At Buffalo Trace, spirits are brewing

By Lauren Hallow Published:

Halloween may be over, but the haunting continues at Buffalo Trace Distillery today where new Ghost Tours start at 7 p.m.

The tours will feature places explored in Wednesday episode of SyFy’s paranormal reality show “Ghost Hunters.”

“There are more spirits here than the ones aging in our warehouses,” said tour guide Teresa Barney, who will be leading the Ghost Tours.

The “Ghost Hunters” crew filmed an episode at the distillery in August after viewers alerted them to “strange happenings” at the more than 200-year-old distillery, said Amy Preske, spokeswoman for Buffalo Trace.

Preske, Barney and a handful of Buffalo Trace employees gathered at the Stony Point Mansion, one of the buildings investigated by “Ghost Hunters,” Wednesday night to watch the premiere.

 Before the episode, the group discussed whether or not they believed the distillery was haunted. Barney said it was and that she’s had experiences with “friendly ghosts,” but Preske wasn’t so sure.

“There’s a lot of things that have happened to me,” Preske said. “I’m not necessarily a believer, but I don’t know how to explain the things that have happened.”

Stony Point houses many of the employees’ offices, and Preske said she’s been working alone there several times when she’s heard strange footsteps or chairs moving on the top floor.

One time, she said she was in the basement when she heard someone call her name. But when she turned around, no one was there.

Preske shared these concerns with the “Ghost Hunters” crew at the beginning of Wednesday’s episode and asked them to find out who was responsible.

Based on experiences from several other Buffalo Trace employees, Preske told the crew she believed Col. Albert Blanton, who ran the distillery from the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 until the 1950s, was behind the strange happenings.

Blanton passed away in 1959 of natural causes in the sunroom of the Stony Point House, and Preske believes he never left.

The crew investigated Stony Point, along with Warehouse C, and discovered activity in both places. Investigators heard chairs moving in Stony Point – similar to what Preske heard – and saw a suspicious round black shadow in the warehouse.

Perhaps the strangest occurrence in the episode was when the show’s two stars, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, simultaneously yelped and claimed they felt someone pinch their butts. Wilson was on the first floor at the time and Hawes was investigating the third floor.

The crew told Preske at the end of the episode that while they didn’t find Blanton – they said they doubted a colonel would pinch their butts – they agreed the distillery was haunted, telling Preske that this was one of the few sites where all their investigators had a paranormal experience.

People don’t seem to mind the distillery’s ghostly presence though, as the first several Ghost Tours have already filled up. The tours run Thursday-Saturday. Preske said this weekend has already been booked solid, and people have already started making reservations for next week.

The tours will take people to Stony Point and Warehouse C, along with two other places not seen on the “Ghost Hunters” episode. The tour will start and end at the gift shop, where Barney said she and other workers have heard strange noises.

The tour will also visit the Riverside house, where Barney said people have reported seeing a little boy outside and a ghostly man in the upstairs window. Barney said the Riverside house was built in the 1790s and is one of Franklin County’s oldest buildings. 

Preske said the tour would be enjoyable for both believers and skeptics alike. Although she said she’s not completely convinced the distillery is haunted, she said the tour may help non-believers become “more receptive” to the spirits.

And for those that do believe in ghosts, Barney said the spirits at Buffalo Trace are nothing to be afraid of.

“Most of the ghosts are positive,” Barney said. “I think we would have been run out of here a long time ago if they weren’t.”

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