Louisville, Kentucky had the highest tuberculosis death rate in country in 1900. Since Louisville was mostly swamplands, it was just a breeding ground for tuberculosis. A wooden two-story hospital with 40 beds opened in Jefferson County in 1910 to help contain the disease, but soon found out that the hospital was too small. With nearly 130 cases, a larger facility would be needed. With donated land and $11 million dollars a bigger hospital, now known as Waverly Hills, was constructed. It opened in 1926 and was considered the most advanced tuberculosis hospital in the country. In those days, treatment for tuberculosis was very primitive and many people, a estimation of tens of thousands, came to Waverly to just die.
Many doctors and nurses volunteered their time and life to help find a cure for the disease; Many extreme methods, by our standards, were done to achieve this goal. The lungs were exposed to ultraviolet light and some patients were put on top of the roof or on open porches to take in fresh air and sunlight to help keep the disease from spreading. Other treatments were harsher and bloodier. Balloons were surgically implanted into the lungs and then filled with air to try and expand them more. Hydrotherapy often caused pneumonia. Thoracoplasty was a surgical procedure where the chest of the patient was opened and then cords of muscle and up to seven ribs were removed, always done as a last resort.
In many cases, entire families went to Waverly Hills and some were cured while others left the hospital through the "body chute." The "body chute" was a tunnel that led from the hospital to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. It had a motorized rail and cable system where the bodies were placed and lowered down on one side of the tunnel and steps led up and down on the other. A small steam plant on the property heated the tunnel and the hospital. It was totally enclosed from the Morgue wing of the hospital so that the patients couldn't see how many bodies were leaving it. Doctors did not want the negativity to affect their patients morale.
Since Albert Schatz discovered antibiotic for tuberculosis in 1943, Waverly Hills closed due to the fact there really was no need for it. A year later, in 1962, it was reopened as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium. But because of reports of patient mistreatment, some were false and others weren't, it ended up being shut down 20 years later for good. All that is left of Waverly Hills is its main building.
Many people have reported unexplained entities as well as sounds. There were rumors of satanic rituals taking place at Waverly. Some have seen a little girl running up and down the third floor solarium playing hide and seek. Others saw a little boy playing with his leather ball. Rooms have lighted up when there is no power to the building, doors slammed shut, disembodied voices, an old woman running from the front door with chains on and bleeding from wrists to ankles and screaming, etc.. Whether it is haunted or not is for you to decide.
More Info: http://www.prairieghosts.com/waverly_tb.html
Also see Waverly Hills Sanitarium in the up coming film Death Tunnel which will come out in January of 2005.