April 26, 2012

Location #4: Waverly Hills Sanitorium

My next creepy location is one that breaks my heart as much as it freaks me out. This place is probably rather well known, being on at least two ghost hunting shows, but that does not make it any less deserving of a spot on this list.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium is a hospital built in Louisville, Kentucky to help battle the white plague, or tuberculosis illness. Built in 1910, it was originally intended to house 40 to 50 patients, a modest two story hospital with the standard equipment.

The ravaging outbreak of TB resulted in Waverly not only being remade into a multistory building capable of housing 400 patients at once, but also granted it the dubious honor of being the epicenter of study, doctors working around the clock to try and find a cure.

The mass amounts of patients that flooded Waverly never caused a crowding issue, as the deaths were rampant. There was no cure for TB yet, and Waverly became the center for figuring out a cure. As a result of this decision, many experimental treatments were attempted.

Surgery to remove ribs and lungs, sandbags crushing the chest to try and deflate the lungs, and even electroshock therapy were all attempted as cures, and proved just as lethal as the white plague itself. As antibiotics had not been discovered when Waverly opened, treatment consisted of heat lamps, fresh air, high spirits, and reassurances of an eventual full recovery. Once tuberculosis hit its peak, deaths were occurring about one every other day.

The patients were not the only ones at risk. Room 502 is sadly infamous for workers coming in one day to discover a nurse having hung herself in front of it. The woman had contracted TB, and had also discovered she was pregnant. Being unwed, and sick with TB, knowing her child would have it too, she saw no other way out, and these days is seen roaming the halls of the wing she worked in.

The hospital closed in 1961, having the highest deathrate in the entire country, and an entire wing dedicated to the morgue in order to deal with said deaths. The patients never knew about the large amount of deaths, however, as the doctors used a 500 foot tunnel known as the Body Chute that traveled to the bottom of the hill the hospital was built on to transport patients who died to keep morale up.

Today, Waverly can be toured overnight for a hundred dollars a person, with a Halloween haunted house attraction used to fund restoration of the building. Full body apparitions, doors slamming, hair pulling, flickering lights, and heart wrenching EVPs are just a handful of the activity that goes on when the sun sets on Waverly Hills Sanitorium.