Waverly Hills Sanatorium sits on land that was originally purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays in 1883. He started a one room school house on the land for her daughters. He hired a woman named Lizzie Lee Harris to teach at the school. Her love for the tiny school in addition to her fondness for Scott’s “Waverley Novels”, prompted her to name the little school house, “Waverley School.” Major Hays liked the name, and chose to name his property “Waverley Hill.”
Originally, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a two-story frame building. Construction began in 1908, and opened for business on July 26, 1910. The building was designed to safely accommodate 40-50 tuberculosis patients. Tuberculosis quickly became an epidemic. The TB clinic was filled with more than 140 people and desperately needed a much larger hospita to treat those afflicted with the condition. Patients, nurses, doctors and other employees had to say goodbye to everything they knew on the outside world because once you went to Waverly Hills, you became a permanent resident. Many of the treatments for tuberculosis were experimental. They were often brutal, causing extreme pain to the patient both during and after the procedure. Many of the treatments left the patient with horrific scars and often times, disfigurement and many patients died.
The massive, collegiate, gothic style Sanatorium that you see in the 1926 photo (left), remains standing on Waverly Hill, today. It could accommodate at least 400 patients and was considered one of the most modern and well equipped facilities at the time. Construction of this Sanatorium began in March 1924 and opened for business on October 17, 1926. The facility served as a tuberculosis hospital until 1961, when the discovery of an antibiotic that successfully treated and cured TB rendered the facility obsolete. It was closed down and quarantined, then renovated. In 1962, the building reopened as WoodHaven Medical Services, a geriatric facility. WoodHaven Medical was closed by the state in 1980.
Waverly Hills is often called "the most haunted place on Earth." With a reported 63,000 deaths,
it is possible. The most famous reported locations of Paranormal activity include Room 502. A
Waverly Hills nurse supposedly hung herself after becoming pregnant out of wedlock and another
nurse allegedly jumped from the rooftop after battling long-term depression.
The "Death Tunnel" was made famous by ghostly tales and haunted stories. The "Death
Tunnel" is an inclined corridor that was constructed as an employee entrance/exit, to move
supplies to and from the main building and was also used to transport bodies from the
hospital to the bottom of the hill where they were picked up by local funeral homes.There are
stories of the ghost of a young child that loves to play with a bouncing a ball. The boy has
been named "Timmy".
Another common apparition often reported is that of a young girl with no eyes. This girl is
often referred to as "Mary", based on a photograph of a young woman found in the building,
which was signed, "Love, Mary Lee." There are also sightings of the ghost of a homeless man
and his dog. The two are rumored to have been found dead in a non-functioning elevator by
police in the mid-1990s, when the complex was abandoned. Another purported ghost includes
an elderly woman running out of the main entrance and begging for help.
Many people report the phenomenon of shadow people. There are other reports of ghostly
children playing on the old rooftop playground and many visitors claim to have seen glowing
orbs. Some claim that entire rooms at Waverly Hills light up at night for no reason. Is it
haunted? You decide. You can visit their website and sign up for tours during the day, or at
night if you dare!