Waverly Hills 101

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 by The Waverly Hills

The purpose of Waverly Hills 101 is to give the reader a detailed look inside the historical timeline and the historical property of Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. The history behind this famous building includes the death of thousands of patients and staff members, and for that reason, Waverly Hills is said to be one of the most haunted places on the planet. An outbreak of tuberculosis is what sparked the death toll to rise to shocking numbers. A place of curing is now a notorious place of scaring. There are many legends, personal experiences, and stories of paranormal activity that would give any normal human the goose bumps. Waveryhills101 will entail the experience of our tour at Waverly, the stories of other tourists, and a detailed history of the grounds. James Bright’s essay includes the personal stories and details from the tour. Briana Bryant’s essay includes a detailed historical timeline. Warning: some of the content featured in this web-text will cause the chills.


History of Waverly Hills by Briana

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 by The Waverly Hills


Waverly Hills Sanatorium- underworldtales.com

If you’re interested in phenomenal architectural structures, paranormal activity or you live in Kentucky, especially then the name Waverly Hills should ring a bell. Waverly Hills is famous for more than a lot of things. But I am here to give you the how and why Waverly Hills began.

            The infamous Waverly Hill Sanatorium that still stands today on top of a hill in the Pleasure Ridge Park part of Louisville, KY wasn’t the first building by the name of “Waverly (Parkhurst).” Major Thomas H. Hays bought the mass of land in 1883 for him and his family. He built a one room school, specifically, for his daughters on his property. The teacher really liked the little school and the scenery surrounding it so she named it “Waverly School” after one of her favorite authors, Scott Waverley. Hays liked the name just as much as she did so he named his property “Waverly Hill” after the school (Historical).

            In the early 1900’s Louisville, Kentucky had the highest TB rate in the country (Part 1). The Board of Tuberculosis bought Hays’ Waverly Hill in 1908 to build a hospital in an isolated area for diseased people that lived in Jefferson County (Historical). Tuberculosis, the White Plague, or TB, was a serious and contagious disease that thrived in swampy areas like Jefferson County before antibiotics were invented (Flickner). In 1910, the first of the Waverly Hills Sanatoriums opened. It was a small building only supposed to hold 40-50 patients and it was made out of wood. There were 2 other buildings connected to the main hospital and they were the children’s pavilions. The disease was threatening enough that children even became affected. In 1912 another building strictly for African Americans was built on the property. Yes, even in times of sickness and death racial segregation was still an issue at hand (Parkhurst).

The Board of Tuberculosis bought Waverly Hill for its peaceful atmosphere. People with TB had to be away from the public, be able to get as much rest as possible and stay as stress free as the disease would allow them too (Parkhurst). Soon after the small clinic for up to 50 people opened over 140 patients with TB were being treated there. The disease was spreading like wildfire and everyone was being sent there to the small, wood building (Historical). The disease was very dangerous and the public was scared. “The community wanted anyone they thought had TB to be at the top of that hill, away from them. If you just happened to cough at the wrong place and wrong time, one call to officials would have you up there within 24 hours (Flickner).” The building just wasn’t enough for all of the multiplying patients. In 1924 the Board of Tuberculosis started constructing the last, but not least, of the Waverly Hills Sanatoriums (Historical).

