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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Key West, Florida- Hot Vacation Spot, and Home to Many- In life and death

     Key West has been a vacation destination and home for people of all ages for a long time. Who can resist the laid-back lifestyle, warm weather, fresh seafood, rich history and simple relaxation? To make it even better, it's haunted!  The island was discovered by Ponce de Leon in the early 1500's. Originally they named the island "Cayo Hueso" which means "Isle of Bones".  They named it such because the island was totally covered in bones.  The island was the site of a previous massacre or it was some sort of Indian burial ground.  It is unknown for certain where these bones came from. Located 150 miles south of Miami and just 90 miles north of Havana, Key West is one of the best tourist destinations in the United States. The beaches, the snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing,of course the partying, and ghosts!

Beach Scene
      The clubs and bars that Key West is famous for are not the only nightly attractions or entertainment. There's a lot more than just partying going on in Key West, especially at night. There's a parallel spirit world lurking in the buildings, walking the streets, time does not touch them, they do not age, and most of them can't be seen. But when they want you to see them, watch out! Upon first look, Key West appears to be the perfect little paradise, but looks can be deceiving as every little town has its own little secrets. Key West is no different. This little town is a mere 2 mile by 4 miles, with a past that is rich with tales of island pirate lore, voodoo curses, black magic rituals. It even comes complete with its own notorious hauntings. Key West residents accept, and even, embrace their supernatural entities like any other resident on the island. It's just part of their everyday lives in a way. You can take a "ghost tour" and learn about these spirits and hopefully experience their ghostly presence first hand!  

Ghost Tour bus

     Some say Key West is one of the most haunted locations in the United States, which makes it perfect for my list of the most haunted places in the United States that I'd love to visit. Visitors can go on nightly tours looking for ghosts throughout historic Old Town. Local tour companies will guide visitors around after dark when the restless spirits from beyond begin to awaken, all in search of orbs, apparitions, and ghostly sightings near the haunted hotels, 19th-century Victorian mansions, and cemeteries. You will hear stories of famous writers, pirates, rum-runners, and refugees, and as Florida's second oldest city, the ghost stories in Key West are endless, creepy, and often frightening. Key West's original ghost tour, founded in 1996 by "Ghosts of Key West" author David Sloan. Featured on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, The Tonight Show and MTV's Real World. Locally owned and operated. Come see why the original is always the best!  

Captain Tony's Saloon
     As water trade increased so did the population and eventually Key West was settled.  The site of Key West's first bar was established on top of part of these burial grounds. Captain Tony’s Saloon was Florida’s first bar. The bar has been patronized through the years by many well-known artists, writers and celebrities. In fact, an interesting feature of the bar is that when a celebrity visits, they add a barstool with that patron's name. There are  barstools painted with the names of famous people such as Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffet, John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman, for example. Before the building became the first bar, it was the first morgue on Key West. The mortician dearly attached to his daughter, made her burial place inside the building. As the trade increased, so did the pirating. The hanging tree where pirates and murderers where hanged was conveniently located just outside of the morgue. This tree, from which 75 people were hanged, now grows through the center of the building. Sixteen skeletons were found when they were laying a new foundation. There is still the tombstone in the pool room where the coroner buried his daughter. 
     There was a lady in the latter half of the 19th century, who brutally murdered her husband and two sons.  Then she chopped their bodies into pieces and put the bloody chunks out in the backyard for the animals to dispose of.  A neighbor saw the carnage and found the exhausted murderess inside her home wearing a blue dress covered in blood. A crowd turned lynch mob and dragged her to the hanging tree for instant justice. The legendary "Lady in Blue" is Captain Tony's best-known haunting.  People will see a bluish blur passing through the room. Some have photographed her. She isn't alone though.  There is also a story of a woman who brought her young child into the saloon, where she caught her husband drinking and womanizing.  In a rage, she snapped, and killed her child in the bathroom. Then she carried out the body under a blanket. People have had a lot of supernatural occurrences in the bathroom, especially the 1st stall, where they think she murdered her child and in the saloon itself of course. I, of course heard this and wondered why she killed her child instead of her husband? The child didn't do anything. There have been voices heard, people have claimed to be touched by something that isn't there, and have feeling of being watched, and doors opening by themselves.
Ectoplasm in picture at Tony's
The Hanging Tree in the middle of Bar
      The East Martello Museum is located at the old East Martello Fort.  The Museum was constructed as a fort to represent the Martello Watchtowers in Italy. The walls of this fort are 8 foot thick, and built with granite. It was designed back in the Civil War Era. It's now home to Key West artifacts from past history, and also has military memorabilia. This museum holds all sorts of artifacts and historical records of Florida Keys history. The eeriest of displays is Robert the Doll, dubbed as “the original Chucky.” Robert the Doll was given to artist Robert “Gene” Otto in 1904 by a Bahamian servant who, according to legend, was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward, it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Eugene's parents said they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking.  Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room, they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that "Robert did it!". In addition, guests swore that they saw Robert's expression change before their eyes. Gene gave the life-sized doll his first name, and blamed it for his bad behavior and anything that went wrong. That really goes beyond the basic,not taking blame for anything" problem that a lot of people have. He blamed a doll for everything? Really? Maybe he was right though. Maybe the servant had cursed it as revenge for poor treatment. After numerous occurrences like these, Robert the doll was banished to the turret room in the Victorian-style mansion. It seemed to take them a while to finally put it in attic, it seems.  I would have just put it in the garbage.  Children passing by on their way to school would notice Robert in one window in the morning and having moved to another window in the afternoon--- yet he hadn't been moved by any human who'd claim it.
Robert the Doll's original home
    Gene had been an ill-tempered person all of his life, and Robert the Doll is said to be a reflection of him. In later years, Gene took a wife, Anne. Gene was an artist, and locally successful. They had an average marriage, oddly punctuated by suddenly volatile behavior from Gene.  As always, after each outburst was over, Gene would say, "Robert did it."  Even as an adult he continued to blame his behavior on the doll. Perhaps the doll could have somehow been possessed somehow, and i'll even go as far as to say that perhaps the doll somehow made weird things happen, he didn't make Gene be an angry jerk in general. Gene had a fiery temper, of which his wife took the brunt of. Upon Gene's death, Anne left Key West. She left Robert the dall in his turret room and rented out the house. A strict provision in the rental agreement stated that Robert must stay in his room and it was strictly adhered to until Anne passed away in 1976, even though the residents actually put Robert in a trunk, then left the trunk in the turret room. Today, Robert resides at Fort East Martello Museum.  
Robert in his display cube, very intimidating...
     When Robert was donated to the museum in 1994, he came with his own hand-crafted Robert-sized chair and a stuffed lion, Leo. (Leo is the name given the lion by Key West Art and Historical Society staff--- his "real" name isn't known nor is it known when the doll and the lion hooked up.) Supposedly, Robert the Doll is possessed, like dolls aren't already creepy enough.   He often prevents his photo from being taken, moves his toy lion from one knee to the other, and even taps on his display case.  The saying goes ... "when you visit Robert you are not allowed to take photos of him, unless you get his permission. Those that do not comply by his wishes, will have misfortune come to them. " First of all, how do you know if he gave you permission? I hate to state the obvious, but he he's a doll. That would feel weird. "Excuse me Mr. Doll, could I please have the honor of taking your creepy picture?"  So go visit and see the "original Chucky" for yourself, and try to take a picture. Good luck, and don't forget to say "Please?"
Robert the Doll

