The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is located in Louisville, Kentucky. It was opened as a two-story hospital for tuberculosis patients in 1910 and was over capacity right away. The facility expanded and once you were sent there, you never went home. The hospital practiced several surgical methods on the patients, including a method where they would collapse a portion of your lung, so it had time to rest. The hospital didn't want the patients to know how many people were dying, so they built a secret tunnel to carry the bodies away and this was nicknamed the body chute. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is considered to be one of the most haunted placed in Kentucky.
In 1833, land on top of a hill near, Louisville Kentucky, was purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays, so he could have a home for his family. Unfortunately, his new home was too far away from existing schools, and he needed somewhere for his daughters to attend, so he decided to open a small one room school and hired a woman named, Lizzie Lee Harris, as the teacher.
That teacher, Ms. Harris is actually the one who named the property, she was super fond of, Walter Scott's Waverley Novels, so she decided to name the school, Waverley School.
That name ended up sticking, because Major Hays like how it sounded and named his property, "Waverley Hill".
In 1906, Louisville, Kentucky, had one of the highest death rates in the U.S. caused by tuberculosis so in an attempt to contain the disease, the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital was established and began their search for an accommodating location.
The board of Tuberculosis Hospital bought Waverly Hills, kept the name, and started construction on the Sanatorium in 1908.
By July 26, 1910, the 2-story wooden building, along with two open air pavilions, only designed to house 40-50 tuberculosis patients at a time, opened their doors for business.
In the early 1900s Jefferson County was hit hard with tuberculosis, the warm, weather, along with not great airflow, was basically perfect breeding grounds for it and fun fact, typically places like this were built in woodsy type areas or on hills with a serene view, to try to help keep the patients calm and help recovery, which is why they chose the area they did to build and also because building on a hill helps bring in better airflow, plus this particular land was far away from the city.
So the sanatorium actually opened right in the middle of the tuberculosis pandemic, so beds QUICKLY filled up, as in, they were over capacity basically as soon as they opened their doors.
Since we will be talking a lot about tuberculosis, I figured I'd let you guys know what it is real quick, just in case you didn't already know. It can also be referred to as the white plague. So, tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs, so it comes with a lot of coughing, can come with chest pains, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing up blood, etc. But it can also affect other parts of your body including your spine, brain, or kidneys. It is now preventable and treatable, but back then, we didn't know how to do either of those things yet, and it is responsible for the death of over a million people in the 1900s. And just as a quick heads up, You will hear me refer to it as both its name and the abbreviation, which is TB, I wanted to throw that out there so I don't confuse anyone.
So, The need for a larger building was inevitable as they had up to 140 patients at a time, so in March of 1924, they started up construction again, and in October of 1926, they had now made a new four-story building, that could house 400 patients and was just more accommodating. It had separate patient rooms, recreational spaces, and modern laboratories.
Because Tuberculosis was so contagious and spreading so fast, If you had it, you could not go out and live in society, so Waverly Hills, became its own community.
They had their own zip code, post office, water treatment facility, they raised their own meats, grew fruits and veggies, they did everything needed for day to day living without leaving this little town. Because they couldn't risk spreading the disease, once you came to Waverly, You didn't leave. Patients, nurses, doctors, everyone who went, literally had to leave everything behind. What truly baffles me though, they let people have visitors on certain days, but they could leave and go back to their lives, though I don't think they knew it was airborne yet, but still.
Treatment in the facility was not great. One of the biggest things prescribed to people with TB was, healthy food, fresh air, rest, and sunlight, it didn't matter what season it was either, freezing cold?? Too bad, your treatment is to sit outside in it. I'm not talking like just walk outside for a few until you're cold, no no, you've got to keep in mind this is a crippling disease, so patients would literally be left outside, lying on their beds for hours on end, usually this treatment lasted for about 18 hours a day. -Elaborate on why
Experimental surgeries were performed. Another treatment was having parts of your lungs removed or collapsed so they can "rest", one of the ways of doing this was removing multiple ribs, typically only 2-3 at a time, to hopefully cause your lung to collapse because this was thought to give the tissue time to heal. Now I say, only 2-3 at a time, because most patients required up to eight ribs being removed for this to actually work. Meaning they were already extremely sick, then they get put under for surgery, only to get a couple of ribs removed at a time, so a lot of these people had to endure the surgery over and over until it finally collapsed their lung.
Patients were kept in a hallway, which there will be a picture of, and the windows were left with only screens on them, so all those patients could get fresh air, but it gets morbid fast here because if you were considered too terminal, they would move you from the hallway to a room that didn't have windows or circulation. So, once you were moved there... you pretty much knew it was over.. I can't even imagine what would be going thru your head as you're being moved.