In 1926, the historic sanatorium was open for all. It was a massive 5 story, gothic style building that had everything a patient or staff member could need. The 800,000 square foot cost the state $1.1 million dollars to build (Part 1). Along with the massive building; a 1500 foot tunnel was built underground that connected the basement of the hospital to the bottom of the hill near Dixie Highway. It was the easiest way for staff to get supplies from the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible. One half of the tunnel was stairs and the other was smooth ground. It had a motorized winch system that rode against the smooth side and could transport whatever the hospital needed (Historical). Because of the hospitals size, groundbreaking facilities and large staff it was the top and most advanced TB research sanatorium in the country (Flickner). It was so elite that people were coming from all over the nation, even some from around the world, in hopes of a cure. It was filling up so fast that Jefferson County residents were being put on a waiting list. The Board of Tuberculosis was more worried about the people of their state so they passed a bill that only residents of Jefferson County could be admitted into Waverly. The newspaper article’s title was, Waverly Hill Board Explains That County Patients Require All Space (Part 1). Waverly was built to hold at least 400 patients. Waverly even had buildings all over the property for all persons that had anything to do with the TB hospital. It even had its own mass graveyard for the large amount of unclaimed bodies (Flickner). Waverly and its surrounding land was even big enough to be counted as its own county and it still is; Waverly, KY (Flickner). All nurses, doctors, cooks, janitors, etc. that had any involvement with the TB hospital were not allowed to leave the hill in fear of spreading it to the rest of the community. “The sanatorium had its own farm and farmers for raising/ slaughtering cattle and growing fruits and vegetables for their meals, 2 movie theaters, dentist, salon, literally anything a person on top of that hill could need (Flickner).” Waverly wasn’t just glorified as the top TB hospital because of all of its facilities and capacity; the doctors and nurses of Waverly were very innovative (Part 1).

The building was built to accommodate every treatment used to supposedly cure TB. It was even built curved so the freshest of air could come in. “It was built so one end was facing the south east where wind was always blowing and it would come in and blow out the bad, contagious air out of the north west side of the building (Flickner).” As you all will notice every floor but the first floor has big square openings that appear to be windows. They aren’t windows they are open squares hat only had copper screens that let in as much sunlight as possible because that’s the floors that the patients were on. The openings instead of windows also allowed clean air to come in for the patients and staff to breathe in. One of the treatments for TB was called heliotherapy (Haunted). They thought sunlight would cure the bones, joints and ligaments of the disease. The patient’s rooms were placed directly behind solarium porch ways. All day long patients laid in their beds on the solarium porch ways facing the hot sun (Historical). They still rested on the solariums during the colder seasons. Because of the cold air they needed to stay warm to prevent from getting any sicker so Waverly invented electric blankets. They were un-heard of before this and that’s one of the reasons Waverly was top in the country (Flickner). Even when it was too cold for electric blankets they still kept up the heliotherapy by putting the patients under sunlamps in their rooms. The first floor had windows because it was where the lobby, offices, x-ray room, nurse stations, salon, dentist, library, breaker/ transformer, morgue and cold storage for meat and food rooms were (Part 1). Heliotherapy continued on up to the fifth floor where it was especially necessary. The fifth floor was for 2 types of patients; ones with TB of the brain and children. These were the most serious cases of TB so they thought they should have the most heliotherapy as possible. The children’s wing was on the North side of the 5th floor. All of the children stayed together in the wing but during the day they played on the swing/ play sets on the roof to soak in all of the sun. The wing for the mental patients was only 20-25 feet away from the children’s wing. TB could affect any part of the body and if it got in the brain it caused brain damage and one to be mentally unstable. They were on bed rest on the South side of the roof. “Patients with TB of the brain only had a 2% survival rate (Flickner).”

Along with plenty of heliotherapy, they thought TB could be cured by a good nutritional diet. They wanted the patients to be as healthy as possible, and keep their immune system from crashing so they fed them a lot of protein to help them be strong. They had a farm on the hill specifically for the TB patients. Waverley’s farmers raised and slaughtered cows and hogs for meat, cheese and milk. They grew their own fruits and vegetables for the helpful vitamins and to help balance the sick patient’s diet. The patients ate in the cafeteria inside the sanatorium. It was a large room big enough to accommodate a lot of the patients. They had a smaller cafeteria away from this one for the very sick patients (Historical).

