Yes, Virginia, there have been numerous documented sightings of ghosts at the Seelbach Hotel, Louisville’s grand historic downtown hotel. It’s been around since the mid 1800s, so, it stands to reason.
If there really is such a thing as ghosts, and I have the misfortune of dying and becoming one, I would make a beeline for the Seelbach. Forget haunting my grandchildren. I would be ordering ghost Manhattans and Derby pie from ghost room service, and kicking out the tourists who hogged my covers. I mean, come on. If you have to be dead, you might as well be dead in style.
As it turns out, the Seelbach has been attracting its share of ghosts for decades now. Perhaps the most famous and most persistent of the sightings is of an apparition known as “the Blue Lady.” She’s the ghost of a woman with long black hair and a blue dress, who is often seen hanging out on the mezzanine overlooking the lobby, or on the tenth floor, wandering the halls. Nobody seems too put out by her. She’s like a sad little Casper who just wafts around a bit.
Paranormal researchers have identified the ghost as Patricia Wilson, who was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft at the Seelbach in 1936. As the story goes, Patricia had separated from her husband, but they agreed to meet at the Seelbach Hotel to talk about whether they could work it out. But, in a cruel twist of fate, he died in a car crash on the way there. She was devastated, and several days later, threw herself down the shaft in her despair.
Well, OK, to be honest, no one saw her jump so they don’t know whether it was a suicide, an accident or even a murder. Either way, it sucked for Poor Patricia. I think she earned herself a permanent reservation, don’t you?
Al Cupone was also a frequent visitor to the hotel, as he loved to play poker and gamble there during his heyday. F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have made his character notes for the Great Gatsby by hanging out in the hotel, watching Cupone. People still claim to hear echoes of that fabled past in the form of disembodied footsteps, cold spots, and even the occasional whiff of spectral perfume.
Though I didn’t name her by name, it’s her apparition that my heroine, Carrie sees on her big date at the Seelbach. It’s only fitting, I think. The woman could use some positive press.
If you want to learn more about the ghosts of the Seelbach, check out this paranormal blog post. If you want a comprehensive run down of Louisville’s real spooky tales, check out my ghost hunter buddy David Domine, and his non-fiction books on the Ghosts of Old Louisville.
Walk down the street in Louisville, and stories will surround you. This is just one of dozens. Gives me lots of great source material!