East Martello Museum
      The Key West Hard Rock Café is located in a sizable house on Duval Street, the Key West Hard Rock Café is home to Robert Curry. The house was built by William Curry, Florida’s first millionaire, as a wedding gift for his son, Robert. Robert was very ill throughout his life, plagued by a variety of ailments and illnesses, yet found himself in control of the Curry family fortune. Since he wasn’t a very good businessman and likely had a lot of medical expenses, due to his poor health, the money rapidly faded away. Distraught and depressed, Robert committed suicide in the second floor bathroom. The Curry House is now the Hard Rock Café, but Robert doesn’t seem to know the difference. Guests and employees have reported seeing a dark-haired man walking the premises, then disappearing into thin air. This Hard Rock Café is supposedly the only haunted one in the World! It's already a good place to visit on a vacation, but in Key West, the resident ghost gives you even more reason to have a meal there! 
Hard Rock Cafe
     The story about the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home is the true story of German immigrant Georg Karl Tanzler (AKA Count Carl von Cosel) and Elena Milagro Hoyos Mesa, isn’t exactly a ghost story and might not have anything to do with a haunting. But, it might.  Read on, and you will be freaked out beyond your wildest imagination. Self-proclaimed Count von Cosel was an x-ray technician in Key West. He was 54 when he fell madly in love with Elena, a 22 year old patient dying of tuberculosis. There obviously wasn't a future there for them due to her imminent death. Regardless, he begged Elena to marry him but, a devout Catholic whose husband left her, she declined. Sadly, Elena died in late 1931 and was placed in a mausoleum Cosel had built for her in Key West Cemetery. About a year and a half later, the still distraught Count, went off the deep end and took Elena from her resting place and brought her to a new one: his bedroom. Cosel began to “reconstruct” Elena’s body out of wax, plaster of Paris and silk. Tanzler attached the corpse's bones together with wire and coat hangers, and fitted the face with glass eyes. As the skin of the corpse decomposed, Tanzler replaced it with silk cloth soaked in wax and plaster of Paris. As the hair fell out of the decomposing scalp, Tanzler fashioned a wig from Hoyos's hair that had been collected by her mother and given to Tanzler not long after her burial.  Tanzler filled the corpse's abdominal and chest cavity with rags to keep the original form, dressed Hoyos's remains in stockings, jewelry, and gloves, and kept the body in his bed. Tanzler also used extensive amounts of perfume, disinfectants, and preserving agents, to mask the odor and slow the effects of Elena's decomposition.  In October, 1940, Elena's sister Florinda heard rumors of Tanzler sleeping with the disinterred body of her sister, and confronted Tanzler at his home, where Hoyos's body was eventually discovered. Florinda notified the authorities, and Tanzler was arrested and detained. He was found mentally competent to stand trial on the charge of "wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization." After a preliminary hearing on October 9, 1940 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West, Tanzler was held to answer on the charge, but the case was eventually dropped and he was released, as the statute of limitations for the crime had expired.  Shortly after the corpse's discovery by authorities, Hoyos's body was examined by physicians and pathologists and put on public display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, where it was viewed by as many as 6,800 people. Hoyos's body was eventually returned to the Key west Cemetery here the remains were buried in an unmarked grave, in a secret location, to prevent further tampering. This story has been featured on many different television shows and in countless books. Take a stroll past the cemetery and funeral home. It’s free, super creepy and perhaps you'll see Costel's ghost, searching for Elena. Or perhaps it's Elena, furious with Costel for what he did.
Elena, on display
An "Apparition" at cemetery.
    The Hemingway Home & Museum is home to Key West’s most famous apparition, the legendary author Ernest Hemingway. The Hemingways heard of Key West from Ernest’s friend John Dos Passos, and the two stopped at the tiny Florida island on their way back from Paris. They soon discovered that life in remote Key West was like living in a foreign country while still perched on the southernmost tip of America. Hemingway loved it. "It’s the best place I’ve ever been anytime, anywhere, flowers, tamarind trees, guava trees, coconut palms...Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks." After renting an apartment and a house for a couple of years the Hemingways bought a large house at 907 Whitehead Street with $12,500 of help from Pauline’s wealthy Uncle Gus. Pauline was pregnant at the time.  They called Key West their home from 1931 until his suicide in 1961. His life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. The suicide probably wasn't too inspirational. Hopefully.  Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics. Shortly after the publication of the "Old Man in the Sea" in 1952, Hemingway went on safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain or ill health for much of the rest of his life.  I hope it was worth the "thrill." Apparently it wasn't, or maybe his health got to him.  But Ernest Hemingway the author, the man who encouraged others to "think positively," killed himself in 1961. Ironic.
      Now, the Hemingway Estate is home to approximately 60 cats, direct descendants of the 16 cats Hemingway had when he lived here. The phrase is usually "that crazy old cat lady," but I suppose in this case it was the "crazy old cat man."  This main house is no longer a home, but a museum dedicated to Hemingway and the way he lived. He enjoyed adventure and travel. Hemingway penned "A Farewell to Arms" with the typewriter and chair on display in the studio. You can go on a tour, and walk around the house and garden. Have fun locating the 60 cats (some with six toes, descendants of Hemingway's unique favorite) roaming the property, the fountain constructed from a local bar's urinal (classy), and the penny under glass near the saltwater pool, which Hemingway reportedly tossed at his wife for "spending his last cent" on its construction. Everything has been preserved the way that Hemingway and his family had it. So much so that Hemingway may think that he still lives there! His ghost has been spotted all over the grounds, accompanied by the sound of a typewriter when he is inside the main house. The carriage house in the back has been turned into the administrative offices for the museum as well as a bookstore. This is a must see for literary buffs, as well as ghost hunters, and cat lovers.
Could this be Hemingway's ghost?

