Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tom Sawyer Park Haunted Run?

OK, since you guys want to hear my weird paranormal story.  Here it goes…

First a little background on the park in which I typically run.  "Lakeland Asylum" was actually the Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. Built in 1869 in Anchorage, it initially housed juvenile delinquents and was called the Home for Juvenile Delinquents at Lakeland. In 1873, it became a lunatic asylum and was renamed the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. By the time "The Little Colonel's Knight Comes Riding" was published (1907), the name had been changed to the Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. The facility cared for patients with psychiatric disorders, mental retardation and brain damage and was located next to where Louisville's E. P. Tom Sawyer Park stands today. The original building shown below was bulldozed in 1996.

In addition to the hospital, there are also 2 cemeteries on the grounds.  It is estimated that where 4-5000 patients buried but none of the graves are marked.  The University of Louisville archeology dept came out and studied the grounds and recovered 4 headstones.  In addition they marked off one of the graveyards and placed those headstones in the middle of the cemetery arranged around a large tree.

The hospital is long gone there are still remnants of the old structure found placed about in addition to old walking trails that have aged and weathered over time but still visible and some even paved with old worn concrete.  These paths along with new ones make up one segment of the park in which I run often 3 or 4 times a week.  It is said that the park is haunted and in particular the loop that runs around the old grounds of the hospital.  This is the same path that patients would have used for therapy walks.

So enough of the background, on to my recent experiences.  My Wife and I also occasionally go for walks in this park.  About a month or more ago we were on a walk and I was taking her to the backside on the “Crazy Loop” as my Son and I call it and I told her about this app, Ghost Radar, I downloaded and put on my phone.  It is supposed to track spirits and voices, etc.  I could explain how it works but will leave that up to you if you want to research it on your own.  Anyway, as the app explains spirit voices are supposed to picked up through static.  This app uses an algorithm to decipher that static and attempt to put it into words.  In addition it has a radar, think like a marine radar, that uses the phones built in sensors to pick up on anomalies and quantum fluctuations.  Using this data it will display a blip on the radar in different colors depending on the strength of significance of the anomaly.  I had downloaded this app as a novelty for fun, my Son and I had just watched Paranormal Activity and I really had no intent that it would do anything.

This is getting long, sorry, so my Wife and I are walking through the woods and have this radar on with no real activity on the radar and no words spoken.  I figured it was silly but it was a good source of conversation and since she had never been on the back loop (crazy loop), I told her we could walk back there and see what it does.  We get to the beginning of one of the old overgrown paved trails and almost immediately this thing starts going crazy.  Blips popping up everywhere in all colors and several words spoken are logged.  We have a good laugh and continue our walk on through eventually nearing the beginning of a new trail head that will connect us back to the trail loop. 

There is something unique about this next trail that is coming up.  When my Son and I run this trail this little .15 mile segment climbs a hill that is not terribly steep but is riddled with roots and other technical aspects.  Ever since the first time we ran out here together he has challenged me to race up this hill.  I never win without cheating but we always have a good time climbing up to the top in a full sprint and it helps add a little interval to my workout.  One other note, the top of this little climb comes out at the SW corner of the graveyard. 

So as we approach this little hill the app blurts out the word “James”.  This is my first name, my Wife and I start laughing and we continue on.  Moments later  just as we hit the base of the little hill it picks up “Tie”.  My Son’s name is Tyler and we often refer to him as Ty.  At this point we are both getting the a little hair standing up and think, how weird is that.  We stop and watch the radar, it show’s no blips but we remain for a moment and wait to see if picks up any additional words.  Nothing, so we continue up the hill.  Not more than 25 steps later and it picks up the word “Running”.  OK, so putting this together so far it has picked up the words James, Tyler and Running.  So with Tyler not being with me we wonder, is it possible that some spirit is asking us why Tyler is not running with me.  Is this possible?  Again, we both have a good laugh and write if off as just some weird coincidence.  Still a fun story to tell but who’s knows how capable this thing is of actually picking up real spirits and voices. 

