On-line Connection: Waverly Hills offers frightful experiences

By Rachel Nguyen

Waverly Hills Sanatarium is located on 4400 Paralee Lane in Louisville, Kentucky. At first sight, it appears to be an old abandoned building, but its walls hold a much more gruesome history.

In the 1900s, Waverly Hills had the highest Tuberculosis death rate in the country, almost 63,000. One of the most infamous features of the sanatorium was the “Body Chute,” which was built to store the bodies of deceased patients. The chute originally stretched a frightening 525 feet underground, a death tunnel where bodies would be transported on carts to the bottom of the chute, and family members could get the patient’s body or have it cremated.

Sophomore Hunter Hampton has visited Waverly Hills Sanatorium and strongly believes some of the deceased patients are still lurking the dark corridors.

Hampton not only visited Waverly Hills; he spent the night there.

“All night I swear I heard children whispering. I’d hear kids’ laughter. I took pictures throughout the night, and a lot of them had those white orbs in the pictures. If everyone would visit some of these places, they would probably change their mind,” said Hampton.

In 1910, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was built in Louisville, Kentucky as a Tuberculosis hospital and recovery center. Though Waverly was intended for good measures, there were rumors that hinted otherwise.

“I am convinced Waverly Hills is haunted,” said Paige McKinley, a woman who recently toured the building.

Unknown figure caught by  Paige Mckinley, a guest on the Waverly Hills tour. Photo by Paige Mckinley.
Unknown figure caught by Paige Mckinley, a guest on the Waverly Hills tour. Photo by Paige Mckinley.

It was said that the reason for keeping this method of disposal so inconspicuous was for the patients’ sakes; they did not want the patients to lose hope due to the large number of hearses driving up or the piles of bodies accumulating.

When I took the tour, it was a warm summer night around dusk. It seemed as the sun dipped lower in the sky and the tour progressed, the many once laughable ghost stories became more and more realistic. We had the opportunity to venture down into the depths of the ominous body chute, which was just as bleak and morbid as it had been described. I trekked down the tunnel, water seeping from the walls and the air becoming stale and humid. The idea that thousands of corpses had been in this very spot was disturbing, and the silence was unsettling. I wanted to learn more about the patients and their life at Waverly.

The tour guides had expressed that the methods of treatment were not only obsolete, but were sometimes brutal, painful operations that often resulted in death.

One of the typical treatments at the time was shock therapy, where the patients would be strapped down, and the doctors would “shock” the sickness out of them. The actual room used for the shock therapies and other archaic and experimental operations are visited in the tour.

When further research about Waverly was conducted, negative aspects shared on the tour seemed to be somewhat sugarcoated. There were reports of patient abuse, staff suicides, and child seclusion.

The children had to sleep and play in a specific sector of the building; on the top floor, a room with windows that was adjacent to the room for the mentally handicapped. There are many reports about hearing children’s voices and laughter in this sector. Another strange encounter is that on occasion, if a ball is rolled to one end of a hallway, it will roll back to where you are.

There is a room in Waverly Hills that is known for it’s dark story and stands as a twisted legend; Room 502. It is on the top floor, a room simply used for staff maintenance and storage, but it holds a deadly past of its own.

 Waverly had to be quarantined, so it was like a small town of its own, gossip and all. A nurse supposedly got pregnant out of wedlock, and soon enough the whole town knew about it. She later hanged herself in room 502. Then, even more surprisingly,  a nurse who worked in room 502 committed suicide by jumping from the top of the building, right outside of the room. The reasons still remain unknown. Coincidence. . .or not?

 Waverly Hills Sanatorium arguably remains one of the most questioned and distinctively haunted places to visit; however, New Albany has its fair share of paranormal activity as well.

Teachers and students share even more paranormal beliefs

By Bryce Romig

The Old Central Hotel, now known as Habana Blues, is widely known for its ghostly encounters. Many customers and guests complain of seeing a small girl running around the building, mainly the third floor.  The young girl was said to have killed by a car accident right outside of the hotel. Many suicides, murders, and crimes have happened on the third floor, according to local historian Gregg Seidl.

Orbs can be seen on the top left and right of the photo which was taken on the third floor of the Habana Blues restaurant.
Orbs can be seen on the top left and right of the photo which was taken on the third floor of the Habana Blues restaurant. Photo by Bryce Romig.

Paranormal activity also impacts the lives of FC students.

 Junior Emily Shumate shared her experience with a paranormal entity.

“My mom and I will hear a kid crying when there are no kids in my house. I’ll see things go past me when I’m home alone. Sometimes when I’m in bed, I can feel something sitting at the end of it. I consider a ghost to be a spirit who was not ready to pass on,” said Shumate.

Not everyone has always been a firm believer of spiritual existence.

 “I was a skeptic for years, until I actually saw a ghost. That made me a strong believer,” said senior Gavin Sodders.

Sodders went on to tell a story that switched his views.

“My friend’s house is haunted and one day, we literally saw a ghost. I walked out of his basement I saw it turn and walk around to the other side of the wall and out the garage door. When I looked a few seconds later, it was gone. Most of my friends have either heard it or seen something in that house. We’ve seen some unexplainable things.”

Instructional aide Amy Preston has experienced paranormal encounters of her own.

“I have had a personal experience. I believe in my case they are loved ones whose spirits remain to guide me and look over me in this life. I also believe that there are other spirits which are trapped here due to the violent or untimely nature of their deaths.”

Chemistry teacher Jennifer Gohmann is another believer of paranormal activity.

“I believe that there is a great deal of energy in the universe and that this energy could be the cause of spirits or abnormal occurrences.”

Gohman also decided to share some of her eerie experiences.

“Some people would consider my experiences creepy, I just think that they are annoying. From my research I have experienced a type of dream that continues when you are almost awake. In these instances I wake up thinking that there is a person standing at the foot of my bed or in the hall outside my room. On several occasions it seems to be a man in a hooded sweatshirt, one time it appeared to be a female soldier standing outside of my son’s room.”

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