Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Our Waverly Hills Sanatorium Investigation

The paranormal team in which I’m a member is Dusk 2 Dawn ParanormalInvestigations. We work regularly at the 1859 Jail in Independence Missouri doing pay to play paranormal investigations and Ghost Tours in October. Most of the money we make goes to the Jackson County Historical Society to preserve our beloved 1859 Jail. The portion we get goes into a bank account and at the end of the year we decide on where to go for a team trip. This year it was Waverly Hills Sanatorium!

The front door of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Image credit: G Gamble
Four of us arrived in Louisville on a Tuesday evening after a long drive from Kansas City. We checked into our motel and crashed for the night. The next day the four remaining team members got in around 4 p.m. so everyone rested up for the big night.
At 6 p.m. we loaded our equipment up and headed for Texas Roadhouse for a team dinner. We all ate and laughed and had a great time. Sadly, we found out that our founder wouldn’t be able to attend the investigation due to health reasons. We all hugged him and acknowledged that his health was more important  and he would be missed, then we were off to our Waverly Hills Sanatorium investigation.
The view of the back shows just how huge Waverly Hills Sanatorium really is. Image credit: G Gamble
Waverly Hills is on the bucket list of nearly every paranormal investigator in the United States. Waverly Hills was originally a two-story structure designed for up to 50 tuberculosis patients. This small sanitarium opened in 1910. However, a tuberculosis epidemic broke out in many parts of Jefferson County Kentucky and by 1924 construction began on the existing building. By 1926 Waverly Hills was open for business and housed more than 400 patients. At the time it was considered modern and perfectly equipped to help people with tuberculosis.

This photo hangs on the wall in the gift shop. It shows patients on the terrace getting their fresh air. Image credit: G Gamble
In the 1920’s doctors thought that rest and plenty of fresh air would cure tuberculosis. Sadly, the only thing they got right was the realization that it is an airborne disease so those diagnosed with it had to be isolated from the general public.

One of the small bedrooms from the hallway. Our guide told us that they put two people in each of these rooms. They pulled the beds out onto the terrace so the patients could get fresh air. Image credit: G Gamble
Once someone went to Waverly Hills they became a permanent resident. Waverly had its own vegetable gardens, farm animals, water treatment facility, and their own zip code. Even though they knew how contagious tuberculosis is, visitors were allowed to come see their friends and relatives then go back into the general population. Many Waverly Hills patients lived there as long as ten years.

Waverly was a tuberculosis facility until the discovery that a combination of streptomycin and para-Aminosalicylic acid cured the disease in the 1960’s. Waverly was later reopened in 1962 as a geriatric facility called Woodhaven Medical Services and remained open until 1981.
We walked around the building and were in awe of how big it is. Image credit: G Gamble
Now Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a historic site and is currently being renovated by the owner. Our guide informed us that they hope to always have paranormal investigations there even when the remodeling is done and Waverly can be opened for other activities.

We arrived at the gate around 7:30 p.m. The tour guide met us and told us to drive up to the parking lot. As we drove up the driveway through the woods the huge sanatorium came into view. Wow! It is huge!  We followed our tour guide to the gift shop where we signed waiver forms and purchased some tee shirts. Only one member of our team had been to Waverly Hills before so we all opted to take the tour of the facility.

