A Kentucky Ghost Story: Carl Pruitt The Chain Strangler


Can a wronged ghost seek vengeance from beyond the grave? Some Kentuckians seem to believe so.

This is a story from Pulaski County, Kentucky. In the year 1938, Carl Pruitt comes home from work to find his wife in bed with another man. The other man got away, but Carl’s adulterous wife wasn’t so lucky. Enraged by her infidelity, Carl picks up a length of chain and strangled her to death. When he comes to his senses and realizes what he has done, Carl then kills himself.

This is where things start to get real interesting. The wife’s family demanded Pruitt be buried in a different graveyard than where she was buried. Visitors began to notice something strange about Carl’s grave. Circular patches of discolored grass around his grave seemed to form a chain. Then the tales of haunting and vandalism began.

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As is wont with most teenagers, a stupid teenage boy wanted to impress his friends and show he wasn’t scared. He chucked a rock at the Carl Pruitt’s gravestone chipping it. The teenagers then left on their bikes. Not far down the road, the teenager who threw the rock had a grizzly accident. The sprocket on his bike broke and the chain wrapped around his throat choking him to death. Upon looking at the gravestone after this, it showed no damage.

Soon the boy’s mother took an ax to the cursed gravestone for revenge. The next time anyone saw her she was hanging from her clothesline. Somehow she got so tangled up in the clothesline she strangled to death. To the residents of the small town in Pulaski County, this put Carl Pruitt’s kill count up to three, two of which posthumously.


Then despite warnings from the town, two police officers went to investigate the now widely believed cursed gravesite. After they satisfied themselves by damaging the marker they left the cemetery to continue their rounds. They noticed a large ball of light seemed to be following them. Spooked by the light, the officer driving crashed into a fence. He was decapitated by a chain and the other was thrown from the car.

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As the story goes, the town eventually destroys Pruitt’s gravestone sometime in the 1940s. But the legend of course lives on. Residents of Elm Street, do you believe in ghosts?