     Now, we will visit the infamous haunted La Concha Inn of Key West, Florida. legendary Key West hotel has hosted guests like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and Harry S. Truman since opening in 1926. Room 160 of the Hotel is haunted by a man who lost his life in the hotel after falling into an empty elevator shaft. Guests of the hotel report having someone tap them on the shoulder, but when they turn to see who tapped them, they find no one there. Despite the fact that La Concha was approved as a Holiday Inn franchise, this lurking spirit has proved to be quite an enduring nuisance to guests.  I guess that would kind of take out the "Holiday" part of Holiday Inn. Ghosts aren't very relaxing.  While some people may not like the idea of spending the night in a place that is said to be so haunted, there are others who relish the chance to add this additional experience to their Key West vacation. I think it would be the perfect place to stay the night. 
La Concha Hotel
     Like the island itself, La Concha had weathered many changes and had undergone numerous face-lifts. The hotel had been restored, reopened, and had recovered from its fall, but one New Year’s Eve a waiter who had been cleaning up after a party had pulled his cart full of dishes down the hallway on the 5th floor and was patiently waiting for the elevator. As the elevator doors opened and the bell sounded, he backed into the elevator pulling his cart in with him. Unfortunately the elevator had malfunctioned and the car stopped at the floor above him. He stepped into an empty elevator shaft and fell to his death. His spirit seems most active on the fifth floor and to no surprise, around the elevator. Many guests have reported hearing his scream followed by a deafening crash, while others have seen the young man in the elevator perhaps trying to complete his task. The lesson in this is, look where you are going.
    This seven story hotel has also been the scene of many suicides as some 13 people leaped to their death from the rooftop observation deck, and some of these spirits may also remain. I guess that the roof was inspiring and depressing at the same time. A lawyer who leapt to his death in 1992 after being accused of embezzlement can still be seen pacing back and forth contemplating. One gentleman who took the leap in 2006 reportedly downed a glass of Chardonnay before doing so. Since then, patrons have reported their glasses of Chardonnay were sometimes suddenly jerked from their hands by some unseen force. Could the spirit of a former employee be trapped within these walls for all of eternity?  Is the La Concha home to several guests that never checked out. 

Hallway of the haunted hotel

      Of course, there is always the lighter side of Key West. You can drink, party, relax and basically do the ordinary things that ordinary people do on their ordinary vacations. But, why settle for something ordinary when you can do something so extraordinary? Key West is the best of both worlds: our living world and the supernatural world. Beings from each world just can’t seem to get enough. I can't wait to visit, for a vacation of fun in the sun, beautiful beaches and "lively" ghost adventures!  From awesome margaritas to ghosts, Key West has it all!
Haunted Houses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "The spirit-world around this world of sense Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense A vital breath of more ethereal air."


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tour Haunted Charleston, South Carolina, with me.


    Charleston, South Carolina is a historic city that preserves remnants of the past, in such a way, that it seems almost normal or natural for it's former inhabitants to still lurk about.  In Charleston, you'll find that spirits are just as much of a part of the city as the living are.  How intriguing!! In Charleston, hordes of tourists abundantly explore the downtown streets, year after year, to see the sights.  It is a seaside city with a lot of history that is traced way back to pre-Columbus days.  Charleston has always played a major role in the history of America.

      There are several different tour options for our trip to Charleston, SC.  There are different tour companies, and different types of ghost tours.  Bulldog tours is Charleston's premier tour company.  They offer an exclusive access to many of Charleston's most infamous and haunted sites.  Bulldog Tours offers a Charleston Ghost&Dungeon Tour, The Dark Side Tour, Charleston Ghost&Graveyard tour or the Haunted Jail Tour. Decisions Decisions! Lets do them all!!!  Bulldog tours has actually been featured on the Travel Channel, A&E, in Southern Living, Bon Appetite, NY Times and USA Today. With great feedback.  Space is limited so call today and reserve your tour today!!! I hope to be doing that soon myself! 

     Ghost Hunters who have visited say that it's a paranormal hot spot of activity and there are an abundance of restless spirits.  The old city jail appears to be one of the most haunted places in Charleston and people visiting the old city jail are always getting photos of orbs and ghosts in the jail.  It housed some of Charleston's most infamous criminals, 19th century pirates and Civil War prisoners.  The Old City Jail was in operation 1802-1939.  Most of the buildings' original structures remain intact. It's one of the most popular ghost tours.  It was intended to hold 128 prisoners, over 300 were frequently kept there.  In some rooms, prisoners were locked in cages, barely the size of the person's body.  They were all packed in together like sardines. There were awful conditions, disease was rampant and tortures continued.  So it sucked all around, for lack of a better term.

door to old jail
      They would chain prisoners, burn them, brand them, starve them, and even had a contraption called the Crane of Pain.  It is a torture apparatus consisting of ropes.  They have a reproduction of it on display now. I'll let you use your imagination on that one. Creepy!  And horrible! Why do they always hire the most sadistic people possible to run these places?  During it's operation until 1939, over 10,000 people died on the property.  So yes, I'd say there are probably quite a few pissed off spirits still there.  Still serving time.  There were numerous pirates, civil war soldiers,and  serial killers John and Lavinia Fisher.  The Fisher's ran a boarding house and murdered many patrons, motivated by robbery.  Lavinia is widely considered the first known female serial killer in the United States.  The Fishers were kept in jail until their hangings on February 18, 1820.

a ghost?
        On tours, people have seen ghosts, photographed orbs, had glasses knocked off, jewelry has been "taken", felt "a presence", had cell phone disruptions and doors were found open after closed.  The reproduction of the "Crane of Pain" was found with it's ropes all wound about and twisted.  There have also been many EVPs.
the old city jail
     One of the other most haunted places in Charleston, South Carolina is known as the Dock Street Theater.  It was demolished and replaced several times, then was built to be the Planter's Hotel by the Caldar family of Charleston.  It was again remodeled in 1835.  The Planters hotel was one of the largest and luxurious hotels in Charleston.  In the mid 1930s the Works Progress Administration restored the hotel structure to it's original appearance and converted it in to a theater again.
Dock St. Theater

     There are two entities that continuously haunt the theater.  One was famous actor named Junius Brutus Booth.  He was most famously known as the father of the man who killed President Abraham Lincoln.  He must have been so proud.... Ironically, Junius Brutus Booth was named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the murderers of Julius Caesar.  He was one of the best actors of his time. He was obsessed with the theater.

