When Andrew Jackson Caldwell built his family’s new home in 1847, he knew he wanted something distinctive, not simple like most homes, and so he decided upon an eight-sided design. Completed in 1859, Octagon Hall became a landmark in the area and served both as the family home and plantation office.
During the Civil War, Caldwell sympathized with the Confederacy, for whom his brother fought as a Colonel. As Confederate forces evacuated Bowling Green on February 13, 1862, they spent the first night at Octagon Hall, with several thousand troops camping on the land and officers staying in the house. When Union forces camped there a couple of days later, they terrorized the family, slaughtering their animals and throwing their carcasses down the wells, eating and stealing food, and threatening to burn the house.
While Franklin was occupied by Union forces, Caldwell remained faithful to the Confederate cause, and it was widely known that any rebel soldier who could make it to his farm would find food, shelter and medical care. Of course, this also brought Union patrols around for frequent checks and raids.
It is known that at least two Confederate soldiers died on the property during this time, one of them in Octagon Hall itself.
The home remained in the Caldwell family until 1918, when Andrew’s widow, Harriet, sold it to Dr. Miles Williams, an osteopath relocating from Nashville. Octagon Hall remained Dr. Williams home and office until his death in 1954, at which time it became a rental property.
The Octagon Hall Foundation was formed in 2001, at which time the property was purchased. The Foundation remains committed to the renovation and preservation of the only eight-sided house in Kentucky.
American Paranormal Society members visited Octagon Hall on a hot, muggy Saturday in June. After a warm greeting and informational tour by Billy Byrd, Executive Director of the foundation, the team started loading in their equipment. As the team leader set up base in the dining room, she distinctly heard a deep, male voice call out “Hey!” from behind her. Since the other two members of the advance team were both female and outside at the time, it was obvious this disembodied voice was paranormal in nature. Sadly, no recording equipment was in operation at this time.
After load in, the team took a short break in the dining room. Each member introduced herself to the spirits of the house, and the team sat around talking about current events. One member spoke of the fact that women are now governors, made reference to a Sarah Palin quote and then laughed, at the end of which both she and the team leader heard the same deep, male voice grunt, “hunh.”
After the break, the team went upstairs to take base photographs and set up equipment. Since Mr. Byrd had said that the beds were sometimes disturbed, all of the beds were photographed, straightened and then photographed again as a reference should anything occur.
After anEVP session was conducted in the nursery, one of the members entered the hospital room, alerting the team leader as she did in the event the covers on the unoccupied bed were mussed as she photographed various spots in the room. The team leader walked to the end of the bed to check it and found a very distinct handprint in the wool blanket folded at the foot. The team leader had witnessed the member enter the room, and she at no time was near the foot of the bed.
The handprint was photographed, the blanket was straightened, and the team attempted to recreate the handprint but couldn’t do so. The appropriate depth of the print could not be created without causing a major depression around it due to the feather mattress and bed construction. The handprint was also larger than any of the three women’s hands could produce.
The rest of the night had only small occurrences such as a door slam, a few noises and one member being touched. Possible EVPs are still being isolated and cleaned up. However the earlier activity definitely made the investigation worthwhile and led to the conclusion that Octagon Hall is probably haunted.