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The Haunting of Drish House

The House with a Burning Tower

On 17th Street in Tuscaloosa, Alabama there is a home that is hailed as the most haunted in Alabama. It is called the Drish House which was formerly known as Monroe Place. Built mostly by slaves for John Drish and his wife on a plot of 450 acres, it was a beautiful home styled in both the Greek and Italian Renaissance style. However, as beautiful as it was, darkness from its past marred its beauty.  

The owner John Drish already had a sad, morbid history when the house was built.  He was a doctor and was married to a woman named Catherine Washington. They had a daughter named Katherine. Sadly, his wife died when their daughter was young. He sent her to live in Virginia with relatives because he believed living with a widower would not be good for her.

John Drish was allegedly a charming man and it didn't take him long to woo and married a rich widow by the name of Sarah Owen in 1825. He brought his daughter Katherine back to Alabama to live with him but their relationship was frayed. So much so that a story of cruelty surrounds them. Allegedly, Katherine fell in love with a man John didn't approve of. He locked her in her room with very little food and water and she eventually relented. She later married only to bring her sons back to the Drish house. She had divorced their father. Many rumors suggest that Katherine suffered from mental illness.

Though charming, John Drish was an alcoholic and he suffered from a violent temper. Sadly, John Drish would die because of this. There are three stories surrounding his death. The first is he threw himself from a second-floor balcony.  The second is that he was drunk and fell down the stairs and the third story, alleges that he was trying to stop drinking and began to shake from withdrawals and fell.  Regardless of which story is true, John Drish died in 1867 leaving his distraught wife to plan his funeral.  

Sarah was so distraught that she became more and more eccentric.  She planned an elaborate funeral. When it was over, she kept her husband's funeral candles and hid them away. She insisted that they be burned at her funeral. When she died in 1884 no one could find the candles so her wishes were not met.  

Sadly, these were not the only dark things to surround the Drish family.  

Dr. Drish's niece was murdered by her husband and there is also a rumor that a runaway slave hid in one of the towers but when he exited because he needed food, he was returned to his owner who burned him alive. There have been reports of a male ghost who is assumed to be this slave.  

Since Sarah's death the house has been used as a school, a church, salvage yard, an auto parts store and was also reportedly a prison during the Civil War. Besides the male ghost, ghost lights have also been reported near the top of the house and what appears to be a ghostly fire shooting from the third story tower. Of course, there is no fire when the firemen arrive. This occurrence is either blamed on the ghost of the slave or Sarah Drish who is believed to be angry because her wishes of using her husband's funeral candles at her own funeral were not met.

Though the house fell in disrepair for a while, it has been restored and is now open for those who wish to hold events there. So there is hope that the dark history of the Drish house is gone and can now have a bright future.  

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The Haunting of Drish House
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