Investigation Team: Dave Miller, Matt Miller, Robbie Helberg
Investigation Date: June 2010
This was the second of five investigations to one of the top five scariest haunted sites in America. The Sanatorium looked foreboding as we pulled up at dusk for the 11pm to 6:30am investigation.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Tuberculosis (also called TB or the White Death) ravaged America in the 1800’s & early 1900’s. Terrifying, contagious and with no cure, it claimed entire families and towns. Built on low swampland, a breeding ground for disease, Louisville had one of the highest TB death rates. In 1910 a hospital was built to combat the disease, enlarged in 1926 to its current structure. The hospital consists of five floors and the infamous “body chute”. Thousands died here in pain and hopelessness, hence the prolific amount of paranormal activity. The hospital closed in 1961 but reopened in 1962 as a Geriatrics Sanitarium. Rumors of patient mistreatment and unusual experiments including electroshock therapy were reported. Many cases were true and the state closed the facility in 1982.
Often, treatment for the disease was as bad as TB itself. Some of the experiments conducted in search for a cure seem barbaric by today’s practice. Here are three horrible treatments:
(1) Expose the patients lungs to ultraviolet light to stop the spread of bacteria. This was done in sun rooms, on the roof or on the open air porches even when it was cold and snowing.
(2) Surgically implant balloons in the lungs and fill them with air. This was disastrous.
(3) Surgically remove the ribs and muscles to allow the lungs to expand further. Ineffective & horrible.
Patients who survived the disease and treatments left by the front door. Those who died left by the 485 foot long, concrete “body chute” or “death chute”. Bodies were lowered in secret to waiting trains to be cremated. This was done so patients would not see how many were leaving the hospital as corpses.
PARANORMAL CLAIMS: There are so many sightings and stories and the hospital is so large that I will just focus on one area or floor in each of my four adventures here. Today, we will concentrate on the 5th floor. Paranormal claims: in room 502 allegedly a doctor had an affair with a nurse and she became pregnant, a real scandal in the 1930’s. She jumped or was pushed from the window in 502. Female voices, crying, a ghostly apparition in white and footsteps are reported. A large room and the deck containing play equipment was a babysitting or play area for youth who were patients or whose parents were dying downstairs of TB. Children’s voices, footsteps, crying and shadow figures have been recorded.
INVESTIGATION: My goal as an investigator is to be a “Doubting Thomas“, try to explain and debunk everything. Anything left is good evidence. Sometime you obtain unexplainable evidence and sometimes you come up with nothing. The true fun is the adventure, the hunt. Fearless, stalwart investigators Matt & Robbie comprised our investigation team. This hospital is flat out spooky especially when you investigate dark wings and rooms by yourself. We spent seven hours investigating every floor and the body chute. On the 5th floor we spent significant time in room 501 & 502 but no findings. In the children’s area, we used trigger objects such as balls and toy cars to elicit responses. Our best toy was a wood paddle with an elastic band attached to a ball. If anyone touched the sensitive ball it would light up.
Several findings on this trip. In the children’s play area on the 5th floor, a few times when posing verbal questions to the “ghost children”, some form of energy touched the ball connected to the paddle and the ball would light up. Days later when playing back the tape recorders, Matt and Robbie caught on other floors several items not heard at the time of the investigation: a child’s voice, a woman’s voice and a dog bark. Just before dawn we encountered some lighting and light rain which added to the creepy, eerie, dark feeling of this hospital.