A Quick Look at the Gaines Tavern: Kentucky’s Haunted Murder House

hi my name is Bridget Stryker I’m the local history coordinator with the Boone County Public Library welcome to the Gaines Tavern the Gaines tavern was built in 1812 for Abner Gaines over the years it was a tavern it was a home it was an antique shop but since 1899 it’s been most well known for its murders and suicides within this house and how it was cursed and haunted in the 1889 Boone County Recorder I found a whole article talking about nine murders and suicides that happened within this house and on this property that is almost a murder-suicide every five or six years right now the tavern is not open to the public and you’re not able to get onto the property to see the house so this is our opportunity to share some of these stories with you there were two suicides by gunshot in the house while it was still a tavern along this route this road used to be the main highway between Lexington and Cincinnati there weren’t a whole lot of stagecoach routes through this area so this was the last stop before you got into Covington in Cincinnati the former mayor of Covington US he came here he played cards with the rest of the members who stayed here overnight after the card game he went upstairs and people heard a gunshot and they ran upstairs and he was kneeling in front of his bed and he had the gun on the bed and he managed to pull the trigger with his cane so you can imagine the reputation that sometimes houses and taverns like this had when all of a sudden you had deaths surrounding the house during our ghost walks sometimes we have things that happened during the ghost walk when people are in the building their cellphones malfunction either they’ll go through the house and they won’t get any of their text messages until they come outside sometimes the malfunction if they’re trying to record on their phone in the house and sometimes when they take photographs on the outside of the house they’ll see images the last time we did a tour here for the public and we were outside one of my staff was standing in the side yard talking about some of the tragedies that happened out on the side yard and people were taking photos of the windows on the second floor that was dimly lit those photographs showed an older man with a little girl standing in the window we didn’t have any older gentleman on staff or in the building at the time and we didn’t have any little girls in the building around the time that I was researching that the house was opened for museum visits and there was a teen girl in the front living room the front parlor playing on an instrument like an organ a woman came up to the door addressed the teen docent who was in the room and said just so you know the little girl likes it when you play the concertina and there had been no little girl guest that day the volunteer had not been playing the instrument for at least an hour before the woman had come onto the property and it was at that same time that I discovered that a little girl had passed away in the family and was buried in the cemetery right nearby we’ve researched who the little girl might be and we think it is Abner Gaines’s young daughter who died in 1822 so thanks for joining me today to talk about the Gaines tavern and the spooky things that have happened in its history Boone County history can be pretty creepy and weird sometimes but that’s how we like it you

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