Waverly Hills Sanatorium

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was opened in 1910 in response to Jefferson Counties’ tuberculosis epidemic of the early 1900’s. The original building was two stories and accommodated 40 to 50 patients, by 1926 the building had been expanded 5 stories and could accommodate at least 400 individuals. Waverly Hills was one of the most modern tuberculosis, also referred to as TB, facilities of it’s time and functioned until 1961 when a treatment and cure for TB was discovered, rendering the facility obsolete. Today Waverly Hills Sanatorium is considered one of the most haunted buildings in America and allows investigators of the paranormal to explore it’s expansive grounds and dark passages during the warmer months for a small fee.

Brief History

The land that Waverly Hills sits on today was originally purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays in 1883 to serve as his families homestead. Since the property was far from any existing community Mr. Hays decided to build a school on the grounds for his daughters to attend, eventually hiring Lizzie Lee Harris as the teacher for his one room school house. Lizzie Harris was found of the Waverley navels by Walter Scott and decided to name the school house Waverley School. Major Hays liked the name so much he ended up naming the property Waverley Hills, and when The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital bought the land and began construction of the hospital, they kept the name, though second e in Waverley was dropped as years passed.

Construction of the original hospital building began in 1908, construction was completed in 1910, and the hospital opened it’s doors to patients on July 26th of that year. As the tuberculosis outbreak continued to worsen, the need for a larger facility became evident, and in March of 1924 construction began on the building that is currently known as Waverly Hills Sanatorium. On October 17th 1926 the new facility opened it’s doors, believed to be the most modern and well equipped facility of it’s kind at the time, new construction could accommodate at least 400 patients. In 1961 Waverly Hills Sanatorium closed it’s doors after the discovery of an antibiotic that successfully treated and cured tuberculosis rendered the facility obsolete.. After a brief quarantine, the building was renovated and reopened in 1962 as WoodHaven Medical Services, which was later closed by the state in 1980.

In 1983, developer J. Clifford Todd bought the property for a roughly three million dollars with plans to convert Waverly Hills into a minimum security prison for the state. Mr. Todd, along with architect Milton Thompson, were eventually forced to drop these plans after neighbors protected. The two then proposed converting the hospital into an apartment complex, however funding for that conversion fell through and the property was eventually sold to Robert Alberhasky and the Robert Alberhasky’s Christ the Redeemer Foundation in 1996.. The foundation’s plan was to construct the world’s largest statue of Jesus on the site, inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s famed Christ the Redeemer Statue, along with an arts and worship center, while converting the old sanitarium into a chapel, theater and gift shop. These plans fell through though after donations for the project fell drastically short of the target goals.

Today the building is owned by Charles and Tina Mattingly and The Waverly Hills Historical Society whom, since purchasing the property in 2001, have been updating the property in hopes of transforming the building to it’s former glory. Waverly Hills is open to the public, by reservation only, from March through August for paranormal tours and investigations. Plans are also in the works to convert Waverly Hills into a four star hotel, which will cater to haunted hotel community, as well as regular hotel guests daring enough to stay the night.

Community

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was its own self contained community, complete with post office and water treatment facility, it even had it’s own zip code, grew it’s own fruit and vegetables and also raised it’s only meat for slaughter. Because tuberculosis was so contagious, and the are hit so hard, those where were infected were not allowed to leave the facility. Employees at Waverly Hills, including nurses, doctors and other employees were also not prohibited to leave the premises for fear of spreading TB. Interestingly enough, so little was known about tuberculosis at the time, that even though the patients, nurses and doctors were not permitted to leave, family members were allowed to visit on visiting days. Not knowing that TB was an airborne disease, these visitors would return home to their communities after their visit to Waverly Hills, potentially infecting those they encountered in their day to day lives.

Paranormal History

Reports vary on the number of people who died during the 50 years Waverly Hills served as home for those stricken with TB. Conservative estimates put the number at around 8,212 while others believe that number was closer to 64,000. While there seems to be disagreement on the number of people whom died withing the confines of Waverly Hills, almost everyone can agree that it is without a doubt, one of the most haunted places in the United States, perhaps the world. Besides the many patients whom died as a result of succumbing to Turboculosis, the rumor of patient cruelty, satanic rituals, and bazaar experimentation only adds to the eerie and haunted feeling of Waverly Hills.All manner of paranormal activity has been reported within the confines of Waverly Hills, including doors slamming, disembodied voices, full body apparitions, ectoplasmic clouds, a spectral hearse, shadow people, rooms lighting up that have not had power for years, cries and screams, just to name a few.

