Its beginning in 1910, was originally a small wooden two-story building designed to house a disease that was quickly going rampant around the world, and deemed very contagious. The reason this small facility was placed on the highest elevated hill in Jefferson County, Kentucky. However, it became quickly evident that tuberculosis was much more rampant than originally estimated and the building quickly needed to be expanded. Thus a larger building quickly began construction in the spring of 1924, and the Waverly Hospital Sanitarium, opened two short years later in 1926. Tuberculosis (TB) is thought to have plagued the human race many thousands of years. Ancient prehistoric skeletal remains show evidence as late as humans 4000 years BC of tuberculosis, as the tubercular decay of TB was found in the spines of many Egyptian mummies who died around 3000-2400 BC. It wasn’t until 1854, when Hermann Brehmer, a German physician, proposed that tuberculosis was in fact a curable disease, and introduced the first sanatorium that provided the first steps toward treatment and a possible cure for the disease. Brehmer, also diagnosed with TB, was advised by his doctor to move to a healthier climate. Thus he did, to the Himalayas and returned a few years later miraculously cured. The experience gave him the inspiration to build the first sanatorium, a place that patients were able to get lots of fresh air and well balanced diet, and subsequently became the blueprint for sanatoriums around the world. Patients at Waverly often spent a great part of their day in great hallway of the Sanitarium, as can be seen in the photograph, and designed specifically with the solarium-like porch as part of their treatment. The large windows were screened with no glass, and the patients would also be placed here in the winter, with heating blankets that were invented specifically for this purpose in mind. Although it sounds pleasant enough, dangerous experimental treatment, that was not only painful, bu often dangerous was conducted here. Such as the introduction of a surgery that induced pneumothorax (collapsing the patients lungs, and/or a portion of the lung) to induce healing; or thoracoplasty (opening the thoracic cavity, chest , to remove several ribs, in an effort to provide room for the lungs to expand and heal. Neither, of which, were effective. However a grim fact remained; less than five percent of patients survived either of these methods. And thousands of people subsequently died at Waverly before the discovery of the anti-biotic streptomycin was discovered in 1943. Although it is unknown how many people actually died there, it is estimated to be well over 65,000, By the 1950's, tuberculosis was nearly eradicated thanks to the introduction of the  antibiotic.  And as an end result, the hospital was longer necessary, and closed 1961. However it did reopen in 1962 as the Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium only to be closed in 1982 by the State of Kentucky, because of the countless stories of patient abuse, mistreatment and unusual experimentation. The high death toll is most likely a contributing factor to the legends that makes Waverly Hills Sanatorium a prime haunted location. As revealed in episodes of several television programs throughout the world, a tunnel exists that was built around 1926 to enable construction workers to easily transport supplies in and out of the building. Opening the way to use the system for an alternative from what it was originally designed. People were dying at alarming rate within the crowded walls at Waverly, and to speed things up for new patients needing a bed, someone realized that this tunnel could also function to discretely transport deceased patients quickly without being detected by the other patients. Their corpses would be inconspicuously placed on a gurney for transport, while the other patients assumed another treatment. However, they were taken to the ‘death tunnel’ or ‘body cute’ as it became known by the staff, to be placed on a motorized cart pulled by a cabled rail system down the chute for immediate cremation or burial. It is this area that has become one of the prime haunts of the facility, and many unexplained occurrences and paranormal activity events have been recorded. Including electromagnetic Field (EMF) detectors going ballistic near the ‘body chute,’ and disembodied voices heard emanating from within the tunnel. Other popular legends surrounding the sanatorium include ‘the draining room, an area purported used to prepare the bodies for a lighter transport (through disemboweling) before being placed in the tunnel. Once received at the bottom, and since Waverly had no cemetery, and the locals being afraid the corpses could introduce the deadly disease into their town, the bodies were strung up on poles to remove all body fluids into an underground septic system that was sealed with concrete when the hospital closed. Despite extensive paranormal activity witnessed and recorded time and time again by various paranormal groups, and the presence of eight large spear-headed poles in the draining room, this legend has never been fully verified, and many skeptics believe the quadrant (room) only operated as the transformer room to the rest of the hospital. The most well known legend at Waverly Hills is of course Room 502, where a nurse by the name of Mary Hillenburg allegedly hanged herself in the doorway of room 502 in 1928 after she was confirmed to be pregnant out of wedlock. Although there are variations to the tale, it is thought that she was actually impregnated by one of the married doctors working at the facility. The truth be told, the doctor had apparently failed his attempt to abort the fetus, and Mary died after things went awry. To cover his bumbled abortion, he made it appear that she had taken her own life. Whatever really happened with Mary Hilenburg, or the tales, experiences and sightings that have occured all over Waverly Hill Sanatorium over the last 40 years since the hospital closed, has made it one of the top haunted locations in the United States and the world.
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