Sunday, April 6, 2014

Haunted Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave

There are many spots in America’s national parks that are considered haunted. Mammoth Cave is one of these places. 

With over 150 documented cases of paranormal activity the cave has been called “the most haunted natural wonder in the world.”

Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the Green River Valley in south central Kentucky. This cave is the longest in the world with more than 400 miles explored.

Rangers often report seeing apparitions resembling “slave guides” who gave tours of the cave before the Civil War.  

A lawyer, Franklin Gorin seeing the cave’s potential as a popular tourist attraction first bought African slaves to the cave in the 1830s. They were trained as tour guides. Stephen Bishop was the first slave brought to Mammoth at the age of seventeen to be trained.

Stephen Bishop
He became one of the most prolific explorers of the caves’ vast chambers and intricate labyrinths. He was the first explorer to cross the Bottomless Pit by laying a ladder across and holding his lantern in his teeth. This opened the cave to further exploration.

Bishop description of Mammoth Cave:

“A grand, gloomy, and peculiar place.”

Bishop's tombstone.
The apparition most frequently seen is believed to be the ghost of Stephen Bishop. Bishop is buried in the Old Guide Cemetery, which is not far from the cave. His spirit is seen at night.

Witnesses describe him as he was in life:

“…a slightly graceful and handsome mulatto of about thirty-six years of age, with perfectly chiseled features, a keen dark eye and glossy hair, and mustache.”

The park offers lantern-lit guided tours of the cave. On more than one occasion Bishop’s ghost has been seen.

Here is a link to more information about Stephen Bishop and this national park.

Some of the paranormal activity at the park is attributed to the fact that Mammoth was used briefly as a tuberculosis hospital in the 1800s.

Visitors can still see the remains of the “consumption cabins” where patients stayed.

Outside one of these cabins is a stone slab where the bodies of the dead patients were placed before burial. Today this stone is known as Corpse Rock. Many witnesses have heard phantom coughing in this area.

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