If the natural remedies of rest, sunlight, fresh air and nutrition did not cure the patients the doctors at Waverly would be forced to perform one of two surgeries. Unfortunately for the patients that weren’t helped by the natural ways they had to undergo painful surgeries. Since it was the early 1900’s they had no resources that would put the patients to sleep (Historical). All they had was morphine and that only relieved the pain; they were awake during every procedure (Flickner). They tried Artificial Pneumothorax on some patients. AP was pretty successful in defeating TB because collapsing the diseased lung actually helped heal the holes that TB created (Surgical). If AP didn’t work then the doctors had to resort to another, more painful, procedure. This procedure was Thoracoplasty. Doctor’s would have to open up the chest and sometimes cut open the back of the patient’s so they could remove at-least 7-8 ribs (Flickner). It was only safe to remove up to 3 ribs at one time so some of the patients would have to have more than a few surgeries before Thoracoplasty was fully finished. Sometimes the doctors would end up having to perform a Lobectomy and cut out most of the diseased part of the lung. It was only used if literally nothing else worked to save the patient’s life (Historical). A blog about Waverly’s history recorded that only 5% of patient’s survived after Thoracoplasty (Architecture).

With all of the death and sickness lingering around Waverly, the staff wanted to help keep the patients as mentally healthy as they could. Waverly was also praised for keeping its patients sane by keeping their minds off their deadly disease by giving them something to do. Waverly was the first to have radios for the patients to listen to during leisure time. They were allowed to interact with friends and the sanatorium held classes that taught typewriting, basket weaving, weaving brooms, sewing tablecloths, bedspreads and other random items (Historical) (Part 1). These crafts were useful to the patients, to take up time, and they were even proudly sold at the Kentucky State Fair to raise more money in order to develop more helpful facilities at the hospital (Historical). “Waverly had picture shows every Wednesday night, and on Christmas they had a huge Christmas party for all of the patients and Santa would go around the building on a sleigh for the children to see (Part 1).” In a video about the history of Waverly Hills, former patient, Douglas T. Steele, said, “Now, let me tell you about the good things about Waverly Hills, they had entertainment, because if people enjoyed themselves to some degree, there was a lot of fun things that went along in there. One of the doctor’s there once had a horse and he liked to let people ride the horse if he could. He said might as well let everybody enjoy themselves because they didn’t have as long to enjoy life as some other people could anyway (Part 1).” Waverly even kept a positive morale by discreetly sending away the deceased bodies of the patients that unfortunately could not be cured.

It is estimated that over 8,000 people died within the walls of Waverly Hills. During TB’s peak more than just a couple patients were dying daily at the hospital. The staff stayed busy enough with the living patients and had little time to deal with the deceased. At one point there were so many bodies that they couldn’t take them out fast enough and they had to use the cold food storage room to stack the bodies in (Flickner). The maintenance room even became a make shift morgue (Part 2). During this very intense time of the White Plague the staff had to think about how seeing these multiplying bodies would lower the patient’s spirit and cause them to lose hope and give up. Our tour guide said, “Loss of hope killed the patients faster than the disease ever did (Flickner).” Fortunately, one doctor had a very clever idea of using the 1500 foot underground tunnel, formally used for transporting supplies and heat up the hill, to discreetly take the bodies to the bottom of the hill. They were to be taken away by a hearse without a single patient seeing a thing. The bodies were placed on carts that were attached to the motorized winches. Not one patient could see the bodies leaving the very same hospital that was supposed to be “curing” them. Even though TB hit a peak that took many people’s lives a cure came shortly after.

When Waverly first began, there was virtually no cure for TB if the two, bloody surgeries didn’t work. Nothing was available until the late 40’s and 50’s (Tuberculosis). At this time antibiotics like isoniazid and streptomycin were being invented. Over the next few years, these antibiotics completely ridded the less extreme patients at Waverly of the disease. Mostly, because of these antibiotics, but the natural remedies and surgeries too, “More healthy people walked down that hill then were ever taken by a hearse (Flickner).” The hospital was closed in 1961 because the new successful antibiotics made a Tuberculosis hospital of that size completely unnecessary. It was quarantined from 1961 to 1962 and re-modeled as a nursing home which opened in 1962 as Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital (Historical).

