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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