Friday, July 2, 2021

Haunted Hayswood Hospital for Sale

Have you ever wanted to own your own haunted house? What if you could up the ante and own a haunted hospital? Well, this may be the opportunity you’ve always wanted. Kentucky Commercial Property Search is billing this location as “the second most haunted place in Kentucky.”


The History

Located in Maysville Kentucky, with a view of the Ohio River, the building originally operated as the Wilson Infirmary in the 1800s. When the owner, Mary Peale Wilson died in 1908, the building was demolished. 


In 1915, Hayswood Seminary, a private school for girls, was opened. A fourth-floor was added in 1925 with another addition built on in 1971. 



In 1931, the facility opened as Hayswood Hospital and could accommodate more than 75 patients - residents of Cincinnati, southwestern Ohio and Mason County Kentucky.



In 1942, the US Navy sent naval personnel who had been psychologically
traumatized by the attack on Pearl Harbor to the facility for treatment. In 1983, the hospital was closed as medical needs changed and a new facility opened south of town.


Today, it is reported that medical equipment, furniture and some of the patient’s rooms are still intact. Other areas have been vandalized or damaged by the elements encroaching through broken windows.

The Hauntings

There have been reports of flickering lights, an oppressiveness near the structure and a tall man standing in one of the third-floor windows. Inside the building, people report the feeling of being watched even followed by shadows. A woman who carries her newborn baby down the hallways. Red eyes have been glimpsed in rooms along with cold spots felt throughout the hospital. Disembodied voices can be heard, and a stretcher rolls along on its own. And, of course, the morgue area is a hotbed of activity.



But those who worked there in the 1970s and early 80s say that the hospital was haunted even back then. Patients reported seeing doctors and nurses from another era walking the halls. The Travel Channels Ghost Asylum did a piece on it and several paranormal groups have down investigations.


The Property for Sale

The brick building, composed of four stories, is made up of 80,000 square feet located on nearly 3 acres with ample parking. Zoned commercial, this could become a tourist paranormal hotspot for a haunted venue, restaurant, hotel, apartments or maybe, just for a personal residence. The asking price for Hayswood is $800,000 but some judicious bargaining may get the price lowered. The last sale was in 2018.


Keep in mind that to open the building to the public, major repairs need to be made including floors and stairs along with asbestos cleanup. Cleanup has been estimated to be in the millions.


Today, the property is secured with fences, and the windows are boarded up. Maysville police will arrest any trespassers and file federal trespassing charges – no exceptions.

Contact Kurt Schuler with KCREA at and search for Hayswood Hospital for the details.

~ Joy




Friday, February 26, 2021


If you’ve spent much time in a cemetery, you know that not all grave markers are the same. Today, we'll take a look at six types of stone you will find in a graveyard.


Types of Headstones

1)  Fieldstone (1600s – Present)

Fieldstones were the earliest types of grave markers used from 1600s to the present. Besides being plentiful, these rocks could be carved, chiseled or painted with a name, dates and other information. The main problem was that over the decades, the stones get moved so many might not be where they were originally placed. You will still find fieldstones in cemeteries. They became popular again during the Great Depression when families could not afford markers.


2)  Slate (1600s – 1900s)

Slate was very popular, mainly in the eastern U.S. during the 18th to the 20th centuries. One of the reasons is because the stone is easy to carve. Slate can withstand freezing and thawing fairly well, which is why we can still read them. And acid rain appears to have a minimal effect. But due to the stone’s porousness, it is subject to delamination, which means it separates into sheets and falls away.


3)  Sandstone (1650s – late 1800s)

Sandstone was another stone that carvers used from the 1650s to the late 1800s. It was easy to decorate and was available around the country. The stone's color may range from red to light tan to brown to grey. The problem with this stone includes spalling and flaking. This is where pieces chip off the stone making the surface uneven, hard to read and encourages  the growth of lichen.


4)  Limestone (mid-1700s – 1930s)

Limestone was favored in the Midwest from the mid-1700s to the Great Depression because of its availability and ease of carving. This stone is made up of calcite and calcium carbonate. These small particles are composed of fossils held together by a lime cement.

Although visually appealing, this soft stone is severely affected by weathering, which causes pitting and that slowly wears the details of the stone away. This also causes the letters to dissolve over time. Tree stones were usually crafted from limestone and were a very popular marker in the Midwest.


5)  Marble (1780s – 1930s)

Marble has been used for centuries due to its strength and beautiful appearance. In the U.S. marble gravestones were popular from the 1780s through the 1930s. The stone is usually white with blue or grey veins running through it but can also be black with white veins. When you rub your hand over marble, it feels like sandpaper.

But marble began to fall out of favor when weathering made it difficult to read. Acid rain has become the main enemy of this stone causing the surface to become grainy and the lettering on the stone to slowly fade away.


6)  Granite (mid-1800s – present)

Granite is the most durable of gravestones, and currently, the most popular. With use mainly from the mid-1800s to the present, these gravestones can be red or grey in color. The red stones contain a small amount of oxidized iron. Granite that ranges from bright red to pink in color usually come from Missouri, and the darker red stones are from Wisconsin. Grey stones are quarried mainly in New Hampshire. Granite lettering is resistant to deterioration, and the stone does not erode. Modern techniques make it easy to carve, and lasers allow etching of personal images to tell your life’s story.