The patients of Woodhaven were unfortunately not treated with the respect and care that Waverly’s were. A former nurse of Woodhaven said that it was, “A place where people came to die (Part 2).” Woodhaven was a nursing home and its patients were very old and had no family to care for them and their deteriorating health. The patients were subjected to unnecessary and bizarre experiments like electrocution and electric shock by the staff. Visitors of Woodhaven reported that there was pee and cockroaches everywhere, patients had to lie in wet beds and in their own feces and that no staff cared about their well-being. The patients went crazy because they were stripped of their clothes, tied to chairs and locked in their rooms for hours upon hours. The staff neglected to keep good watch on the elderly patients and let them fall off of their wheelchairs and severely hurt themselves because, “They were going to die anyways (Part 2).” During the time when Waverly Hill was Woodhaven Geriatrics, the building wasn’t kept well and the patients weren’t treated well. The same nurse said, “There were times when I would sit out in the parking lot and cry because I knew what it was gonna be like when I was in there. Nothing but pure sadness, that’s it (Part 2).” Finally in 1982, Kentucky’s courts closed Woodhaven Geriatrics due to many reports of patient abuse (Flickner).

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was basically left abandoned from 1982 to 2001 when the current owners purchased it. During the 20 years it was left abandoned it was taken over by vandals, gangs and trespassers. Now Waverly is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. I certainly think so too; due to its unique yet terrifying history.

the county in Louisville that Waverly is- bestplaces.net

the first Waverly (small and wooden)- heartlandtrails.com

My picture of the layout for the Waverly that stands today

aerial view of Waverly and it's surrounding land- prairieghosts.com

my picture of the inside of the underground tunnel

Waverly, Ky on my iphone GPS

nurses and doctors in waverly- therealwaverlyhills.com

my picture of the "windowless" windows

Waverly from the side (to show that it's curved for the fresh air)- flickriver.com

patients on the solarium porch ways- prairieghosts.com

my picture of the morge

swingset on the children's wing- therealwaverlyhills.com

patients eating in Waverly's cafeteria- therealwaverlyhills.com

my picture of the operation room

my picture of a close up of the operation room

James (my partner) and I in the food storage room that bodies ended up being stacked in

a collage of patients and nurses at Woodhaven Geriatrics- ronshistoryofwaverly.com

my picture of graffiti in the building

my picture of graffiti from the vandals

waverly during it's abandondment- ohioghosthunter.com

my picture of graffiti

my picture of more graffiti (the mouth is a hole that a trespasser created and then someone else creatively painted around it)

Works Cited

Flickner, Michael. Personal Interview. 11 Nov. 2011.

“Haunted Places: Waverly Hills Sanatorium.” Becauseilive on HubPages. Becauseilive, 2011. 28                      Nov. 2011.             http://becauseilive.hubpages.com/hub/Haunted_Places_Waverly_Hills_Sanatorium

Parkhurst, Ron. “Rons History of Waverly.” Web log post. Ron’s History of Waverly. 2006. 5          Nov. 2011. http://www.ronshistoryofwaverly.com/first-hospital.html

“SURGICAL CURE FOR ADVANCED CASES OF CONSUMPTION – The Induction of             Artificial Pneumothorax, or Compression of Affected Lungs with Nitrogen, as Tested in         1,000 Cases, Gives Remarkable Results in Pulmonary Tuberculosis. – Article –                                   NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 09       Nov. 1913. 28 Nov. 2011.             http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30F14F7385B13738DDDA00894D94  15B838DF1D3

“Tuberculosis Pictures, Causes, History, Vaccine, Symptoms and Treatment by                                       EMedicineHealth.com.” Tuberculosis. WebMD, 2011. 28 Nov. 2011.                                           http://www.emedicinehealth.com/tuberculosis/article_em.htm

“Waverly Hills Sanatorium.” Architecture of the State. Thomas Industries, 12 Apr. 2010. 28             Nov. 2011. http://arch.thomas-industriesinc.com/Bldg_WaverlyHills.htm

