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Scott County, 11 others promoting 'Kentucky After Dark' tourism campaign

"Dead Man's Hollow" on U.S. 25 is part of Scott County's Kentucky After Dark tourism marketing campaign.
Georgetown/Scott County Tourism
"Dead Man's Hollow" on U.S. 25 is part of Scott County's Kentucky After Dark tourism marketing campaign.

It’s called “dark tourism,” and thanks to a new marketing campaign, a state known for horses and bourbon may be gathering a new reputation for ghosts and goblins.

Dylan Marson is the communications manager for Georgetown/Scott County Tourism, one of 12 tourism offices around the state that split $220,000 in federal ARPA funds for the campaign. He says they’re promoting Dead Man’s Hollow – a stretch of U.S. 25 in the northern part of the county.

“There's like highway robbery, murders, and banditry and Civil War disputes, and all sorts of like, it's got a very bloody history back there. So you can imagine, over the years, it kind of developed some spooky stories of people traveling down the roads, people would see goblins in the woods, and all sorts of ghosts in the nearby cave where people found dumped bodies.”

Marson says their marketing campaign began October 1st and will continue indefinitely. He says it seems to be paying off with local and out-of-state tourists who want to check out Dead Man’s Hollow and other supposed supernatural sites.

“We had a couple of which came all the way from Tennessee. And so they had been coming up on their weekends and hitting up every single one of the locations on the passports here. And so they were very big into like the cryptids. So that they had just gotten back from West Virginia. So they were doing all the Mothman stuff over there. And then they saw this campaign, and they're like, ‘Oh, we gotta go.’ So they've been hitting up every single one of them.”

People who get their passports checked at half the sites will receive a Kentucky After Dark prize. Right now, it’s a logoed keychain. Meantime, Marson and company are collecting other tales, however tall, to share, in the hopes that Dark Tourism pays off in a light shade of green.

“If a cool ghost story or hauntings and spooky roads, bring people out to come into our communities and spend money. I think that's a worthy endeavor.”

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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