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Keltner House Used As A Morgue; Voices Sometimes Heard

This article first appeared in issue 14, and was written by Linda Waggener.

James Howard Keltner is the son of a survivor of the Gradyville Flood who tells his story below, and, James Howard and his wife, Mary, have restored the old Moss home in Gradyville which was used as a morgue during the flood. Bodies were laid out in the big parlor room. Caskets were hoisted in and out of the front windows because the hallway was narrow.

When he retired back to Adair County, James Howard looked first to his roots in Gradyville. He grew up across Big Creek from where he and Mary live now. James Howard was familiar with the history of the house.

However he didn't know that it might have visitors from the past. They've heard voices-low murmurings of women's voices in the night. And both will tell you that if they go toward those voices, the voices stop.

Relatives who've stayed the night with them have experienced visitations. Lisa Keltner was tucking in her daughters, ages one and three, in an upstairs bedroom one night when she heard women's voices talking about how cute the little girls were. She looked up and caught a fleeting glance of two women's faces outside the windows. A friend was awakened by voices in the night. He and James Howard weren't sure if it was ghosts or if it might have just been some drunks getting their mail at the Gradyville post office across the street from their home.

Mary says she is very sensitive and believes the spirits are there. She's among those who share the theory that old buildings house more than just nails and bricks.

James Howard says, "The only thing I know is that we hear female voices babblin' in the night sometimes."

Could souls of those bodies ravaged by the flood 90 years ago be residing in the attic of the Keltner home today?

Well, if they are, James Howard and Mary - so hospitable in their warm country home - will probably just invite them to enjoy a piece of her homemade chocolate cake with a cup of hot coffee and sit to talk for a while in the breezeway off the kitchen.


Click here to return to index to "Gradyville Flood Special Edition."


This story was posted on 1997-06-15 12:01:01
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