Haunted seelbach-hilton hotel- louisville, ky

While I may not be the world’s best paranormal investigator, I do get lucky from time to time stumbling upon locations to get my spooky kicks. When I booked my room at this particular hot bed for prohibition era history, I had no idea what I had signed up for. Really, I was just looking for a decently priced hotel to crash at after my tour of Waverly Hills, bonus points for being old and/or quirky. I guess I have Covid travel prices to thank, because in spite of it’s luxury and line up of notable (and notorious) former patrons, I got myself a great deal!

I did a quick Google search on the place after confirming my reservation(a bit backwards, but that’s how I roll) and discovered the hotel was opened in 1905. The vision of two Bavarian brothers Louis and Otto Seelbach to bring a lavish, old world flavor to downtown Louisville. The rest of it’s history I learned from the night guard, who as it turns out, gives splendid historical and paranormal tours to curious guests. But let me rewind and tell you the first part of my ghost story…

My out of state ID often triggers a friendly interrogation of my travels, so when I explained to the concierge I was heading out to Waverly Hills to satiate my obsession with paranormal activity, I was eagerly told that the Seelbach has at least one ghostly resident of it’s own and if I would like I could change my room to one of the most haunted floors and have a private tour of the hotel when I got back in for the night. No need to twist my arm there…I couldn’t believe my luck!

I followed the directions to my room, and my excitement quickly turned to nervousness once I had closed the door behind me and I was alone with the prospect of seeing an actual ghost that night. The rooms themselves are nice but a bit outdated, just the way I like it. I tossed my bags into the chair next to the bed and decided to freshen up before heading out for night. I’m sitting on the toilet making sure to avoid eye contact with any mirrors or reflections, as if I’m going to see another face looking back at me before I have mentally and emotionally prepared myself for such ghostly shenanigans on my own. I tell myself to stop being ridiculous, but just as I’m about to finish up my business, the light and the fan both cut off. Silence. So I’m sitting there with my pants around my ankles in the pitch dark. I’m pretty sure my heart dropped into my stomach for a moment as I shouted “HEY DON’T!!!” to no one in particular.

After my brief panic attack I reach up to the wall and feel around for the light switch. It had somehow been flicked down to the off position, but I told myself it was probably just a fluke with the electricity since everything is so old. Nevertheless I wasted no more time getting myself ready and headed out for my tour, eager to have some company of the living sort (you can read about Waverly in my previous post).

I arrived back back at the hotel around 1:00 am and met up with the night guard in the basement to begin my tour. The basement houses a unique venue call The Rathskeller. As the name suggests it is themed after a German castle beer hall. The artwork and architecture is exquisite and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. But what interests me even more is the history. Frequent visitors included the author F. Scott Fitzgerald and notorious gangster Al Capone. Many of Fitzgerald’s works, especially The Great Gatsby, have been said to be set against the backdrop of social life at the Seelbach where Fitzgerald drank frequently(and was thrown out of just a frequently) as a soldier during WWI . In fact the more recent Gatsby movie has scenes filmed at the hotel. And secret tunnels, hidden panels and two way mirrors installed to assist Capone and many others stay out of trouble during it’s time as a speakeasy in the 20s can still be seen both in the Rathskeller and the upstairs billiard and poker room.

As we make our way from the bottom to the top of the hotel, Patrick shares that he has the gift of clairvoyance and often experiences the presence of various spirits in the hotel. Given it’s history of violent gangster activity, he says no one really knows exactly how many people died there and the spirits he encounters are a mix of friendly and malevolent energy and all seem to be attracted to him. He invites me to take as many pictures and videos as I would like to attempt to capture something and he lets me know anytime he starts to feel any possible energies nearby.

The most well known ghostly resident at the hotel is that of “The Lady in Blue”. Legend has it that she and her estranged husband had made plans to meet at the hotel in an attempt to work things out, but he was involved in a fatal car crash on his way and in her grief she either threw herself or accidentally fell down the elevator shaft. Guests have reported seeing a woman in a long blue dress wandering the halls and disappearing through doors. Patrick confirms encountering the female apparition. Especially on the top floor ball room where we now stand. The lights are all off and he tells me to really pay attention and take lots of video in here. I’m surprisingly calm, probably because Patrick seems so nonchalant about the whole thing.

