During the 1800’s through early 1900’s the “white death” plague, otherwise known as tuberculosis, was ravaging the country. White death was a terrifying, highly contagious and incurable illness. This evil plague wiped out entire families, and in some cases, entire towns. So in 1910 a hospital was built specifically to treat those that had been infected. Sometimes entire families would be brought here, so as you may have guessed by now, this sucker was overcrowded quickly. So, in 1924 another, much larger, hospital was constructed, 2 years later the institution was functioning as Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
Now, white death was still incurable, so the thousands of patients that were treated there all died, some of them weren’t lucky enough to perish before experimental surgeries. See, the doctors all knew that everyone who was admitted was going to die, it was just a matter of time. These sick bastards took it upon themselves to start experimental surgeries in an attempt to beat the illness. Many patients didn’t survive the surgery those that did, mostly died painful deaths.
Because at this time there were no known drugs to treat the illness with, Doctors thought that the best remedy was fresh air and sunlight. The patients got healthy doses every day, no matter the weather or temperature. That was mild considering the experimental trials though. One technique was to surgically insert a balloon into the lungs another involved removing ribs and muscles around the lungs, both supposedly to allow the lungs to take on more oxygen. So these patients are already miserable, can’t breath, running insanely high fevers and now they’re in even more pain due to the effects of these surgeries, if they made it that far at all.
So, as you can imagine, there was pretty much always a line of meat wagons coming through to pick up these corpses. Well, the operators of this facility were at least humane enough to make an attempt to keep up patient morale. That’s when the body chute was constructed. So, the body chute was a tunnel that was carved through the side of the hill, it met up with a train track below where bodies would be loaded onto railway cars and carted away to wherever.
By the late 1930’s white death was beginning to play out and by 1943 new medicines had all but extinguished it’s wrath in the United States. In 1961 Waverly Hills was closed down but reopened one year later as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanatorium.
Now, while serving as an old folks home, rumors began circulating that there were unusual experiments being done on unwilling patients. In these days, electroshock therapy was quite popular and the technique was being used to treat ailments of all kinds at Woodhaven. So even if Grandpa was sane when he checked in, usually a few weeks later he was bat shit crazy. Electro-therapy was also used to keeps the patients in line so if Grandma didn’t eat her beans she probably got shocked into submission. Obviously there’s some defect because everyone should eat their beans, right?!
Then as if that wasn’t bad enough, throughout the 60’s and 70’s massive budget cuts had taken hold. Conditions had deteriorated badly. The facility was grossly understaffed, patient neglect and mistreatment was on the rise. It was an ordinary occurrence for patients to be caged or chained in place, sometimes sleeping one on top of the other due to overcrowding as well. In 1982 the state became involved and began an investigation, Woodhaven Geriatrics was shut down immediately.
Now that we know the history of the building, it makes it easier for us to understand the legends behind these ghosts.
With such a shit-sational background as this, there’s no wonder why there are tons of well documented encounters and occurrences on these grounds!
For starters, it wasn’t unusual to see rooms lit up, when the building was abandoned in ruins and had no power. There is even a ghostly hearse that pulls up to the back door and drops off coffins, when the driver returns to the car, it takes off and disappears into the darkness.
There are of course they typical slamming doors, disembodied voices and footsteps and lets not forget the cries and moans of the unfortunate patients. And then there are ghosts, and a whole lot of them. Two children for sure. A little girl that can be seen running up and down the third floor solarium and a boy that is frequently seen playing with a leather ball.
There have been numerous encounters with the cook, a spector in a white coat that never seems to leave the kitchen. Those that have encountered him also state that they can smell food cooking, most notably, fresh baked bread.
Now the fifth floor seems to be the hot spot here, and there is a good reason for that. This is where the mentally insane white death patients were housed. In the center of this floor there are two nurses stations, the patients were isolated to either side, and both sides opened at the other end onto a patio type area on the roof. With these poor bastards kept far from view of other patients, they were the ones that bore the brunt of experimental treatments. Many of them flung themselves from the roof top patio.
The nurses station is still staffed too, well kind of. in 1928 the head nurse hung herself in room 502, this room was part of the nurses station. In 1932 another nurse that worked in that same room, inexplicably fled from the room and threw herself off of the roof top patio. Both of these ladies are still on staff and can be encountered near or in room 502, but be careful if you decide to visit. One of these ladies has a nasty disposition and has no problem telling visitors to “Get Out!” her voice has been recorded during several paranormal investigations.
The fourth floor is very active as well. Most encounters are experiences when there are no flashlight or lanterns in use. Patients and doctors alike can be see roaming the halls, going from room to room.
Investigations are still ongoing and every one produces more sightings, voices and otherwise creepy occurrences. There is no way to document the number of souls that still reside here. Some are silent and do nothing other than show up, like the ones that can be seen resting in their beds on the solarium. Some are angry, no shit right?! These are the ones that throw things, slap, pinch, hit, bite and scream when they are disturbed.
Some want to play, and are known to roll a ball towards visitors as an invitation. Some want help, like the woman that frequently runs from the front doors sobbing while blood gushes from her wrists.
Besides the interior of the sanatorium there is still the body chute. Imagine how many tormented souls walked alongside their bodies while they were being taken to the train to be loaded up like produce from some morbid harvest.
So if you’d like to check this wicked haunted Sanatorium out for yourself, it is available for tours.