Posts Tagged ‘Ghost Adventures’

The Romanian forest claims to be the most haunted forest in the wood. At 20 hectares the forest is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle. Visitors to the area often report feelings of anxiety or like they are being watched. This was one of the things covered by Ghost Adventures when they visited, and yes you can laugh, I still watch because they go to places I want too. Shame on me?

The forest was named after a shepherd, he apparently disappeared with a flock of two hundred sheep. Now not only that but in the 1960’s the forest gained another event of a note, a biologist Alexandru Sift who snapped a UFO in the sky above the forest. August 18th 1968, Emil Barnea captured something too and by the 1970’s it was a hotspot for sightings.

It is also said it could be a gateway to another dimension and another local story says that a 5 year old got lost and wandered into the woods before disappearing. 5 years later she came out untarnished and in the same clothes. There is no clear indicator in regards to when this happened however.

How about the ghost of murdered Russian peasants? The souls of the unfortunates are trapped and angered by their predicament. Still not convinced? What about an area where there is no vegetation even though research suggests there is nothing in the soul to cause it.

Strange noises, UFO’s, voices, vortex’s, disappearances, rashes and scratches on visitors and more! If you visit and experience anything I’d love to hear it!

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It seems on my part to be slow on the uptake to have blogged this, given it’s fame, but here we go! And in time for Halloween 2014!

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is now closed unless you pay for a private tour group, opportunities. It resides in the State of Kentucky, USA and opened in 1910 as a two-storey hospital and closed in 1962 when the drug Streptomycin made the TB Sanatorium redundant. The plan for the building is now to turn it into a luxury hotel and funds for its renovation, preservation and conversion are raised via tours, mostly of the paranormal type.

I won’t go into details regards the TV shows that have filmed there but they include Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, Worlds Scariest Places, MTV’s Fear and there is a film called Death Tunnel that was filmed on that location. Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters have both done live broadcasts for Halloween specials and the location is popular with those who watch the shows.

The land was purchased originally by Major Thomas H Hays in 1883, he opened a small private school there and hired Lizzie Lee Harris as the teacher. She loved Walter Scott’s Waverley novels and called the school Waverley. The name was liked well enough for Hays as he in turn called the property Waverley hills. The name has been changed between Waverly and Waverley Hills throughout its history but the current and likely final variation is the one of Waverly.

In the early 20th century Jefferson County (and Louisville) was stricken by the TB outbreak, the response was a two-storey wooden sanatorium that was opened on the land. It wasn’t enough to cope with the high levels of patients and so the building slowly began to take form into the large brick and concrete structure present on the site today. Thousands of people young and old made the place their home for some time and when it finally closed in 1962 the building was already a marked part of the Kentucky history.

It soon gained another use, it reopened that year as Woodhaven Geriatric Centre, for the care of those with dementia and mobility limits. It also catered for the mentally ill and unfortunately it closed in 1982 due to the discovery of patient neglect. It was understaffed and overcrowded like so many at this period in time. Due to the inaccuracy of it being labelled a mental asylum there are plenty of urban legends that took form and so it can be summarily advised that caution be given to those seeking information about the paranormal reports.

At some point in history there was a situation where the owner wanted the building destroyed but as it was listed (National Historic Register), he would need to ensure that the building was condemned. He actively encouraged vandalism and other acts of destruction on the property. When this failed he eventually gave up and sold the property in 1982.

In 1983 it was brought with the idea of changing it into a maximum security prison. It was dropped because of protests from the neighbours and then plans to adapt the place into apartments also fell through from lack of investors.

In 1996 the ownership changed to Robert Alberhasky, he wanted to construct the largest status of Jesus in the world along with an arts centre and a worship centre. Plans for this also fell through, to be honest to me this hardly seems surprising, but of over 12 millions dollars required Alberhasky only raised $3000.

In 2001 Tina and Charlie Mattingly took on ownership and now run tours to fund the restoration and conversion of the building to a luxury hotel whilst preserving as much of it’s history as possible. Naturally with the history of the place there are an abundance of ghostly tales to keep thrill seekers and ghost hunters attracted to the site.

