Stories of the Castle on the Cumberland

Eddyville, KY – “All this water wasn’t there. When the prison was built, they destroyed Kuttawa and Old Eddyville. There are still remnants of the buildings under water. I’m told not everyone made it out. Some people refused to go. People got caught in rising water and drowned. They say at night, you’ll see light flickering in the water, that’s the spirits of people who died,” said Steve Asher, a local author and paranormal investigator.

Asher is referring to the Castle on the Cumberland, or The Pen in Eddyville, Kentucky.

For those of you who don’t know, it is a maximum security and supermax prison, that was constructed back in the mid 1800s. According to Asher, the area near the prison was once The Old City of Eddyville.

It was home to many people, but the town was flooded to make the waterway that is now in front of the prison. The area has a long history, but it is behind the walls of this prison that Asher has first-hand stories he wants to tell. He sat down with Local 6’s Mychaela Bruner to tell stories that will send chills down your spine.

It is beautiful from afar, but up close, it is an eerie place.

“It’s a ghost machine, it’s a death machine,” said Asher.

The prison is surrounded by razor wire and dark stories.

“Sometimes you would hear stuff banging around, people talking, someone scream occasionally. You think someone is yelling at the gate, there’s no one there,” said Asher.

More than 800 prisoners live inside these walls.

“We do get the worst of the worst here. We have people higher ranking gang members from Cali, LA and mob members from NY, just really gnarly characters,” said Asher.

It is Kentucky’s oldest prison, dating back to the mid 1800s.

“There’s not probably more than five or 10 feet where there hasn’t been a violent act of a murder, something heinous. That sticks with a place,” said Asher.

Asher worked at the Kentucky State Penitentiary for years as a correctional officer.

“I was working midnights and kept seeing something, almost like a mirage, maybe it was just heat coming in from the hallway, I saw a figure hover across the shower. I heard a scream, not sure what was going on. I run, turn my light on, not a soul,” said Asher.

Asher has stories he has never shared with anyone because he says they are too graphic and horrific.

He said there is a lot he can’t explain, but what he has experienced sticks with him.

“You would see a reflection of an inmate, you spin around and shatter your light because you think you’re about to get chocked from an inmate. They aren’t dressed the same now, the guy I saw was in black and white stripes and looked like a vintage picture. That gives me goosebumps now talking about it what are you supposed to do with that,” said Asher.

The Castle on the Cumberland will hold haunting memories, locked up inside for eternity.

Asher has written two books – “Hauntings of the Kentucky State Penitentiary” and “Hauntings of the Western Lunatic Asylum.”


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