Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hauntings: Waverly Hills Sanatorium


Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Kentucky)

Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened in 1910 as a small, two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients.  But tuberculosis was extremely infectious and the disease spread quickly, so a five-story building that could hold more than 400 patients was constructed in 1926.

At the time, tuberculosis treatments were primitive, experimental, and painful.  One treatment was to place sandbags on patients’ chests to compress the lungs and expel the disease.  Electroshock therapy and experimental surgeries were also used, so a stay at Waverly Hills was often an agonizing experience.

A 500-foot tunnel with a cart and cable system carried supplies to the hospital, so deliverymen wouldn't have to enter the premises and expose themselves to the disease.  But once tuberculosis hit its peak, deaths were occurring about one every other day, and the tunnel took on another use.  When patients died, their bodies were placed on the cart and lowered to the bottom where a hearse would be waiting to take them away.

Though death estimates vary, at least 6,000 people died at the hospital during its 50+ years in operation.  After the introduction of streptomycin in 1943, the number of tuberculosis cases decreased until there was no longer need for such a large hospital, and it was closed in June 1961.

Many visitors to the abandoned hospital claim to have heard screams of pain and wailing in the empty hallways as well as seeing mysteriously moving shadows.  In the old tunnel, lights flicker, and people have heard footsteps and the creak of the cable-cart even though both cable and cart were removed many years ago.

Other ghost sightings include two female ghosts in old-fashioned nurse’s uniforms in Room 502.  These are believed to be a nurse who allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself there and another who’s said to have leaped to her death from the same room for unknown reasons.




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49 comments:

Leslie S. Rose said...

My family is from Kentucky. I'm sure a few of them haunt the hospital. Love the architecture.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm surprised I didn't come across more ghost stories in the places I found like this.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Tuberculosis was a dreaded disease of the past. Such sanatoria existed in many parts of the world.
Interesting to read ghost sightings over there.
Now the challenge is drug resistant TB especially among immune deficient patients and also that affects sites in the body other than lung.
Very interesting post, Lexa :)

Dr. Theda said...

one of our favorite "Hauntings", dear Lady.....
But, we have our own "Ghosts" to deal with here at home.... mostly we just ignore the things it (they...???) do... mostly "showing off" to my visitors... a few refuse to come back.... This (events of it "spooking" other People) has been an ongoing problem for some years now....

Sharon Himsl said...

A horrible place and I feel sorry for all the people who ended up there. I've heard that TB is on the rise. Makes me shudder what that could mean.
Shells–Tales–Sails

Medeia Sharif said...

It was chilling to read this. Before strict guidelines and modern medicine, these old hospitals were gruesome places.

Misha Gericke said...

Oh yeah ghosts wouldn't surprise me in a place like this. :-)

Sophie Duncan said...

Now that place sounds really creepy - classic backdrop for a horror movie!
Sophie
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Ms Misantropia said...

There is (or used to be) a wonderful website that posted pictures from inside derelict and abandoned places, that I think did a great and eerie post on this place. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the website now though...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

From the looks of it, the building is also abandoned, isn't it?

Rhonda Albom said...

While I think some of the hauntings are really cool, I wouldn't want to hear screams of pain.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My mother spent about a year in a TB sanatorium in the early 40's. My older sister was born there. She spoke very little about it but the few times she did, we knew it had to be a horrible place that left her with psychological scars ( along with TB scars on her lungs) for the rest of her life.

Birgit said...

Vivien Leigh(an earlier post of mine) had TB and it so difficult to comprehend that they would place these sandbags on your chest-seems so medieval. What a poky place...are they planning to do anything with the building? Do they have ghost tours?

Robin said...

Not at all surprising that this place is haunted. It was a death hospital.

Catherine Stine said...

These old asylums were sad and scary and fascinating all at once. I just read a book about Byberry, an asylum in Philly that lasted from around 1907 to the 1970s. I'm sure that these places are all haunted! Here's a link to Byberry and some other places: http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2013/01/crazy-mental-asylums/byberry-mental-hospital

Nana Prah said...

I wouldn't have wanted to have tb back then. Hell, I don't want it now. Poor nurses. Someone should tell them to go towards the light.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Nothing gives me the creeps like an abandoned hospital! I hope to write a scene in my contemporary WIP with as much suspense and fright as this hospital's past:)

Kimberly said...

Holy moly, that's a lot of people that died in that hospital.

Inger said...

