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    In the 1860s, a crematorium and morgue opened on Baxter Avenue, conveniently positioned right near Eastern and Cave Hill Cemeteries. It operated as such for years, but was eventually closed and sold. Since then, it has been a laundromat, cold storage, a machine shop, office space, and was even used for embalming classes in the 1970s. In 2000, it was purchased again and everything inside the building was sold off at public auction, causing many of the records of the building’s history to disappear along with the sale of its contents.

    Now the building plays host to one of the most popular haunted attractions in the area - the

    Baxter Avenue Morgue

    . Headed up by Abigail and Quentin Stephenson of Strange, LLC the attraction boasts thirty five rooms of absolutely terrifying actors, settings, and effects in an environment perfectly suited to an amazing haunted house. Not only does the attraction sit right inside the remains of one of the spookiest buildings I’ve set foot in, but it does an amazing job of making you feel lost in a maze of twisting, turning passageways that do an incredibly good job of disorienting and frightening you, even with the lights on.

    I managed to get a tour of the place ahead of the opening, and it looks to be a scary season in store - but what I’m really interested in is the history of the building and its original purpose. As far as that goes, Events Director Jamie Stephenson told me, it’s been a hard road to find out any solid information. “I don’t know if people were trying to cover up anything, but there aren’t too many records of the history of the place aside from ownership.”

    Despite the lack of solid records and the seemingly bizarre bits around the building there are several areas that have definite purpose. The basement houses the footprint of what is presumably a crematory oven, though it seems that cremation didn’t reach large scale popularity until the

    1880s

    , leaving the possibility of it being a more primitive setup used for mass cremation or some other form of incineration, or perhaps a later installation.

    The inside of the crematory oven

    There’s also the remnants of horse stables in the building, most of which have been torn out or taken down. “They definitely stabled horses in here,” Jamie told me, “but we’re not sure why. They could have used them to transport bodies or supplies, as this was the edge of town when the building was built.”

    Part of the wall to the stables

    Newer structures are superimposed on the morgue as well - a large network of pipes that lead to a cistern (presumably from the building’s era as a dry cleaner), metal shavings and tools stashed in the rafters from the machine shop, and other odd bits of history dot the musty and dark corners throughout. But the most unsettling bits of architecture are the walled off areas scattered throughout.

    Staring into the depths of the morgue

    In several rooms there are walled off areas that were clearly opened before. One of the reportedly most fear-inducing of the sealed spaces is in the yellow room (lead photo), which served as an embalming space. Paranormal groups have reported high levels of activity, and even the operators of the attraction have reported strange happenings - pictures that have fallen off walls, cameras and flashlights with charged batteries suddenly going dead, and other reports are the theme in the yellow room. “We drilled a hole in the wall to see if we could determine what was in there,” Jamie told me, “and the camera died as soon as it got past the edge of the concrete.”

    The sealed space in the yellow room (behind the plant)

    The weird happenings are of interest to quite a few paranormal researchers, and they’ve caused enough interest for the Baxter Avenue Morgue to start looking in to off-season paranormal tours launching next year.

    Whether you’re interested in the Baxter Avenue Morgue for its history, creep factor, or just in it for a good Halloween scare, you should definitely check it out. They open on September 19th, and will run that Friday and Saturday along with the last weekend of the month. From there on out it’s Thursday through Saturday in all of October, including Sundays in the last two weeks leading up to Halloween.

    If you haven’t been convinced to check it out yet, Louisville.com has an exclusive coupon that’s only being offered in this article. It’s valid for every Thursday and Sunday night that the morgue is open, and is good for $7 off your admission. Be sure to print it out before you come, because it’s not going to be valid on a phone screen!

    Print and bring in for a discount on admission!

    (

    Hint: if the image is printing too small, right click and try opening it in a new tab to get the full sized version.)

    Brandon Vigliarolo's picture

    About Brandon Vigliarolo

    Brandon is a Michigan transplant, and has been working as a freelance writer since he arrived. He lives with his Girlfriend Hannah, Pico and Marionette the cats, and Marley the awkward greyhound.

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