In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there is a story that history buffs everywhere may know. And those who study the paranormal may know it even better. It is the story of the phantom flames that, every now and then, have reportedly been seen burning in the front tower of the Drish House.


Although the Drish house has finally come to find it’s place on the National Register of Historic Places in recent years, the true history does not lie in the unique architectural design of it’s structure. It lies in the tale of the tragic deaths that occurred there and of the hauntings that happened there after.

drishJohn Drish, and his second wife Sarah, were wealthy slave owners. They had the house built by their slaves and much of their handy-work can be recognized in it’s design. The house was quite elaborate and a masterpiece in it’s creation.

Then tragedy befell the estate. In 1867, John Drish, who was a known alcoholic, was said to have spent a night drinking and when morning came, he was stumbling about trying to sober up. Then he suddenly got the shakes. In an instant, he ran across a hallway and threw himself, for no apparent reason, from the upstairs balcony. He was dead on impact. Sarah was devastated.


John Drish had left elaborate burial requests for his funeral, which Sarah carried out just as he had instructed. After the burial of her beloved husband, Sarah became obsessed with her own death and burial. She insisted, that upon her death, she was to have the same burial event as she had given her husband.

Sarah had saved the candles from John’s services and insisted that they be burned at her services as well. The exact same candles, that burned at his wake and funeral, must burn at hers. It was a priority that she made perfectly clear.

The next tragedy came in 1884. When Sarah died that year, those who wanted desperately to honor her greatest wish at her funeral, were unable to do so. The tragedy? Sarah had hidden the candles so securely for safe keeping, that no one could find the damn things! They carried on, without the candles, and buried Mrs. Drish with her final wish un-granted.

Not long after Sarah was buried, someone spotted flames in the front tower of the Drish house. He quickly called for help to have the fire extinguished. But when help arrived, there was no fire at all. And the phantom flames in the tower happened over and over again.

Many came to believe that it was the unhappy spirit of Sarah, who was denied her final wish and she comes now and then to light the candles that never burned at her wake.

credit – the line up