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 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!

alley of death-chicago

While wandering Chicago’s theater district last summer, I decided to locate the tragically named “Alley of Death” I had read about online while looking for possible paranormal spots to check out on my next trip. Because isn’t that the kind of thing everybody looks for when they have a free day to spend in the city? (I kid.) The story behind this is really quite horrific, and the tragedy is one of the main reasons there are so many fire safety precautions implemented in modern theaters today.

iroquois theatre foyer

It began with a matinee showing of the musical comedy “Mr. Bluebeard” on December 30, 1903. The Iroquois Theater was new, grand and packed full with an audience of nearly 2000 patrons- most of them women and children enjoying their winter break. A stage light caused a small spark to ignite some fabric on the stage. This was not uncommon back then- most small stage fires were quickly put out, so panic did not ensue right away. When lowering the asbestos curtain failed to quell the flames, stage hands tried to calm the crowd but the fire became uncontrollable and terrified patrons attempted to stampede their way to the exits. A combination of mob frenzy and lack of stairways and functioning exit doors created bottlenecks that allowed no escape. Suddenly, a back draft from a stage door created a fireball that swept through the theater killing almost everyone left in its path. Those in the balconies that made it close enough to the exits jumped to their death in the alley, cushioning the fall for others. The death toll was near 600 or so and bodies were stacked up 6ft high in that alley way. Next door businesses opened up their doors as a makeshift morgue until the bodies could be identified and moved elsewhere. The fire itself was over in just 30 minutes.

iroquois theater fire damage

Today the James M. Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Oriental Theatre) now occupies the place where the Iroquois once stood. And unassuming foot traffic and actors alike use the alley daily to pass through- there is no formal marker there to pay tribute to the great tragedy, yet today all theaters are equipped with functional and life saving emergency protocol because of it. I would love to spend more time ghost hunting in the theater district- do you have any paranormal stories from Chicago? Let me know! Happy wandering!

Note: All historical photos and info were taken from either Wikipedia, Smithsonian or Chicago Tribune sites. All current photos taken by me.


northern state mental hospital farms-washington state

We attempted our exploration of Northern State Mental Hospital the same week as our trip to Devil’s Tower. If I remember correctly, we were actually TRYING to go to Devil’s Tower on this particular day, but didn’t have enough location information at the time to find it successfully. In an attempt to salvage the day, a quick Google search of other abandoned and possibly haunted locations nearby showed me we could probably find some success in Sedro-Woolley. I use the word “attempt” because unfortunately the hospital buildings themselves are off limits to the public. Some of the institution buildings were currently being used to house job corps offices and the others were in decent enough condition to be locked and secured(we try to be decent urban explorers and refrain from breaking and entering, especially since we had my 9 year old son with us that day. I’m a cool mom, I know).

Lo, all was not lost! Northern State was not just your average, every day mental asylum!


Opened in 1913 to house overflow from other Washington state mental hospitals, it’s progressive and “gentler” style of therapy- occupational therapy- meant that the grounds of the hospital included several hundred acres of farmland, barns,workshops and a cannery for the patients to use. At its peak through the 1950s, the hospital was completely self-sustaining. There is also a cemetery on the premises, although most of the graves are sadly unidentifiable or barely marked. Several of the buildings remain intact enough to walk through and they are now part of a large recreational park owned by the state that includes a disc golf course as well as trails for walking. We stumbled across the disc golf course and encountered a nice lady riding her horse on the trails during our visit.

A few sources online say Northern State still used some of the more traditional and cruel medical practices of the time, others argue it was one of the “good” ones due to its progressive views and use of occupational therapy. Either way, being considered “insane” back then included a very broad spectrum of folks who were often left places like this to be forgotten by their families. The hospital closed in 1973. The dairy operation was shut down, and the remaining patients were either transferred or dumped out on the streets of Seattle. Very little was done to document or preserve the graves of patients who died there. I honestly thought I would feel way creepier vibes from a place like this, and perhaps had we made it in to the hospital buildings themselves, I would have. Mostly though, I just felt a sadness over the forgotten people who lived and worked there. Thankfully, it is historically registered and the state as well as a local business have taken interest in putting the remaining property to good use instead of tearing it down. Overall this is great stop for those looking for an easy access urbanex- let me know if YOU have been here and have any paranormal experiences to share. Happy wandering!