As our tour guide prepared for the tour we all walked around the huge building. The structure sits atop a hill surrounded by thick woods. The city of Louisville also surrounds it so there are people in every direction. 
We had to stop at the front of the Sanatorium to take a group photo. Left to right is Cari, Adria, Jerry, me, Margie (in front), Erica (in back), and Stacey (in front). Image credit: J. Nichols 
As we went around the building, we noticed that our voices echoed when we laughed. There are lots of fences and barriers around the building to stop trespassers. The guide also has many security cameras to watch the surrounding grounds.  We were in awe of this huge building and so anxious to investigate it!! Once we got back to the gift shop the tour guide, Mel, took us into the sanatorium.
The Waverly Hills Gift Shop is a large building. They have tee shirts for sale and many Sanatorium artifacts on display. Image credit: G Gamble 
We walked through a door from the gift shop and went through a tunnel. Some stairs led us to the first-floor lobby. There were paintings on the walls of skeletons and ghouls which is part of a Halloween haunted house that Waverly does each year. When we went up the stairs to the second floor we were shown a room that we could use as base. This room had electric lights and electricity which came in handy and we were very grateful for.
The fifth floor of Waverly during our tour. This is the area where a nurse was found hanging from a light fixture in the 1930's.  Image credit: G Gamble
Mel took us up to the fifth floor to start the tour and proceeded to tell us about the nurse that was found hung in the 1930’s. Another nurse had fell or jumped to her death around that same time. She laid her flashlight down on a windowsill in the area of these events. While she talked the flashlight would dim, then brighten, and ended up flashing like a strobe light. It did this all on its own. Mel did not have control of the light and it was just an ordinary flashlight.  That was pretty cool! We walked around the fifth floor out onto the roof where the children used to play. The view was amazing and the hills of Kentucky are breathtaking.  Apparently, the children were kept on one side of the fifth floor while the adults with tuberculosis of the brain were housed on the other side.
The hallways at Waverly Hills Sanatorium seem to go on forever. Image credit: G Gamble 
We followed Mel down the stairs to the fourth floor. Here the hallway has rooms on both sides. On the side toward the back is a terrace. This terrace is open air. This is where the patients were put for “treatment” to receive fresh air. Mel said that patients were left there year-round and there are photos of patients lying in bed on the terrace with snow on their feet. Mel said that the patient rooms next to the terrace were where the patients that were doing well stayed. Once someone was deemed too ill to survive they pulled their bed back across the hall into a different room where the patient was left to die. Once the patient died, personnel would move the body down the hall at night in an effort to be discreet. They did not want to alert the other patients of a death. Deaths grew to the volume of one per hour before Waverly Hills Sanitorium closed it doors.  All of this death apparently left a mark on the fourth floor as it has the darkest hauntings. While we were there, two of our team members were overcome with emotion and one member could not stop crying. There definitely is a sadness that hangs in the air on the fourth floor.  Shadow figures have been seen moving in and out of the doorways down the hall. The Creeper is the one shadow that everyone is afraid of because it crawls on the ceiling and along the walls as a dark shadow. We didn’t see the Creeper but we did see the shadow figures in the hallway. Mel let us know that the fourth floor is where the darker entities are. 
Our team touring the long hallways with our guide. Image credit: G Gamble
At the end of the fourth-floor hallway was the operating room. Surgeries done here were experimental at best and many people did not survive. While Mel was telling us about the operating room I received a message from a very close friend to call her. This close friend just happens to be the medium that works with our team. When I called her, she told me that my Mother (who passed in 2015) popped in and told her that “Lucy will be their guide for tonight” then my Mother left. My friend was frustrated that was the only information my Mother gave her but she wanted to tell me right away.  I thanked her then went back into the operating room. I apologized for leaving and explained about my friend and told everyone the message from my Mother. Mel looked at me and said “I can’t believe you just said that!” Mel went on to explain that there is a child spirit there named Lucy and she has communicated with many people. Mel said that Lucy was in the body chute once and wanted some living people to take her back up to the fifth floor with the rest of the children. I told her that my friend is spot on and my Mother keeps track of me from the other side.

The operating room on the fourth floor. This was taking during the investigation. Erica is on the left and Adria is on the right. Image credit: G Gamble
She took us down to the third floor where the atmosphere seemed lighter. This floor was set up much like the fourth floor with the terraces, hallway and rooms on both sides. She told us about a homeless man and his dog who had lived there years ago. The owners at that time left him alone as he wasn’t hurting anything. Tragically, a gang initiation brought several teenagers into the building where they killed the man and his dog and threw them down an elevator shaft. Mel showed us the room where the man stayed. We knew we had to investigate this area later. While we were on the third floor, Erica said that she felt like she walked through a giant cobweb and Stacey had a similar experience. Apparently, the spirits wanted us to know they were there.
The body chute is a long underground tunnel that slants down 45 degrees to an outside door. We sat here and watched the shadows moving at the end of the tunnel. It was mesmerizing! Image credit: S Allin
The last place Mel showed us was the tunnel known as the “body chute”. We followed her downstairs and through a dark tunnel that slanted downward. We stopped at the top of some stairs. There were stairs on one side of the tunnel and a concrete slab on the other that slanted downward to the bottom of the chute. This was where supplies were brought in when Waverly was in operation. Once people started dying by the hour they used it as a death chute to remove the bodies. Mel told us to turn off our flashlights and we did. “Now watch”, Mel said, so we all stood still and looked toward the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t long before our eyes adjusted to the darkness and we could see light moving around at the end of the tunnel. This was a spot we would definitely come back to.

Mel took us back to the gift shop and we gathered our equipment up and set it up in the second-floor room with electricity. Mel locked us in and set the alarm. This was for our safety to be sure someone else didn’t sneak into the building.  
Several team members at base preparing for the investigation. Image credit: G Gamble
There were outside sounds that we had to take into account during our investigation. Since Waverly Hills has three floors where the windows are nonexistent these floors are open to noise, birds, bats, and bugs. Apparently, cargo planes take a route out of Louisville that goes directly over Waverly Hills Sanatorium because we heard lots of planes go over. We could also hear some traffic outside not to mention the trains that were going through the area. Reviewing my audio from this investigation has been a challenge to say the least.

