HAUNTED WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM Expedition #2 Louisville, Kentucky

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.

HAUNTED STANLEY HOTEL Estes Park, Colorado

Investigation Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Shane Miller

Investigation Date:  August 2009

The most beautiful, picturesque haunted hotel I have ever been to and famous as the hotel that inspired Stephen King on October 30, 1974, to begin writing his famous novel about isolation, “The Shining”. King stayed in haunted Room 217 and roamed the deserted long corridors at night which inspired his plot ideas and characters.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:  When we visited, the 142 room Stanley was celebrating it’s 100th year, having opened in 1909. Famous for it’s architecture, magnificent setting, famous visitors and ghosts, the hotel was built by F.O. Stanley who invented the Stanley Steamer. A rare Stanley Steamer car is on display in the lobby. Located only five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, the hotel is beautiful & the outdoor views are stunning. The famous 1978 movie “The Shinning” starring Jack Nicholson was to be filmed at the Stanley but had to be relocated due to lack of summer snow and adequate electric power. Stephen King returned in 1996 to the Stanley, produced and filmed at the hotel a six hour TV mini-series movie of The Shining that more closely follows his book. Many movie props are on display

PARANORMAL CLAIMS:  Mr. Stanley’s apparition is seen in the bar, billiards room and main lobby, Mrs. Stanley by the piano in the music room. Lord Dunraven apparition (who sold Mr. Stanley the land for the hotel) haunts Room 401. Ghost children play and haunt the 4th floor hallways. The ghost of head chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson haunts room 217 and the 2nd floor hallways. Wilson was almost killed in an explosion in October 1939 as it took three hours to excavate her from the rubble. A homeless woman haunts the concert hall and a boy named Billy appears as a misty figure in the icehouse.

INVESTIGATION:  After a 12 hour drive from Las Vegas, we arrived at 10pm. Most patrons were in their rooms. We informally investigated the lobby, bar, music room, staircase and hallways for over an hour. We stayed in Room 402 next to the haunted Lord Dunraven Room. At midnight Rosie went to sleep as Shane watched “The Shining” movie with Jack Nicholson which is shown on the hotel TV channel 24 hours a day. From 1:00 to 2:30am I walked the empty lobby, bar, music room and hallways. Standing there alone looking down the long corridors, one could feel the isolation and loneliness. I spent some time outside of room 217 and the maid/janitor’s closet nearby. I kept returning to the 4th floor and once I faintly heard a child giggle behind me, but the hallway was deserted. Later on, I got a good scare which was kind of funny. At about 2:00am as I crept silently around a corner on the third floor, a man was noiselessly tip toeing around the corner from the other direction with his camera. We scared each other and I almost screamed like a Barbie. He was a visiting ghost hunter from Oregon. After getting some sleep, the following morning I had the best breakfast ever – fresh salmon, eggs, toast and sausage. Afterwards, we investigated the concert hall (a separate building) and returned to the main building where I talked a housekeeper into letting me enter Room 401. I took photos and did EVP’s but got no responses from Lord Dunraven. I would like to return someday to this beautiful hotel for recreation or ghost hunting. “Redrum” to all.

From my photos, you can see the scenic views of Rocky Mountain National Park from the front porch, the beautiful interior of the hotel and the foreboding, eerie corridors that seem to stretch into another portal.

HAUNTED GOLD HILL HOTEL Virginia City, Nevada

Investigation Team:  Dave Miller, Shane Miller,

Investigation Date:  August 2009

In 2000, my sons Matt & Shane said “Dad you need to watch this new TV show called Ghost Hunters. It is cool”. I watched and was hooked. They said why don’t we form a team and investigate. We already owned a digital camera, a movie camera with night vision, flashlights and tape recorders. So we did. We called our club, POOP – Paranormal of Ohio Professionals.  We did lots of investigations in Ohio and when vacationing around the country in our camper, would try to schedule a famous place or two to investigate.

When investigating sometimes we got evidence, sometimes nothing. Some investigations were true 6 to 8 hour overnights with full equipment, other times shorter investigations with partial equipment. Personally, I found the history of the facility and the alleged haunts fascinating regardless of whether we found evidence or not. To me the true secret in seeking the unknown is in the looking, not the finding. The JOURNEY is what matters most. I enter every investigation as a skeptic, a “doubting Thomas” but I am very open-minded.

