Shane Timmons, the Appalachian Project, and I find ourselves at Octavia Hatcher’s gravesite in Pikeville, Kentucky. Octavia’s story is infamous as she was mistakenly buried alive in 1891. Her tragic circumstances were rooted in her deep depression following losing a child whose grave lies directly before her. Though we can’t physically reach the gravesite due to the locked gate, we have a clear view from where we stand. Octavia’s premature burial resulted from a disease that caused people to exhibit shallow breathing, resembling death. Sadly, she had already been laid to rest by the time this condition was discovered. When her body was exhumed, signs of her desperate struggle to escape her grave were evident. It’s a bone-chilling thought and an actual nightmare scenario. The gated enclosure surrounding the gravesite is a sad reminder of her harrowing ordeal.
Octavia’s missing right hand and the partially damaged baby’s head atop the gravestone attract many visitors, including myself. As Halloween approaches, it feels like the right time to share these ghost stories. Legends tell of Octavia turning her back on the town, symbolized by the statue’s position. Let me show you the view from this hill where Octavia’s grave overlooks Pikeville. There are accounts of the baby’s cries and reports of the statue mysteriously facing backward. Some even claim to hear eerie scratching noises emanating from the grave at night. It’s a haunting tale in a place filled with tragedy. The troubling aspect is that this story is based on actual events. While I’d like to give you a glimpse of the location, accessing it can be challenging, especially for small vehicles within the cemetery. As we approach Halloween, we will continue sharing more stories like this. Starting with Octavia Hatcher feels appropriate as it has remained an enduring tale for many years. The terrifying nature of the story lies in its foundation on actual events, particularly Octavia’s untimely demise. Whether the hauntings persist is a mystery that only time will reveal, and I will update you in the following video if I make it back safely. Thank you for reading.