The Kentucky Chronicles: Bethlehem Academy

Alexis Smith , Writer

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Bethlehem academy. 

Bethlehem Academy is an abandoned school for girls off of St. John Road that was established in 1819 by Bishop Flaget and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. It was originally built in another part of Elizabethtown, but was moved to its current location in 1959. As mentioned before, it was originally an educational academy for young ladies (elementary and high school) until 1970. The Academy has also been converted into a number of different facilities since it closed down, including a hotel and a restaurant. 

There are many speculations as to what happened in the Academy. Some people believe that three nuns were murdered, two nuns committed suicide, or that a nun was trampled by an ox who escaped a nearby farm. There’s no actual evidence to prove which story is actually true, but no matter who, or how many perished behind these walls, unexplainable things happen throughout the Academy.

According to residents, there have been sightings of a nun in the main window as well as outside of the Academy. Those who have seen the nun report her as being transparent with black eyes or black holes where eyes should be. 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 were found out of place. 

Although these encounters have only happened during the day, there are odd occurrences that only happen at certain times in the night. There is a famous legend that 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 when no one is there. 

If one is brave enough to walk up to the porch at night, they may be able to feel 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. However, most of the gravestones are weathered down, broken, or very old, making them difficult to read.