Under the Sanatorium there is a tunnel that has been labelled the “death tunnel”, it was used to allow staff to move up and down into the hospital, the hill it resides on is very high and this was a safer method to get there. The walkways had lights and a later addition to the tunnel was to place air vents along the way. It was also used for the transport of goods, supplies and then removal of the dead.

The use of the tunnel for this purpose is why it has the paranormal reputation attached, the tunnel was used to safely transport the dead without the patients seeing them coming down the hill. The tunnel meant that the dead were taken away and it was hoped it would not deteriorate the morale of those in the sanatorium. It seems a practical use, and I have never found any stories about any tragic events down the tunnel to do with someone dying, patients reviving or other such things that might have led to the reason for a haunting. Instead it seems that the legend is purely attached to its use as a removal place for the dead.

The Death Tunnel has had reports of shadow figures, apparitions and EVP experiences. I am sure with a little digging around on the internet you are likely to find the same sort of video’s and ‘evidence’ that I have. I would understand the reputation but with it being designed for the idea of a little dignity I do find myself wondering…

However I did find that there are reports of people seeing a hearse pull up as if still collecting the dead. The hearse seems to make little sense to me, why would there be a phantom vehicle when there is no sign of this scenario being attributed to any tragic motion other than the natural movement and removal of the dead. Perhaps someone can enlighten me? Presumably either it is collecting or waiting for the next one to be shipped out.

Here are some that might be of interest:

Room 502 has a myth attached to it that a nurse died there, she was pregnant from the owner of the time and was unmarried. The tragedy continues in the tale in that she also contracted TB and so probably felt her options were utterly limited. Some say that she was murdered and others that she committed suicide hanging herself by the light-bulb wire outside the room, she now haunts this spot. The first date of this occurrence is listed as 1928 and then again four years later it is said that a nurse either fell of jumped to her death from the balcony of that room. (It is worth noting that so far no names or genuine documents for this have seemingly arrived on my investigations). What is said to be experienced, other than sightings, is a terrible feeling of despair upon entering the room.

The death tunnels reputation is also well recorded, you can find numerous accounts of peoples personal experiences along with EVP’s, Orbs and sightings of apparitions. You can find so many of these with an internet search that I haven’t felt a need to present them.

The death count is also often cited as around 63,000 with over 8,000 recorded in one single and very bad year. Presumably this high count would be attributed to the peak of the outbreak but either way it contributes to the haunted speculations. From research on the papers and data assembled many suggest that this number is widely exaggerated and that the real number is likely to be around only 10% of that. It is more likely that the total death toll would resemble more like the 8212 recorded on it’s worst year…

Whilst there is not a full list of the deaths, there is a lot of good indications that the lower figure is far more realistic. Death Certificates for the State of Kentucky were recorded and kept, they were maintained by the states and those for 1911-1953 have been made accessible. The rest are likely to be issued in the future and so going by that information and the information gathered by the press, other local sources. There is another claim that the real total (presumably suggesting much higher than 63-64k) had been covered up to keep state funding higher, in reality this would not do a thing, if anything they would exaggerate the numbers to get sympathy and more funding.

Another aspect to the speculation on the death count reality is that they say staff were dying so fast no records could be kept. This is not correct at all, for instance the Medical Director Dr Dunning S Wilson was there from 1911-1917 and did not die, he went on to carry on his career elsewhere. He is one of a few examples showing that the facts are not necessarily what go with the stories.

Another story is about the little boy who haunts corridors and likes to play by bouncing balls, this invariably leads to folks bringing them along to try and get an interaction. The ghost is said to be that of young Timmy, a six or seven-year-old boy who died there but has not yet moved on – another webister calls him Bobby. Critics say that the ball is not moved by little Timmy but instead a more mundane answer would be that the uneven floors and draughts contribute more to the movement.

