Posts from the ‘Spirits and ghosts’ Category

What Do You See in the Darkness? – An Update

In line with my previous post (see here), I thought it was time to follow up on an older post (here) with some clarification and elaboration due to a few updates I have on the subject matter, namely that of a particular (and peculiar) photo supposedly taken some time ago at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a famed institution in northern Kentucky—one purported to be haunted.

First, I want, and need, to make a clarification, lest some readers jump to the wrong conclusion regarding my original post in relation to the rest of the blog. In said post, I made it sound as if the place actually is haunted. As a responsible researcher, I cannot do that without concrete evidence to substantiate the claim. Widespread belief isn’t enough, and I am not one to buy into sensationalism. What I meant when I described the alleged haunting there is, should a place actually be haunted, that place would be Waverly Hills, considering its history of despair, pain and death. Places known for having a traumatic history are said to be those where the spirits of the dead linger on. Although that assertion makes some degree of sense, whether or not that is true is up for conjecture and evidence to conclude. Assuming the theory is true, however, hospitals would be among those locations where spiritual activity is the strongest. This was the premise of my initial point before, and I stand by it even now.

In my original post, I linked a particular image, unlike the rest I have seen, that appears to be an EMF containing indistinct but definite shapes (here it is). I asked readers to look at it, study it, and then share their perceptions on it. A few people actually did so, and a couple of interesting discussions ensued. Again, that whole post revolved around the assumption that Waverly Hills is haunted and that the image in question is authentic.

A point of caution here: Many visuals are hoaxes and are clearly bogus, so we cannot jump to the conclusion this image does contain anything genuine. The hazy shapes we see in the darkness might have been engineered in one fashion or another for the sake of creating a stir, or they might be something else, such as dust (this IS an old place) . . .

The shot was taken at Waverly Hills (sorry, Mike), as we can see by this picture I discovered later on a Flickr stream. The heart drawn underneath the square opening in the wall to the viewer’s right and the marring in the doorway to said viewer’s left are identical to the details in the EMF. This picture shows where the investigator took the shot, or this might have been one possible photo used to create the mysterious image in the dark, if that image is, in fact, a fake. If it isn’t, and it is real, this is the place where something unexplained once took place, unless the EMF device malfunctioned . . .

Sorry, but I have to consider all possibilities, if said possibilities are viable in the first place. I would dismiss something that doesn’t make sense or isn’t conceivable in any way. Objectivity and rational thinking go hand-in-hand.

Okay. Moving on . . .

As I continued my searching, I came across a blinking presentation made by Stephen Wagner, a paranormal researcher at About.com (Take a look). He offers one interpretation of what he sees in the darkness, although his outline appears incomplete.

What do you think?

The great thing about seeing/reading/hearing another person’s interpretation or beliefs on something is that we gain insight from a different point of view. We might agree or disagree with it, but at least we learn to think of things in different ways. This is important for conducting research and accumulating knowledge. Some people believe in spirits and the paranormal; others do not, claiming such a belief is irrational. Yet others think it is possible to apply scientific principles and rational thinking to prove the existence of the paranormal. As a matter of fact, some scientists have even taken up the challenge. Whatever the case, the advance in research requires an open mind to many different possibilities without expecting anything definite either way.

With regard to Waverly Hills, the debate has been no different than any other situation involving the paranormal: Some individuals with certain sensitivities have insisted the place is haunted, while others have experienced nothing discerning paranormal activity. The former claim that not everyone possesses the sensitivity to see, feel and hear certain things, which explains why not everybody encounters such activity. Skeptics continue to disregard all of this, which is a good thing; a certain degree of skepticism is essential to remaining objective. Over the years, several observers have claimed to witness a variety of things. Such phenomena involved manifestations that include “shadow people” and voices (both recorded and aurally perceived). One could feasibly assert that these experiences are/were due to wild imaginations spurred on by old stories and subconscious expectations. Cases of the unknown, especially those having a paranormal nature, are tough to prove to everyone’s satisfaction, but the discussions are intriguing and captivating just the same.

Those who wish to acquire facts on Waverly Hills should first go to two reputable sites (here and here) for information on the hospital and its history. Wikipedia is another one worthy of attention in this case. Having that background will allow researchers to develop a solid foundation before deciding whether or not the site is actually haunted.

Again, one should never jump to any conclusion without evidence or confirmation of some sort. Still, gazing at this picture, getting lost in it and thinking about the myriad of possibilities is exciting and fun.

Just remember to keep your feet on the ground and stay rational.

If anyone has further information on this image, please feel free to share. I urge Sarah Biddle, who supposedly owns the original image, to chime in with her insight. I would like to know more about it.

What Do You See in the Darkness?

When I was recently conducting my research on Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, I came across a variety of interesting images: vintage and current. The place was erected between 1924 and 1926, when it finally opened, and has seen a lot of despair, pain, suffering and death in its long tenure as, first, a tuberculosis hospital, and then as a geriatric center during the 1960s and 70s. It finally closed in the early-1980s due to allegations of abuse. which fueled the rumors of the structure’s haunted nature even more.

This is indeed a very unique place with stories going back decades. Most of the legends, such as the death toll of 63,000, were dispelled some time ago (the sanatorium never held that many patients, so how could that many have died there? The actual death count fell somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000), but the results of various paranormal investigations have concluded the old hospital is haunted nonetheless, which is no surprise. Six-to-eight thousand deaths are still a staggering amount and more than enough to substantiate the suspicions of a paranormal state, especially since most of those deaths were traumatic. Tuberculosis was a terrible and relentless disease at the time, and it did not discriminate or go easy on its victims. Naturally, Waverly Hills Sanatorium would have many lost and despondent souls lingering within its walls.

In any case, the visuals I found allude to history and haunting. Depictions regarding the former were insightful; the latter offered some convincing and some not.

There is one image in particular that stuck out to me and drew me in. I found it at this site. The image appears grainy, as if drawn with charcoal, and so I thought it might be a fake. The webmaster of the site, however, alludes to its authenticity that it was taken at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Still, the image doesn’t match real photos of passageways at Waverly Hills, such as this one and this one, but a friend identified it as an EMF shot (which explains its grainy appearance), and not one taken at the sanatorium (he suggested somewhere in the western part of the United States, perhaps in Colorado or Nevada). To any of this, I cannot be certain or attest either way, but I would be curious to find out.

Now, look close. There’s something in the darkness. What do you see? Share your observations here, but please, don’t go to the site until after you have studied the picture, as the webmaster’s assessment will likely influence your visual perception.

And that is the whole point: Perception means everything in research; it plays into our understanding of why we study and how we organize data and and how we develop our knowledge on a given subject. The exercise challenges observational and perceptive skills. A few of my friends did the same, and I will share their results with you at a later time.

So go ahead and try. Tell me what you see.