Built in 1998, Nationwide Arena in Columbus is said to be haunted by some restless spirits.

Erected on the former grounds of the Ohio State Penitentiary, the arena has a pretty bloated file folder of reported paranormal activity. Before the prison was torn down, it was vacant for twenty years and even then it was claimed that one could hear ominous pacing on death row as well as see the images of former inmates hanging in their cells.

Now, it is said that in the parking garage of the arena there still lingers the sounds of flickering fires, the screams of burning men, and the acrid smell of the inferno that engulfed an area of the old prison long ago, killing 300 inmates.

The fire was one of the worst prison fires in US history, so when you add that to the state of unrest that already exists among the criminally minded while they are cooped up in tiny cells, the ingredients for supernatural residue are quite potent.




The Lady in Lace is a local Shepherdsville legend that reports the apparition of a woman wearing a white, possibly turn-of-the-century style gown that extends all the way to the floor, can be seen walking up the courthouse steps behind people. The way the incident is descried is that as one ascends the steps towards the second floor, the ghost can be seen just out of the corner of your eye, and when you turn, she is gone.

 A cleaning lady reported to have seen a woman’s reflection in the glass of a door down a short hallway one night while she was cleaning up. When she turned to see who was behind her, no one was there. There is also a longer hallway in the building a lot of people feel apprehensive about going down, as if some negative energy wards them off. One night, while we investigated the Old Stone Jail just outside the building, we caught a picture that happened to show the lighted first floor of the courthouse in the background, and what appeared to be a person standing inside. Though the image is extremely blurry, it does resemble another person. I was assured by an employee who works in that building that no one should have been in there passed 5pm, and this was closer to 10pm.

Interestingly enough, no one can pin down her origins. Shepherdsville has been rife with tragedy through the decades and it leaves many questions open as to where she could have possibly come from, or what keeps her hanging around. Is she a straggler from the old forgotten graveyard nearby either whose body was disturbed from the floods, or whose grave was violated by the vandals that used to strike the grounds? Is she connected to the courthouse itself, the grounds it stands on, or to something that is held there? Was her death a tragic one somewhere in town? Or is she just residual energy that finds itself eternally stuck wandering the steps of the second edition of the Shepherdsville courthouse?

 There are a few events that could link her somehow to the area, one being a shooting that took place long ago on the steps of the courthouse, when court cases were still held in that building. No one was killed, but who knows if she was somehow the catalyst for the event. The catastrophic train wreck of 1917 that killed 48 people and injured many more could be what keeps her in limbo around Shepherdsville. Maybe she was one of the slain, or close to somehow whose life ended that night. Maybe she’s the woman who was the cause of a local murder between a prominent doctor, his father, and a druggist who did not do time for the crime and mysteriously disappeared soon after. It is also possible that she was a victim of one of Shepherdsville’s many infamous floods. Often, after these floods, in the older days, outbreaks of dysentery would arise, killing some of the people who lived around the flooded area.

What I find intriguing about the latter is that this water-damaged photo was found in a church basement after a flood. No one knows who the subject is, but as you can see, she is wearing a long, light-colored gown that travels all the way to the floor. This picture now sits in the Bullitt County History Museum seeking someone who knows the lady’s identity.

 Many years ago, the children in town used to sit across the street at dusk and look for the local legend to appear in the second-story windows of the courthouse, hoping to see her through the shadows that gathered there near twilight as the orange sinking sun was reflected in the glass. None have really said if they ever saw her, but maybe this picture is the Lady in Lace, or maybe not. But, it is an interesting piece of Shepherdsville folklore that we discuss on our tour.