Weekly Yuputka: Ghost of Waverly Hills

Yuputka (n.): the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin. 

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Today, we are going to change it up. Instead of a story, I’m going to share a ghost captured on camera. Today’s picture was captured at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY. Opened in 1910, the hospital housed tuberculosis patients. In 1952, the hospital closed after antibiotics were introduced.

According to the Waverly Hills website:

Originally, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a two-story frame building, with a hipped roof and half timbering. Construction on this building began in 1908, and opened for business on July 26, 1910. The building was designed to safely accommodate 40-50 tuberculosis patients. At the time, tuberculosis was a very serious disease. People who were afflicted with tuberculosis were isolated from the general public and placed in an area where they could rest, stay calm, and have plenty of fresh air. Sanatoriums were built on high hills surrounded by peaceful woods to create a serene atmosphere to help the patients recover.

Tuberculosis was becoming an epidemic in Valley Station, Pleasure Ridge Park, and other parts of Jefferson County in Kentucky. The little TB clinic was filled with more than 140 people, and it was obvious that a much larger hospital was needed to treat those afflicted with the condition. Because tuberculosis was so extremely contagious and at epidemic proportions, those living with it could not be allowed to live and exist among the general population. It was not known at the time that tuberculosis was an airborne disease.Waverly Hills was a self-contained community. A city in and of itself, complete with it’s own zip code.

Waverly Hills had it’s own post office, water treatment facility, grew it’s own fruits and vegetables, raised it’s own meat for slaughter and maintained many of the other necessities of everyday life. Everyone at Waverly – patients, nurses, doctors and other employees had to say ‘goodbye’ to everything they knew on the outside world. Once you went to Waverly Hills, you became a permanent resident “on the hill.” Oddly enough, despite that fact, many patients received visits from loved ones on visiting day. When the visit was over, the visitors left Waverly and ventured back out into the community.

With no treatment at the time, Waverly Hills used a variety of methods to treat the tuberculosis and to dispose of the bodies. Miss Cellania from mental_floss writes:

Estimates vary, and records have been destroyed, but there may have been as many as 64,000 deaths at Waverly Sanatorium. Tuberculosis, also known as consumption, or “the white plague”, had a high mortality rate before streptomycin was introduced as a treatment in 1943. The most common treatment at the time was sunlight, fresh air, and nutritious food. Surgical intervention, including removal of ribs and/or parts of the lungs, was reserved for patients close to death. However, many people owe their lives to the care they received at Waverly Hills.

There is an underground tunnel from the sanatorium to the bottom of the hill. Originally a heating duct, this tunnel was also used by the staff to climb the hill in bad weather. During the TB years, this tunnel was also used to transport the dead, so they wouldn’t be seen by other patients. The tunnel, also known as “the body chute”, was serviced by a winch which hauled supplies up the hill and lowered gurneys with bodies down to the bottom. The tunnel is supposed to be haunted by those who made their last journey through it.

Has one of Waverly Hills’ ghosts been caught on camera? I guess you can decide. Can you see the ghost in the picture below?

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She’s on the right side, in a doorway. This photo was taken outside Room 502, where it is rumored a young woman hung herself. She was pregnant with a doctor’s child and he shunned her. She was devastated and hung herself in Room 502 (some versions says the baby’s father was the hospital’s owner and she jumped from the window). Could the apparition in the photo above be the ghost of that heartbroken woman?

 

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