The Practice House

ky head practice house


Lynwood Montell has produced several books about local urban legends and ghost stories over the years, but it’s a sad fact that he did untold hours of research and interviews on his subjects, and then produced books with very little of the gathered information inside. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a brilliant storyteller, but sometimes he only put a few paragraphs down to a story that could have made its own book.
I have spent many an exhausting year chasing down some of these places and legends, and after 20 years at it, I am just now seeing fruit from my pursuits. Over those years, some of the stories were easy to track down if they were well known. Others not so well known have been difficult, if not impossible, to pin down. One of these stories has drawn my attention, as well as the curiosity of local people, and so I decided to put some effort into discovering the truth behind the legend. Little did I know the answer would fall into my hands so easy while researching the story of the Earl Nichol’s family tragedy. It turns out the two subjects were related in more ways than one.
Anyone who has followed the amazing careers of the Kentucky Headhunters and Black Stone Cherry as well, knows that they have a “Practice House” that has a history of mysterious and sometimes unexplainable activity. The area near where this house is located is a hotbed of paranormal activity, and I can vouch for full-blown apparitions being seen, even in broad daylight, in this area, especially at Randolph, and all the way to the defunct village of Echo, several miles away.
The Practice House is the scene of two untimely suicides, one being a man who hung himself, either in the house itself or in an outbuilding on the property. I have not been able to obtain any more information on this incident. But an even more mysterious event occurred here that would forever mark the house with the echoes of its tragedy. The house in question is where Charley Broady and his wife Ellen took up residence after they married in 1895. Ellen was born on 6 February 1866, the daughter of James Riley Nichols and Eliza Jane Oldham. This made her first cousins with Earl Nichols’ father Huston. Ellen married Charles Lee Broady (14 August 1875- 16 September 1937), who was several years younger than her, and she bore him 3 children, two girls and a boy.
It is unknown what led up to the events that occurred in this house, but some have said it was accidental, some even giving it the mysterious appellation of “spontaneous human combustion.” Dr. JH Owen of Randolph stated on the death certificate that she intentionally set herself on fire, and that she had suffered depression for some time. At the age of 44, on 8 November 1910, Ellen Broady’s dress caught fire, inside the house, by an undetermined source, and she was burned so bad that they did not expect her to make it through the night. The conflagration of her clothing, and her wild attempts to put out the fire surrounding her surprisingly did not catch any of the interior of the house on fire.
She did not die right away, but lingered in her suffering for more than two months not passing away until 12 January 1911. She was buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery at Randolph. She was survived by her husband, their 3 children – James Royce, Ava, and Edith; her parents, a sister – Mrs Ben (Lou Ann) Page; and a brother William E. Nichols.


About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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