Coughing up blood, over crowed, understaffed, bizarre unethical twisted treatments, “Welcome to Waverly Hills Sanatorium”. The bodies of the dead were carelessly discarded down a chute, and then taken out of the building through an underground tunnel. This method of disposing was kept covert by doctor’s orders who wanted patients to be unaware of the quantity of dead bodies. The actual number of bodies dragged down that tunnel may have been closer to only 8,000 than the rumored 63,000 dead. As if “only 8,000 dead” is an acceptable number. If such a thing as ghosts exist, then surely they would be haunting where thousands of them, still warm from life, made the evolution to death from such a wretched hospital.
Originally in 1910, the building was two stories because the county was hit with a serious case of tuberculosis. Construction to expand the property was completed in 1926 to eventually cause it to be a 5 story building housing over 400 sick and dying. The sanatorium was designed for the purpose to care for those struck with the epidemic. Built on a hillside surrounded by woodlands, this was to create a feeling of peace and a serene atmosphere to help with the recovery or in most cases to hopefully ease the sick into the afterlife. Perhaps too quiet as the building has been award the most haunted hospital. With the discovery of the antibiotic, that could successfully treat and cure tuberculosis, the sanatorium was closed down and quarantined. Then transformed in 1962 into WoodHaven, a geriatric facility. This senior home was closed down in 1982 due to the reports of severe patient neglect due to being under staffed and overcrowded. There are stories of patients being experimented on with horrible treatments. The building lay empty since then until it was recently made available for people to take paranormal tours.
With high death rate, the death tunnel, unbearable moans and screams of patients dying, suicides, and mistreatment for those who stayed there it is no surprise that over the years Waverly Hills has collected a number of ghosts. Well known is a tragic story of a nurse named Mary Lee who worked treating people with tuberculosis who contracted the disease, a tragic story but sadly it’s not finished, this nurse also found herself with child from one of the doctors and unwed. The shame of this was too much for her and she took her own life by hanging herself in Room 502. Tragically her body lay undiscovered for a long time. Another bizarre story from Room 502 is that another nurse took her own life by jumping out the window. Was she driven mad by something in that room? We will never know for sure.
Possibly the most famous ghost sighting is that of a little boy bouncing his ball, or maybe it is the sightings of a little girl innocently playing hide and seek with the visitors. But the most terrifying and shocking sighting is that of an elderly lady with her hands and feet bleeding and chained runs away screaming from stunned onlookers. It is so sad to think that even in the afterlife this poor tragic soul has yet to find peace. It is not uncommon to see lights on in the building even though there is no running electricity in the building as if the building is alive and is reliving its own past perpetually.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium has become a bit of a television celebrity appearing on many TV paranormal shows such as Ghost Hunters who visited three times and even had one of their Halloween specials there. Even the UK got a taste of the Waverly when Most Haunted visited during their season special which saw them tour America’s most haunted places. Ghost Adventures also featured the sanatorium in an episode where they captured a lot of EVP’s including some very creepy ones aimed at the guys themselves, also one of the members, Aaron Goodwin, claimed to have seen a doppelganger of fellow investigator Nick Groff. But the biggest flattery, if true, is the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is probably the basis for the TV show American Horror Story: Asylum. Fans point out the similarities between the sanatorium and the show; however no one from the show has denied the connection.
It seems as if the tragedy from some types of deaths makes a haunting more likely. Is it due to the untimely death? Some would believe that having a horrible disease like tuberculosis would be an uneasy passing and it would be a relief when they did finally succumb. We don’t really want to die; we may claim we do when in misery, but deep down we don’t. This must stem from our fear of the unknown. Is this why spirits choose to stick around? Even after suffering in life?
Or do the patients of the Waverly have something to tell us? Do they want us to know of the ill treatment they received at the hands of the people that were sworn to treat them? Does their natural belief in minimal human rights cry out the unanswered questions of why? “Why me? Why am I being treated so badly?” Or is it the simple fact that they don’t know they are dead?
By Linzi Bootman (Staff Writer for Paranormal Association)
Linzi Bootman is a paranormal enthusiast, she enjoys hunting for ghosts in her spare time. Enjoys research and is a self proclaimed geek. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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(Note: Waverly Hills Sanatorium was originally spelled with an “E” being Waverley Hills Sanatorium, for continuity we used the modern name. )