What a horrendous disease that was and the treatment even worse. While much is wrong in our world of today, at least we do have better health care. Perhaps I should say those of us with good health insurance have access to better care.

cleemckenzie said...

I'd die just looking at that place. That's a "all who enter here, forget hope" kind of place.

My great aunt had TB, but I don't think she experience that kind of treatment. Sure hope not.

Stephen Hayes said...

This grim building sure looks like it might be haunted. The weeds growing up near the entrance really give this an eerie affect.

Crystal Collier said...

It's so sad. Can you imagine what it would be like to end up in a place like that? The poor souls...

True Heroes from A to Z

Michael Di Gesu said...

Such a beautiful building but with such a sad past. Helping the sick back then was so experimental and scary.

Those poor people, living with a deadly decease and being tortured to boot...

Melanie Stanford said...

That place is super creepy. You couldn't pay me to walk through it.
Reminds me of an Originals episode recently that took place in a building that looked very similar to this.

Gina Stoneheart said...

How unbearable! I can't imagine having to suffer through what those patients had to endure before their death. This must be why there is so much negative energy occurring around the hospital since all of the deaths were so painful.. Chilling!

messymimi said...

Regular hospitals are often sad and scary places. One where you don't have much chance of surviving would be worse.

Kate Larkindale said...

Those old hospitals are just ripe for haunting, aren't they? So many distressed people dying under one roof.

Stephanie Faris said...

We've always wanted to visit, but the founder has gotten very diva-ish since the place has gotten so much attention from ghost-hunting shows. So many rules about visiting now. I think they're only open for tours certain times of the year, certain days of the week. I love that they're turning it into a bed and breakfast now...might be interesting!

Munir said...

This is very very sad indeed. Having TB must have been like a death sentence already.

Munir said...

Things like these upset my daughter so much that in spite of being a very helpful person and having deep interest in medicine she decided not to take that road.

Ava Quinn said...

Fantastically chilling, as usual, Lexa! Yikes.

Michelle Wallace said...

That building has an unusual facade... and as usual, sad and creepy stuff!

Milo James Fowler said...

Those "unknown reasons" are what freak me out. Somebody, tell me why. Enjoying all these creepy places you're chronicling, Lexa.

Sherry Ellis said...

As I read the beginning of your post, the thought popped into my head about ghosts. I wondered if there were any. Sure enough, you confirmed that there may be. Looks like one creepy place!

Julie Flanders said...

This place is one of the things that helped give me ideas for the haunted asylum I included in Polar Night. I only live about 2 hours away from it and have thought about visiting but then it freaks me out. So creepy!

LD Masterson said...

I never knew electroshock treatments were used for TB. I only associated them with mental illness. Barbaric practice.

Jocelyn Rish said...

I had guessed you were going to go with the Winchester Mystery House for W. I've actually been there. I didn't see anything, but I did feel weird and on edge the whole time.

But it was interesting to learn about a new place, although it's very sad to hear about what happened there.

S. L. Hennessy said...

My best friend went there and said it was terrifying!!!

Lynda R Young said...

Sounds like the perfect setting for ghosts to wail and roam.

Stepheny Houghtllin said...

I went to college in Kentucky and lived there for some years. I knew nothing about Waverly Hills. This is an interesting theme for the #Challenge and well presented. Good for you. I appreciate the effort you took to give your readers something worthwhile!

Kim Graff said...

Ouch. That seems painful, in a lot of ways. I'm always glad I live in the now because of the medical treatment. i can't imagine how horrible it would be to deal with all of that.

Samantha Geary Jones said...

That's crazy-creepy! I wonder if ghost nurse #2 jumped out a window from seeing ghost nurse #1.

WriterlySam
Echoes of Olympus
A to Z #TeamDamyanti

Winter Moon said...

What a gorgeous building!

I'd love to explore it...if it wasn't so damned creepy!

Al Diaz said...

It looks very creepy. So many deaths. I imagine the dispair that can be breathed there. Another interesting spot this month.

Jean said...

wow! this one is worth a trip to. if you love ghosts... jean

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

In doing my genealogy research I discovered my grandmother in Brooklyn died of TB. I think she was at home though. Not sure. The treatment sounds horrid.

Loni Townsend said...

I'm so glad we have advanced medicine now. Sandbags on chests?

Zoe Byrd said...

I used to work in A hospital building that was a former TB sanitorium... no ghosts but spooky all on its own... just ugly places I guess.

Stephsco said...

Any city with an old TB clinic, surely it means they are haunted. I'm simply sure of it.

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