What happened next is something I’ve never experienced before and it was honestly pretty exhilarating. As I have my phone video camera rolling, I start to see little flecks of light, tiny orbs, if you well sporadically passing in front of me. Shooting across really. At first I thought maybe I was just seeing little pieces of dust glisten in the moonlight but I’ve examined my video clips over and over again and I know what my naked eyes saw and I am convinced that what I saw that night was something supernatural. I can’t thank Patrick enough for the information and the experience.

We wrap up the tour and I make my way back down to my room. It’s about 3am by then and I’m exhausted. I remember my earlier bathroom experience and decide to turn the TV on to help myself fall asleep. Horrible idea. I’m laying there trying to zone out and all the sudden the sound on the the TV goes out and there is this weird digitized blemish covering the whole bottom right corner of the screen. My ghost story ends like this. I mess with the volume and power hoping it was just another glitch but nothing seems to help. The inner Catholic in me kicks in and I pull the covers over my head and start saying the Lord’s Prayer til I fall asleep. The next morning I get up early and check out as soon as possible.

Processed with VSCO with fp4 preset

In conclusion, if you happen to be in Louiseville, make sure you check out the Seelbach Hilton Hotel. Whether you are looking for history, haunts or just somewhere close to stay near the downtown action- you won’t be disappointed!!

Until next time!

View of Louisville from from the Seelbach Oak Room

waverly hills sanatorium- louisville, ky

Only 5 months late posting this adventure here, but better late than never, right? Last April I had the pleasure of taking one of the late night paranormal tours of the famous tuberculosis sanatorium in Louisville, KY. It’s another one of those locations I’d had my eyes on for years but had never lived close enough to make it a feasible trip. Covid had put the kibosh on most of my travels last year, so when their Facebook page announced there would be some spring tour dates, I bought a ticket ASAP. All of their tours (both the historic and the paranormal) book extremely fast so if you have any desire to visit, keep an eye on their social media for openings and book well in advance if possible.

The hallways seemed endless and had large open windows where patients could be rolled out to receive fresh air and sunshine which were thought to be a key component to combating tuberculosis, even in the dead of winter.

My tour was one of the two hour 10pm-midnights. I would love to schedule a full overnight exploration when I have the time and funds, but honestly those 2 hours gave a pretty thorough and spooky taste of the hospital in the short time I was there. The only real down side is is the limited photography you can take on the paranormal tours. It’s done almost exclusively by moonlight, although they do permit you to keep a flashlight to use in the stairwells. They give you a few opportunities to use your flash in the more notable rooms, but for the most part you will need to book a daytime historical tour if you are wanting some real quality shots of the facility.

Unfortunately I didn’t have any super obvious paranormal encounters on my tour but the guides did a great job sharing some of their personal experiences and those of former guests. They also shared several photographs that had been taken through the years in which ghostly subjects had mysteriously appeared after the photo had been taken. That being said, it was still creepy as hell and there is a definite vibe about the place. There was a point where they take you in a hallway that supposedly has some of the most activity and “shadow people” sightings. Everyone stands along the wall and you are encouraged to stare at the window at the end of this long moonlit hallway. As we gazed there were occasional moments where the light was was blackened out as if someone was crossing the hall way from one room to another. It seemed as though most of us noticed it at the same time but I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t just our eyes playing tricks on us. Either way it was certainly a bit unsettling! Between my own visit to Waverly and it’s multiple appearances on various paranormal shows and documentaries, I have no doubt that spirits still linger here even though I didn’t encounter them personally.

Photo taken by my friend Sydney when she visited Waverly several years ago. This figure is not a tour guide or another human visitor…”He” showed up in her photo after it was taken…
The infamous body chute. Originally used for the staff members to travel up the hill to work in inclement weather and to transport goods and supplies to the hospital. It became a means to discreetly transport the deceased bodies out of the building without other patients seeing them to keep their morale high during the peak of the epidemic when the amount of deaths were almost too high to manage.
Room 502 where it is believed a nurse hung herself. Some rumors say she was pregnant by a doctor who wanted nothing to do with her or the baby.
The hall where Timmy the little ghost boy will occasionally roll a ball back out to visitors and volunteers of the museum.

I am so grateful for the work that has been put in to preserving this stunning piece of architecture. Waverly Hills is for sure a must visit for those seeking both a rich history lesson and some paranormal thrills.

abandoned power plant- richmond generating station

I may finally have a new top favorite urbanex adventure to beat out Devil’s Tower! Last weekend we took a walk out to the river and made our way back to the Richmond Generating Station. We had originally made a quick stop there right before the quarantine but we had a very cranky baby and weren’t able to snap more than a few quick photos. This time I only had my phone on me so these photos aren’t the highest quality but honestly I don’t even care- this place was amazing!