Waverly Hills Sanitorium History Part 1 – YouTube. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself.             Dannukesem, 31 May 2011. 28 Nov. 2011.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV_3Yrge8U4

Waverly Hills Sanitorium History Part 2 – YouTube. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself                                  Dannukesem, 31 May 2011. 28 Nov. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFvF0ibkjSI

Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Waverly Hills Historical Society, 2010. 28 Nov. 2011.             http://www.therealwaverlyhills.com/

Waverly Hills Today by James Bright

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 by The Waverly Hills

Waverly Hills Today

What could possibly become of an old, run-down, and abandoned mental hospital in the middle of the woods? Surprisingly, there is a lot, and many people do not know the story of this mysterious place and what all it has to offer. Who would ever imagine that paying money to have their hair stand straight up for 8 hours and walking down a 500 foot dead body chute would be a fun idea? Well, I did, and I plan to share the bone chilling experience of myself, and others, while taking you on a virtual tour and timeline of the historical Waverly Hills in Louisville, Kentucky- one of the only places on the planet where the ghosts of a boy playing ball, a girl playing hide and seek, a screaming, bloody woman, and many others “live” under the same roof.

In 1982, when it was a geriatrics hospital, a place of health care for elderly people, Waverly Hills was closed down by the state due to horrendous conditions and abusive treatment of its patients. Before it was a geriatrics treatment center, the history of Waverly Hills includes it being a small school house, a Sanatorium, a Tuberculosis Hospital, and a general Medical Services hospital. Waverly, however, is most notably known as a Tuberculosis Hospital during an outbreak of the incurable (at the time) disease from 1910 to 1936. It was not until 1943, that a remedy was found to cure the disease (ZzzipNet News). Urban legends say that over 60,000 people’s lives, staff included, ended in this building, but a more accurate number developed by research is around 8,000 (Grave Addiction). Because of these extraordinary numbers, Waverly Hills has become a legendary paranormal activity site around the globe and is a highly attractive location for paranormal investigators. It has been featured in many horror stories, novels, films, and documentaries as one of the “World’s Scariest Places.” The show, “Scariest Places on Earth,” ranks it second scariest place on the planet. Other examples of media include Fear, Spooked, and Death Tunnel (Bryan). Spooked, however, is said to be inaccurate because it features a draining room- there is no such room on “The Hill”. During the actual tour, they claim the status of being one of the scariest places in the world is on the rise because of public evidence, blogs, chronicles, etc (Flickner).

Do not let the restorations fool you. The place is still very spooky, especially at night

Between 1980 and 2001, the ownership of Waverly Hills switched hands over a dozen times; eighteen to be exact. Future plans for the property was constantly a hot topic for the owners. Through all the ownerships, the vacant building was primarily occupied by homeless people, teenagers looking for a party, and random cultists (Grave Addiction). Also, gang violence and drug deals became a growing problem (Flickner). The building quickly became vandalized, looted and trashed, which was encouraged by a previous owner. One owner tried to construct the world’s largest statue of Jesus Christ but failed due to lack of funds and, another owner even attempted to tear the “fortress” down, but was unsuccessful because it was listed on the National Historic Register’s “endangered” list (Grave Addiction). I spoke with Melissa Cheser, an acquaintance, who says she used to visit Waverly as a teenager when it was abandoned during these times. Melissa said the building was in bad shape –having to climb over bricks and rocks just to get in the doorway. Also, asbestos and lead paint were used in those days to build the buildings, which we know now is unhealthy. It was nowhere kids should have been hanging out. She also said she witnessed parties with as many as 50 or more people drinking inside the halls or on the roof, but claims nothing like that could happen today because the grounds are now watched very closely (Cheser).