By the late 1930s, TB had become the leading cause of death in the state of Kentucky and Kentucky actually had a higher death toll than a majority of other places.
As you can imagine, they were hundreds upon hundreds of deaths here over the years and not all from TB, there was also a decent amount of suicides of people who didn't want to suffer with it anymore. So, they eventually built a 485 foot long tunnel, known as the death tunnel, that stretched from the first floor to the bottom of the hill to not only bring in supplies but also discretely bring out bodies of the deceased patients, because as it turns out, if you're in a hospital sick or dying, you probably wouldn't love bodies going by you on the daily of people that just died from the same thing you currently have. There is also a creepy ass wire on the ceiling that would hook onto coffins to lower them down the chute. At one point the death toll was so significant that it was estimated that at least one patient was dying every hour, every single day. Let's just think about that for a second, in just 2 days time, that leaves potential of 48 patients passing away, if not more. Which means in just a week, potentially 168 patients would pass.
A nurse that had worked in the children ward, there said that it was very common to walk into the room of kids and find them surrounding an empty bed of one of their friends that had passed. They had the children's ward not only for the sick kids, but also for the ones who lost their family to TB.
In 1961 when the antibiotic that successfully treated TB had been more widely administered, the facility was closed down, cleaned, and renovated into a nursing home known as, Woodhaven Geriatrics Center. It housed a lot of patients with dementia, aging patients, mobility limited ones, and severely mentally disabled patients, but was overcrowded and understaffed, due to budget cuts, which led to its closing by the state in 1982, and all remaining patients were transferred to another care facility. There was a lot of mistreatments during those years also, but it's pretty up in the air what actually happened versus what's been made up over the years, but I will mention that electroshock therapy was mentioned in a lot of sources.
In 1996, a nonprofit group announced that they had plans to construct the world's tallest statue of Jesus, after they had purchased the abandon building. It was going to be a collaboration between a local sculpture by the name of Ed Hamilton, a local businessman named, Robert Alberhasky, and a local architect named, Jasper Ward. It was supposed to be a 150-foot statue that would sit on top of the building and inside would be converted into worship center, completed with a theater, gift shop, and chapel. Indoor renovations were predicted to be between 8 and 10 million, with the statue being another 4. They really thought all these donations from organizations and churches would come rolling in, buuuuuut after only a year, in 1997, they called it quits cause only 3000 was donated.
After these plans failed, Alberhasky abandoned the property but wanted to make back some of the money he spent on it, he wanted the building torn down, but wasn't able to, due to it being protected, so he went to great efforts to attempt to get it condemned, he let it get vandalized, people destroyed the inside and out, graffitied it, busted up the sinks and toilets inside, broke out the windows, and he allegedly started digging massive holes near the building in order to try to get the structure to fail.
Over time, homeless people made this their home, and many teens would hang out, drink, and continue to destroy the building.
But, In 2001, Waverly was purchased again, by Tina and Charles Mattingly, who started working on stabilizing the building, they added a new roof and installed some new windows by 2007, and host a haunted house every Halloween, in which they donate all proceeds into restoring the interior. Along with the help of the Waverly Hills Historical Society, they work tirelessly to do so.
Fun fact, Charlie's father, who had passed away before them buying it, had actually worked as an orderly at Waverly Hills for around 4 years.
AAAAaaaaaannnnd because I said haunted house and just told you all this crazy history, you already know what's coming.... GHOSTIEEEESSSS.
When Charles first bought Waverly, he did not know anything about the hauntings that were happening. He wanted to take videos of the building so theyd know what they were up against maintenance wise, so he walked around just recording everything, trash on the ground, the walls, windows, BUT when he got home and watched the videos, he realized it wasn't just the building he recorded, but also glowing orbs and apparitions. He actually caught so much on recording, that a few weeks later, when he was contacted by some people wanting to possibly record a show there, he sent them the tape, and when they saw it, they immediately contacted him and wanted to come investigate. It was this team who actually told him that this was one of the most haunted places they've ever been and that is kind of what blew it up and brought it into the media.
Okay, so some of the most common things that people experience are voices in empty rooms, lurking shadows, feeling like you're being followed, feeling physically ill, feeling like shadows are closing in on you, disembodied voices, odd smells, doors slamming, apparitions that are actually caught on camera and EVPs, a sense of dread, and unexplained physical sensations-as in like people getting touched on the shoulder, scratched, stuff like that.
