Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts

I don’t believe in ghosts. So when I heard about the SyFy Channel’s journey to Frankfort to seek out paranormal activity at the Buffalo Trace Distillery,  it seemed intriguing. Luke and I went over there last night. The agenda was to watch the debut of the Ghost Hunters episode at 9, followed by a tour of the supposedly haunted warehouse and mansion.

The desk where Blaton died. PHOTO: Lucas Redding

The staff, including P.R. maven Amy Preske, who was featured in the episode, had plenty of creepy stories about the Stony Point Mansion. Col. Albert Blanton died in an upstairs room here in 1959. Presko, who has an office in the mansion, told how she was in the basement alone once, heard a distinct voice call out her name, only to find there was no one there. Several staffers have heard footfalls on the stairs. Luke, my 13-year-old son — also a non-believer — said it felt a little creepy in the house. I wasn’t complaining, a glass of the place’s signature product in hand.

The show features a team of investigators. They came to Frankfort in August in 3 black SUVs, pulled out a bunch of sensory equipment, and waited until the middle of the night to seek the ghosts of Blanton and others. My mind kept going to old episodes of Scooby-Doo, expecting Thelma and Daphne to jump out of the van. Two investigators spent time in an old barrel warehouse, where they split up on separate floors. Suddenly, one of them jerked, felt his butt, and proclaimed something had squeezed him there. Of course, the same thing happened to the other one at the exact same time.

Was a ghost pinching butts here? PHOTO: Lucas Redding

Later in the show, they showed how their equipment picked up “something” in the warehouse.

Sorry, but I’m skeptical. Amy assured us nothing of that sort had happened there before, though there is a legend that a ghost warned workers to get out once just before a giant wall fell down.

As we toured the barrel warehouse later, it was easy to imagine hearing voices in the dank, low-ceiling-ed building. There are 300,000 barrels on-site, packed tightly. There have been accidents, most years ago. The grounds include a home built in the 1780s. There’s a rich history.And now, since it’s been featured on the SyFy Channel, a growing legend that Col. Blanton haunts the place.

And the distillery isn’t shy about promoting the spookiness of it all. Tours are free, but the newly-created Ghost Tours are sold out through the weekend. the number of people passing through was 56,000  annually, all free, but designed to guide guests to an on-site gift shop.