When Tuberculosis was in full throttle during the late 1800’s – early 1900’s people believed that the best cure for it was fresh air, healthy foods and plenty of rest. Still hundreds of thousands of people died from this disease.
In 1924, hospitals were overcrowded with those trying to get well, donations were made in large quantities and a new hospital was built in Louisville Kentucky. Waverly Hills was know as the most advanced tuberculosis hospital in the country, though patients still succumbed to Tuberculosis.
Many of the practices at Waverly Hills were experimental at times, often seeming barbaric to today’s medical technologies. It was believed that fresh air was a key cure to TB; old photographs show patients getting their fresh air while literally being covered in snow. Though coming across such pictures are difficult to find. Other methods of treatment were by expanding the lungs with a balloon or removing muscles and ribs. Most didn’t survive these operations.
Those that survived these grim and brutal treatments as well as TB itself left through the fronts door. Most on the however, left usually down the underground tunnel which has become known as the body chute. This tunnel was utilized for a variety of things from transporting supplies and coal into the hospital to removing bodies from the hospital for burial or cremation. The thinking behind this was so that people didn’t see the hearse or the body which could lower morale and make people worse off. Architecturally, this tunnel was also big enough to fit everyone in the hospital in should WWII make it to American soil.
By 1931 TB was declining and by the 1940’s it was all but eradicated. In 1961 the facility was closed down but re-opened a year later as a geriatrics center. Due to accusations of patients being mistreated and abused, Waverly closed it’s doors for good in 1982.
Over the years it became a landmark for the homeless, drug addicts and graffiti artists. Today Waverly Hills is under restorations by it’s current owners Charlie and Tina Mattingly. They offer a variety of tours and stays at the Sanitorium. For more information check out The Real Waverly Hills.
The hospital has gained a reputation for being haunted and stories began to circulate of resident ghosts like the little girl who was seen running up and down the third floor solarium, the little boy who was spotted with a leather ball, the hearse that appeared in the back of the building dropping off coffins, the woman with the bleeding wrists who cried for help and others. Visitors told of slamming doors, lights in the windows as if power was still running through the building, strange sounds and eerie footsteps in empty rooms.
On the fifth floor, there is room 502 which is notorious for two supposed suicides. It is said that a nurse hung herself at the age of 29 because she was pregnant and not married. How long she hung there before she was found is determined. Another nurse several years later is said to have jumped from the window to her death below. There hasn’t been any proof of these death.
People have stated that they have seen a man walk across the hall of the fourth floor, wearing a white coat. There have been other accounts of ghosts on this floor. The fourth floor is well known for its extreme paranormal activities.
Waverly Hills is probably haunted. Perhaps next year I will make plans to spend the night and decided for myself if it’s truly haunted or not.
Keep it real and rockin’