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 Post subject: Waverly Hills Sanatorium
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:48 pm 
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Haunted America

By: Rob Lefebvre, Anchor Staff
Do you believe in ghosts? Whether you do or don't, this article is devoted to supposedly haunted places in the United States. I am by no means trying to tell you whether ghosts are real or not. I am a believer myself but I will do my best to relay as much unbiased information as possible.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is supposedly one of, if not the, most haunted places in America. Located in Louisville, KY., the hospital still stands. A local historical society is even looking to restore the building.

Waverly was opened in July of 1910 to oversee patients with tuberculosis (TB); a bacterial disease that attacks the lungs and central nervous system that was known as "consumption" or "white plague" at the time. The disease was becoming an epidemic and quarantine was a common preventive measure. Originally, it was a small, two-story building meant to accommodate 40-50 patients. When more and more cases began to crop up, however, the building was rebuilt into the facility that stands today. It was completed and opened in Oct. 1926.

Within the years of its operation, thousands of patients were checked into Waverly Hills. In some cases, entire families were checked in because of how contagious the disease was. Since there was no absolute cure for TB at the time (it was believed to be fresh air and exercise), many patients who were admitted essentially went there to die. There were also rumors that patients were being experimented on in order to test possible cures. Though it is entirely possible, Waverly Hills was a hospital, not a laboratory. It was not equipped to perform such experiments. Despite this, it is documented that some new cures were tested there.

In addition to the building, there was a tunnel that ran down the hill from the building to a railroad spur. It was used to move supplies to and from the building. Doctors soon found that it provided a unique way to discreetly remove dead patients as to keep patient moral up. This tunnel has been nicknamed by some as "the Death Tunnel."

In 1946, streptomycin, an antibiotic, was introduced and cases of TB began to decline. Naturally, the number of patients checking into Waverly went down. In 1961, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was closed to be quarantined and renovated. The remaining patients were sent to a nearby hospital called Hazelwood Sanatorium. Waverly was reopened in 1962 as Woodhaven Medical Services, a geriatrics hospital, but it was closed down in 1980 due to suspicion of patient abuse.

The building was bought by local organizations and assumed its former name of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. It now stands in disrepair but those same organizations hold tours of the building. They even convert the building into a haunted house attraction at Halloween time. All of the money goes to restoration of the building.

Waverly Hills has been the center of many ghost stories. People have claimed to see patients in the windows. The building has been closed off to the public due to its unsafe conditions, so the chances it was an actual person browsing the building would be slim. There have also been cases of people at the building suddenly becoming cold or uneasy as they walked by it. The Death Tunnel is supposedly the most haunted place on the property. It has been blocked off due to its hazardous condition so people have not been able to get in too far. There have also been stories of two suicides taking place years apart in the same room: Room 502. One of these people was a nurse named Mary Hillenburg who hanged herself because she became pregnant out of wedlock. The other was a patient who jumped out of the window. Researchers found that there have been several Hillenburgs who lived in the region around Louisville, but their deaths have been untraceable, leaving the story unconfirmed.

The building has been visited by a number of paranormal investigators and several television shows, including the Sci-fi Channel's Ghost Hunters and ABC Family's Scariest Places on Earth.

There have been many other stories of things that have gone on at Waverly Hills; leaving many reasons as to why spirits of the dead, if any, cannot leave and depart to the next world. Of course, it is virtually impossible to solve every mystery of the building and know every story that takes place there. Still, even if there are no ghosts, what could have taken place in this building that the public never knew about? And what about when it became the Woodhaven facility? Was the patient abuse claim legitimate? What secrets could be behind the run-down walls of Waverly Hills Sanatorium?

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