And then there's the marker that isn't really a stone but still prevalent in cemeteries across the country: 

Bonus - White Bronze (Zinc) (1880s – 1920s)

“Tombstone Tourists” will be familiar with another type of gravestone made of white bronze or zinc. Although not white, and not made of bronze, these memorials are usually very detailed, always different, and found in very good to excellent condition. White bronze monuments are easy to spot once you start looking for their telltale bluish-grey color.

White bronze monuments offered a less expensive alternative for a custom designed and detailed grave marker.  But there were those who looked down on the white bronze marker as being a cheap imitation of a solid granite stone.  Some cemeteries even banned them, many times due to the urging of local granite and marble monument companies. This is part of the reason they had such a short life, only from the 1880s to the 1920s. 

These monuments weathered well but they did have one flaw – creep. This occurs when the weight of the top of the monument bears down onto the base and it begins to bow or bulge – very slowly, over the years.  The only way to rectify this is to place a stainless-steel armature inside the base of this hollow marker to help support the upper weight.


Regardless of what type of stone you decide on, be sure to put a little of your story on the marker with carvings, images or symbols. Leave something for the coming generations to consider and enjoy when they wander the cemeteries.

~ Joy




Monday, February 1, 2021

A Grave Interest Celebrates 10 Years

It's amazing how quickly the time passes.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of A Grave Interest. 

I started the blog in 2011 because of my love for cemeteries. And because my husband and I had recently closed our winery after ten years. I thought it would give me something fun to do. Brian thought it would keep me busy for a few months …

Needless to say, after a decade of wandering and researching and writing, I’m more hooked on cemeteries than ever!

Thanks to all of you for reading the posts, telling me your stories, cluing me in on some great cemeteries, sharing photos, and inviting me to your genealogy conferences, libraries and societies. I love giving presentations about cemetery research, sharing interesting photos, and telling the occasional story about spooky cemetery occurrences.


I’ve got some major changes in the works for the next year including offering webinars, although I really miss getting to meet and talk with all of you. (Hoping we can attend meetings and conferences later in the year.)  There will also be a new A Grave Interest podcast, a new updated webpage and some in-the-field videos. Plus, more of the blog, so stay tuned, keep wandering cemeteries and keep reading.

And thanks for making this such a blast to do!

~ Joy

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Tradition of the Riderless Horse


It has been said that Genghis Khan, one of the most famous conquerors in history, was the first to honor fallen warriors by having the rider’s horse led to the burial site. The bond between the soldier and his horse was expected to last the length of the animal’s life. If a warrior died before the horse, the animal was sacrificed with the belief that the master was waiting for his steed at “the gate in the sky.”


Known as a "caparisoned horse" these riderless horses have been used in funeral rites for centuries. The “Cap Horse” is led by the “Cap Walker” to the cemetery. The riderless horse is used mainly in Presidential, Secretary of Defense, and military funerals for those with the rank of Colonel or above.


What the horse carries on his back during the funeral depends on his color. A black horse carries a saddle blanket, saddle and bridle. Any other color horse carries a folded hood and cape along with the saddle, blanket and bridle.


The boots of the deceased are placed backwards in the stir-ups to symbolize the rider’s one final look back before continuing on in death.


Several presidents have chosen to be honored in this way. According to White House history, George Washington’s personal secretary, Tobias Lear noted that Washington’s “horse, with his saddle, holsters and pistols (was) led by two grooms, Cyrus and Wilson” in his funeral procession. Zackery Taylor, twelfth president of the United States, had his horse, Old Whitey, lead his funeral procession.



Old Bob

Abraham Lincoln was the first president honored with a cap horse in a state funeral. Lincoln’s horse, Old Bob, followed his master’s casket from the White House to the Capitol Rotunda where Lincoln was to lay in state. When his casket was carried to Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, again Old Bob followed behind. Both times Lincoln’s boots had been placed backwards in the horse’s stir ups.


Black Jack

The most famous riderless horse was a Morgan-American Quarter horse named Black Jack for General John J. Pershing. Born on January 19, 1947, Black Jack was one of the last horses issued to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. He arrived in Fort Myer, Virginia in late 1952 standing fifteen hands high and weighting 1,050 pounds.



Over the next two decades, Black Jack took part in the funerals for Presidents Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson along with 5-star General Douglas MacArthur. He also accompanied more than one-thousand soldiers and retired military to their graves, mostly in ceremonies in Arlington Cemetery.


Black Jack had many fans who went to visit, sent him holiday cards and requested locks of his hair.

Black Jack died on February 6, 1976 after serving 29 years in the military. He was cremated and his remains buried at Fort Myer on Summerall Field. Black Jack is one of only two horses to have been buried with full military honors. (The other was Comanche, a survivor of the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.)


Sergeant York

This standard bred gelding was once known as “Allaboard Jules” during his racing days. Sgt. York was accepted into the military in 1997 and renamed in honor of WWI soldier Alvin C. York.

It was Sergeant York that served as Cap Horse for the 40th president, walking behind the caisson bearing President Ronald Reagan’s casket in 2004.


You can lean more at The Caisson Stables, which includes a small museum at Fort Myer in Virginia. There visitors can see the horses that work at Arlington Cemetery and learn more about the unique tradition of the riderless horse. Included is a tour of the stables and tack room, and afterwards you can pay your respects at the grave of Black Jack.

~ Joy