That was the first experience and while it did create a fun story I am not a believer that it was much more than some cheap entertainment.  Now onto my run the other night.  Since my Son has begun running with me I typically run with my Garmin and use my phone to play music through the built in speaker.  This allows to both listen without being attached to headphones allowing us to also talk about the day’s events.  My favorite part about running with him.  The weather had been poor with rain for a few days and I had planned going to the gym after work but the sun came out and I opted at the last minute to try out the park.  I called him and he said he was not feeling into going so I was on my own.  I had left my Garmin at home because I don’t have any use for GPS on a treadmill.  So I quickly downloaded MapMyRun onto my phone and took off to the park.

I was pretty excited because it had been a week or so since I had been due to the bad weather.  My plan was for 8-10 depending on how much I could get in prior to dark.  I was thinking the sun went down around 5:45 and it was 4:20 when I arrived.  No time to waste, in go the headphones and start the GPS on my phone and I am off.  Pretty messy on the backside by the model airplane airport so I am figuring that by the time I get to the woods down by the creek it’s going to be a mess.  I was right, but I have my pair of trail shoes with big knobbies on, see older blog post, digging in and helping me fly right through the muck.  Love running in the mud as it like being a kid again, getting all messy and dirty. 

I approach the connecting trail to the crazy loop and about 1-200 yards out my music starts to act up.  Static and pops, I start fidgeting with the connecter but no luck.  Eventually it seems to start working normal again with the occasional pop and I don’t have enough daylight to stop and work it out so I just keep going.  About the time I round the corner I see a guy in a blue jacket and long pants walking ahead and into the woods.  Not a strange site as this trail is pretty busy this time of the day so I continue on.  As I round the next corner where the guy was, he is nowhere to be found.  He should be clearly visible as he was walking and I was running.  The leaves are gone from the trees so I can see as far as I need to.  The trail ahead is up a slight incline and part of an old service road so nowhere to just disappear like that really.  As I am thinking about just how strange it was that this dude just vanished my phone starts going crazy with static and then one final pop and silence.

It is at this point I am running and thinking to myself about how weird all of this is getting.  I have come to a stop and standing at the exact location where a few weeks prior that app had picked up the word “James”.  I pull out my phone and it is completely turned off.  How did that happen.  My phone has never just shut off on its own like that.  Again I don’t put too much into this but at this point it’s getting dark, I have to make a choice to continue the 1.5 miles around the crazy loop or hit the hill back up towards the park.  I don’t typically spook easily but this time it just got in my head a bit and opted to turn around and head back towards the park.  I held in the button to turn my phone back on but it was unresponsive.  Now I am getting pissed because I think my phone is toast but as I begin the climb up our little hill it suddenly starts to work again.  I see the little Motorola log pop up and it’s booting up.  Phew.

I head back up to the park and continue one more loop around but cut my 8-10 short at 6 and called it a day.  By now I had wasted 8-10 minutes screwing with my phone and the sun was setting.  No way was I going back into those woods in the dark with no headlamp and already spooked.  Better off just leaving well enough alone.  Do I believe it’s possible the woods are haunted…dunno.  I will say the strange events that took place over the course of a couple of months were odd and certainly made my hair stand on end.  However, I am still on the fence about whether or not there are spirits roaming around. 

What do you think? case you run out at this park.  Below is a link to my route as mapped by MapMyRun.  You will see on the connecting road to the old hospital grounds my signal stopped logging and draws a direct line up the little hill where my phone finally starts up again and begins logging my run.


Terri G said...

I read your post with great interest as I've investigated that particular area extensively. I've gotten the names Roy and Monica there before. One day, 9:30am in Feb 2011 I got the craziest evp on my voice recorder while standing in the center of the larger graveyard, next to the headstone of "Aunt Florence." What was really crazy about it is that I could hear it with my own ears while standing there; lots of crazy people screaming in agony and begging for help. If you'd like me to email it to you let me know. But yes, I can assure you, that area of the park is very, very haunted!

Batlou said...

Wow, that's pretty interesting. I run past the graveyard there all the time. While part of me want's to know more part of me is a little spooked and would just assume I could just forget it. hah

Anonymous said...

You were probably more likely to encounter coyotes there than anything else.