Used to house tuberculosis patients in the 1900’s, the now derelict Waverly Hills sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, has all of the hallmarks of a haunted hospital.
Formerly Waverly school, the building was taken over at the turn of the century by the board of tuberculosis, and expanded over time to accommodate a rising number of patients due to an epidemic of the disease. It was built as a curved structure on top of a hill to allow the breeze to sweep through the wings and provide patients with the sunlight and fresh air they required as part of their recovery. By 1924 the hospital was able to house up to 400 patients, including the children of those in treatment, who would often play on the roof as part of their heliotherapy.
Many claim to hear the sounds of children singing and playing on the roof to this very day.
Due to the lack of actual medicine to treat consumption at the time, experimental treatments, such as rib removal and the surgical inflation of lungs by inserting balloons, were practiced on patients in order to find an effective cure.
Many patients died via these methods; however the actual death toll is unknown. Legends claim thousands met their demise within the walls of Waverly hill sanatorium.
In order to keep patient morale at a high, the bodies of patients that did not survive their stay were clandestinely transported on gurneys through a tunnel that connected from the hospital to a railway. Often called “The death shoot”, and the subject of many legends and paranormal investigations, the tunnel was also used to transport supplies into the building.
With the introduction Streptomycin, the first developed anti-biotic used to successfully treat tuberculosis, the number of beds occupied decreased, leading the large, gothic sanatorium to close its doors by the start of the sixties.
A year later Waverly Hills would be reopened under the name “Woodhaven medical services” as a mercy home to aid elderly patients suffering declines in mental ability and problems with general mobility due to age. The building remained this way for twenty years, eventually being shut down for the neglect of patients.
Having escaped plans to be turned into a prison and an apartment block, Waverly Hills is now owned by the Mattinglys, who purchased it in the early 2000’s. They hold annual Halloween tours and use the proceeds for restoration.
The location has been the subject of paranormal shows such as the UK’s “Most haunted” and “Ghost adventures” and many visitors claim to see spirits wandering the halls.
In 2011 The “Ghost Hunters” team focused on local urban legends in their episode filmed at Waverly sanatorium. They focused on the investigation of room 502, the nurses’ station, where they claimed a pregnant nurse had committed suicide having found out that she was pregnant out of wedlock.
Some say the nurse contracted the disease and became a patient.
(Photo found at missouriparanormalresearch.com)
A photograph was found on the hospital grounds of a young woman signed “Love, Mary Lee” on the reverse. The woman in the picture resembled the apparition captured in a photograph taken at Waverly, whom many believe is the spirit of the Mary Lee still wandering the wings.
Mary Lee is not the only soul still making her rounds; many spirits have been seen and heard since Waverly Hill closed for business.
The owners claim that the ghost of a little boy, who they named Timmy, is often seen darting through the hallways.
If you don’t have a chance to experience a tour of the sanatorium for yourself, you can check out some videos online:
Travel Channel tour of Waverly [ X ]
Ghost hunters capture a short video of Timmy [ X ]