Haunted Lexington landmark featured in television show premiere


History Alive premiered at the Kentucky Theatre on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.

Amanda Bryant

The pilot episode of History Alive, a new television program, premiered last night to a sold-out crowd at the Kentucky Theater downtown.

Grant Wilson of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters introduced the program in the theater and on screen. Wilson expressed how much he enjoyed being a part of the pilot project.  

“I caught wind of the project and fell in love with it,” Wilson said at the premiere.  

The show featured a documentary-like visit to the Waveland house of Lexington, which is believed to have paranormal activity as well as significant historical value for the city and state. The project started when the executive producer, Darren Zancan of DMZ Productions, toured the jail that once held John Dillinger, Lake County jail, in Crown Point, Indiana, about six years ago.  

“You live and you die, and you’ve got the in-between to do something,” Zancan said to the crowd before the show began after being told by another member of the product crew to “say hello to the nice people.”  

The show focused on the history of the Bryan family who inhabited Waveland around the mid 19th century before the Civil War and shortly for a time afterward until the youngest son, described by a commenter in the show as a spoiled brat, had to sell the property to pay off gambling debts, leaving himself to die living in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Lexington, according to the show. The plantation was formerly profiting by way of hemp production in the mid 19th century, making the Bryan family a prominent Kentucky family.  

A paranormal investigation by the Lexington Paranormal Research Society was performed for the show, shedding light onto the believed-to-be ghostly residents of Waveland, such as Mrs. Bryan, the wife of Mr. Joseph Bryan, and Moses, a butler who was enslaved at the former hemp plantation.  

Waveland was sold to UK in 1956 then acquired by the Kentucky State Park system in 1971. The site housed about 19 slaves during the period before the Civil War, according to a tour guide featured in the show. The park prides itself on giving a historical analysis of slave life and their own stories for visitors to learn.  

Several individuals gave testament to ghostly sightings and events they’ve experienced at the park.

“A door slammed behind me,” park manager Charla Reed said.

Other visitors and workers of the park’s popular fright nights spoke of being shoved or seeing chairs move across the room, and one painter had his ladder moved to a side of the fireplace he was planning to subsequently paint.  

“You hear voices,” David Underwood of the Lexington Paranormal Research Society said.  

Darren himself stated after the program that he was always been open minded about paranormal activity and never sided one way or the other on the stories of those who have said to experienced encounters.

The night closed with a brief show of some of the production crew’s bloopers to the surprise of the audience and a Q&A session with the producers and members of the paranormal society.  

The group was asked what locations they plan to visit next. Some of the locations mentioned included Whitehall State Historic Site in Richmond and Camp Nelson in Nicholasville.  

Underwood invited guests who would like to experience a paranormal investigation to join them at Waveland this coming Friday for another session. More information can be found at the Lexington Paranormal Research Society Facebook page.