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 The rooms themselves are nice but a bit outdated, just the way I like it.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

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!

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.


graceland cemetery-chicago

If you consider yourself a Chicago history buff, or just love exploring old cemeteries, then this is a must see on your wanderlist. This was one of my first solo trips and also the first time I took my camera out with me to get something higher quality to post on social media than my usual phone shots/Instagram edits.

From legend of little Inez Clarke, whose statue is said to fearfully “escape” from it’s glass case on stormy nights, to the terrifying stare of the “Eternal Silence” monument.(who I could barely look in the face long enough to get a picture, it was THAT scary in person)- you are sure to walk away from this place with at LEAST few chills. I have to say, the eeriest part of the day for me, was when I FINALLY found the grave of Inez Clarke, whose ghost, in addition to the disappearing statue is said to sometimes wander the area around her family’s plot. They are buried under the shade of this huge sprawling tree with little wind chimes hung on the lowest branches. And yes they started chiming creepily. Of course, it was only the wind but I truly felt like I could have been in the scene of a horror movie as I sat there in the grass wondering what exactly I was going to do if I DID happen to see a ghost by myself that day.. Unfortunately(or perhaps it is a good thing), little Inez did not come out to play with me.

I am a total sucker for these rural cemeteries, and Graceland is truly one of the best. Known as the “Architect’s Cemetery”, these tombs are impressive, creepy, mystifying and beautiful. I find the attitude towards and obsession with making death almost glamorous(at least by those who were rich enough and could afford these incredibly designed mausoleums) in the mid-19th century so fascinating and worthwhile to explore. Happy Wandering!

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!

devil’s tower-washington state

Although it’s been almost a full 2 years, our trip to “Devil’s Tower” in Concrete, WA, stays at the very top of my favorite urban explorations list to date. Looking out over the east bank of Lake Shannon, a reservoir created by the Baker Dam in the 1920’s, sits the hollowed out remains of the Washington Portland Cement Company.

To reach the tower you’ll need to pass through the small valley town of Concrete, aptly named for the industry that gave it life up until the 1960’s when the factory shut down. I would be lying if I said that town doesn’t give me the creepiest vibes anytime I’ve driven through it. Aside from the looming concrete towers and abandoned school building that greet you on your drive in, there’s just a eerie, heavy feel about the whole place that doesn’t lift until you’ve made it out of city limits. That feeling lingered even as we made our way up past the dam and onto the gravel road, ending at the gate where you must leave your car and continue the journey on foot.

The buildings are breathtaking in spite of their losing battle with Mother Nature. It truly is a photographer’s paradise. At the time we started our adventures, I wasn’t using my camera like I do now, so shots captured were taken with my phone.

We carefully made our way through the main building, taking in what remained of what I can only imagine would have been such a loud, booming factory setting. The silence is haunting. Although we had no paranormal experiences personally on the day of our visit, I have no doubt that supernatural activities take place there. Several steep stair cases and rusted out ladders will lead you to some of the most stunning views outside on the upper levels of the building. Explore with caution and care, and know your limits.

Graffiti aficionados will not leave disappointed either. The place has been covered top to bottom with an impressive variety of artwork.

In addition to the main building there are a few other structures left standing on the property. I’m not really familiar with how a cement factory would have worked, but I assume the other buildings were there to store or continue sifting through the gravel/cement product. Many of the chutes, stairs, ladders and tunnels were in too much disrepair to try scaling, but we did what we could on foot. This place is a gem for anyone who truly appreciates the history and process of urban exploration. There is quite a bit of information floating around the web on the history of the company and the dam in the area for anyone wishing to dig a little deeper themselves and plan their own trip.

Happy Wandering!