The Waverly Hills Sanitarium opened in Louisville, Kentucky in October 1926. The structure was created to house tuberculosis patients and staff fighting this dreaded disease sometimes known as the “white plague”. Waverly Hills was a 500 bed hospital offering a person anything they needed. A kitchen, laundry, dentist, library, and barber shop was located in the building.
Tuberculosis was rampant during this time affecting whole families and was so contagious that people were quarantined from the general public. This disease destroyed the lungs causing the patient to suffocate. It could also infect the brain, eyes, larynx and bones. Antibiotics had not been invented and the only treatment available was rest, fresh air and sunlight and to try and boost the patient’s immune system by good nutrition. Some did recover and return home but many people died. TB outbreaks continued to grow. It is said that more people died from tuberculosis than Americans who died in WW1. Many experiments were performed and surgeries done trying to find a cure for this dreaded disease but over 60,000 people ended up dying in this facility.
The hospital faced the problem of how to dispose of the bodies. Since a recovery from tuberculosis also requires a person to be in a good mental state of mind corpses had to be removed from the premises without other patients viewing the procedure. The staff and doctors thought the bodies could still be contagious because of body fluids.
The inclined corridor or tunnel was first constructed to move supplies in and out of the building but at some point it was decided it could be used to discreetly transport bodies off the hill without other patients witnessing it. The dead were placed on a cart and lowered to the bottom that was 500 feet underground. They were picked up by surviving family members or cremated.
In 1943 streptomycin was introduced and tuberculosis cases gradually lowered and the hospital closed in 1961.
In 1962 The Woodhaven Geriatric Sanitarium opened but was closed for good by the state in 1980 for alleged patient abuse.
The building was taken over by vagrants and ripped of anything valuable. By 2001 Waverly Hills had been nearly destroyed by vandals and the elements. The hospital soon gained a reputation for being haunted and stories began to circulate of resident ghosts like the little girl who was seen running up and down the third floor solarium, the little boy who was spotted with a leather ball, the hearse that appeared in the back of the building dropping off coffins, the woman with the bleeding wrists who cried for help. Visitors told of slamming doors, lights in the windows, strange sounds and eerie footsteps in empty rooms.
There is a legend about room 502 where two suicides are said to have occurred. A nurse is said to have hanged herself from a fixture in 1928 after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Another nurse is said to have been pushed or jumped out a window. It is believed that the mentally insane tuberculosis patients were housed on the fifth floor at Waverly.
The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society introduced the sanatorium to a national television audience, held two ghost conferences there and spent scores of thankless hours taking literally thousands of people through the building on more haunted tours than they could begin to count. They would also, during independent investigations and tours, experience numerous incidents of paranormal activity. According to many ghost hunters, the most common paranormal activity is the phenomenon of the shadow people, “moving shadows” that seem to have substance and are able to “walk” across doorways. They are supposedly able to block some light when a laser is pointed at them.
Below is a video of Waverly Hills and you can also learn more about it from the following link:
This will conclude my posts about scary things. Hope everyone has a great Halloween.
Filed under: About Kentucky, Ghosts |