It was not until the late 1990’s that a community wide restoration, the “Awakening of Waverly Manor,” took place on the property. To give the reader an idea of how immense this project is, at full service, the 180,000 square foot hospital had a running kitchen, a barbershop, a laundry center, a dentist, a library, a school…and a morgue (ZzzipNet News). This was usually the place that “many children and adults called there last home!! Very sad…” (Cheser). Tuberculosis was such an epidemic back then, that “if a neighbor heard Joe cough the wrong way, he’d be at Waverly in the next 24 hours. It was your neighbor’s word against your own” (Flickner). Hearing this reminded me of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.

Charlie (USA shirt) and Tina Mattingly

The restoration is still going on today and is now in the hands of owners Charlie and Tina Mattingly. They became owners of Waverly Hills in 2001 and have since then turned it into a haunted house during the Halloween season and a historical tour site during warm weather months. The tour features parts of each of the five floors, including the morgue, and an old dead body chute, known as the Death Tunnel, which tourists can walk down at the beginning of the tour. The tunnel was used as a way to dispose of dead bodies in a discreet way so the patients could maintain a somewhat higher spirit about the place (Body Chute). At one point during the 1930’s, before the tunnel was built, there was one death every hour, and it was believed that more people “were dying from lack of hope rather than Tuberculosis” after seeing so many lifeless bodies being taken away by hearse or train. Because of the high level of superstition towards TB back then and the many mysteries of this “White Plague,” many of the dead bodies were unclaimed by families. On the tour, our guide, Mike Flickner, told us before entering the Death Tunnel that we were within 100 yards of a mass grave for these bodies (Flickner). This was a bone chilling fact to hear in person.

 Before the building could be opened to the public for tours though, much more needed to be done because it was in “complete shambles; every window was broken, the ceilings and roofs were collapsing, the steps were in pieces, and the grounds were filthy” (Cheser); the building and area around it was described as a “jungle” (Restoration). After a full restoration, Charlie and Tina’s future plans include turning the main wing of the hospital into a haunted bed and breakfast. The estimated price tag for the project is some 45 million dollars (Abandoned). Besides offering overnight tours, other sources of “income” in the past have come from an on-property paintball course, allowing FBI search and rescue teams to practice on the grounds, being featured in multiple television programs, and many hours of volunteer work.

Personally, I know I will never be a guest if it is turned into a haunted bed and breakfast. To this day, paranormal activity is still at an all-time high-“legends” say that Room 502, coincidently the area code of Louisville, and the fourth floor are the most haunted locations on the property.

  • Room 502 is a laundry room on the top floor where two different nurses are said to have lost their lives. One nurse had apparently contracted TB, was unmarried, and was expecting a child. Before hanging herself outside the doorway of Room 502, the nurse aborted her child and disposed of the child down the drain. The body of the baby was discovered in the sewage system the next day. It is not uncommon for expecting woman to enter this room and immediately feel nauseous. Years later in this same room, another nurse was said to have either been pushed out of the window or willingly threw herself out of the window (Flickner). Outside of Room 502, in a glassed-in room where children used to play and go through heliotherapy, “Ring around the Rosy” has been heard being sung faintly (Bryan).
  • On the fourth floor, one of the present owners, Tina, has seen several times the apparition of a tall man in a large coat with curly hair. He and his white dog always seem to be roaming the halls (Mattingly). His dog’s collar has also been heard jingling from what sounds like a distance during tours. The homeless man and his dog actually lived in the building during the 1990’s; they were allowed to stay because the owners figured he would help keep people out or scare them off. Sadly, both the man and the dog were savagely beaten, killed, and thrown in the elevator shaft by gang members (Flickner).
  • A friendlier story includes the ghost of a little boy named Timmy who wanders the halls around the chapel. On my tour a woman asked how they knew his name -the answer was quite simple. Paranormal investigators came in, stood in the chapel, and asked “What is your name?” using high-tech equipment, they discovered the voice of a spirit say “My name is Timmy.” Investigators often leave toys laying around for Timmy to play with and move throughout the building; “Nine times out of ten, if you leave a toy in the chapel and come back fifteen minutes later, it will be somewhere else” (Flickner).

