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The Allegedly Haunted Sanitarium
Waverly Hills Sanitarium is a famous Tuberculosis sanitarium, due to its infamy for the supernatural. Opening in 1911, it only housed eight patients. By 1924, Waverly was home to over four hundred patients and their families. There were cafeterias, open sun rooms connecting to all the patient rooms, health facilities, and even an infamous tunnel, more commonly known as the 'Body Chute', for taking the deceased from the building.
Patients diagnosed with Tuberculosis and sent to Waverly were not condemned to a single hospital room with a few windows like a common hospital, but the exact opposite. All year round, whether they were able to walk or not, TB patients were taken outside to an enclosed patio with most of the walls almost covered in windows, nearly twenty-four hours a day. During the height of the TB epidemic, almost one person died per day. In its day, tens of thousands of patients died at Waverly, and not just because of Tuberculosis.
Another cause of deaths at Waverly was medical experiments to try and cure a patient, many of which were too crude and unclean to actually work very well. Balloons were surgically implanted in the lungs and filled with air, trying to expand the lungs. Hydrotherapy, continuous immersion or excercise in water, would cause pneumonia in some patients. Lungs of patients would be collapsed so the infected part of the lung could heal, called Pneumothorax. Then, as a complete last resort, there was Thoracoplasty. It was an invasive surgery where the chest of the patient was opened, muscle cords and up to seven ribs were removed so the lung had more room to expand. This was only used as a last resort, as only a small percent of the patients who underwent Thoracoplasty survived. Very few people actually underwent Thoracoplasty to begin with, because it was such a drastic procedure and the people who underwent the surgery were desperate.
In 1961, Waverly Hills sanitarium was closed, due to the discovery of Streptomycin, an antibiotic that cured TB. Only a year later, Waverly re-opened its doors as Wood Haven Geriatrics Sanitarium. It was closed in 1982 because of patient abuse.
The Waverly building has been explored many times by paranormal societies. Tours are given through the building at night, and a movie has been shot on the grounds. Waverly Hills Sanitarium has also been explored by TAPS and aired on the television series Ghost Hunters.