Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A New Haunted Hotel

According to Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of SyFy's Ghost Hunters, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky is one of the most haunted sites they have ever investigated. Three episodes of the show were filmed there, including a live real-time live Halloween special in 2007. Many people did die at the former tuberculosis hospital, though experts estimate the total at around 8,200 over the course of its 52 years of operation rather than the 63,000 suggested by some urban legends. Soon visitors will be able to experience for themselves how haunted the site really is, as the owners plan to convert it into a hotel and convention center. Back in February their renovation plan was approved by the Louisville metro council, and the work is currently underway.

Owners Charlie and Tina Mattingly have plans to turn the former tuberculosis hospital into a 120-room four-star hotel, convention center, and liquor bottling business. The hotel will cater to the haunted hotel tourists as well as regular guests.

According to the plans, the first floor will be used to for a 3,050 square foot restaurant and an 8,500 square foot conference center. The second and third floors will have 120 hotel rooms. The fourth floor will have meeting rooms and a museum focusing on the hospital.

Last Tuesday, the Louisville Metro Council's Planning, Zoning, Design, and Land Development Committee voted unanimously for recommendations to approve zoning for the Mattingly's project. The Louisville Metro Council met today and approved the zoning change request by a 21 to 0 vote.

As the sanatorium was abandoned for many years, the necessary renovations are extensive and there's no announcement yet when the hotel might finally be open for business. The owners currently operate "ghost tours" at the site and plan to continue catering to paranormal enthusiasts once the hotel is open. I wonder, though, whether the alleged hauntings will survive such a substantial renovation. From a skeptical standpoint, it's probably true that the run-down condition of the site makes it a lot creepier and as a result people are primed to interpret their experiences there as paranormal. And from a magical standpoint, most paranormal investigators will tell you that it's quite common for remodeling to disturb hauntings and related phenomena. But if the reports keep coming in once the renovations are complete, it could very well be a site worth visiting and checking out.

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