Its construction was completed in 1925 to meet the growing demands for electricity in Philadelphia. The neo-classical design, popular of the time, was chosen to symbolize the power and legacy of the building. I personally can’t get over the vaulted glass ceilings- even being mostly broken are still breathtaking.

Here’s a photo from of inside I took from workshopoftheworld.com that shows a better view of the windows and what the main turbine room looked like.

Photo credit: workshopoftheworld.com

The building was designed to look like a classical Roman bath house. I get such a kick out of the design and detail put into much of the industrial architecture throughout the early 1900s. It’s as though the form of the buildings were just as important as their function and I kind of wish we could bring that back.

The building was functional up until the early 1980s. Aside from being reopened occastionally as a movie set(12 Monkeys, Transformers 2, and The Last Airbender), it sits idle overlooking the river. When you look through the windows you can even see equipment just lying around like someone just walked off and left it there- very eery!

Unfortunately over the years, much of the beautiful copper has been stolen by looters.

I’m just beyond happy I finally got to see this place up close, it’s been on my bucket list for a minute now and it definitely did not disappoint. I do wish we could have gotten inside a little more, but there was so much water all around it would have been very messy and difficult with what we had on us.

I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed being able to take them. This place definitely boosted my urbanex spirits. I had been feeling a little bored lately, but now I am re-inspired- so stayed tuned for more abandoned explorations 🙂 Until next time- happy wandering!

Abandoned Strip club-philly

We’ve been doing a lot of walking lately, just to get some sunshine and not go entirely bat shit crazy in the apartment. Michael stumbled across this place the other day and brought me back with my camera to get a few shots. From what little research I could gather, it only shut down in 2018 after several scandalous and expensive legal issues. So it’s still pretty fresh and unfortunately we couldn’t find any way inside. It’s unclear whether the owner has intentions to reopen someday. We did find an “interesting” little set up of clothes and plushies behind one of the buildings…ew. It would have been really dope to get shots inside the building, but we aren’t about breaking and entering at the moment. I’d rather wait until nature or someone who doesn’t care about getting arrested or heavy fines to do that work for me haha. Will definitely check back on this location in the future!

Street photos-april 19-Philly

Just a few cell phone pics I took on my walk earlier today. Have no fear, social distancing was practiced and mask worn. I think it’s going to be incredibly important for us to document these times for future generations- we are living history right now!
I am heartbroken over how many people I see on the streets with nowhere to isolate or stay sanitary. I often think of all the homeless people that spent their days in the bookstore I worked at downtown before we closed and wonder what they do with their time now, and if they are safe…

The man in the black and white photographs was so friendly-he was dancing in the window to reggaeton music blaring from a car parked on the street and he beckoned us over to take his photo when he saw Michael with a camera. Truly strange times we are living in, but on days like today when the sun is shining and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, I’m reminded that life goes on.

notre dame university

Since we’re all in quarantine, I thought I’d share a few more places from my youth that really had an impact on me and led to my now adult obsession with history and urban exploration. I’ll start with one of my hometown haunts.

I did not attend Notre Dame University as a student, but my mom worked there in administration for basically the first 20 years of my life, so the campus in some ways became a second home for me throughout my childhood. I remember spending quite a few weekends there wandering the halls of the main building while she would put in extra hours in her office. I even got to do an interview for a high school history project with Father Theodore M. Hesburgh on his work with the Civil Rights Movement before he passed away. Looking back, I totally did not appreciate all the history I had at my fingertips back then!

(Photo Cred: hesburgh.nd.edu)

One of my favorite memories and first urban explorations, although I guess I’d consider this a little bit more just plain old snooping, happened right after the big renovations of the main building were wrapping up and people were just starting to move their offices back in. On this particular weekend, my dad and I were waiting around on my mom to finish something in her new office which happened to be on one of the upper floors. Typical of my dad (I think I must get the trespassing gene from him), he found the door that leads up into the inside of the dome left ajar by some of the remaining workmen. I’ll never forget how cool I felt climbing those winding stairs with my dad, seeing all the signatures on the wall by fellow mischief makers who had gone before and signing my name there right with them. Being the late 90s, we had no cell phone pics to document our little discovery so I’ll steal a couple off the internet to show you what it looked like. I’d have to say after that day, the urge to see inside locked doors definitely grew stronger within me haha.

