araestel (araestel) wrote,

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The Scary Place

I thought some of you might wonder where I was a couple of weeks ago and finally have so time to post about it.

wav, un4scene and thefieldmouse all went to WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM, one of the most haunted places in the world and it's right here in my city.

I urge you to click on "Waverly Hills" above and check out the Wiki listing on it and also the official site, THE REAL WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM

The Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville Kentucky has it all--cold spots, disembodied voices, and ghosts of former patients both adult and children, roaming the halls. It sits on a great hill overlooking the city and seems like a reigning fortress of gloom in its eerie, decaying state. The atmosphere is further darkened by a chilling history of mass death, patient abuse during the years it was used as a geriatric hospital, and a local murder of a homeless man and his companion dog.

However, this figure seems to be for the entire Ohio Valley area and in fact, only between 23,000 and 24,000 actually passed at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium which is still, by any count, more than impressive--it's staggering.

If any of you have watched THE GHOST HUNTERS, and again last year at THE GHOST HUNTERS-HALLOWEEN, you know of Waverly and some of its stories.

Like the numerous experiments done on patients, the nurse who hung herself, the voices and shadow people, and the orbs of light, the little boy with the ball and THE DEATH TUNNEL. But to actually see some of these things yourself, to feel the weight of history and all the souls tied to this place, was just amazing.

Pictures of the Past

Front Entrance Waverly Hills Surgical Procedures Waverly Hills

Popular belief at the time being that fresh air and sunshine was the cure for tuberculosis and Waverly Hills was perfect for that since it was situated at the top of a great hill with a cross-wind and lots of windows.

You can see in the picture above that the patients are just outside of their rooms on an enclosed porch. The large windows had no glass and were screened. Even in the winter, patients would be placed outdoors with heating blankets (such tuberculosis treatments were the reason why heating blankets were invented.). Waverly Hills was also responsible for the invention of earphones and sun lamps/ ;)

The Death Tunnel

Death Tunnel Waverly Hills
click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

"The Death Tunnel" as it's come to be known, is actually a 471 foot long tunnel that leads from the hospital to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. When someone died in the sanatorium, they were sent down the tunnel via gurneys to an awaiting hearse. This was done so that patients wouldn't see the large number of hearses or the bodies--in order to keep morale high. Concrete steps line one side of the tunnel while the other side consisted of a motorized rail and cable system, which is no longer in operation. Many claim to have heard voices while in the tunnel, however, none of us did. And I must admit, going down and coming back up from this thing about killed me. They tell anyone with asthma, back or knee problems probably shouldn't go, but like a moron, I went anyway. The tunnel is built at a 45 degree angle so going down and coming up, you feel like you're being pushed down. Their official website actually says that The Death Tunnel is no longer a part of the 2 hour tour, so imagine our surprise when that was the first place we went!

The Sanatorium

It's a rather imposing fortress, sitting way back in the woods on top of a hill. At its busiest, Waverly Hills was home for sometimes whole families, with numerous buildings dotting the landscape, all provided for patients and the people who worked there.

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.


Many have owned this property and many have allowed it to go dormant and actually encouraged vandalism in order to get it condemned. Thankfully, the current owners, the Mattingly's, are trying to reconstruct it to its original splendor and have gotten it listed on the National Register for Historic Places. All monies from the tours (2 hours, which we took, the half night of 4 hours, and the overnight of 8 hours) goes back into the restoration and we were told on our tour that they're actually planning on turning it into a bed and breakfast sometime in the next 3 to 5 years. They've consulted a number or paranormal experts and all have told them that hauntings tend to become even more pronounced, not lessen, with electricity being introduced those spirits aren't going anywhere!

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

The Morgue

At the hight of the epidemic, patients were dying at the rate of one an hour. What's pictured here is one of the original slabs used for keeping the bodies before families or funeral homes could collect the bodies. But with 3 slots and one patient an hour dying, they actually had to stack them on top of one another in the meat locker. At this time, not a lot was known about TB and how to avoid catching it, so many families never reclaimed the bodies fearing they'd contract the disease. We now know that TB can only live outside the body for 13 minutes, but in the 20's and 30's medicine wasn't as advanced. So many of these unclaimed bodies were buried in mass graves, not too far from the death tunnel. Many spooky things have happened in this room, though nothing happened to us the night we were there.

