Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Mystery of the Blue Light Lady

Hays, Kansas; an idyllic slice of America, but like most of the country's land, it has seen some tragedies. One of those involves a woman named Elizabeth Polly who has come to be referred to as the "Blue Light Lady."

Born in the mid 1800s, Elizabeth married a man named Ephraim Polly. Her husband was transferred to Ft. Hays to be the steward for the hospital. They had one child. As the hospital steward's wife, she volunteered her time at the hospital helping patients with cholera. Then, she tragically succumbed to the disease.

Elizabeth requested to be buried at Sentinel Hill in her blue dress and white bonnet of her work. 

Ever since that time, her apparition in a blue dress and bonnet is said to pace the hillside, awaiting soldiers to tend to. Some people hear footfalls and see a blue hazy light.

It is interesting to note that Sentinel Hill is made of bedrock and her grave was marked by four posts of limestone. (LINK) These posts were stolen by thieves in the early days of Hays, Kansas. The legend claims that tragedy found each of the thieves in the hours after the theft: one felled in a gunfight, two killed in a carriage accident, and the other hit by a train.

There is something to be said about death sites and grave sites adorned with stones that seem to play a factor in leaving a sort of "spiritual tag" or "location beacon" for the deceased. In fact, when studying 50 haunted locations looking for common factors, I found this relating to their geology -

1. Limestone: 13 of 14 sites with limestone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
2. Shale: 12 of 13 sites with shale ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
3. Sandstone: 20 of 22 sites with sandstone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
4. Granite: 1 of 2 sites with granite ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale.

One clear account of the blue light lady is reported here - 
(LINK)The apparition crested the hill and floated along the prairie like a stray tumbleweed. It paused once to glance up at the full moon, then continued on its descent toward our hiding spot in the bushes. As the blue light drew closer the shadows of her face became distinguishable features and the pattern of her long, prairie dress and bonnet came into view and even though the apparition faded before touching the ground, I heard footsteps shuffling through the dirt.

How long will the blue lady continue to be seen? That's an interesting question when it comes to hauntings. You see, perhaps in the 1800s or 1700s there were stories by locals around the world of encountering apparitions, but those stories over time became less and less reported. So, future generations know nothing about the situation when they encounter it. Now, they have come across an apparition and try to find a current reason or local reason for it. Their story of its origins could be completely incompatible with the earlier generations who related it to some other dead individual. 

How long does a place stay haunted? That's another vital question to be answered!


  1. As a researcher of Elizabeth Polly in years past...One thing that was noted in this article that Elizabeth and Ephraim had a child. According to census and vital statistic records this remains to be answered. Anyway, Elizabeth came from Osceola, Iowa. She had a sister named Adeline Decker. The Decker family were avid farmers in the Osceola area. Anyway, in the census records their is a Lizzie Westor mentioned who was around 5 to 6 years younger than Adeline and Elizabeth. The Decker plot is very interesting because it leaves the question.. Where is lizzie buried at! According to the Fort Hays State archive "The Normal School History"...maroon bound book shows a lonely grave marked by a tombstone at the top of the hill. Later during an archeological dig, it was found to be that of a child, a girl, but of a real young girl. It also goes on to say that when she visits the hill the prairie grass rolls....This is true. If you're in the area, visit the hill...a short walk...when the trail ends and the wind stops will see the tall grass move. Very haunting and very eerie. Since the early, 1960s Hays Daily News has been reporting the many sightings of Elizabeth Polly! So if you decide to visit the back roads of Sentinel Hill on a full moon night...Just be prepared to see the blue light lady!

  2. I would love to go there with you Chris.