Timmy is not the only young ghost there, the third floor is also said to be haunted by Mary. Again she is said to play with a ball but the stories are so similar it is entirely possible that like many the stories have simply taken on two entities (excuse the pun). With the children of the Sanatorium needing entertainment it is also said that the swing erected for them can be seem coming and that many have also heard the sounds of children singing ‘Ring a Ring a Roses’.

Perhaps a more pleasant experience for the hauntings is the smell of the cooked food that comes from the kitchens and canteen areas. Supposedly whilst there has been no food cooked there since 1982 there is a waft of food through the rooms. Slightly less exciting would be the idea of the gent that walks around in a white coat and pants…

Other reports that seem to be available include a guard seeing a floating head in a room late one night. Having passed out from fright he did not bother to return to the place. Lights have been seen despite there being no electricity and one security guard saw a television on from the third floor where he was outside, he went up to find that there was nothing out of the ordinary.

In summary there is a LOT to read and a lot to find out. I hope that you enjoyed the bits that I have put together.

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By Kris Arnold [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Waverlyhillssanatorium

Recently I went on a trip with friends out to Italy, more specifically Venice. We stayed around the Lido area which is around three kilometres away from the abandoned island of Poveglia. In the port at San Marco we saw a ship called Poveglia and we took it upon ourselves to ask them if the boat did indeed go there… blank faces. This was a similar event when we asked the local police too, seems it was not a well heard of place.

The island itself is not on the main routes, and there are no tourists being guided around. I had hoped we’d find out a way to get there but sadly not. However this hasn’t deterred me from recounting this curiosity. I am sure someone may be able to correct me where I go wrong. (Hope so anyway).

The Island seems to have a lengthy history attached to it, records suggest that in the 9th Century it was fairly well populated but had suffered plenty of wars and attacks. In 1379 Venice came under conflict and the people from Poveglia were moved to the Giudecca. The Venetian government built a permanent fortification on the Island; the Octagon there is still visible today. It remained uninhabited until it was offered to the Camaldolese monks in 1527, they refused to take it. In 1661 descendants were then offered the Island but again it was refused. It was still left empty and abandoned.

1777 saw the Island being used by the Public Health Office who used it as a check point for goods and people as they came and went through Venice. 1793 saw the plague changing the island once more, several cases of the plague on two ships meant that it was a temporary confinement place for the ill. It was a place made permanent in 1805, and the church of San Vitale there was destroyed, the old bell tower was then converted into a lighthouse. It was closed down in 1814.

The 20th Century was used as a quarantine station once more, and then in 1922 the buildings that were left had been converted to a hospital for the mentally-ill and for long-term care. This was the case until 1968 when the hospital was closed, the island was used for a while after that but now is closed off.

So on to the creepy bits? That’s what we’re here for right?

The mental asylum doctor was no doubt given his tyrannical legend like so many others of the time, due to practising lobotomy and other, now, barbaric practises. He was tortured by his patients, went “mad” and then jumped to his death from the bell tower. However the story says that he survived and was then strangled by a mist from the ground.

Other sources say that so many people were buried and burnt during the time of the plague that the ground is half human-remains. The local fishermen will give it a wide berth to ensure they will not fish up the bones of ancestors and a stay overnight would most like produce interesting tales, Ghost Adventure’s went that way themselves and discovered this to be much the case. The locals are either unaware of this place, or will feign disinterest leaving only the more curious and grizzly minded wanting to go there.

A rather good first account from someone that has visited can be located here: MENTAL FLOSS

Poveglia Googled

This is another pretty famous case for avid ghost lovers, the Genesee County Poor Farm was there to taken in those eligible for assistance. The Farm is located between Bufallo and Rochester, NY and is a popular destination for ghost hunters, it is an enormous building and in it’s time it house paupers, drunkards, lunatics, blind, lame, handicapped, orphans, windows and a murderer or two.

The idea of these farms is not unusual, they were quite popular in the 19th and 20th Century around the United States, they were government run facilities and the original building was a tavern. A notice of declaration about the change went out to the Batavia Times Newspaper, it was December 9th 1826. Residents of any nature were referred to as inmates, and the physically able worked on the farm allowing the costs of living to be reduced. Sadly the cemetery attached to the grounds there has been neglected and has faded away, no plot plans or registry for their graves has been discovered as of yet.

