Originally posted in my blog at itsHaunted.
I was lucky enough to be invited to join a group from New York on July 24th, 2011 for an 8 hour private investigation of Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY.
I just wanted to throw up a few thoughts about Waverly Hills before I begin my evidence review.
First, the TV shows do not come close to giving you an idea of how big this place is. Even viewing the buidling from the parking lot does not give you the scope. The shape of the building hides its true size from the viewer. It is vast.
Second, most of us have seen on television how the building was designed with an open, screened balcony on the patient floors. Because the screens and windows are gone, this means that probably 90% of the building is simply open...open to wildlife, traffic sounds, and other natural contaminating noises.
Also because there are SO many open and missing windows, it is prone to quick flashes of light coming above and through the surrounding trees. Another related phenomena is that because even the inside rooms where designed to be open, bright, and airy, light cast into one part of the building manages to "travel" across the floors creating surprising glows and shadows.
The open design also means that most "mists" and orbs would have to be instantly discounted as moisture from the surrounding woods and nearby Ohio River can freely drift into the building.
Third, the aging plaster walls have graffiti, water damage, and general decay that can create some interesting effects as lights and shadows cast over them.
Fourth, the buildings open design and solid framework allow sounds to travel througout the building. Two teams working on different floors CAN hear each other despite what you might have been told. This issue came up several times during our investigation since I am not exactly soft spoken during EVP sessions.
Fifth, the "Death Tunnel" also serves as a wind tunnel. It is long, dark, open at both ends and nearly accoustically perfect for transferring sound. If a mouse passes gas at one end it could easily be heard at the other. I did not take the opportunity to examine how much light could come through the vent shafts, but the fairly smooth, stepped surfaces could certainly create their own light or shadow show with very little outside input.
I didn't find the tunnel to be especially creepy, but in full disclosure I had a flashlight on.
Last, the place is loaded with bats and I am SURE the deep, hollow walls are home to any number of local critters. I always thought the Ghost Hunters thermal image from their first investigation looked like a big racoon.
None of this is meant to give the perception that I don't think the place is haunted. I am not going to tell anyone that a shadow that blocks your flashlight beam is not a ghost. Plenty of the evidence is solid enough. I am just offering a heads up to the reader as he reviews photos, audio and video captured there (even my own). I can see how someone anxious to present evidence captured there (including our growing list of television shows) could easily be fooled.
Advice if you are going on an investigation? TAKE EXTENSTION CORDS. How ever many you normally take...take more. And maybe take a step ladder. Most of the available outlets are on the ground floor and most of those are approximately 12 feet plus off the floor.