Room 502

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

Perhaps the most infamous area of all in the hospital is room 502. The story goes that in 1928, the head nurse was found dead in the room. She had hanged herself from the light fixture. (Our tour guide said that in actuality, she was found just outside room 502, hanging from a water pipe) No one knows why the 29-year old woman would take her own life, but it's popular belief that she was unmarried and pregnant, a big no-no in the 1920's. Speculation currently is that she was having an affair with one of the doctors, found her self pregnant out of wedlock and when she told him, he shunned her. The county coroner’s office attributed her death to suicide.

In 1932, another nurse who worked in room 502, supposedly committed suicide when she jumped from the balcony of the roof. No one knows why.

People have reportedly seen the full body apparition of a female nurse in white on this floor and have also reported that this room gives them an "unsettling" feeling of great despair and actual queasiness to women who are pregnant or don't even know they're pregnant. Many men have fell ill as well and some think that's her way of "getting back" at the men. Some guests have even heard a voice say, "Get out!" Nothing happened to us here either.

Nurses Station and Medicine Room

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

This is where the nurse who hanged herself in Room 502 spent a lot her days. Nothing creepy here either.

Children's Ward

Many children contracted the disease or were the children of patients there receiving treatment. There have been many sightings of a little boy and a ball appearing to visitors. And not to forget the little girl who appears to some, without her eyes.

Fatality Rooms

Significantly smaller than the regular patient rooms, this is where people were taken from the rest of the general population when their case was terminal and their time was very short. They did this to give the dying patient peace as well as trying to keep the other patients moral up.

The Sun Rooms

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

In the photos above you can see doorways. These were the patient rooms where they only thing they really did in them was sleep at night and bathe. The rest of the time, their door were opened and they were wheeled out to the common hallway to receive their medicine, a good dose of sunshine and fresh air. On the white panels between the doors, you'll find hookups for the electric blankets and headphones. It's said that patients here were treated like royalty.

Past patients have reported that it didn't matter what time of year it was, they were still outside their rooms and exposed to the weather. Some have said they can remember a glass of water being put beside their bed on a table and then reaching over later to take a drink and it being frozen solid! No wonder they had to invent electric blankets!! And can you imagine trying to filter out what you wanted to hear on the radio when 3 others were fighting to be heard? I told my dad he should be thankful to Waverly for inventing headphones since from 6 pm at night until 9, he's hooked up to his. ;) And you probably wonder "why sunlamps"? The silver iodine the TB patients were given leeched all the color from their skin and the doctors were afraid their families would abandon them after seeing them looking like walking corpses, as well as believing that UV rays were a good treatment to combat TB, so they came up with sun lamps. Remember that they next time you get in a tanning bed. :)


Look at the above photos, be sure to right click and open in a new window. The first picture, see the little round ball of light in the window? And the other few lower against the floor and wall. These are "orbs" and are said to be the "nucleus" of a spirit. Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. Psychics claim to talk to them on a regular basis, and ghost hunters encounter them quite frequently. It is said that they are those spirits that have willingly stayed behind because they feel bound to their previous life or previous location for whatever reason. Because of this obsession they tend to become similar to a psychotic human beings. It should be said that the majority of us when we die proceed gladly and willingly to the next level of existence after saying our quiet good-byes, which means we're off to the spirit world. Then again, as stated, a select few elect to stay behind because of a refusal to move on. Apparently the longer they stay behind, the harder it is to find their way to the next level, which again, is the spirit world.

Now check out the shadow at the end of the hall on the second photo above. Shadow person? Who knows.

And now that you know about Orbs...

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.


The above picture with the orbs and this one were both taken in the kitchen. This was an original stove found on the property where they baked hundreds of loaves of bread a day to feed the patients.

This was the hallway outside the kitchen was coincidentally, right next to the morgue. Convenient for body stacking, you know.

The Operating Room

click on all outlined photos for a larger image.

Many procedures were done here including pneumothorax--surgically collapsing or deflating a portion of the lung so that it would heal and thoracoplasty opening up the chest and removing up to 2 to 3 ribs at a time so that the lung would have more room to expand and heal. There were many other dire experimental treatments as well but none of theme were effective.