Junius Brutus Booth

     Junius also became obsessed with alcohol, which made him unreliable. Another odd thing he did, was to write President Andrew Jackson, demanding he pardon 2 pirates, and in the same letter he threatened President Andrew Jackson's life.  It was thought to be a hoax until there was a handwriting analysis a few days later, that confirmed the letter was written by Booth.  He apologized to the president and all was well. Decades later, his son, John Wilkes Booth assassinated the "then" president Lincoln.
 "New on- Before they were famous...John Wilkes Booth..the actor?"
 The irony of this picture is insanely ridiculous. First of all, from left to right, these are Junius's sons: John, Edwin and Junius Jr.  They are acting out the play Julius Caesar.  What is funny is that Junius Sr. and Junius Jr. were both named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead murderers of Julius Caesar.  I mean really?

Julius Brutus Booth  died on a steamboat ride from New Orleans, from drinking bad water it appeared.  There was no doctor on board. Of course. Because that would be logical.  Well, technically they were right, it was drinking that ultimately killed him. Who would have known it'd be from drinking water?

      The other ghost that haunts the famous Dock Street Theater, is known to many as a nameless prostitute that locals call "Nettie," who is believed to have frequented the area in the 1800s.  She worked at the hotel.  There is more to that story. Nettie Dickerson was 25 years old when she came to Charleston from the up north a bit, around 1840.  She was drawn to the excitement and sophistication of the city, and was determined to find love and happiness.  Back then the prime age for marriage (for females) was 17 .  At 25, Nettie was considered a spinster.  She was pretty and smart, and there were plenty of men willing to take her as a mistress, but not a wife. Penniless with hopes and dreams of the city seemingly shattered, she found work at St. Philip’s Church as a clerk.  She received room and board, and a small clothing stipend, but had little else.  Despite having a good relationship with the priest, Nettie was never accepted among Charleston’s elite high society.  During thunderstorms, she would climb to the top of the church’s bell tower and watch the thunderheads roll in from the sea.  She felt comfort there.  Everyone bustling along Charleston’s streets appeared equal from her perch.  Down the street, she could see the renowned Planters’ Hotel.  Charleston’s aristocratic men enjoyed drinking and prostitutes on weeknights, never missing a Sunday at St. Philip’s with their perfectly proper and upscale wives.  She was incredulous that they were more highly regarded than she’d ever be…and she began to resent it.  She quit her job at the church, though the priest tried to discourage her.  Soon after, she got dressed up in a stunning red gown, and entered the Planters’ Hotel to begin her life of prostitution. 

St. Philips Church

     Beautiful and charming, she did well in her new trade.  She still attended services every Sunday at St. Philips, much to the dismay of the elite upper class, especially the wives of her clients.  When she’d catch a sneer, she’d walk right up to the woman and gregariously say hello, often complimenting the woman on her choice of husband. After she had reached this point, men began to turn her away.  Surprise Surprise.  When the money started to run low, Nettie again sought refuge and comfort in the humid coastal storms.  She’d stand on the second floor balcony of the Planters’ Hotel, letting the fierce gusts of wind sweep her flowing hair and whip her dress.  She was angry and depressed, and she started to use her balcony as a soapbox from which she ranted, raved, and antagonized those below.   She stopped going to church, so the priest came to visit during a storm, knowing she’d be on the balcony.  As she screamed and wailed, he pleaded with her to come down and let him help.  Glaring at him, holding the balcony railing, she screamed, “You can’t help me!” As if on cue, a lightning bolt hit the railing, electrocuting Nettie, and bringing her desperate sorrow to a tragic and horrific end. 

     The next place on this virtual tour is the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation.  It is a favorite among many visitors.  Many people have seen the spirit of a soldier, who appears to be trying to remove a bullet from an injured comrade.  He may have died trying to save someone.  Very noble, but very sad.

Boone Hall Ave of Oaks

      The Plantation is an extremely historical site that has remained a working plantation since late 1600s, which is very unique.  A heart breaking story is told by the locals called "The 13th Step."  In the 1700's, a young girl Ammie Jenkins grew up in the plantation and played along side her childhood friend Concha, who was an Indian boy.  Supposedly on her 18th birthday, he told her he loved her and she denied him.  Ammie shortly found a suitor and the night before she was supposed to marry him, an arrow entered her chest from the bedroom window.  Was it Cupid's revenge for breaking poor Concha's heart?  The irony.  She was able to stumble down to the porch, with the arrow in her chest, where her future husband waited for her.  Bleeding, and gasping her last breaths, she made it to her fiance's arms, where she died, on the 13th step.  Years passed before anyone would walk on the step because the bloodstain never seemed to go away.  No one seems to know what happened, where the arrow came from or what happened to Concha.  These are all questions I have.  Perhaps a hurt and angry Concha shot the arrow himself, taking revenge for his broken heart.  If he couldn't have her, then no one could.

Boone Hall Plantation
     Okay, so everyone knows that Blackbeard's Ghost is said to haunt Charleston, South Carolina.  Over the years, ghosts of Pirates have been sighted quite often under the oaks along the area of Charleston, known as the Battery.  Many Pirates were hung from the oak trees on the battery. A lot of people have seen  the pirates that were hung there, walking around, or should I say "hanging" around? Too soon? Sometimes people claim to hear the pirates screaming at them under the same old oaks.  With as much regard as one gives a stained, ratty towel, hung outside to dry, during a hurricane, "Screw it." you think. "It's not worth getting wet."  Apparently no one had a problem with hanging pirates, often just based on random accusations.  You would be hung if you were even accused of associating with pirates.  Yes, many real pirates were hung. But I'm sure innocent people were too, simply accused by ignorant people, who were greedy for attention, as in the Salem Witch Trials.

hanging of Pirate Stede Bonnet 1718

     The Ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate is seen often out at Folly Island, only a few miles from Charleston.  Blackbeard and his cut-throat, murderous, unruly, socially completely unacceptable-  pirates, once blockaded Charleston and threatened to burn the city. Okay.. so they weren't very nice... gentlemen? Thugs? What a lot of people don't know is that Folly Island was one of Blackbeard's hide outs and he had a house built there that has since blown away in a hurricane.  Karma let nature do her thing on that one I suppose. A memorial is located at the Battery in Charleston, SC. It is the location of where almost 50 pirates were hung in the late 1600's and early 1700's. They were hung here and then placed over the battery into the water so any pirate entering will see the others and know not to enter Charleston.