It opened 1st January, 1827 and then in the 1950’s became a Country Home and Infirmary, then in the 1990’s was a set of shops and antiques mall. People mentioned the experiences of disembodied voices, screams in the night, shadows and further stories. With a rumour of over a 1000 deaths at the place over it’s years of operations it’s no surprise that ghosts have become part of it’s history.

I was rather skeptical about the Black Magic story but I shall add it here for reference, there are some rumours on the sites I checked that they believe there was a history of Satanic Rituals on the site. It is said that nurses working there may have practised these things and were not above using this on patients and inhabitants, there was also mention of them taking babies for sacrifices and further rumours of it still happening today.

Case Manager, Suzie Yencer relates one chilling experience: “It was September 2007. While working a public hunt, we had a gentleman with us that was filming a documentary about the building. He wanted to try an experiment in one of the rooms. The room he chose was in the basement, popularly known as The Christmas Room. The experiment he wanted to try was to sit in the room with no lights or equipment on. The only light we would use was a pink glow stick in the middle of a circle of people. We also placed a small ball and a toddler size rocking horse in the circle. The gentleman conducting the experiment requested that only I talk and try to make contact with the spirits. The more I talked, the more strange occurrences began to happen. The glow stick started to move back and forth, and the rocking horse began to slowly rock. A few of the guests in the room including myself saw a hand and arm come out of nowhere and reach for the ball in the circle and then just vanish….”

It’s proven popular enough to have been visited by Ghost Adventures and TAPS, whether or not you believe the shows it’s certainly drummed up interest in the place itself.

In Palm Beach County, Florida there is an hold Victorian House that had been built in 1905 at West Palm Beach but was dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village. This is a historical park in the South Florida Fairgrounds, Royal Palm Beach. Riddle House was a funeral parlor that became privately owned by Karl Riddle in the  1920’s. It was also called Gatekeeper’s College, and there was a cemetery in the area known as Woodlawn that unfortunately suffered at the hands of criminals. Bodies were exhumed so that they could try and get hold of the deceased’s possessions and that’s when the house was built for security.

The house is said to be haunted and in 2008 was visited by the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures for an investigation. It’s hardly surprising that an old funeral home would bring these sorts of rumours; however I can safely say that when I worked in a funeral home the worst offenders of scaring me were other members of staff and certainly not spectres.

In the early days of the place there was a tragic death, the worker at the cemetery died during an argument with someone in the community, the locals reported that he could be
seen walking along the cemetery and around the home. He carried on as he had in life with his work but never seemed vengeful or angry. Of course coming face to face with him was pretty scary in itself.

Riddle then got the property in the 1920’s and acquired the position of manager of the city; they had a need for someone to oversee the cemetery and provided him the home to live in. Riddle enjoyed the home until an employee hanged himself in the attic of the house to escape economic woes and depression. It seems that the house has taken on a  creepy little life of it’s own really, noises and distant conversations have been commonly reported. There were also the sounds of chains that moved and in the end the Riddle house fell into disrepair because of the frightful events meaning people did not stay long. The house seemed doomed as businesses failed and paranormal reports continued. Palm Beach Atlantic were the local  college that tried to use this as a dorm for female students but this also failed.

1980 saw the city opting to destroy the property but Karl Riddle’s nephew, John, felt that it has historical value and should be preserved. It was moved to the Yesteryear Village to be enjoyed as a historical monument. But the story never ended there, workers putting it back together again found their tools moved, the windows broken and described  their personal experiences. Many of the workers had quit before it was decided they would postpone the construction for a while and eventually work continued and the building was completed.

There was a social gathering the day it opened and already people wanted to go into the place that had a history of paranormal events. They appeared to have got a lot more than anticipated when numerous people took pictures of a couple that did not show up in any of the pictures. It seems that the property and not the location are the attraction for the spirits at Riddle House.