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America’s Most Haunted Hotels

Where Sick Folks Get Well

I have a special place in my heart for The 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I have started researching a chapter to be included in America’s Most Haunted Hotels. When Norman Baker (who was NOT a doctor) turned the old hotel into a cancer hospital, he allegedly used the “Where Sick Folks Get Well” pamphlet to lure unsuspecting patients to the hospital so he could “reap one million dollars out of the suckers in the state.” The pamphlet is said to be the key piece of evidence of mail fraud that led to his 1941 – 1944 sentence in Leavenworth.

It is a fascinating piece of marketing literature, and I got hold of a copy. It is attached for your reading pleasure.

 

Where Sick Folks Get Well Pamphlet

Coming Soon: Hotel Waverly Hills Sanatorium

I’m with her. I want to be excited about this news, but a big part of me is just saddened by it. Charles Mattingly has confirmed (http://www.wdrb.com/story/24854652/waverly-hills-the-hotel)that the fourth floor will remain intact, so that is something at least. Still, you can’t blame them for being capitalists.

Waverly_Hills_Sanatorium_Louisville_Kentucky_1927 Waverly_Hills_Sanatorium_Louisville_Kentucky_1935 Waverly_Hills_Sanatorium_Louisville_Kentucky_1936 Waverly_Hills_Sanatorium_exterior_1926

 

The Haunted Librarian

Waverly Hills Sanatorium Postcard from Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Coming Soon: Hotel Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Charlie and Tina Mattingly, current owners of the infamous Waverly Hills Sanatorium, located at 4400 Paralee Lane, Louisville, Kentucky, announced plans to open a 4-star, 120-room hotel catering to the paranormal connoisseur. But would I book a room?

First, a little history:

Major Thomas H. Hays purchased the property in 1883. He built a modest schoolhouse and hired Miss Lizzie Lee Harris to educate his children. Miss Harris christened the schoolhouse “Waverley School” because of her fondness for Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels. Major Hays renamed the entire estate Waverley Hills. When the Board of Tuberculosis purchased the land, they kept the name but changed the spelling to “Waverly.”

Tuberculosis (TB) was known as “The White Plague.” It ran rampant in the early 1900s and prompted the opening of a sanatorium. In its heyday, the 2-story Waverley Hills accommodated…

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A Night at The Myrtles Plantation

Last month, Bob and I had the chance to investigate The Myrtles Plantation on a private overnight stay (this was complete chance, as it was a Sunday night just after the New Year’s holiday). We were booked in the General Bradford Suite for the night, and had the run of the upstairs as well for the entire night. I was surprised to see that the entire house was covered in Haint Blue paint!

The first thing we did after we checked into the room was take the Mel Meter out for a walk around to see if we could get any hits or changes in temperature. Right off the bat, Bob watched the Mel Meter jump to a 6.8 when he held the device against the door leading into our room off the front porch. When we completed our circle of the property, we checked the meter against the door once more. No changes occurred. Also during our walk around the property, my phone went from 60% to completely shutting down. When we got back to the room, I was able to plug the phone in and power it back up. It was immediately at 61% power!

Porch views – day and night shots:

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The stay included a tour of the house, and some of the ghost stories are told during this tour. I have read a lot of criticism about these stories, but I am going to reserve comment on all of that for now. I will share our personal experiences for what they are worth.

We spent some time investigating the upper floor, in particular, this creepy blue doll room that I was drawn to. But nothing happened. Not one blip on a meter, not one strange noise, not even a weird feeling to speak of.

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Bob speculated that maybe these highfalutin aristocratic ghosts might not be impressed with my requests to “turn on the flashlight.” He makes an interesting point. Asylums and prisons seemed to be filled to the ceiling with entities anxious to make contact. But here, well, we were in someone else’s home. Maybe there were different rules. We cooled it with the ghost hunter schtick and returned to the General Bradford Suite.

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Besides sleeping in a real life haunted mansion, all alone, without a living soul in sight and no snacks to speak of, the night passed uneventfully, or so I thought. Bob would report otherwise.

My first strange experience was being awakened around 5:00 a.m. to the sound of clothing rustling near the bed (specifically – rustling skirts), followed by heavy boot steps approaching the room to the door via the front porch. I then heard what sounded like about four wild cats just losing their minds, howling like they were facing death itself out there, while at the same time maintaining a constant run away from whatever was on the porch. By this time I was realizing just how cold the room was. It was down to around 55 degrees but the heat was still running. The front parlor was down to the mid-sixties. The heat was just fine at 72 degrees when we arrived and the time we went to bed. People hear weird stuff when they think they are awake, but really dreaming. Old wooden houses get cold and old heaters break. But why in my almost 33 years on this planet can I not recall a dream where I have had auditory hallucinations? Do I only hallucinate while sleeping in haunted mansions, or was something really going on FOR REAL? Who can say. The mind is a powerful thing (especially mine – I just inserted that to check and see if you are still reading this post, Bob).

Seeing that I was awake also, (and freezing), Bob let me in on what happened to him earlier during the night while I was sleeping peacefully. Bob drifted off around 11:30 p.m. and was awakened by a howling wind. He heard the large shutters banging against the house. He felt the room get noticeably colder by the second, so he reached over to the bedside table and switched the Mel Meter on. He watched the temperature drop 6 degrees right before his eyes. He eventually fell back to sleep, but left the meter on. When he next awoke, he looked at the meter and saw that there had been a 6.8 spike some time in the night. RIGHT BY HIS HEAD.

I noticed a large and very fresh scratch on his head (the right side, closest to the table where the meter was kept) and asked him about it. Neither one of us could figure out how he could make a scratch like that in his sleep. I guess it’s possible I did it somehow, although usually my nails are kept proper ghost hunter style (read:  bitten to the quick).

An entry from my journal on the morning of our departure:  “When I woke up this morning, I felt really sad. All these places we’ve gone to, I’ve never really felt my own death, but it was very much on my mind this morning, and I was concerned about losing Bob. Wonder if I was being an empath to one of the widows – Mary Catherine or Sara Woodruff? We’re both feeling better as we get further and further away from The Myrtles.”

 

 

The Richardson Olmsted Complex

The Richardson Olmsted Complex
The Richardson Olmsted Complex

Formerly known as the Buffalo State Asylum, this site is undergoing renovations to become a boutique hotel, conference center, and visitor’s center. This is one of the few Kirkbride buildings still standing in America, and to have it preserved for reuse is nothing short of a miracle. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds. They have been offering tours, but unfortunately I have not gotten to take one yet.

The Richardson Olmsted Complex
The Richardson Olmsted Complex

This part of Buffalo is so much fun to me too. Within walking distance you have the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, all the antique, funky shops, coffee shops, restaurants and bars of Elmwood Avenue, and Delaware Park. It’s a great cultural getaway from all the touristy Niagara Falls type stuff.
Further Reading:

http://www.richardson-olmsted.com/project.php

http://www.kirkbridebuildings.com/buildings/

http://www.fredericklawolmsted.com/buffalo.html

http://www.albrightknox.org/
http://www.elmwoodvillage.org/

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