Flag of Blackbeard
Battery Area

      Now lets visit the Battery Carriage House Inn, which offers simple pleasures, complete relaxation, and ghosts.  Can those co- exist? Can you relax with ghosts around?  It promises to be intimate and elegant, with cozy, romantic rooms.  Yeah, until you see a ghost!  That would definitely be a mood killer!  The Inn has 10 rooms and 1 suite, a retreat from the modern world. It is home to several ghosts.  Many guests and employees have had odd encounters with a ghosts.  But I suppose any encounter with a ghost would be a tad odd.  There is a "gentleman ghost" and there is the headless torso.  Tour guides often mention these ghost legends in their stories.  The gentleman ghost could have been a young man who's family owned the house earlier in the century.  He had some sort of mental problems, which weren't understood at all back then.  He was quiet and sensitive, with no warning at all, one day he threw himself off the roof.  I myself would have looked for a way taller building just to make sure. But what do I know?  The headless torso is likely a man from the Civil War era.  The Battery was an active artillery installation during the siege of Charleston, and all the houses in this area were damaged and abandoned during the the 4 year bombardment.  People have often felt a presence or the sensation of being watched here.  

Battery Carriage House Inn
     Take a night time tour of the Charleston Graveyard.  It is one of Charleston's oldest graveyards.  The walking tour takes you inside the wrought iron fence.  You can't do that alone at night.  On the tour you get inside the gate of the Graveyard and you can explore every dark corner, inspect the old tombstones, and walk across graves if you are brave.  See if you can have a ghost experience.

Charleston Graveyard
     A random factoid: the technical difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is consecrated ground.  Often it is interpreted as a graveyard being attached to a church building. I didn't know that.  You learn something new every day! Unless you don't, then you are dumb. Or a rock.  It goes without saying, that there are ghosts in this graveyard.  There is the ghost of Sue Howard Hardy, a grieving mother who prays at the grave of her dead child. Born in 1858, she was the wife of Gaston Hardy. They lived in Charleston and were happily married.  Alas, Sue would never live to an old age or get to have children and watch them grow up. Sue became pregnant, but her baby was never to take a breath of air. The child was stillborn on June 10, 1888. Only six days later, on June 16, 1888, Mrs. Hardy took her last breath and rejoined her child. We don’t know why she died, perhaps complications from childbirth combined with the sadness over the loss of her child.  Did heartbreak help cause Mrs. Hardy's death?

The ghost of Sue Hardy, kneeling at her baby's grave
     There are copious amounts of ghosts haunting the graveyard. A multitude of poor souls died in horrific ways.  Doctors in Charleston, South Carolina didn't take chances when it came to contagious diseases.  They didn't know much about making them better and damn sure knew how many lives the contagious diseases and plagues had taken over the years.   The doctors would do whatever was possible to eliminate contamination.  The dead got buried, quickly.  Unfortunately, the dead weren't always dead.  In the worst way to die, many people were buried alive. Fall unconscious in a hospital, wake up in a grave.  How horrible.  I'm sure that leaves us all feeling a little short breathed. Imagine being sick and passing out at the doctors office, being pronounced dead by an idiot, then buried.  They'd wake up panicked I'm sure, gasping for oxygen in the little box they were buried in.  They probably screamed and cried and scratched at the top of the box until their nails came off. Maybe a lucky one or 2 escaped?  Maybe not. Just imagine, you wake up in a box, with little to no oxygen, you claw and beat the top and sides until your hands are broken and bleeding.  Even if you were lucky enough to be able to tear open the coffin through the top, dirt would come pouring in.  Dirt, worms, bugs.  There would be a race with time, trying to dig yourself out 6 feet, before you suffocated in the dirt.  No one would ever know you had been buried alive.

Ghostly Image

     Poogan's Porch is one of Charleston's oldest independent culinary establishments, with a fresh approach to Lowe Country cuisine.  It has been recognized by Martha Stewart Living, Wine Spectator and the Travel Channel.  The Travel Channel named it one of the most haunted restaurants in the world. We definitely know where to go to eat now!  It was built as a spacious and grand Victorian home in 1888, the structure and it's neighborhood had by 1976 changed suitable to allow for the conversion of the house into a restaurant.  The owners of the home sold it and moved away.  A little dog named Poogan, stayed behind.  As far as he was concerned, the porch was his.  After all, he'd been a neighborhood fixture for years, wondering from porch to porch, in search of back-scratches and table scraps. Everyone loved him.

Poogan's Porch
     From his proud perch on the porch, he served as the official greeter.  It seemed only right to name the restaurant after him.  He died in 1979 and is buried in the front yard of Poogan's Porch. There is a little memorial for him.

Poogan's grave

     On Poogan's Restaurant website they say " We believe in conversations on porches, Sunday brunch, and old Southern dogs, ghosts, seersucker, biscuits, homemade and handmade, sweet tea, handwritten recipes, friends old and new, great stories, gracious hospitality and our moms. Not necessarily in that order!"  Wow, that's the longest run on sentence ever!  What a philosophy. Diners and employees have looked out windows and seen the ghost of Poogan, on the porch, still greeting people.  There is also the ghost of an older woman, dressed in black, and has not only been seen by employees and customers, but also by people staying in the hotel across the street!  They think the ghost's name is Zoe St. Armand.  She lived in the home with her sister Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth died in 1945, Zoe became very lonely and depressed.  She died in St. Francis Hospital, where family took her to live out her final years.  How nice of them.

