Off the Top of My Head #10: A Walk with the Shadow People

Off The Top of My Head

“I’ll do it.”  There was no hesitation or doubt.  Even the small apprehension caused by timidity of the unknown wasn’t severe enough to stop the response.  The fear for missing the chance was more severe…  Standing on the lightless 4th floor of Waverly Hill Sanatorium, having gone through the better part of a two hour tour, heard stories of the innumerable ghosts that legend says still haunt its halls and seen photographic and physical evidence to corroborate several of these stories, when the tour guide asked “I need a volunteer to walk to the end of the hall alone, who will do it?”  “I’ll do it” was my response almost before he could finish the statement.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was once the gold standard in tuberculosis treatment and research in the world.  I won’t provide the history of it, numerous sites are available for that, but over the years since the closure in 1981 of the home for the elderly which inherited the building Waverly Hills has been the subject of ghost stories and legends and now has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in America.

The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone.  When I go back I'll bring my real camera.
The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone. When I go back I’ll bring my real camera.

I’ve had an interest in Waverly Hills since I first saw a documentary about it in 2006.  The documentary itself was full of some horror movie cheesiness (and was produced by the makers of a B-rated horror movie Death Tunnel) but it also contained footage of the old hospital, a good deal of history, and interviews with former staff and patients.  It was also intriguing.  There is something inherently frightening about hospital settings, massive structures, you know people have met unfortunate ends there, and dark corridors with numerous rooms.

A friend organized an opportunity to go and my RevPub co-author and fellow ghost enthusiast and her son joined the group and we all ventured to just south west of Louisville, Kentucky to go on the paranormal tour.

We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out.  As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside...
We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out. As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside…

The tour itself was excellent.  We had a great tour guide who provided levity when needed and gave actual history of the grounds and facilities along with the tales of the supernatural.  But it was the 4th Floor “Shadow People” that made the tour for me.

You stand at the end of the dark corridor, first as a group (there were about 20 of us) and watch the floors, light coming in from the glass-less windows shines through the doors of the vacant patient rooms.  By paying attention you can see shadows moving…almost like patients pacing in their rooms.  When the guide asked if someone would walk the corridor, past the numerous rooms, and stop in the dark shadows I couldn’t pass it up.

I won’t lie, it was unnerving.  The entire time in Waverly Hills I was freezing.  I never once felt threatened or afraid, but there was always an awkward feeling like something…off.  Almost like a painting slightly out of proportion…you realize something isn’t normal but you can’t quite place what it is.  Walking the hallway was a mixture of adrenaline and what I can only describe as “pressure.”  Not a heavy weight on you…just an environmental pressure like the space itself is closing in around you.  I’m not easily scared, but the whole experience was so unnerving that if the tour guide had asked me to walk to the wing of the hallway, by dozens more empty rooms and out of sight of the rest of the group, I would’ve hesitated to do it…

This is how that dark hallway looked from my view...only darker...
This is how that dark hallway looked from my view…only darker…

I couldn’t see what was happening behind me, but I was told the shadows in the doors definitely peaked when someone passed (there’s nothing quite as heart-stopping as having your back to several supposedly haunted rooms and hearing the tour group softly gasp…) and that during my walk back I seemed like I was swallowed in the blackness.

It was an incredible experience that will take some time to fully digest.  I’m definitely glad I did it and plan to go back for the full-on paranormal investigation.

Waverly Hills Stairs

To schedule your own tour or investigation visit their site here!

Ghost Story # 2: In the Hall

I’ll keep this simple. I believe in ghosts. Thirty years of living in haunted houses will do that to you. I don’t think I had a choice not to believe. I grew up listening to ghost stories about various houses I lived in, and there were too many unexplained things that happened… and still do.

Submitted for the approval of the RevPub readers, I call this story:

A Stranger in the Hall

My son was four days old. We returned from the hospital the day before, and he was asleep. I desperately wanted a hot shower, so I took advantage of the nap. He hardly slept when he was little.

I was alone with him in the house, so I locked all the doors and left his and the bathroom doors cracked open. I got in the shower, and as I was washing my face I heard footsteps in the hall, which is adjacent to the bathroom. (map)

I poked my head out and heard squeak, squeak, squeak, down the hall again.

I knew better than to say, “hello, is anyone there?” That will get you killed. I left the water on, quietly stepped out, wrapped a towel around me, and poked my head out the door. I assumed I would see my husband, but there was nothing.

Cussing to myself, I checked the doors, and everything was still locked. My son was fine, too. I stepped back in the shower, and as I was washing my hair, I heard footsteps in the hall again. Squeak, squeak, squeak.

I listened longer this time, and heard it again. Back and forth, back and forth. Squeak, squeak, squeak. I rushed out of the shower, grabbed the towel (again) and scissors this time, and slowly crept out of the bathroom.

Nothing. Not a sound, not a movement, and my son was sleeping in the exact spot I left him.

Irritated, I checked the doors and made my way back to the shower. I waited a couple of minutes and didn’t hear anything, so I got back in. As I finished and turned the water off, there were footsteps again. Squeak, squeak, squeak. I got out and dried off. Squeak, squeak, squeak. I got dressed this time, with scissors in hand, and was ready to kill someone.

With hair in towel, I stepped into the hall. Nothing. Every door locked, my son asleep, and not a sound or disruption. My only reaction was to get mad, and I simply said, “I don’t know what or who you are, but you can at least let me take a shower.”


Later when I told my husband and mother-in-law about it, they were calm and believed me. They explained my deceased father-in-law’s spirit was still in the house, and he was watching the baby while I took a shower. And to this day, I believe it.

Thankfully, it’s never happened again, or I don’t care enough to notice, but sometimes I still hear footsteps in the hall when no one is there. Sometimes while laying on the couch in the living room, there are footsteps in the same room. Squeak, squeak, squeak.

You can think I’m crazy, and I’m sure some of my friends do, but no one has been able to explain it. And I’m okay thinking it’s a good spirit keeping watch. I hope to do the same one day…

Have you ever heard anything and couldn’t explain it? Tell us about it in the comments section!