The Haunting of Drish House – Alabama

Last week I asked my readers if they would like to see some real-life ghost stories on the blog. According to my twitter and facebook polls, it seems you all wanted to see ghost stories. I’ll post the stories every Friday with my regular posts being on Wednesdays. I thought I would go through each state in the US and share a story. I’ll go alphabetically to make things easier on myself. This week we have Alabama. Let me introduce you to the Drish House.

In Tuscaloosa Alabama on 17th Street there sits a home that is said to be the most haunted place in Alabama. This house is known as the Drish House. The home was built on 450 acres of land for John Drish. His slaves did most of the building. The home was inspired by the Italian Renaissance. However, this home, no matter how pretty it may be, is marred by a haunted past.

John Drish’s story was already a sad one at the time the house was built. John was a doctor and married a women name, Catherine. They had a daughter named Katherine. While their daughter was young, his wife passed away. He sent his daughter to live in Virginia with other family members because he didn’t feel living with a widower was a good idea.

Being an, allegedly, charming man, John quickly found another wife. This woman, a rich widow, was named Sarah Owen. They married in 1825. After his marriage, he brought his daughter back home to live with them, but their relationship was strained. Stories of cruelty surround their relationship. Allegedly, Sarah fell in love with a man John didn’t approve of. To punish her, he locked her in her room and gave her very little food and water. She relented and went on to marry a different man. Eventually, she and her husband divorced and she brought her sons to live in the Drish House. Some people believed that Katherine suffered from a mental illness.

John Drish may have been charming, but it was a bit of an alcoholic and had a horrible temper. This would be his ultimate demise. There are three different tales when it comes to his death. The first is he threw himself over the second-floor balcony. The second says that he was drunk and tumbled down the stairs. The last version claims that he was trying to stop drinking and had the shakes from withdrawals, which caused him to fall down the stairs. Regardless of how he actually died, he passed away in 1867. His wife, Sarah, was left to take care of his funeral.

Sarah became obsessed with his funeral. She ended up planning an elaborate, over the top, funeral. After the funeral ended, she took the candles that were used and hid them away. She planned on them being used for her own funeral. When she died in 1884, the candles were nowhere to be found so they couldn’t fulfill her wishes.

These are not the only sad tails to surround the Drish House and family. 

The niece of Dr. Drish was murdered by her husband. It is also believed that a runaway slave found refuge in one of the towers, but when he left to seek food, he was found and returned to his owner who burned him alive. People have reported seeing a male ghost that is believed to be this slave.

The house has been used for many different things since Sarah’s death. It has been a school, a church, an auto parts store, and a salvage garage. It may have even been used as a prison during the Civil War. Other than the male ghost, other people have reported ghost lights coming from near the top of the house. There have also been reports of what looks like fire shooting out of the third-floor tower. The firemen did not find an actual fire when they arrived. People will blame this occurrence on either the slave that was murdered or by Sarah Drish because it is believed she is angry due to the fact her wishes were never met.

The house fell into disrepair for a while, but it has since been restored and is an event space for people who want to rent it.

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