Bethlehem Academy – Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Bethlehem Academy is located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Elizabethtown, Kentucky is presently situated in the county of Hardin. Hardin County is in the center-northern part of Kentucky, and borders seven other counties as well as the state border of Tennessee. Within Hardin County, Elizabethtown is in the far eastern part of Hardin County. Elizabethtown was, as of 2010, a city with over 28,000 people residing in it. Elizabethtown’s popular nickname is E-town, sometimes shown without the dash (Etown). Elizabethtown was founded in 1795 and was named for Colonel Andrew Hynes’s wife, who was probably named Elizabeth. Bethlehem Academy is now someone’s home and not a restaurant as many people say.
All over on the internet people say that three nuns were murdered at Bethlehem Academy when it was still an academy, but one source says otherwise. This source says that one nun did commit suicide there, but never five. There are also tales of two nuns committing suicide in Bethlehem Academy. Another story legend is that a nun got trampled by an out of control ox. The stories of some amount of nuns dying in Bethlehem Academy are very scrambled, and most likely lost in time, but either way the stories of nuns dying at the academy remain very well known.
Bethlehem Academy was established in 1819 by Bishop Flaget and the Sisters of Charity of Nizareth. The academy was originally on Fifth Street, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, but then it was moved to its present location on St. John Street right outside of Elizabethtown in 1959. Sisters Harriet Gardiner, Polly Beaven, and Nancy Lynch began teaching at the school shortly after it had been built. Bethlehem Academy was named by Father David. Bethlehem Academy was a girls academy for girls in both elementary and high school until 1970 it was coed. Bethlehem Academy may also have been a hotel or convent at some point in its history.
The hauntings at this site vary in a number of different ways. There have been apparitions of a nun in the window of Bethlehem Academy as well as outside of the academy. People have also felt cold spots strewn all throughout the main building. When the academy was a restaurant, some reported that chairs moved across the floor during business hours, and sometimes small things such as keys or pieces of jewelry are found out of place. One story of Bethlehem Academy happens after midnight. It says that if you drive past the academy any time after midnight, you will see windows opening and closing, as well as lights being turned on and off on their own within the building itself. Many report that if one is brave enough to walk up to the porch of Bethlehem Academy that they may be able to feel the negative feelings radiating off the building. Back when Bethlehem Academy was a bed and breakfast, guests of the hotel had reported hearing people talking, children weeping, and things moving about by themselves. Legend has it that many of the long dead nuns that worked at Bethlehem Academy are now buried at The Gates of Hell Cemetery, or Kasey Cemetery, which is located a little further down St. John Road, but the gravestones there are so old that no one can read them clearly.
N.A. (1996-2010) Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Retrieved 1/19/2012 from: http://www.elizabethtownky.org/
Wikipedia (2012) Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Retrieved 1/19/2012 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabethtown,_Kentucky
N.A. (2008) Bethlehem Academy. Retrieved 1/19/2012 from: http://www.strangeusa.com/Viewlocation.aspx?id=12101
N.A. (1998) Haunted Places in Kentucky. Retrieved 1/15/2012 from: http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/kentucky.htm