These next few photos, one of the outside of the dome, and 3 of the beautiful interior artwork, I took myself when I visited last spring. Honestly, this is such a photogenic campus.

As far as hauntings go, there are 3 main campus ghost stories that have survived the tests of time and are generally agreed upon(by those who believe anyways). First, is the legend of “The Gipper”, the star football player who stayed out too late past curfew and was locked out of his dorm. When he couldn’t find a way in, he spent the night outside in the cold on the stairs of Washington Hall and contracted pneumonia from which he eventually died in 1920. Although he’s the most famous ghost of Washington Hall, there have been other deaths- including a steeplejack who is said to have fallen to his death and a student professor who died there. Many students and faculty claim to have seen & heard odd, unexplainable visions and noises throughout the performance hall especially on overnight investigations.

(photo credit: britannica.com)

Along with The Gipper, many claim that the founder of Notre Dame himself, Father Edward Sorin still wanders the campus, south dining hall and the main administration building frequently. Father Sorin passed away on the Halloween of 1893.

GCSC 4/30: Portrait of Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC, c1880s. Photo by McDonald Studio.

Now, I personally can attest to the feeling of being watched in the halls of the main building, but that may have something to do with the giant portraits of priests that literally do glare down at you, or the obnoxious murals of Christopher Columbus (which are either already taken down by now or in the works to be removed last time I heard, due to their distasteful portrayal of historical events).

And lastly, and honestly probably the most likely contributor of all campus paranormal activity, is the fact that some of the campus buildings are believed to be built on top of Potawatomi Indian burial grounds- and we all know how well it works to build things on top of sacred burial grounds.

In conclusion, a university as old and steeped in spirituality and history as Notre Dame is, is bound to have some lingering energies. What exactly they are, we have yet to pin point. I personally love this campus and if you have the chance to visit, I highly reccommend- especially as a photographer. Happy Wandering!

my haunted cat mummy

So this isn’t a place, but I felt like it was worth sharing and on topic just the same. I bought this angry little kitty back in September 2017 from the antique store just down the road from my apartment in Oak Harbor, WA. After making a full pass around the store I decided to just go ahead and ask the owner if they had anything haunted laying around. Just a normal weekend shopping trip for me haha.

Fully expecting an “umm no we don’t really carry that sort of thing”, or to be laughed at, I was pleasantly surprised when he told me I was in luck, they had just got in the most interesting bronzed mummified cat that seemed to be roaming around the store in the dead of night, setting off the security alarms and making glowing red eyes at their camera. <Insert jaw drop here> I really didn’t intend to buy it, but I knew the second I picked it up that it was coming home with me.

I spent a great deal of time trying to research cat mummification through out history trying to pinpoint when this little bugger might have roamed the earth, unsure if it was really from ancient Egypt or a time when people were just super obsessed with ancient Egypt. The tag on it says it was originally purchased from a Baltimore antique shop in 1935.

What I found most interesting about this, was in most of the photos of bronzed cat mummies, even from ancient Egypt, the cats looked peaceful, or at least expressionless. This cat looks incredibly angry and distraught. everything about his body is tense and volatile.

I never experienced any hauntings (that I was aware of) while I owned this cat. We even tried video taping it overnight the first week I had it just to be safe. If anyone has any historical information on it, or have their own haunted collectibles, I would LOVE to know more. Happy Wandering!

port richmond books- philadelphia

When I stumbled upon this location during one of many “haunted Philadelphia” Google searches last fall shortly after I moved here, I was almost too late. The silent movie theater turned bookstore had article after article written by Philly locals bemoaning the impending permanent closure and probable demolition that, according to most sources was just days away!

The theater, built in 1913, was a local hub of entertainment for the neighborhood up through the 1950s. After it’s movie showing days, the building did time as both a vending machine company and a hardware store until it was purchased by the current owner, Greg Gillespie and his friends, in 2004 to house their growing personal collection of over 300,000 books.

By the time I made it in for a visit, he was selling books for just $1 a piece! Although much of his stock had already been picked over or donated, I still spent a good hour or so wandering the labyrinth of shelves and picked out several classics to take home with me. The store had a very cool, yet mildly eerie feel to it. Almost as if you were being watched, but not in a dangerous way, if that makes sense. The books were still organized, although a bit haphazardly arranged and in the main auditorium where the movie screen would have been- there were even more boxes of books and posters and furniture for the last few customers to sift through before the final close.

