Friday, November 14, 2008
Heavyweights of the Paranormal ( Part One ) Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, located in Louisville, Kentucky, opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. It has since come to be considered one of the most haunted buildings in the Eastern United States. In the early 20th century, Jefferson County was severely stricken with an outbreak of tuberculosis. The original Waverly Hills building was soon home to over 140 patients. A larger hospital was needed for the overwhelming number of patients coming in, so construction of a five-story building that could hold more than 400 patients began in March 1924.
The new building opened on October 17, 1926, and was eventually closed in June 1961. The building was reopened in 1962 as Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital; Woodhaven was closed in 1981 due to patient abuse.
Room 502 is perhaps the most notable location in Waverly Hills and the number has sometimes been adopted symbolically. One story claims that a nurse hanged herself after finding she was pregnant out of wedlock and attempting surgery upon herself to abort the illegitimate child. Another tells a different nurse who jumped from a balcony. However, the SciFi Channel series Ghost Hunters turned up no records or death certificates to confirm the legends, although there is confirmation of the nurse's suicide by hanging and her discovery in official records. Some sources claim there is also confirmation of the second death, but it is currently disputed. Other common sightings in Waverly Hills include the vista of young children running through the halls, as the hospital had a large number of children and families housed there.
Apparitions & Other Strange Events
The most common experience of visitors seems to be "moving shadows" or "shadow people". These are shadows that appear to have some substance - able to "walk" across doorways and to block some light when a laser is pointed at them. There are many reports of these shadows both inside and outside the building.
Glowing Orbs (nicknamed "Soul Orbs" by some) have also been photographed there. These small balls of light appear almost like lightbulbs or specks of dust when captured on film, but there has been no electric power to the building in years. They are often reported to fly around corridors and spawn other orbs.
Some photos show indistinct "brown imps" outside the grounds too, but these humanoid shapes are a less common sighting. The existing photographic evidence of the imps is dubious to say the least.
There have been many Electronic_voice_phenomenon recordings made in the building and grounds. Varying from the more common "Get out" or "Go away" to more specific statments like "What kind of hospital is this?" and "The winch" (referring to the winch that powered the Death Tunnel's body card, and recorded in that area).
Often a boy bouncing a ball is seen and at least one small, old, leather ball has been found in the building. Investigators once found a ball rolling towards them, and it being moved by an unseen force. Electronic_voice_phenomenon recordings feature a child saying "I am three". There have been numerous sightings and recordings of small children.
Another notable vision is the sight of a woman - reports vary as to the age and appearance - bearing chains around bloodied wrists chanting or screaming "Help me!" at the entrance of the building.
The most common apparition though is of a young girl with no eyes which has appeared on photos and been encountered by witnesses. This girl is called "Mary" by staff and researchers, based on a recovered photo of a young woman that was recovered and was signed "Love, Mary Lee". However, the girl in the photo is older than most reports of the ghosts perceived age. Mary is the most conversational of the ghosts and has spoken to many people, usually wanting to play games with them.
The Death Tunnel! This tunnel has to be the most famous tunnel up at Waverly Hills. It has been a major subject of discussion among people who have been to visit Waverly on tours during October. For some reason...this tunnel has come to be called " the body chute." Actually however, this is an incorrect term...because a chute is a slide. Bodies of deceased patients were never slid down this tunnel and piled up at the bottom in heaps - a popular misconception that alot of people have come to have about this tunnel.
In reality, this tunnel was originally a steam tunnel that supplied the sanatorium with hot steam for the radiators. Yes, the boiler room was at one time at the very bottom of the hill because of the black smoke produced by the coal fed boilers. The tunnel was also a good way for employees to get up and down the hill during the winter time and keep warm at the same time. Transporting the bodies of deceased tuberculosis patients was only ONE of the uses of the tunnel. During the peak years of tuberculosis there were a lot of deaths at the sanatorium, and the staff realized that it would be very discouraging for patients to look out the windows and see hearses pulling up and taking away people who had died.
Try to imagine yourself being administered to the sanatorium with a diagnosis of having TB. It is the late 1920's, and antibiotics have not been invented yet. So, you realize that you have a chance to get cured and live, but...you could die too if the treatments they gave you didn't work well enough. Now, imagine how discouraged you would feel if you looked out from your assigned room, and when you pull the curtains back...you see people who have died being picked up with a hearse. And to make matters worse...you see that perhaps many times throughout a day. It would be so emotionally depressing to you that you might give up the fight to live. Then ....your bodies defenses dwindle. It is a known fact that if a person gets very depressed emotionally....it can affect their bodies defense system to the point that it may not fight off a disease as well as if the person is in good spirits. So, that is the reason why the staff at Waverly would sneak the bodies down through this tunnel!
Estimates vary wildly of how many died at Waverly, though the owners of the building say that it was around 63,000. This estimate would be consistent with other TB hospitals, considering Waverly's size.