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The Bloody Hand


Abstracted from many sources and reported in Barren’s Black Roots, Volume 2, Michelle Gorin Burris, (c) Aug 1992. By permission. Abstraction by Sandi Gorin, Gorin Genealogical Publishing


On Columbia Avenue in Glasgow KY stood a two-story house, the scene of a vicious murder in 1857. The Frank family lived there; John Frank, his wife and family. They had a beautiful daughter who was courted by and later married a dashing young man from Bowling Green KY by the name of Stone. He came from a established family and had a goodly amount of money and wished to build an appropriate home for his bride. While the house was being constructed, the Frank family agreed to let the newlyweds live there.


Several months into the marriage, in the middle of the night, there was a loud scream, and the bedroom door of the Franks flew open. Their beloved daughter Mary stood there, sheathed in the moonlight, clutching her abdomen with one hand and holding on to the door with the other. Without uttering another sound, she fell to the floor, dead, in a pool of blood.


The Franks household screamed for help and as they were calling out the second-story bedroom window, they heard the sounds of feet racing down the stairs – the front door opening – and then the sight of Mary’s new husband running towards a nearby tree where a saddled horse was waiting.


In short time a posse was formed and the men took off in the direction they had seen Stone go, towards Cave City. They almost caught up with him, when he suddenly dismounted, took the murder weapon, a knife, and slit his own throat. He fell to the ground dead.


Many court cases followed and both Mary and her husband were buried in the same grave in Glasgow.


Years later, the Vic Bybee family moved into the house after the Franks family left – haunted by sounds in the night and the outline of a bloody hand print which appeared on their bedroom door every moonlit night. The Bybee family, a good Black family of Glasgow, stayed there for a number of years, although they all claimed that often times, when the clouds scudded, here and there, when the winds soughed in and bent the tree tops, and the lightning flashed and quivered all over, they could hear a muffled scream. A door would then open as if with great difficulty, then the sound of pattering bare feet and a creak; then loud proclamations of horror and amazement, intermingled with moans and much sobbing; then the sound of the front door slamming.


Others said it was just the wind and their imaginations gone wild; possibly the popping of the house-timbers; the wind blowing the doors open and closed – after all, it was an old house.


The house that Stone was building for Mary is now the location of the Hatcher and Saddler Funeral Home on North Race Street and Happy Valley Road. The entire story of the Bloody Hand is told in “Blood Runs In the Barrens” by Sandi Gorin.