GOLD HILL HOTEL HISTORY: When gold and silver was discovered (called the Comstock Lode) in this small mountain town in 1859, Virginia City grew as big as San Francisco with over 30,000 people, countless mining millionaires, schools, opera house, trains, newspapers, courthouse, churches and police/fire forces. Two major tragedies occurred: an April 1869 fire in the Yellow Jacket Mine (located right behind the hotel) killed 47 miners underground (many still remain in the shafts today) and in 1875 a fire started by a kerosene lamp raged through town destroying 2,000 of the 3,000 buildings. The town rebuilt but by 1878 the silver was all mined out. Today, Virginia City has a population of only a few thousand people. The Gold Hill Hotel was established in 1859 is Nevada’s Oldest Continuous Operating Hotel and the most famous Haunted Hotel on the Comstock. It was originally named the Versey’s Hotel.

PARANORMAL CLAIMS: The ghost of Rosie, believed to be a former prostitute haunts room #4 – reports of strong smell of roses, lights turn on and off, moves personal belongings. The ghost of William thought to be a former hotel manager or one of the dead miners haunts room #5 – reports of cigar tobacco odors, footsteps on the squeaky floor boards. Voices of giggling children are heard in the hallways. The apparition of a elegant woman killed in a carriage accident in the front of the hotel has been seen in the hallways. William’s cigar smell and his apparition have been seen on the winding staircase from the first floor Great Room to the second floor guest rooms.

INVESTIGATION:  Wife Rosie (no relation to Rosie the ghost) and daughters Holly and Jacque slept in room #4. Holly recalls being too scared to sleep on the floor in the sleeping bag as she kept imagining a ghost under the antique canopy bed. So she jumped in bed with Rosie and Jacque. Both Room #4 and #5 had outside wooden balconies. Son Shane slept in room #5 with me. Son Matt had been dropped off in Arizona two weeks before as he played college football. Since then we had vacationed all through California and visited many national parks. The family all fell asleep as I waited until midnight when the music, food and bar closed downstairs. At 1pm I walked the silent hallways and took photos. I made my way down to the Great Room which was empty (see photos). I settled into a soft chair with camera and tape recorder. The hotel had no air conditioning as many of my photos show fans everywhere although none were turned on that night. The mountain air was a tad muggy but not uncomfortable. I sat alone, no traffic on the street outside, the entire town and hotel silent. I dozed off briefly. I awoke with a start and immediately felt I was being watched. I slowly raised my camera and began taking photos. This investigation was memorable because it is the only time in any investigation that I physically felt a “cold spot”. The muggy air temperature suddenly became very cold and I felt a cold draft move from my left to my right for about 30 seconds and then disappear. None of my photo’s produced evidence nor did the tape recorder produce any EVP’s. However, the cold sensation and the feeling of being watched makes this investigation special. I remained in the Great Room for ten more minutes and then walked outside and took some photos behind the hotel of where the mine is.

FYI – The Ghost Adventurers TV show had one of their best ever evidence shows at the Gold Hill Hotel and in Virginia City.

HAUNTED QUEEN MARY Long Beach, California

Investigation Team:  Dave Miller, Shane Miller

Investigation Date:  August 2009

After dropping son Matt off in Arizona for college football preseason practice, we traveled to several California National Parks before spending a night on the famous Queen Mary.

HISTORY:  The famous Queen Mary – first voyage in May 1936 carried 1,742 passengers, 1,186 crew and 6,100 sacks of mail from England to New York. Held the record for 14 years as the fastest ship to travel that distance. Due to World War II, from 1940 to 1946 the ship was converted to transporting soldiers, war supplies & refugees. The Queen Mary was “marked by Adolf Hitler” but was never sunk. The ship returned to passenger service in 1947 & retired in 1967 after 1,001 transatlantic crossings carrying over 2 million passengers. During her heyday, the Queen served people from all walks of life – royalty & working class.

PARANORMAL CLAIMS:  Today, many haunts exist on this famous, majestic “ship of celebrities”.  Footsteps, sounds, voices, apparitions – so many that a paranormal organization has an office on board. Hotbeds for activity include the nursery, corridors, pool area and locker rooms, guest bedrooms (where wounded and deceased WWII soldiers bunked), the engine and boiler room.