Room 502: There are a number of stories associated with room 502 on the 5th floor of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The first and probably most well known story is that of an unmarried nurse whom hung her self in Room 502 after  finding out she had become pregnant, in some versions of this story, she had become pregnant by one of the doctors. Another story involving Room 502 involves another nurse, who for unknown reasons, jumped to her death from the window located in that room. Yet another story involving Room 502 is thought to have happened after the facility closed it’s doors, and circles around the death of a man who was beaten to death in Room 502. Some versions of this story state that the beating was gang related while others state that it had something to do with a satanic ritual.

Researchers and visitors to Waverly Hills often report a feeling of despair or uneasiness in Room 502. A full body apparition of a female nurse has occasional been reported around Room 502 and some recorded voices, via EVP, seem to tell the those in Room 502 to “get out”.

The Roof Top: Near Room 502 is a doorway which leads to an outdoor area on the roof where a children’s play area used to be located during the years Waverly Hills was open. It’s not a very large space but the fresh air is a nice change of pace. Researchers and visitors to his area some times report an almost electrical feeling in certain spots, while others claim to hear children chanting songs, such as ring around the rosy.

The Front Entrance:  On rare occasion researchers and visitors to Waverly Hills have reported a full body apparition of an old woman in the front entrance area. Reports of this women are remarkably similar in that she is always running towards the exit, screaming for help with blood dripping from he wrists, in some reports the woman is in chains. As the woman runs screaming towards to exit she dissipates and vanishes completely before being able to exit the building. A second apparition that seems to haunt the front entrance of Waverly Hills is the disembodied head of a man, thought reported sightings of this body less specter are fairly rare.

The Third Floor: The third floor of Waverly Hills Sanitarium is thought by most researchers to be haunted by the spirits of two children, a little boy and a little girl. The little girl is often referred to as Mary and is said play with a ball in the halls of the third floor. Many people have heard the sounds of a bouncing ball on this floor, or have witnessed the ball moving on it’s own and attribute it to the ghost they call Mary. The ghost of the young boy, often referred to as Timmy, is also reported haunt the third floor and is thought to be the source of the disembodied ball bouncing, as well as the ball movement sometimes witnessed on this floor. Researchers and visitors to Waverly will bring their own toy balls to the third floor and leave them for the children to play with, it’s not uncommon to walk down the 3rd floor hallway and encounter 5 or 6 balls of various sizes resting in various corners and rooms. Eyewitnesses outside of the building also claim to see a child like figure peering out at them from the third story windows from time to time.

The Kitchen: The Waverly Hills Sanitarium kitchen is thought to be haunted by an unidentified man wearing a white coat. While no one is quite sure who this individual is, many researchers believe that he is an old employee of Waverly Hills who contracted tuberculosis and died on the premises. Though no food has been cooked or served at Waverly Hills since 1982, the smell of food is some times reported to waft through the kitchen.

The Fourth Floor: The fourth floor of Waverly Hills is often regarded as one of the creepiest and most active areas in the building. Shadow people are reported to roam the halls and doors seem to open and slam shut for no apparent reason and with no apparent cause.

The Body Chute: Waverly Hills sits atop a rather steep hill, and during the winter months it became especially difficult to load transport supplies from the bottom of the hill to the main entrance. As a result, a supply tunnel was constructed of concrete with a smooth surface on one side and steps on the other to help aid in the coming and going of supplies. However, some researched believe that at the height of the tuberculosis outbreak, the tunnel may have been used less for supplies coming into the hospital and more for transporting bodies out of the hospital. It is said by some that at the height of the outbreak roughly one person per hour died at Waverly Hills, and in order to keep the moral of the living up, employees at the sanatorium began to use the tunnel as a means to transport the dead out of the facility without anyone seeing.

The supply tunnel at Waverly Hills is now referred to as either The Body Chute or The Death Tunnel, and depending on who you ask, is one of the most active areas of the property. Researchers and visitors claim to hear disembodied voices along with unexplained footsteps, shadows seem to creep along the walls of the nearly 500 foot long tunnel and chilling EVP’s are often captured in the Body Chute.

Physical Address

4400 Paralee Lane
Louisville, KY 40272

Official Website

www.therealwaverlyhills.com

Written by Sean – PACC Admin

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