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    This Sunday, legendary writer Stephen King will make a pit stop in Louisville as part of a promotional tour for his latest novel “End of Watch.” It’s the latest in King’s massive bibliography that includes over 50 novels, several non-fiction books and a couple hundred short stories. Though predominantly known for horror, he also delves into other genres including fantasy, drama, crime and supernatural. While the event at Iroquois Amphitheater is sadly sold out, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the man’s contributions to world of horror by checking out Louisville’s own creepy locales and history.

    via GIPHY


    King’s most well-known novel is perhaps “The Shining.” His third novel, it was published in 1977 and follows a family’s visit to a hotel in the mountains. Unbeknownst to them, the hotel has a dark and supernatural force that begins to affect the father’s sanity. It was made into an iconic horror film by Stanley Kubrick in 1980.

    Stephen King based the novel’s setting, the Overlook Hotel, on a real-life hotel he visited. The Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado, was visited by King in the ‘70s and the building's long hallways and eerie atmosphere led to his inspiration for “The Shining.” Louisville is no stranger to supposedly haunted hotels. The Seelbach Hotel, perhaps Louisville’s most well-known hotel, has a handful of ghost sightings in its history that have led to interest in the hotel’s possible paranormal inhabitants. The most prominent is “The Woman in Blue,” who was sighted in 1987 and is believed to be the ghost of a woman who died in the elevator shaft in the 1930s. The Brown Hotel is also said the have a ghostly resident, with sightings of original owner J. Graham Brown being the most frequently reported sighting.

    The Seelbach and the Brown aren’t the only eerie establishments in this city, nor are they the most famous just for being frightening. That title goes to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Opened in 1910, the building was established for hosting carriers of tuberculosis. By the time it closed in 1961, it is estimated that over 8,000 people had died there. Disease, and the spread thereof, is a major theme of King’s 1978 novel “The Stand” in which a weaponized strain of the flu wipes out most of the world’s population. While Waverly Hills’ body count is significantly less catastrophic, the dilapidated façade and rich history make it a popular destination for tours, paranormal investigations and even overnight stays.



    Aside from typical haunts and supernatural entities, King also delves into terrifying physical manifestations. Stories like “The Mist,” “It,” and “’Salem’s Lot” feature all varieties of grotesque creatures, from vampires to the iconic Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Louisville, particularly the Fisherville neighborhood, is famous for its myths of the Pope Lick Monster, the man-goat-sheep creature that supposedly lives under the trestle of the same name. Investigations into finding the monster have been carried out for years, despite the danger and illegality of trespassing in the area. These are likely to decline, however, as just this past year, a tourist was killed by a train in their search for the monster. As enticing as a hunt for a man-animal hybrid in the woods may seem, it is not recommended.


    Another one of King’s signatures is the killer car. A surprising amount of King’s work is based around a dangerous automobile including the novels “Christine,” “From a Buick 8,” the ‘80s film “Maximum Overdrive,” and the short story “Mile 81.” If you feel like doing a bit of traveling, Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, offers a great look at vintage automobiles without the supernatural possession or threat of bodily harm. Or perhaps check out the 47th Annual Street Rod Nationals, held August 4-7 at the KY Expo Center.

    King’s latest novel, “End of Watch,” diverts from the usual horror genre into crime. It is the third in the “Bill Hodges Trilogy,” following a retired detective and his hunt for a taunting serial killer. Louisville is no stranger to this. Edward Edwards was a Louisville serial killer who killed at least five people, and avoided police enough to where he was placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. After a prison breakout in 1955, Edwards escaped through the country before being caught in 1961. In 1967, he was paroled, which turned out to be a mistake. Edwards went on to kill several people all the way up to 1996, when he was arrested again. He was sentenced to death, but died of natural causes before the sentence could be carried out.

    While King’s appearance in Louisville may be sold out, it’s easy to find something within Louisville’s history to give you a scare, and plenty of creepy places to investigate. “End of Watch” was released on June 7 and is available, along with his other books, at Carmichael's Bookstore, the host of the event.



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