INVESTIGATION:  After Rosie, Jacque and Holly retired to the cabin, Shane roamed the ship with me taking photos and EVP‘s. When he returned to the cabin, I investigated two main areas, trying to obtain evidence of John Pedder and William Stark. Nicknamed the “Shaft Alley Spectre”, Fireman/Cleaner Pedder, age 18, was killed in 1966 when somehow he was crushed in a mechanical water tight door. The creepy full body apparition of him standing in the walkway staring at you in often seen. Second Officer Stark is spotted in his quarters near the bridge and radio room. He died in 1949 when he accidentally drank tetrachloride mistaking it for gin.

FINDINGS:  I spent 90 minutes investigating. The long eerie corridors at night look like they enter another dimension. The boiler room is creepy and shadowy. Thankfully, Mr. Pedder did not put in an appearance in the darkened corridor where I set up or I would have had to change my shorts. One photo of the creepy pool area (see photo #7 below), shows an arm and part of a woman’s dress behind a wall. Swimmers in 1930 & 40’s attire are reported in this area. All EVP’s were negative.

HAUNTED TUBERCULOSIS CABINS Mammoth Cave National Park


Date:  2001, July 16, 2003 & August 2012           Expedition Team: Matt Miller, Dave Miller

We traveled to Mammoth Cave (as a follow-up to our four ghost hunting investigations at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville) to investigate an underground Tuberculosis (TB) Treatment area. This was yet another inhumane, but at the time, a serious attempt to cure patients of TB.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:  Death from incurable TB, also referred to as consumption, was a major killer in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. In 1841, Dr. Bill McDowell, a Louisville Physician with an interest in treating TB, along with Dr. John Croghan, had sought to use the cave environment for his patients. Due to the dryness of the cave interior and the stable temperature & humidity, McDowell felt the cave must surely present “curative properties” for the TB patients. A series of wooden huts, some roofed with canvas for privacy, were built along with 2 stone cabins. The cabins were 12 ft. x 18 ft. and were built about 30 feet apart. The first cave patient was in 1842.

INVESTIGATION:  Mammoth Cave is the worlds largest cave system with 405 miles and counting. Temperature year round is 54 degrees. Matt and I and our family joined the Violet City Lantern  walking tour viewing beautiful cave formations, stalactites, pits and domes. Thirty minutes later near the Star Chamber in the cave Matt saw two stone “TB or Consumption Cabins” still in existence today. The second cabin served as a dining room. Turning our lights out plunged the cave into a dark, black abyss. Turning our lights back on, the dimly lit cabins looked like a ghost city. The park guide told us that beside the stone cabins were ten former wood cabins where the patients lived. The wood cabins deteriorated and no longer exist. Smoke from grease lamps and cooking fires and the gloomy conditions presented challenges for the patients. The guide told us that paid tours in the mid to late 1840’s went right by these wood and stone cabins. Can you imagine the shock to the tourists as they viewed in the dim distance, ghostly apparitions that seemed to float between the cabins? As the long ago visitor’s approached the structures, the ghosts became more solid and would reveal themselves to be alive with ghastly expressions of suffering as the disease slowly drained life from their bodies. Present day guides have received occasional reports of a man scene around the cabin then disappearing.  

Exiting one cabin Matt and I saw a slab of stone named Corpse Rock, where bodies of deceased TB patients were laid out until removed for burial.  National Park staff told us that over time, the sufferings of the TB patients were horrible. The patients condition deteriorated rather than improved.  Patients in the cave after four months presented a frightening appearance – the face was bloodless, eyes sunken, pupils dilated so much that the iris was invisible.  The patients lost particles of flesh, walked around gloomily and the dead silence was broken only by their hollow coughs.  During our 15 minute investigation at the stone cabins (Photo #1 & #2 below), nothing paranormal was observed by us.  Although the cave hospital was deemed to be a good idea by many doctors of the day as a possible cure for TB, the personal accounts of the patients and observers plus the deaths of the patients led to public criticism of the treatment experiments. The cave treatments were discontinued in 1849. Three of the 1840’s TB patients are buried in the Old Guide’s Cemetery, a short distance from the Visitor Center. Stephen Bishop, one of the famous original cave guides is buried in the local cemetery(Photo#5). When you tour Mammoth Cave today, the stark reminder of this terrible disease will haunt you when you trek past the two stone cabins in the dark where 16 TB patients perished due to this failed medical treatment experiment.  Of note, Photo#4 below shows the Giant’s Coffin, a famous Mammoth Cave landmark located in the Broadway Avenue part of the cave.