In 1928, a nurse was found hanging just outside room 502, people speculate that she was pregnant, which of course would get her shunned back then because she was alone and not married. It's not confirmed, but some think she had contracted TB herself and didn't want her baby born with or around it, if she even lived that long. There's also rumors that she aborted the baby or it was stillborn right beforehand and the fetus was actually found later... and some people speculate that she was actually murdered, because she was carrying the baby of one the doctors she worked with, who was married, but again, not confirmed. Basically, no matter what the scenario was here.... it wasn't good. People still see the apparition of her body hanging to this day.
And just 4 years later, another nurse died by jumping from the window of 502.
This later led a lot of people to believe there was an evil presence in the building or the 4th floor specifically, and in this room, but that also could be due to all the activity that surrounds these areas. People often see a nurse in white walking the hall or that room. Some hear a disembodied voice, that tells them to, Get out, over and over. A lot of people say that they feel ill after being in 502, and some even get violently ill after walking out of it.
The hallway on the 4th floor, is where A LOT of shadows are seen and, on this floor, only, there is a creature that some people have seen and Mike Flickner, a tour guide, explains further. He says they call the creature, Creeper, and it walks out a door, then falls on all fours, and freaking crawls, it apparently is capable of walking, but with a name like creeper, I guess it only fits that you'd be creepy enough to crawl onto the fucking ceiling.
The 4th floor is also known as the floor that has the stronger entities, ones that can actually physically harm you, like biting, scratching, and pushing, which have all been reported. Ghosts on this floor tend to mock or mimic people too.
One investigation team saw a ball roll out of a room, into the hall, and back into another room, as in two rooms that were next to each other, so it basically rolled out of the first room, then around the bit of wall between rooms, and into the next room. As it turns out though, this isn't an uncommon experience here, there's a boy named, Timmy, that likes to roll a ball back and forth with people brave enough to play with him.
Workers that were doing reconstruction complained of hearing someone with keys or chains, which is crazy because on, Americas most Haunted, they too heard what sounded like chains. And a piano being played on the first floor, along with seeing a full body apparition lying on a bed and standing up from it, footsteps in the corridor, and
One of the investigators named, Carl, was brave enough to lay on a pull-out slab, like where they would put bodies to keep them stored, and while he was in there, he saw an old woman, who looked super sickly, his stomach started to hurt really bad, so he yelled for help on getting out. Once they got him out and away from it, they realized he had scratches on his sides and back.
(Talk about the 3 original body slabs and autopsies if it wasn't tb, tables that have holes to drain blood)
Which leads me to the Ghost Adventures episode where they investigate Waverly, because Zack was also brave enough to lay on one these slabs. He immediately started feeling lethargic and like bodies were on top of him, also capturing an EVP that sounded like someone saying, "you're not gonna make it". Zack is then asked if he wants them to pull him out, he says, yes, and as they're doing so, they captured another EVP that sounds like, "I'll keep him".
Mike Flickner, a tour guide, who I mentioned earlier, was hosting a paranormal class and decided to split the group up between floors. When he got to the group on the third floor, they were irritated with him. When he asked why, he was told that he had come down the stairs, took two steps towards the group, then turned around, walked out of the room, and was hiding from them, only problem was... he was on the 5th floor when this happened, not the third.
It supposedly was his doppelganger.
Just gonna define that super quick, just in case, so a doppelganger is an apparition or double of a living person. According to old German legend, if you run into your own doppelganger, you will die. Sooooo thankfully other people saw it and not him?? I mean, I don't love that other people saw it either. in fact, I don't like the thought of running into a spirit copy of yourself and dying at all, so there ya go!
In 2008, David and Scott, who are both tour guides, were trying to get a door to slam shut that has been notorious for it, during them doing this, they kept hearing whistles, and while Scott was sitting in a plastic chair in the middle of the operating room, he heard a loud popping noise, then realized he had actually been punched in the back. David, looked over just in time to see him with his arms still crossed, as the front two legs of the chair, were coming back down to the ground.
Obviously, the body chute has A LOT of activity in it and Chelsey Roberts, a paranormal investigator, was in it alone once, when she saw something that was slightly glowing, and twitching, running straight at her.
Another tour guide, Shirlene Edwards, grew up in one of the doctors' old houses, and as kids, they would hear people screaming out the windows and yelling for help.
People report being shoved, yelled at, and even growled at and that coupled with everything else we've heard, definitely tells me that not all the entity's here are peaceful, but it should be noted that not all are evil either. People have had encounters that were good too.
Dale Clark, who was the head of tour guides, says that they see shadow people literally all the time. Day time, nighttime, doesn't matter, they catch them on security cameras, and even on the grounds outside. That just shows you how much activity is happening on a daily basis.
And that's the story of, Waverly Place Sanatorium.
Most Haunted-Waverly Hills S12 E02
Ghost Adventures- Waverly Hills Sanitarium
Destination Fear- S3 E1, Waverly Hills Sanatorium