May be far more sinister than we can imagine
Waverly Hills is one of the most renowned and supposedly haunted buildings in the World. The legend of this creepy facility in Kentucky has inspired numerous books and movies. There is even a full line of comic books in France based on the supposed happenings there. Numerous episodes of various shows about ghost hunting have been filmed at the asylum. It now stands as one of the world’s premier haunted attractions. However, the history of Waverly Hills may be far more sinister than we can even imagine.
The land where the sanitarium now stands was originally purchased by a man named Thomas H. Hayes in 1883. He built a house, and later a small schoolhouse for his children on the property. The young woman who lived and worked at the schoolhouse took to calling it the Waverley School. Hays liked the name so much that he decided to call the entire property Waverley Hills. It is unknown when it occurred, but the second ‘e’ in Waverley was dropped entirely. The property became Waverly Hills from then on out.
Unhealthy living environment led to many deaths
By 1912, the city of Louisville had purchased the property, with plans to build a tuberculosis sanitarium there. We know that patients began moving onto the property at this point. Constant expansion and the need for repairs at the Sanatorium eventually prompted the city to build a more secure and permanent concrete structure, in lieu of the wooden ones which were originally planned. However, while the construction was underway, patient density was incredibly high. Some patients were forced to board in hallways and closets at some points. This unhealthy living environment led to many deaths over the years. It is likely that the sanitarium actually made it harder to combat tuberculosis.
Due to an advance in medicinal knowledge and the discovery of streptomycin, Tuberculosis cases gradually began to fall. The hospital’s overflowing wings gradually began to reduce, and the lessened patient density further helped in treatment of the disease. Eventually, the asylum was too large for the relatively few cases of tuberculosis which it treated. The hospital was closed in 1961.
Numerous claims of hauntings and paranormal activity have been made about the property. However, even the truth of what happened at Waverly is astounding. Waverly had one of the highest death records of any such institution in the United States, with a peak number of 162 deaths in 1945, due to G.I.s returning from the war with advanced stages of tuberculosis. Independent researchers have used this and other specific figures given from other years to estimate that around 8000 patients likely died in the Sanitarium’s fifty years of operation.
With a creepy history like that, and with such a high rate of patient loss, it is easy to understand how Waverly Hills gained a reputation that could inspire a worldwide media phenomenon. However, the truth of these deaths might be that this hospital was stricken by an inordinately large number of tuberculosis cases due to the nearby wetlands, not as a result of patient mistreatment or some horrific conspiracy. No matter what the reality of the matter, the hospital still gives off a creepy and foreboding vibe to anyone who walks its halls, which still stand silent and ominous to this day.