Zoe(on rt) and her sister Elizabeth
      The owner of Poogan's Porch had a run in with Zoe one night while trying to close up for the evening.  While trying to set the alarm, she was disturbed by heavy wooden stools being flipped over and large doors being slammed.  On another occasion, the daytime chef opened up, made coffee, and left his cup sitting on the stairs while he went to open the back door for the grocers.  When he returned, his coffee cup was gone.  He was confused, and tired, as it was early in the morning and the poor man couldn't even find his coffee!  That would put anyone in a grouchy mood. Unsure he really did pour himself a cup or not, he decided to go pour another.  When he returned, he found the mug sitting right where he'd left it, but with a faint lipstick stain around the rim.  A woman once saw Zoe banging on the inside of the window of the restaurant, as if she were locked in.  She is known to be a pretty benign spirit but has reportedly sent at least one person to run screaming from the restaurant. Wouldn't that be a sight to see? Why would you run screaming in public from a ghost? To see how insane you can make yourself look or to see how much you can embarrass yourself?  They definitely weren't the "thrill seeker" type.  Why would you go somewhere haunted, because it's haunted, and haul ass when you see a ghost?  It's like one of those Ghost Hunting shows. I'm always sitting on my couch yelling at Zach from "Ghost Adventures" to stop running and film a damn supernatural occurrence. But still I watch it. I'm sure a ghost would scare me too. But I would be more intrigued, not run away. I should go on "Ghost Adventures!"  That'd be awesome. Maybe one day.

Poogan's- present day
     Charleston has not had an easy history. Turbulent from the beginning, and the site of many battles, it is inevitable that some of the souls still wander the streets, living someplace in the middle, no longer alive but without the peace that comes from crossing over to the other side. Besides massive amounts of supernatural haunted activity in Charleston, the city is full of culture, history and is a must see beauty on the east coast.  Tourists can take in the historical buildings with outstanding displays of architecture, visit museums, or take countless tours of the city, relax at one of the numerous parks. You can go shopping and take carriage rides on the waterfront.  There are over 20 haunted places in Charleston, South Carolina, so that's what I would be doing the whole time; seeing as many as possible of the haunted places.  I'm going to dedicate a mini vacation to trying to see if I can go to all 20 places in Charleston. Ghosts beware! Here I come!!!!


random orbs

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Visit Waverly Hills Sanitorium With Me, and Test Your Sanity!

Graffiti in the Sanitarium

More ominous graffiti 

Main entrance (see gargoyle on top, barely)
view from the ground

     The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky, caught my attention on my search to find the most haunted places in the United States, that I'd love to visit.  It is famous for being haunted.  Several Ghost Hunting shows have visited it and come back with "evidence."  It has been rated Number 2 in the television special "Scariest Places on Earth." It has been frequented by many people, both paranormal and ghost hunters and regular people who just wanted to see the place for themselves, They want to see if the stories they've heard are true. I'm also the type that has to see it for myself.  Many regard it as the most haunted hospital in the United States.  The buildings and facilities were put up for sale a number of occasions, and many new potential owners were intrigued and wanted to try to make something else out of the building. Now it is owned by Charlie and Tina Mattingly and the Waverly Hills Historical society. They have decided to use the notoriety of Waverly Hills history and actually promote the stories surrounding the place.  They have made Waverly Hills into a tourist destination.  There are tours and ghost hunting activities that people can do. 

    Commercialization at it's finest, you can order Waverly Hills merchandise online now!

     The following link is for a video that promotes Waverly Hills as a great place to rest, with good, well balanced meals. It made it seem more like a spa than a hospital. In reality, about 63,000 people died of Tuberculosis in The Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

                         Gargoyle on top of Sanitarium, guarding what exactly? 
              On a hospital? How could patients enter such a dark place with hope?

     During the 1800's, Waverly Hills was initially a residential area.  Because of the close vicinity to water, there were many cases of people suffering from tuberculosis.  This was aggravated by the high number of people living there.  In 1910, a small building which had 2 floors was built in Waverly Hills.  This building was intended for people who had tuberculosis.  It started with about 40 patients.  Louisville needed a hospital for the mounting tuberculosis cases in the area, so this filled the imminent need for a small hospital. Then, the area was ravaged by an outbreak of tuberculosis(also known as the White Plague).  This outbreak prompted the construction of a new hospital because the original one could no longer accommodate the vast number of new patients.  As a result, it closed down in 1924.  A new hospital was built to replace the previous one. They needed a more durable structure, and more beds so that patients wouldn't have to be turned away for lack of space. Construction began in March 1924 of  a new, 5 story hospital that could accommodate more than 400 patients.  It was 800,000 square feet and way out from the city.  It was located so away from civilization, in hopes to keep the sick away so they wouldn't infect other people. They were basically banished. This hospital was the most advanced in treating patients with tuberculosis during that time. People with tuberculosis could live in the hospital facilities while getting treated. They made it sound way better than it really was. It was a hellish, cesspool. One "luxury" they allowed patients occasionally was to let them go to their big auditorium and see an old picture show. Exciting. How generous.

                Advertisement: Nurses await you here to tend to all your needs and help you rest 
                and recover.  Reality: Hospital staff awaiting you here at Waverly to experiment on    you and help guide you into the next life.

                                             A solarium. Each floor had at least one.

   The "treatments" for patients with Tuberculosis ranged from the relatively non invasive, to the very invasive, sometimes even causing death. Heliotherapy, was done in sun rooms, using artificial light in place of daylight.  They actually prepped the dying this way too. If they were knocking at death's door and looking pasty white and ill, they had to go tanning. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is where the first tanning beds in the world were made.  They believed that the dead "looked better" if they were tan.  The staff figured that it would be easier for the families to see than ghastly, pale corpses.  I doubt it really made much of a difference. Dead is dead. Families were grieving for a loved one who died in a horrible way.  A tan wasn't going to help that. There was a different version of Heliotherapy for patients that was much harsher.  They would put the patients out in direct sunlight, on the roof or open porches.  In some cases, patients had to withstand weather conditions even in the middle of the winter.  They would even get snow on the ends of their beds.  I suppose that was the "rest" that the sanatorium promised?

                                          Patients in steam cabinets for treatment
       Most of the chilling stories told about the Waverly Hills sanatorium are frequently based on or connected to it's history.  If patients didn't just die of tuberculosis they would probably die from abhorrent experiments that doctors and staff did on them. It was very sick and twisted. The remedies and therapies for Tuberculosis then, were atrocious. This is why many believe that the hauntings in Waverly Hills are done by vengeful spirits mostly. There was a "Draining Room" where they hung the dead upside down from poles near the body chute. They would slit them from stomach to pelvic area to drain their blood. It sounds so savage, like something from a horror movie. They thought that a supposed bio hazard as Tuberculosis infected blood, would be best filtered through a sewage pipe. Ignorance is bliss. Many people died. Few patients ever would leave Waverly Hills.  Those admitted into the hospital had horrible care and the doctors were testing people like lab rats.  They performed a lot of lobotomies.  Some patients had deflated lungs (Pneumothorax) and the doctors would surgically implant balloons within their lungs to physically expand them.  Some people had ribs and muscles removed to have more room for oxygen intake.  This was called a Thoracolplasty.  Few patients survived these experiments. The few that did, were genuinely mentally affected by their experience there.  The hospital clearly deeply impacted them, as it would anyone I'd imagine.  There is a movie, documentary called, "Spooked," about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. I found it very interesting and informational. It also has interviews with a few survivors.

What the floor of the Draining room probably looked like

Electroshock therapy room

A TB infected lung, followed by some sort of experiment. A lobotomy anybody?

                                                       The staff at Waverly

        There are a lot of places in the Waverly Hills Sanatorium that are very haunted. The body chute of course, and a lot of ghostly activity has been experienced room 502.  A head nurse died in room 502.  She hanged herself from a light fixture.  She was 29, unmarried, and pregnant, in 1928.  They say she was depressed because of her situation and couldn't bear to live any longer. (how astute!) Apparently, mental patients continued to walk around, ignoring her hanging body.  It was finally discovered by the next nurse who showed up for duty. Talk about a rough day at work!

                                  The much talked about, very haunted room 502

   In 1932, another nurse who worked in room 502, jumped from the balcony of the roof that leads from the room. They say she caught Tuberculosis from a patient and didn't want to suffer the slow agony of death that she had seen with so many patients.  She was killed instantly when her body slammed into the unforgiving ground, 5 stories below.  Maybe she drank the same water the other nurse did, or perhaps the Waverly Hills Sanatorium really can make you a little nutty.  The doctors definitely did, with all of their experimentation.  If ever a place was haunted, this is it.

                          The doorway the nurse ran through leading to the roof she jumped off of

                     The roof, the nurse's final view before throwing herself off the edge
     There is a Tunnel, the body chute or the Death Tunnel as it's commonly known. It was constructed at the same time as the main building.  It began at the 1st floor and went 500 feet to the bottom of the hill.  One side had steps to allow workers to enter and exit the hospital without having to walk a dangerous, steep hill. The other side of the tunnel had a set of rails and a cart powered by a motorized cable system, so that supplies could easily be transported to the top.  Air ducts leading from the roof of the tunnel to above ground level were incorporated every 100 feet to let in light and fresh air. Perhaps the staff would use the tunnel to go outside and take a breather, when the stench of death overwhelmed them.  They went outside to their "happy  place," smoked a cigarette, and went back inside to care for more dying patients.
                                    The Death Tunnel side with the stairs for employees

                                                    Entrance to Death Tunnel

     People were lining up to go get "cured" at the Waverly Hills treatment center.  They had full faith that they could save their lives.  The "word" was that people were surviving the disease, all thanks to Waverly Hills. Specialists were helpless and sent patients to Waverly for treatment. In a desperate search for a cure, people found a faint glimmer of hope in the Waverly Hills facility. As antibiotics had not been discovered when Waverly had opened, treatment consisted of heat lamps, fresh air, high spirits and reassurances of an eventual full recovery.  Lies basically.  People were slowly drowning in their own blood as their lungs filled up. As they would struggle to breathe, the nurses and doctors would reassure them that you'd be fine.  Even as a patient took their last gasping, desperate breathes, they would be reassured.  The nurses tried to keep patients in high spirits.  Then they died and became spirits.

                              TB treatment with sunlight. They were pulled out of their
                                          rooms and brought into the sunlight.

Many children were admitted for TB, and there were many orphans

        Once Tuberculosis hit it's peak, deaths were occurring daily. At one point, they say about 3 people died an hour. .  The sight of the dead being taken away in view of the patients was obviously not to great for the morale. If you are already dying, coughing up your own blood,  you don't want to see someone who died from what you have, getting wheeled casually down the hall in front of you.  The infected lost the will to live.  They became depressed (perhaps they were just making peace with their inevitable dark fates). This contributed to a higher death rate. At this point, the tunnel took on another use.  When patients died, their bodies were placed on the cart and lowered to the bottom where a hearse would be waiting to take them away discreetly, out of patient view, saving morale.  I'm sure they didn't notice when people started disappearing randomly. That's much more subtle. The doctors also believed this way of disposing of the bodies would combat the disease and keep it from spreading.
                                The death tunnel used to remove dead bodies

      To paint a more vivid picture of Tuberculosis, it isn't just a simple cough and a fever that can kill you.  It is spread through the air from one person to another.  The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active tuberculosis coughs, sneezes or speaks.  People nearby may breath in these bacteria and become infected. It attacks the lungs, and then the rest of the body, such as the kidney, spine and the brain.  At the time, it was the leading cause of death in the United States.  In the 1900's, tuberculosis killed one out of every seven people living in the United States and Europe.  There are a few ways TB can kill you.  It can cause you to slowly suffocate as blood fills up your lungs  and you die of respiratory failure.  If you are lucky. Tissue in your lung is killed by TB, and eventually you simply cannot absorb enough oxygen.  Not to mention that TB generally would spread to other parts of the body, if you lived long enough, and cause organ failure.  The death by suffocation was better than the latter.  The persons lungs would fill with "tubercles"(tuberculosis bacteria, and blood) and they would slowly breathe less and less, until they died, from lack of oxygen, which would stress the heart, and it would stop. There can be complications with bones, kidneys, lymph nodes, and many other things.  Some would slowly just waste away because their body couldn't fight the infection.  One day they just wouldn't wake up.  The worst way to die there was of blood loss.  That is when the infection eroded a blood vessel and they bled to death.  Very messy and gory.  There would be blood pouring out of the mouth and nose, coughing and spitting up blood because of internal bleeding.  Then they would die, choking on their own blood, drowning in it.

                                         A depiction of dying of Tuberculosis
     After the introduction of Streptomycin, an antibiotic, in 1943, the number of tuberculosis cases gradually lowered. They were about 20 years to late, but it did lead to fewer patients at Waverly Hills Sanatorium.  With the development of better medications, some patients could just self treat themselves at home. In 1961, the Tuberculosis hospital was changed into an elderly care center.  It was called the Woodhaven Geriatric Center, a nursing home.  It was primarily for treating aging patients with various stages of dementia and mobility limits as well as the severely retarded (or Mentally Handicapped as we now say). These patients went to a place to die, where 63,000 people had already died. They had horrible living conditions, they were simply cast out. Patients were left in wet beds of urine and feces.  There were cockroaches everywhere. And people were dying as a result of doctors being uneducated about mental illness at the time. The Geriatric patients were put through torture and electroshock. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was again shut down in 1982, allegedly due to charges of patient neglect.
     There are countless stories and supernatural encounters related to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.  Considering the 63,000 white plague victims and the deaths at the geriatric center, I believe it is haunted.  There have been many ghost EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), videos and photos taken at the sanatorium.  Waverly Hills sanitarium stands as a massive fortress of doom, a monument to pain and suffering, with a Gothic style and gargoyles on the roof. Not the most inviting looking place.

                                 The "Welcoming" sign of the Hospital of horrors

                                   A view of Waverly Hills Sanitarium on the hill.

     Over the years, the Sanatorium has seen it's fair share of Paranormal Investigations from top Ghost enthusiasts throughout the world.  Lights have been witnessed in parts of the building, with no electricity running through it.  Objects have been thrown, people have been pushed and apparitions have been seen. For all of those who have stepped into the Waverly Hills Sanitarium, they are probably happy to have stepped out.  Me personally, I'd love to spend the night. That's just me. There are also self slamming doors, cold spots, screams, human shaped shadows moving around corridors, voices and wailing in the halls coming from nowhere, spirit clouds in different shapes and orbs of light moving inside buildings and on the grounds.  Many people also tell of a hearse coming into the area and leaving with caskets.

                                                      Orbs caught on camera
     There have been sightings of a little boy they call "Timmy" who died of Tuberculosis tragically at a very young age.  Some see him as a full apparition, while others witness Timmy rolling his favorite red ball down the dark and lifeless hallways.  They also hear the pitter patter of small bare feet throughout, and some guests can hear a faint and saddening whimper from beyond.  Shadow people are rumored to run rampant throughout the old sanitarium.  These appear as dark, yet larger than life silhouettes of bodies of a semi human form.  The "Shadow People are one of the most frequently reported phenomenon at the hospital. They can even be seen through windows from the outside of the sanatorium, with lights, with no electricity. Visitors say they felt coldness around their bodies, chills with shadow figures around.  Apparently, every night, shadow people wander around and will come towards you.  You can see patients in windows and doorways.  Shadows pass each other in the hall, trapped in repeated motions before their death.

                                                    A shadow figure

    Among the haunting stories of Waverly, there is said to be a little girl named Mary wandering about with the other lost spirits.  She is said to have very creepy features with no eyes.  She also plays with a small ball, like Timmy. Perhaps they play together. Who knows? She is said to haunt the 3rd floor, running around and playing hide and seek with visitors.  She has been seen crouching in corners and heard calling for help and walking through walls.  She asks people to play with her.  She looks about 6-7 years old and very confused. Understandably. She says "hello" and "watch out."  Perhaps she's looking for an eternal playmate?  On the 2nd floor, there are odors, cold spots, temperatures of 50 degrees or less, footsteps heard, the smell of food, fresh baked bread.  There is also a woman who roams the halls with bloody wrists and chains adorned while screaming for help. Apparitions of children can also be seen in the windows. The 4th floor is active as well, shadows have been seen wandering throughout the halls. Heavy metal doors have been known to slam shut on their own.  The 5th floor is probably the most haunted.  Not only is it haunted by the 2 ghosts of the nurses who killed themselves in the infamous room 502 that I mentioned previously.  This floor housed mostly the mentally insane patients of the hospital.  Activity is frequent within the halls of the 5th floor.  People see the full body apparition of a nurse wearing white.

                                              Apparition of a woman in white

                                                     Children playing on roof

     In the Cafeteria/Kitchen an apparition of a man wearing a white coat and pants has been seen.  He is believed to be a former employee.  Did he perhaps get Tuberculosis from a patient somehow? Sanitation wasn't very advanced back then.  Food has even been smelled though no food has entered these rooms since the closing of the facility in 1980. Was it perhaps this cook in the following picture, or another fellow worker? What happened to them?

        A cook in the kitchen. That advertised well rounded, healthy meals. Yummy.

     Allegedly one night, a security guard walking the corridors of the building stumbled upon a floating head in one of the rooms.  Scared out of his mind, he proceeded to run directly down the stairs and as he reached the bottom, he fell to the ground unconscious. I guess he wasn't the adventurous type. When he awoke, he left and never returned. Another guard has reported seeing the flicker of a TV set from the outside, in a dark room on the 3rd floor.  He went to investigate and found nothing.  At least he didn't pass out.  Other guards were unaffected and used to it. They said it happens all the time.

     In the tours, people claim to see the same things, "creatures" as they say.  Are they really creatures?  Ghosts are a different form of being, that used to be human.  So, to me, it seems disrespectful to call them creatures.  They are lost souls that lived life and died horrible deaths.  They deserve respect and reverence.  They knew they would probably die and still managed to try to cope and keep their spirits up.  That's true strength, looking death in the eyes.

                       The ghost of what appears to be a little boy. Could it be Timmy?

                                        unexplained lights going across hall

                                                 ectoplasm caught on camera

     There are tours but as far as randomly visiting the Waverly Sanatorium solo, on your own schedule, good luck.  The owners have posted a "friendly" reminder that Waverly is Private property and under 24 hour surveillance.  There is also on site security.  There is no Trespassing allowed or tolerated.  The only legal way for you to visit is to schedule a tour or investigation.  That's a bummer but I'd definitely go on a night time tour!  What a place! With such a haunted history. This is at the top of my list of haunted places to visit.

                                                       ghostly image in hallway

       Supposedly these heavy, metal doors slam them selves shut and re open, often. I think the ghosts would need WD 40 just to loosen up the door enough to open with all that rust.

                          Shadowy ghost figures behind tourist in death tunnel

                                                     Graffiti, self explanatory