  • The ghost of “Little Mary” can also be found playing around the same halls as Timmy. She is believed to be the spirit of a woman named Mary Higgs who died next to her sister on the third floor. Her floating head has been caught in pictures in the same room she died in, and she is notorious for playing hide and seek with tourists (Flickner).
  • Other tales include doors slamming and locking (especially on the fourth floor), “disembodied voices”, random lights coming on (which is impossible because there is no electricity), the elevator leading to the morgue turning on (again, impossible), orbs and faces appearing in pictures, and even a bloody woman screaming “Help me!” (Bryan).

These examples given are known, intense cases of paranormal activity in Waverly, but the main “inhabitants” are called shallow apparitions –mere forms or pieces of figures seen quickly through peripheral vision (Flickner). It is also likely that many, if not dozens of floating orbs can be seen within any picture taken at Waverly Hills. What makes these orbs, spirits, and ghosts return here? Why do they stay? Can they leave?

To date, there are too many personal stories to tell, but for starters, I will tell my partner and I’s own experience and the encounters of another visitor on our tour. To be honest, I did not expect much driving up to the massive building, but by the end of the tour, the experience exceeded my expectations.

The tour actual tour began by walking down to the bottom of the Death Tunnel (there is a brief historical video preceding this). Was it haunted?-probably, but there were 40 people chatting and shining lights everywhere. This aspect of the adventure was interesting just because of its history, not so much because all the pictures had circular orbs in them. Once we entered the building, we were packed into the very small morgue. There were only three body trays because only a small percent (17%) of the bodies were actually processed (Flickner). Home footage from the owners’ daughter captures a very loud noise, and a death tray actually being pulled out by nothing visible. It was also mentioned that not one over night guest has been able to lay in one of these body trays for an hour (Flickner). I was for sure I was not going to try and be the first.  We were then taken into a large room next door that was supposed to be for food storage. Mike told us, however, that most often food was stacked in the hallways and dead bodies filled the room wall to wall. Even though Waverly was only required to have a 17% autopsy rate, people were still dying faster than dead bodies could be taken to an outside crematory or cemetery (Flickner). It was at this point I asked Mike what his favorite part of “The Hill” and giving tours was; he replied, “I wouldn’t say I have a favorite area of the place. The whole place is simply amazing” (Flickner). By the end of the tour, I could one hundred percent agree with his concise statement.

After leaving the first floor, we proceeded to the third floor where the chapel was located. It was then that Mike guaranteed us that Timmy the ghost was with us in the room because of his regular curiosity. This was the place where investigators would leave toys for him to play with. Directly outside the chapel was Mary Higg’s room. Here, we were told the story of her and her sister and the ghost of “Little Mary.” At this point in the tour, nothing had really spooked me; it was all just interesting history and ghost stories. It was not until after seeing the turmoil rooms for the hopeless patients that the tour really took a turn. Mike told us to turn out ALL sources of light for the rest of the next two floors…

Approaching the stairs, we were told to go straight to the fifth floor, and to not stick anything through or shine any light through the broken window on the fourth floor door. He would tell us why later, but at the time, it was pretty intimidating. The fifth floor featured a laundry room, notoriously known as Room 502, and two heliotherapy decks. One of the decks was for the patients with Tuberculosis of the brain, who only had a 2% chance of living, and the other was for children with TB (Flickner). Directly in front of Room 502, where the nurse hanged herself, is where we stood as Mike told us the haunting accounts of the room. Sure enough, as soon as we were allowed to enter the room, a pregnant woman on our tour became very unstable. It was quite disturbing to see the “effects” that this room can have on people, even though it was apparently common.