As far as paranormal activity goes, it’s no secret the owner himself believes the place is haunted. He’s even had several paranormal investigators out who confirm there is something there, although just what or who has never been made clear. Many visitors and workers have reported seeing shadows and hearing mysterious voices especially in the basement where the original organ for the theater remains. Mr. Gillespie told me he had spent many a night there in his time owning the shop and was actually incredibly distressed that the developers who had originally told him they were going to repurpose the building, were now planning on demolition. When I asked him what he thought the ghosts would do then, he told me that although most people think he’s crazy he was going to seek the help of some paranormal specialists to see if there was any way he could move the spirits out of the building and take them with him. I wish I could talk to him again to see how that went. It’s been several months now and I haven’t been back to see if the building is still standing, but online the business is marked permanently closed.

Until next time, happy wandering!

eastern state penitentiary-philadelphia

Let me start by saying that Eastern State Penitentiary is the one and only place so far, that I actually had my own possibly paranormal experience to share with you all( hopefully the first of many, haha!) Pretty much everywhere else I’ve explored left me at most, with weird vibes, but nothing concrete to report back.

If you ever visit Philly, I highly recommend you come take a tour. Even if you don’t care about ghost hunting, the history here is just phenomenal, and how can you say no to exploring a giant menacing castle plopped in the middle of the city right across the street from some hipster coffee shops. In my opinion, you just can’t. They have a self guided audio tour available and you are welcome to wander around on your own clock if you prefer. They also have tour guides that will take you through some of the “closed to the public” blocks if you time it right.

What I love so much about this place, is that although it’s technically a tourist attraction, it is still very much abandoned in feeling. But in a good way. While they’ve put a lot into making a huge chunk of this place structurally safe enough for visitors, and a great job on the educational aspect- they’ve left it alone enough for people to really feel how the decay of such a huge piece of social history works.

So above are some photos of the medical/hospital wing that was opened up by a friendly tour guide for us to walk through. Here’s my little creepy experience…in the last room we got to peek in, which was some kind of recovery room (i’ll include the photo of that below), we literally(the two other ladies that were on tour and myself), and I shit you not, caught a brief whiff of hospital disinfectant. The first lady who looked in there was like, um did any of y’all just spray some hand sanitizer or anything? None of us had, and I trust it wasn’t the tour guide messing with us. Although they welcome the paranormal side of things, it isn’t something they really talk about. They care mostly about sharing the factual history and story of the structure and the prisoners who lived there. So yeah, that’s my story. There is absolutely no reason for any of us to have smelled that hospital-ly smell in there as you will see from the picture below. So maybe it’s not the most exciting or spooky experience anyone’s had there, but it definitely happened and I can’t explain it. Here’s the room:

So I’ll close by saying this place is amazing and I’ll definitely go back once they reopen (after all this COVID-19 quarantine let’s up) with my camera to get some better quality photos to share.

divine lorraine hotel-philadelphia

This is one of those times I have totally mixed feelings about a restored building.. On one hand, I am incredibly happy that this historic landmark has been taken and restored to it’s former glory. On the other, I’m super jealous that I didn’t have an opportunity to explore it in it’s abandoned state and a little petty since it’s now privately owned, I wasn’t allowed to wander the halls to photograph as I pleased, or soak up it’s raw history at my leisure. I’ll get over it. I did manage to get a cell phone pic of the lobby, before the front desk attendant squashed my urbanex dreams.


In case you were curious, here’s what it looked like before renovations(PHOTO CRED: PHILLY.CURBED)


The hotel has a pretty wild history that includes the civil rights movement and a fanatic religious cult leader named Reverend Major Jealous Divine.


When he purchased the high-rise building in 1948 he converted the “Lorraine Apartments” into one of the first racially integrated hotels in the city(which is totally awesome!). His hotel offered jobs, affordable food and housing to those who followed the teachings of his International Peace Mission..the name doesn’t SOUND far out at all, but if you take some time to Google Father Divine, you might start raising your eyebrows a bit. It was after his death in 1965, a former follower, Jim Jones attempted to take over the movement-unsuccessfully so. He eventually started his own cult in 1971 that lead a 600 person mass suicide in Guyana (source: untappedcities.com).

Today the hotel has kind of a pop culture appeal, you can purchase merchandise such as towels with the “Divine Lorraine” printed on them among other articles of clothing online, and of course as of 2017 the apartments underwent a huge redevelopment and can now be rented out. The building now houses a restaurant and cafe. I took these photos of the exterior and hope to return to visit the restaurant in the near future. As always, happy wandering!