Causes for paranormal activity include: the presence of slaves,
the fatally wounded, spirits attached to artifacts,
and people generally connected to this place.
Spirits exist pleasantly with the living.
DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY
The Monserrat is an elegant, well-made 3 story brick Italian Renaissance Revival building with a basement, which was built in 1857, making it one of the oldest buildings in Louisville. Among its pleasing features are the nine ft. tall rounded arch windows, which provide a lot of light for the brick structure. It was designed by architects Henry Whitestone and Isaiah Rogers, who would be pleased to know that not only is their building still in great shape, but it has been used in so many different ways over time.
The building originally opened as The Fifth Ward School. At that time the basement was used to hide runaway slaves as an underground railroad stop.
During the Civil War, it was used as a Union hospital. After the war, the school was eventually reopened. In 1900, the school’s beloved principal died, and the school was renamed for her, taking her last name, Monserrat. The Monserrat School continued educating the young for another 39 years, but closed its doors due to declining enrollment, right before 1940.
During WW2, the military converted it into a dorm for soldiers on leave from Fort Knox. Its next use was in line with its educational roots, The Natural History Museum of the Louisville Free Public Library, housing an Egyptian mummy, among other artifacts of interest. By the 1980s, it was moved to a new location on Main Street, and turned into upscale apartments which are still going strong.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
There are many possible sources for entities in this building: Slaves, wounded soldiers who didn’t make it, spirits from artifacts, such as the mummy, and people associated with the place over the years. Whoever haunts this building, exist pleasantly with the living, just going about their business.
The Entity of the Young Slave Girl
She is described as an unhappy, scared child who is around 5-6 years old, dressed in a simple white tunic, with big eyes. According to eyewitness accounts gathered by author David Domine in his great book, Phantoms of Old Louisville, she has appeared to various people over the years, who experienced the bristling/goose bump skin reaction often felt in the presence of entities.
In the 1930s, this little slave girl appeared in a seance conducted in the basement of the building.
In one incident, a woman was making cookies at Christmas time in her apartment. She turned and saw the solid apparition of this scared little girl, who was visible for 10 seconds, before she melted away.
Another time, a man who lives in an apartment in the building saw her little apparition three times, during three different trips down to the spooky basement to put things in storage. He felt someone looking at him, turned around and there she was, dressed in a simple bag-like dress, staring at him with her big eyes, very scared.
The Entities of Civil War Soldiers
These young men who have died of their wounds aren’t ready to go to the other side yet. Either they have unfinished business here or just want to live.
Their apparitions have been seen all over the building, going about their business, not bothering the living.
The Mummy’s Influence/Essence
Many have felt the sense of death in various parts of the building, which is thought to be because of the mummy which was moved to the new museum location. Just a feeling, not an actual entity.
The entities mentioned above are still roaming the halls, rooms and basement, according to eyewitnesses.
851 South Fourth
Louisville, Kentucky 40203
The Monserrat building can be found at the corner of 5th and York.
- Pictures © Tom Carr
- Phantoms of Old Louisville
By David Domine
McClanahan Publishing House, Inc. – 2006
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr