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'This is a very active paranormal site' | 'Haunted Discoveries,' 'Ghost Hunters' investigate alleged hauntings in Kentucky

A crew that includes Mustafa Gatollari and Brandon Alvis of the “Ghost Hunters” brought their cameras and ghost-detecting equipment to southcentral Kentucky.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Unseen visitors, evidenced by ghostly shadows and otherworldly voices, are part of the legend of Franklin’s 1830s-era Old Stone Jail.

Those invisible visitors recently had company in the form of some flesh-and-blood guests who dropped into the fortress-like jail and other historic sites in southcentral Kentucky.

A crew that includes Mustafa Gatollari and Brandon Alvis of the “Ghost Hunters” television show brought their cameras and ghost-detecting equipment to the jail and two other local sites: the Grand Victorian Inn in Park City and the Hall Place Bed & Breakfast in Glasgow.

It’s all part of an eight-episode TV series being produced by Haunted Discoveries LLC, a single-purpose company working with Louisville’s Stargazer Films.

“We’re delving into the history and alleged hauntings at these places,” said Kevin Otte, director of production for Stargazer. “We’re trying to hit places that aren’t as well-known.”

The Old Stone Jail may not have the highest profile, but members of the Haunted Discoveries crew suggest its reputation could grow based on its findings.

“Franklin so far has been our most successful investigation,” Gatollari said March 1 as he and other members of the Haunted Discoveries crew visited the Grand Victorian Inn. “We found some intriguing stuff that’s hard to explain.”

Malia Miglino, a researcher who is part of the TV show’s crew, was similarly impressed.

“I’ve never taken part in paranormal investigations before,” Miglino said. “It’s exciting to see something unexplainable. It’s more of a rush than a fear.”

But finding hackle-raising sights and sounds isn’t the main purpose of this production, insists Alvis.

A paranormal investigator for 17 years, Alvis said he and his crewmates are as interested in history and scientific discovery as they are in encountering poltergeists.

“We want to stay away from spinning urban legends and rumors,” said Alvis, who will serve along with Gatollari as a host of the series.

While they chose sites that are said to be haunted, the Haunted Discoveries crew found locations throughout Kentucky with rich histories. Otte said the crew filmed in Louisville, Elizabethtown and Bardstown before coming to southcentral Kentucky.

“We started in old Louisville because many people think it (has) America’s most haunted neighborhood,” Otte said. Gatollari said all their stops have been at places with historical significance.

“Kentucky has a lot to offer,” he said. “We specifically looked for Jesse James at the Talbott Tavern in Bardstown. A lot of people say they’ve seen the ghost of Jesse James there.”

Such historical and paranormal tie-ins are evident at the local sites as well. For example, the Hall Place in Glasgow is an antebellum structure with a reputation for having ghostly guests.

“Sometimes, things happen that mess with me a little bit,” said Sharla Emmers, current owner of Hall Place. “The lights flicker or something. Guests tell me they hear someone walking around at odd hours like 4:30 in the morning.”

Such happenings are common at the Old Stone Jail as well, said Billy Wilkerson of the Simpson County Historical Society.

“We’ve had a lot of teams come and do investigations,” Wilkerson said. “This is a very active paranormal site. People feel like they’re being touched or they hear voices.”

That spookiness has its benefits for a tourist attraction, Wilkerson said. “It brings people in, and it gives us a chance to show the history of this location,” he said.

Putting a spotlight on both the paranormal evidence and the historical significance is the goal of the series being produced by Haunted Discoveries.

The company was approved in January by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for tax incentives totaling $290,326 for a project that KEDFA records said will have a total production crew of 41 people.

Otte said he expects the eight-episode TV series to air this fall, although he said he can’t yet release information on which network will be showing it.

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