Creek bends and curves through this area after it leaves the Roseville Road (Hwy 249), and meanders by the Oil Well Road. As it passes the road there, it curves in a neck around a spot of land that comes close to Cedar Grove Church and then turns back before coming to a straighter course where Matthews Mill Road crosses it. It’s a beautiful area, and I can understand how some people might consider it a spooky place as there were not many houses, and still really aren’t to this day.
In the 1970s, the bridge over Skaggs Creek on Oil Well Road was washed away in a bad flash flood, and it was decided at the time not to replace it. For many years the road was abandoned, and only the locals knew the way in and out to the creek. Thus, many legends sprang up over the goings-on in this particular area. And many places along the stretch of Jack Brown Road were considered haunted, or not quite right.
At the intersection of Jack Brown Road, Oil Well Road, and Haywood-Cedar Grove Road, there are two abandoned buildings, an old store and a house right beside it. It’s a proper crossroads, with the fourth section leading to the Cedar Grove Church and cemetery, that can be seen beyond the old store. Another road leads off one side of Jack Brown Road and goes down a hill and around a curve to an old farm where a large old farmhouse used to stand.
This particular place stood empty for many years and was purported to be haunted. Sometime in the last decade, a young man was staying in the house while working on the farm. On Christmas Eve, he rode to Glasgow with some friends and when they returned, they found the house in flames. Nothing is left of it now but the foundation.
I remember in the 90s going out that way, and at one point as you pass the intersection on Oil Well Road, you could just see the roof of the place. The topography of the area is raised above the watershed of Skaggs Creek, so the house sat in an area lower than the Oil Well Road. The roof was hard to miss as it was red tin, and could be easily spotted if you knew where to look.
As it happens, I had a friend who lived in this house at one point when she was a child, and she told me of a bedroom in the house that was painted red, white, and blue. She fell in love with this room and wanted to have it for her own. After several nights of terrible nightmares of a woman with a wicked looking butcher knife trying to kill her in her bed, the young girl was moved to another bedroom, and the nightmares stopped. But not other strange happenings in the house. They eventually moved somewhere else.
As you continue out the Oil Well Road, it suddenly dips down into open fields, and in the 90s, the road abruptly ended. When the blacktop stopped near a white house, a dirt path continued into the field and on down to Skaggs Creek. At the end of the dirt path was the remains of the old bridge across Skaggs Creek.
Back in the early 70s, a man and his son had come to this spot to fish along the creek,where the cliffs rose along one side to isolate the area and make a fisherman’s paradise. They were casting from the bank of the creek on the stretch between the abandoned bridge and the old creek crossing known to locals as Buffalo Ford. The son cast his line back and it became hung in briars along the bank behind him.
Father and son pulled and dragged, but the line had become badly entangled. When the father jerked particularly hard on the line, the sun glinted on something under the undergrowth. He went forward, and to his surprise, something was under the edge of the bank, covered over with all the undergrowth. Now curious, he and his son went forward and began to pull away the vines and brambles. It quickly became obvious that a car was buried here, and the man wisely sent his son to the closest house to call the sheriff.
While the son was gone, the man continued to uncover the car, and made a shocking discovery. The body of a woman was seated in the vehicle, and he drew back in horror at his discovery.
To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think they ever determined what exactly happened, whether she was on the bridge when it washed away, or if she drove off of the remains and was washed away in the floodwaters to this point several yards downstream. What I do know is that I was neighbors with her husband in 1992, and I was unaware of this story at the time. Another neighbor told me of it, and the neighbors believed someone murdered her and took the car out to this remote area with her in it, and then disposed of it in hopes that she would not be found.
Whether accidental or intentional, she is part of the legend of the Buffalo Ford. In 2000, the county government decided to replace the bridge and reopen the road for emergency purposes, and today you can travel the entire length of Oil Well Road from Pritchardsville to Tracy unhindered. But several legends still persist, stories of unnatural screams, strange animals and strange animal behavior. There are spots along the creek where radios and other electronics go dead.
People have seen animals hung in fence rows and strange smells permeate the air at various times. At night, several fields are reported to be home to strange lights, and some have even claimed to hear chanting.
Me, I like a good ghost story – but I LOVE to fish!
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