The Grave of Octavia Hatcher is a Spooky Road Trip
Does the restless spirit of Octavia Hatcher haunt the cemetery where relatives buried her a little hastily 130 years ago?
Maybe your spirit would, too, if your loved ones buried you alive!
Our story uncovers the facts and fiction surrounding this Kentucky horror story.
Let’s dig in!
Buried Alive: The Story of Octavia Hatcher
People revive this Pikeville, Kentucky, legend every year as Halloween grows closer. Octavia Hatcher, just 20-years-old, fell into a deep depression after the tragic death of her infant son, Jacob. She remained in bed for a few months before lapsing into a coma.
When she seemed to stop breathing, grieving family members arranged for her burial in the city’s cemetery. But then they got word of other Pikeville residents who had suffered from a mysterious “sleeping sickness” but had recovered.
As quickly as they could, they had Octavia exhumed. When they peered inside the coffin, they were horrified at what they saw. She tore the interior lining, and her fingernails were bloody and broken. It appeared that she had tried to claw her way out of her own casket.
Octavia Hatcher’s husband, James, was a wealthy and successful businessman in Pikeville. Consumed with grief, he spared no expense in honoring his young wife. He commissioned a life-size statue of her sculpted from Italian marble and placed it at the head of her grave.
He died 40 years later and the city buried him beside her – in a specially designed casket with a safety release inside.
Ghost Stories Surrounding the Grave of Octavia Hatcher
There’s a strange thing about that statue of Octavia Hatcher. It faced downtown, and James Hatcher enjoyed gazing upon it from the hotel he owned over the years. But on certain days – such as the anniversary of her death – the statue would face in the opposite direction.
Legend has it this was Octavia’s way of turning her back on the community that turned its back on her. Others have reported hearing crying sounds in the vicinity of her grave. It sounds like someone’s weeping, but there’s no one there.
Pro Tip: Enjoy exploring creepy graveyards? Take a trip to an alleged portal to hell at Spider Gates Cemetery.
Other Things to Do While You’re in Pikeville
It takes just a few minutes to see the final resting places of Octavia Hatcher and her widowed husband. However, there are quite a few other places of interest in the surrounding area.
Hatfields and McCoys Feud Tour
You may have heard of the legendary feud between two rival families, the Hatfields, and the McCoys. Their squabble started over who owned two hogs, and it kept escalating for nearly 30 years. Arrests and even deaths resulted from the feud.
This self-guided tour lets you visit landmarks related to the long-running conflict. The first stop is the Convention and Visitors Bureau. That’s where you can get a brochure and a CD or USB with narration and music for the tour.
Buried Alive Ghost Walk
Interest in Octavia Hatcher’s demise reaches a peak in October, and there are other haunting tales to explore as well. Paranormal Adventures Events helps sponsor the annual Buried Alive Ghost Walk. The tour starts at the city’s graveyard. From there, travel to the former site of Hatcher’s hotel and the gravesites of some of the McCoy clan.
Ironically, some of the Hatfields and McCoys ended up being rather close to one another in death. Randolph McCoy, the patriarch of one of the feuding families, was laid to rest in Dils Cemetery in 1914.
It’s also the eternal home of some Hatfields, though most of them lie across the state line in their native soil of West Virginia. The grounds are named for Colonel John Dils, a Confederate veteran who became a successful businessman.
Historic York House
This historic old home on Main Street has a strong connection to Dils as well as the Hatfields and McCoys. Colonel Dils and his wife, Ann, built the Queen Anne-style home in 1874 as a wedding gift to their daughter.
Her husband, an attorney named James York, became heavily involved in legal proceedings for the Hatfields and McCoys. Supposedly, the talks that led to the end of the feud took place in the home’s parlor. The renovated home is open to the public as a museum and learning center.
Where to Stay in Pikeville, Kentucky
It’s usually nice to have a choice when it comes to where to stay. When you’re in Pikeville, however, there’s no reason to look elsewhere. Simply put, this place is tops. Plus, it’s only a few minutes from Octavia Hatcher’s grave.
Bob Amos RV Park
Sitting right next to the city park, Bob Amos RV Park is sunny, spacious, and clean. You’ll find paved roads and full hookups, plus 21 sites with concrete pads. The campground has a security gate with an access code.
Kids will enjoy a top-notch playground, and you can set out on the hiking trails to explore the scenic foothills. Other amenities include a dog run, a bathhouse with showers, and Wi-Fi. There are numerous stores and restaurants nearby.
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Explore Pikeville and Octavia Hatcher’s Story
Could the spooky story of Octavia Hatcher’s shocking demise possibly be true? Maybe it’s just a tall tale that’s grown out of control. But several generations of Pikeville residents swear by it. In fact, many have their own versions handed down through their families. Make a road trip to Pikeville, and maybe you can find out the truth about Octavia Hatcher. Are you brave enough?
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