Leaving the fifth floor, we were now in smaller groups and stood outside the door to the fourth floor. It was here that Mike revealed that anything bad that has ever happened to him in his many years at Waverly Hills has happened on the fourth floor. Before entering he also mentioned three terrifying stories. The first described him closing up and being locked in on the fourth floor until day light; “the door would simply not open.” His second encounter was two years ago when the door unexpectedly slammed on his arm as he walked through, resulting in a broken arm. The third story was truly mind blowing and is proven by police records. Eight years ago, three teenagers broke into the building for a thrill…one they would never forget. Mike and a security guard caught the teens on camera on the fourth floor. When they went to apprehend the intruders, they were screaming and banging on the door. They claimed that the door was locked and “the people” would not let them out. After a moment of sheer terror in the boys’ eyes, the security guard opened the door effortlessly. The boys fell to the platform in the stairwell…along with an axe. On the side of the door facing the inside of the fourth floor were two deep marks from wear the boys had struck the door with the axe (Flickner). 


Following this horrific story…we entered through the door cautiously. Next to the doorway was the elevator shaft where the homeless man and his dog were thrown in after being beaten and killed. As little as 6 weeks ago, Mike explained that as he gave this part of the tour, he had to stop mid-sentence because the jingling of the dog’s collar could be heard down the hallway. As soon as he shined his light on the general area, the noise stopped, but immediately resumed as he turned his flash light off (Flickner).

The next part of the tour is what leads me to this statement: “Waverly is definitely worth visiting for the fourth floor alone. The entire tour exceeds any expectations of paranormal activity in this hallway merely lit by the moon.” All of our lights were turned out. We were instructed to not say a word and simply focus our eyes on any ambient light source down the hallway. At this time, Mike asked for a volunteer to walk with arms spread down the hallway by themselves to see how the spirits react. I immediately volunteered. This was an experience of a life time. Walking down the hallway I was terrified because I could hear Mike from a distance saying “look under his left arm,” “look to his right,” and “do you see that?” The reaction from other tourists is what spooked me the most; their gasps alone caused me to lose sleep that night. When I turned around and faced the group, I could feel a deathly cold breeze going around my body. If you have ever stood on the top deck of a cruise ship and felt the wind, this is what it felt like, but three times colder. Mike then yelled stop very loud as I was walking back. When he told me to take one step back because there was something hovering around my entire torso, I felt a violent shove from behind me that sent me stumbling forward. I immediately took off toward the group as if I was running into my mommy’s arms. I was that spooked, and I later tweeted about the experience saying “scariest 30 seconds of my life #waverly11/11/11.” After it was my turn, I girl I came with also volunteered to make the walk. She had earlier mentioned that she felt scratching sensation on her leg while Mike talked about the homeless man and her dog. Apparently it was the dog that caused the outline of her body to be very fuzzy during the course of her. Spirits do not have a sense of time or up and down, so it is not uncommon to see them walking down walls or through mid air (Flickner). This is what I assume happened to Ryanne and why she had scratches down her neck following the encounter.

The tour then ended shortly after we were shown the surgery room at the end of the hall. The entire experience was well worth my $22 donation to Waverly. I would do it again in a heartbeat and encourage anyone who has the slightest interest to do the same. You will not be let down.

For information on scheduling a tour, visit the official Waverly Hills Website

Works Cited

“Body Chute.” TheRealWaverlyHills. The Waverly Hills Historical Society, 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

Bryan, Bobette. “Waverly Hills Sanatorium The Haunted Hospital.” Underworld Tales

Magazine. Underworld Tales, 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

Cheser, Melissa. Personal Interview. 9 November, 2011.

Flickner, Michael. Personal Interview. 11 November, 2011.

Mattingly, Tina. Personal Interview. 11 November, 2011.

“Restoration.” TheRealWaverlyHills. The Waverly Hills Historical Society, 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

“Waverly Hills Sanatorium.” Grave Addiction. Louisville Ghost Hunters Society, 23 July 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

“Waverly Hills Sanitarium.” ZzzipNet News. Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Hunters, 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.

“Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Hospital.” Abandoned | History and Photography of Abandoned and Historical Locations across the United States. Abandoned, 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2011.