Fact: fewer than five percent of patients survived the pneumothorax method.

Oh yes, and when we got to the 4th floor where many say it's most haunted, our guide asked wav if she spooked easily, to which she snorted and said "no". So he asked if she'd mind doing a little experiment with him. Once everyone had crowded around the door to the 4th floor, he asked her to step behind it and close it. He then turned and told us the following story. He told us there was one night he was patrolling the grounds when he heard some young boys screaming and crying. They ran upstairs and saw them frantically beating on the door, begging to be let out. They'd used a small axe to break in and were trying to hack their way through the door. They cried and told the guards "they won't let us out". He then asked Mel to open the door and she did. He asked her if she had any problem and she said no, but it was on the heavy side. He then pushed back and showed us the hack marks in the door. Whatever spirits were on the other side, they did not want those boys out of there. She said the quiet time alone on the other side of the door made the whole trip worth it. :)

And being the brave soul I am, I volunteered to walk all the way down a hallway on the 4th floor by myself just to see what would happen. Now mind you, ALL the lights where out. No cell phones, no flashlights, no cameras, no flashes. So everything was black. I walked all the way down the hall and stood in front of a doorway. I felt a cold sport, which was actually, quite a relief to me. It sounded like lots of whispers too, but I can chalk that up to the group whispering as they watched. But when I heard a gasp and "oh my god", it felt really weird. They all said they saw a shadow over my head just hovering. I told the ghost/spirit to introduce themselves to me. This is the floor that the "Shadow People" frequent, popping in and out of doorways and across the hall. Another girl went down the hall after I came back and yes, you could see shadows moving in front of and behind her. I'm 5'10" and she was *maybe* 5' tall, and I think our guide did that just for comparison. Too cool!

We were told that a really big and nasty tempered spirit was found here and the those familiar with his call him "Big Black". He's been know to hit and punch at people so we were told that if we felt anything bad or if our guy told us to run, we were to listen and "get the hell out". He left us alone. wav and I figured he wasn't in the mood to mess with us. ;)

Now what I failed to report after the Death Tunnel, I was exhausted. Between the asthma, back, knees *and* heart issues, I just figured it was fatigue. But the *entire* time I was in there, I was dizzy. Every floor, every room, every stairwell. Even in the sun rooms where there were no windows and it was completely open, I was dizzy. Until I crossed the threshold and was completely outside. It was immediate that it lifted. Strangest thing I'd ever felt. ANd I wasn't bothered with dizziness at all any other time that night or since then. In fact, un4scene and I went to White Castle! And trust me, if those don't make you ill, nothing will. LOL

So now my community mods and my flisters know where I was. Waverly Hills Sanatorium aka "The Spookey Place" according to un4scene

Oh and the theme for the weekend besides, "The Spooky Place" was "Gummi Bear?" Last time she was here it was, "Do you need a nap?" LOL

thefieldmouse breathed in too much crap in the death tunnel and sneezed and coughed like I do on many an occasion, so I fed her Sudafed and Vitamin C, which really seemed to help. And I think when we go back, we're not doing the death tunnel again.

BTW, yes, Waverly Hills has a "Haunted House" open at Halloween. HELL YEAH we'll be there!! wav might even know a person who knows a person that has connections. You know, that whole "seven degrees of separation" thing. We talked about an over night or a 4 hour tour, but they're all booked through the end of August. Popular place!

Now, go back and click on those pics--lots of ORBS to be found!! ;)

And other links if you're interested:
(this we got to see prior to the tour) MMMMMM smell those delicious loaves. ;)
Be patient--If you you get a kick out of hearing guys scream like girls, then this is for you!

Credit for the pics (except the beginning 4 and the 3 aerial views) goes to un4scene and thefieldmouse *hugs* And some of the text I borrowed from sites here and there so I'd finally get this post done. Trust me, I've worked hours on this one. ;) And if you wanna see one of un4scene's cool ghostly image photos, go check out her lj! The cool one here with all the orbs, thefieldmouse took, but I'm days behind on my flist and dunno if she's posted or not. The only reason I know un4scene posted was wav was in the other room on her laptop and she showed me the pics of our back yard and the dogs in her Waverly Hills post.

Tired now. Have eaten gummi bears. Going to bed.
Tags: waverly hills sanatorium

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