HAUNTED BULLOCK HOTEL Deadwood, South Dakota

Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Matt Miller

Date: July 9, 2003

We walked upstairs to the second floor to the room, staircase and hallway where the ghost of Deadwood’s first Sheriff Seth Bullock is occasionally seen. The assistant manager allowed us five minutes to sit in silence in the bedroom but we observed no paranormal activity. The hotel was built in 1895 by Bulloch and Sol Star and still has 28 of its original 63 rooms, a restaurant and casino.

MEXICAN UFO INVESTIGATION Tepotzlan, Mexico

MUFON Investigation Team: Dave Miller

Investigation Date:   January 24, 1997

This is my only International UFO Case out of my 24 cases, a Close Encounter of the Second Kind. My father was a fighter pilot and his brother Jim served on a battleship, both in the Pacific in World War II. Uncle Jim saw countless flying objects that he could not explain as conventional WWII aircraft. His curiosity peaked after the alleged 1947 Roswell, New Mexico report of a downed flying saucer with bodies and saucer parts flown back to Wright-Patt AFB in Dayton and the wave of UFO sightings in the 1950’s. Jim became a Field Investigator for MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). As a teen in Moraine, fueled by his cases and intrigued by the unknown, I pursued by paranormal hobbies as an adult and also became a Field Investigator for MUFON.

THE SIGHTING:  Seventeen Rotarian’s and I flew to Mexico City, were driven 100 km south to several cities and stayed with Mexican Rotarian families for a week. We were there to help Mexican Rotarians implement a $150,000 joint grant to set up mobile cervical cancer treatment centers. I stayed with a family in Cocoyoc in the state of Morelos.  One evening during dinner conversation UFO’s were mentioned and my host Antonio said a close friend had taken a photo of a UFO four days ago. I asked if I could talk to him the next day.

We traveled ten miles to his friend, Carlos Diaz, to his house in Tepotzlan (pop. 12,500). His house was in a canyon around a mountain from the city, with few houses in the area. Carlos explained that five nights ago he was awakened at 2:30am when his dog was barking outside. The dog would not stop barking. As he looked out the window he observed a white pulsating disc shaped object moving slowly northwest. He turned away to locate his camera. Two minutes later he returned but the UFO was gone. Carlos left the camera out on his bedroom table. The following night at 1:35am he was again awakening by his dog barking outside. He grabbed the camera, looked out the window (which had no screen or glass) and took a photo (see Photo #1) of a yellowish disc shaped object which at first he thought had several dark observation windows. It was pulsating and moved east to west. It made no noise, the sky was cloudless with hundreds of stars. Carlos ran outside and saw the disc as it flew out of sight around the nearby mountain peak. His dog stopped acting agitated and barking after the UFO disappeared. This is classified a Close Encounter of the Second Kind because it was a visual nighttime sighting of a UFO seemingly 500 feet away or closer and has an animal reaction.

INVESTIGATION: When investigating the paranormal my goal is to debunk the claim, trying to determine a reasonable explanation or a hoax. Surrounding Carlo’s house was scrub brush, cactus and dirt. Carlo explained the sighting (Photo#2) to us. Started at his house we walked circles around his yard until we were 300 yards away but saw no unusual disturbance or damage to brush, tree tops or markings in the dirt. I checked and their area was in no military or commercial flight patterns. No helicopters service this area.  We found no evidence. 

Tepoztlan, located 46 miles south of Mexico City, is the reputed birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent God. Later that day we drove into Tepoztlan to the trailhead and hiked up 2,000 feet up the mountain on the 2.1 mile trail to the ruins of El Tepozteco Pyramid, a Temple honoring the Aztec God.  The pyramid was built in 1470. Eerie Aztec and Mayan statues look alien-like (many Mexican UFO sightings have been reported near Mayan and Aztec ruins).  We hiked a quarter mile north and west of the ruins overlooking the canyon where Carlo lived as his house was away from the city lights (Photo#4).  We sat and enjoyed the panoramic view for a couple hours. Before we headed down the steep, dangerous trail at dusk, we observed nothing suspicious in the darkening sky.