Thursday, June 20, 2013

Haunted Places: III Waverly Hills Sanatorium

I decided to continue the series of places that are considered haunted but my reasons for this are not to promote the spread of any paranormal thinking, but because I find it fascinating how people enjoy such activities and how this belief is formed in the collective mind. I will not analyze that here, but I will present another interesting "case" of a building considered haunted.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium didn’t start off as a creepy, death filled building, but as a lovingly made family home for Major Thomas H. Hays’ family who bought the land on which the Sanatorium is
situated in 1883.

Things changed quickly when The Board of Tuberculosis purchased the home as they needed more space due to the Tuberculosis epidemic that was tearing through Louisville in the first years of the 20th century.

With antibiotics not being invented yet, tuberculosis was a big deal, and when the epidemic hit its peak people would die just about every day at Waverly Hills. The seemingly continuous flow of bodies out of the Sanatorium put a damp on the patient’s spirits and didn’t do much to help the survival rate. So to avoid the uncomfortable sight, doctors decided to use a cart in the 500 feet long tunnel to wheel them out. The tunnel has supposedly seen close to 100,000 dead bodies during its lifetime thus earning it nicknames like “the death tunnel” or “body chute”.

Visitors of the abandoned Sanatorium say that weird noises and sometimes screams and moans can be heard within its walls. 

To make things even creepier the legends say that a young nurse hanged herself with a functioning light bulb wire after finding out she was pregnant out of wedlock with the owner’s child and had contracted tuberculosis. It’s said that she can still be seen sometimes in room 502, where she committed suicide. 

As antibiotics led to a quick fall in Tuberculosis cases, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was sold and transformed into a geriatric center that cared to old sufferers of dementia. The center didn’t last long, as reports of improper care and sometimes out right neglect quickly condemned it. 

If suicide, tuberculosis sick ghosts, and dementia ridden old people aren’t creepy enough for you, please add that  recent owners wanted to convert the building into a prison while other wanted to build a 150 feet tall statue of Jesus. Both ideas fell through for lack of finances.

Current owners are holding haunted tours of the old Sanatorium trying to restore the building with the profits, however, I don’t know if new windows and fresh paint can cover demented tuberculosis zombie ghost death screams, still…  good luck with that!

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