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 The rooms themselves are nice but a bit outdated, just the way I like it.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.
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!