Most of the activity on the fifth floor came from responses to questions by lighting up our K2s (EMF readers). Image credit: G Gamble 
It was around 9:30 p.m. and we only had until 4 a.m. so instead of setting up cameras and kinects we chose to use our handheld cameras and devices. We started off on the fifth floor where the nurse was found hanging from a light fixture in the 1930’s. Our guide told us that they had gotten a lot of interaction using the spirit box but when we tried it we didn’t get anything except a man saying “Hi”.  We got several hits on our K2s and kept getting the name “Lisa” on the echovox. At one point a team member farted, we all laughed, then the tempod went off. A moment later the echovox said “fart”. I don’t know what the spirits thought of us but we were having a good time.
Margie and Stacey on the fourth floor watching for Shadows. Image credit: G Gamble
By midnight we were on the fourth floor. We sat in total darkness to see if we could see shadows in the ambient light coming through the windows. Several team members saw some of these shadows moving down towards the end of the hallway. One of the figures that was seen was white. Jerry, our team leader, placed a tempod in the hallway and the spirits played with it turning the light and sound on and off. They seemed to be playing a tune on it at times. During our session we heard three gunshots outside. We watched a bat flying up and down the hallway and a rogue lightening bug which at first, we thought was an anomaly but then realized it was just a lightening bug.  

The session we had on the third floor was interesting. Here is a tempod that the spirits enjoyed playing with. The red light is from doing Facebook live. Image credit: G Gamble
By 1:30 a.m. we were on the third floor stationed outside the room where the homeless man and his dog had lived. We were getting many K2 hits and responses to questions on the tempod. I was getting K2 hits in an area about ten inches off the floor, not above, or below, but in that ten-inch space. We wondered if it was the spirit of the homeless man’s dog. Our echovox gave us several words repeatedly: death, black, and kill. When we asked if Lucy was there the echovox answered “Yeah”.  After asking the question “How did you die?” We received the words bled and kill. It was getting late and we were all tired. Several team members, me included, got the giggles over Lord knows what and we had a hard time stopping the laughter.

We moved down the hallway toward a noise we heard and found some toy balls. We tried to kick the balls around to get a response but it didn’t work. The echovox told us to “Leave” and “Get Out”. Apparently, they didn’t appreciate our kicking skills.
This is where bodies were kept before they went down into the body chute. Each member of our team (excluding me) climbed into the bottom shelf to see what would happen. Image credit: G Gamble
It was nearly 3 a.m. when we got down to the morgue. Everyone but me took a turn laying on the bottom shelf of the cabinet that held the dead bodies. I wasn’t going to get into a tight place where I couldn’t get out. Once in the container, Stacey told the spirits they could whisper in her ear and then she suddenly exclaimed “Shit!” and crawled out of there. “Something touched me!” Stacey said. I think it freaked her out. 
We headed down toward the body chute as we wanted to check it out before we had to leave at 4 a.m.  My camera and recorder batteries had died by then so all I had left was my cell phone. Luckily other team members still had their equipment running.
This photo of the body chute was taken with my cell phone because my camera died. This was probably the most interesting experience we had that night. Image credit: G Gamble
We all went down to the area in the body chute where the 45-degree angle begins to go down toward the outside door. We sat on the stairs and concrete slab in total darkness and silence. It wasn’t long before we could see the shadows moving at the bottom of the tunnel. The light would appear at the upper right-hand corner of the tunnel, then the lower left-hand corner. It moved back and forth as if someone was stuck moving items from one place to another. The light would be visible on the left then the right, it went up and down. It was completely mesmerizing. We all sat in wonder watching these shadows. It was if they were stuck in another dimension doing the same tasks in death as they did in life and we could see it all.  It was something I will never forget.

We soon realized our time was up so we went back to base and gathered up our equipment and headed toward the gift shop where Mel was waiting for us. She had to turn off the alarms and unlock the door so we could transfer our equipment from the building to our cars.  We thanked her for the opportunity to investigate Waverly Hills Sanatorium and headed off for our motel.
The morning after in front of our motel. We were tired but very happy for getting the priviledge of investigating Waverly Hills. From left to right Erica, Jimmie, Stacey, me, in front Cari, Margie, and Adria. Jerry was cut out of the photo. Image credit: J Nichols
The next day we had a quick breakfast at the motel and headed back west to Kansas City. Our Waverly Hills adventure had come to a close but not without giving us incredible experiences and memories. It is a treat for a paranormal team to be able to investigate a place as huge as Waverly Hills. We thoroughly enjoyed it and once we review all our data we will be able to post what we caught on our Facebook page. If you ever get a chance to even tour Waverly Hills Sanitarium, do it! It’s an awesome place with an incredible history.

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