Google+ Badge

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tour Haunted Charleston, South Carolina, with me.


    Charleston, South Carolina is a historic city that preserves remnants of the past, in such a way, that it seems almost normal or natural for it's former inhabitants to still lurk about.  In Charleston, you'll find that spirits are just as much of a part of the city as the living are.  How intriguing!! In Charleston, hordes of tourists abundantly explore the downtown streets, year after year, to see the sights.  It is a seaside city with a lot of history that is traced way back to pre-Columbus days.  Charleston has always played a major role in the history of America.

      There are several different tour options for our trip to Charleston, SC.  There are different tour companies, and different types of ghost tours.  Bulldog tours is Charleston's premier tour company.  They offer an exclusive access to many of Charleston's most infamous and haunted sites.  Bulldog Tours offers a Charleston Ghost&Dungeon Tour, The Dark Side Tour, Charleston Ghost&Graveyard tour or the Haunted Jail Tour. Decisions Decisions! Lets do them all!!!  Bulldog tours has actually been featured on the Travel Channel, A&E, in Southern Living, Bon Appetite, NY Times and USA Today. With great feedback.  Space is limited so call today and reserve your tour today!!! I hope to be doing that soon myself! 

     Ghost Hunters who have visited say that it's a paranormal hot spot of activity and there are an abundance of restless spirits.  The old city jail appears to be one of the most haunted places in Charleston and people visiting the old city jail are always getting photos of orbs and ghosts in the jail.  It housed some of Charleston's most infamous criminals, 19th century pirates and Civil War prisoners.  The Old City Jail was in operation 1802-1939.  Most of the buildings' original structures remain intact. It's one of the most popular ghost tours.  It was intended to hold 128 prisoners, over 300 were frequently kept there.  In some rooms, prisoners were locked in cages, barely the size of the person's body.  They were all packed in together like sardines. There were awful conditions, disease was rampant and tortures continued.  So it sucked all around, for lack of a better term.

door to old jail
      They would chain prisoners, burn them, brand them, starve them, and even had a contraption called the Crane of Pain.  It is a torture apparatus consisting of ropes.  They have a reproduction of it on display now. I'll let you use your imagination on that one. Creepy!  And horrible! Why do they always hire the most sadistic people possible to run these places?  During it's operation until 1939, over 10,000 people died on the property.  So yes, I'd say there are probably quite a few pissed off spirits still there.  Still serving time.  There were numerous pirates, civil war soldiers,and  serial killers John and Lavinia Fisher.  The Fisher's ran a boarding house and murdered many patrons, motivated by robbery.  Lavinia is widely considered the first known female serial killer in the United States.  The Fishers were kept in jail until their hangings on February 18, 1820.

a ghost?
        On tours, people have seen ghosts, photographed orbs, had glasses knocked off, jewelry has been "taken", felt "a presence", had cell phone disruptions and doors were found open after closed.  The reproduction of the "Crane of Pain" was found with it's ropes all wound about and twisted.  There have also been many EVPs.
the old city jail
     One of the other most haunted places in Charleston, South Carolina is known as the Dock Street Theater.  It was demolished and replaced several times, then was built to be the Planter's Hotel by the Caldar family of Charleston.  It was again remodeled in 1835.  The Planters hotel was one of the largest and luxurious hotels in Charleston.  In the mid 1930s the Works Progress Administration restored the hotel structure to it's original appearance and converted it in to a theater again.
Dock St. Theater

     There are two entities that continuously haunt the theater.  One was famous actor named Junius Brutus Booth.  He was most famously known as the father of the man who killed President Abraham Lincoln.  He must have been so proud.... Ironically, Junius Brutus Booth was named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the murderers of Julius Caesar.  He was one of the best actors of his time. He was obsessed with the theater.

Junius Brutus Booth

     Junius also became obsessed with alcohol, which made him unreliable. Another odd thing he did, was to write President Andrew Jackson, demanding he pardon 2 pirates, and in the same letter he threatened President Andrew Jackson's life.  It was thought to be a hoax until there was a handwriting analysis a few days later, that confirmed the letter was written by Booth.  He apologized to the president and all was well. Decades later, his son, John Wilkes Booth assassinated the "then" president Lincoln.
 "New on- Before they were famous...John Wilkes Booth..the actor?"
 The irony of this picture is insanely ridiculous. First of all, from left to right, these are Junius's sons: John, Edwin and Junius Jr.  They are acting out the play Julius Caesar.  What is funny is that Junius Sr. and Junius Jr. were both named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead murderers of Julius Caesar.  I mean really?

Julius Brutus Booth  died on a steamboat ride from New Orleans, from drinking bad water it appeared.  There was no doctor on board. Of course. Because that would be logical.  Well, technically they were right, it was drinking that ultimately killed him. Who would have known it'd be from drinking water?

      The other ghost that haunts the famous Dock Street Theater, is known to many as a nameless prostitute that locals call "Nettie," who is believed to have frequented the area in the 1800s.  She worked at the hotel.  There is more to that story. Nettie Dickerson was 25 years old when she came to Charleston from the up north a bit, around 1840.  She was drawn to the excitement and sophistication of the city, and was determined to find love and happiness.  Back then the prime age for marriage (for females) was 17 .  At 25, Nettie was considered a spinster.  She was pretty and smart, and there were plenty of men willing to take her as a mistress, but not a wife. Penniless with hopes and dreams of the city seemingly shattered, she found work at St. Philip’s Church as a clerk.  She received room and board, and a small clothing stipend, but had little else.  Despite having a good relationship with the priest, Nettie was never accepted among Charleston’s elite high society.  During thunderstorms, she would climb to the top of the church’s bell tower and watch the thunderheads roll in from the sea.  She felt comfort there.  Everyone bustling along Charleston’s streets appeared equal from her perch.  Down the street, she could see the renowned Planters’ Hotel.  Charleston’s aristocratic men enjoyed drinking and prostitutes on weeknights, never missing a Sunday at St. Philip’s with their perfectly proper and upscale wives.  She was incredulous that they were more highly regarded than she’d ever be…and she began to resent it.  She quit her job at the church, though the priest tried to discourage her.  Soon after, she got dressed up in a stunning red gown, and entered the Planters’ Hotel to begin her life of prostitution. 

St. Philips Church

     Beautiful and charming, she did well in her new trade.  She still attended services every Sunday at St. Philips, much to the dismay of the elite upper class, especially the wives of her clients.  When she’d catch a sneer, she’d walk right up to the woman and gregariously say hello, often complimenting the woman on her choice of husband. After she had reached this point, men began to turn her away.  Surprise Surprise.  When the money started to run low, Nettie again sought refuge and comfort in the humid coastal storms.  She’d stand on the second floor balcony of the Planters’ Hotel, letting the fierce gusts of wind sweep her flowing hair and whip her dress.  She was angry and depressed, and she started to use her balcony as a soapbox from which she ranted, raved, and antagonized those below.   She stopped going to church, so the priest came to visit during a storm, knowing she’d be on the balcony.  As she screamed and wailed, he pleaded with her to come down and let him help.  Glaring at him, holding the balcony railing, she screamed, “You can’t help me!” As if on cue, a lightning bolt hit the railing, electrocuting Nettie, and bringing her desperate sorrow to a tragic and horrific end. 

     The next place on this virtual tour is the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation.  It is a favorite among many visitors.  Many people have seen the spirit of a soldier, who appears to be trying to remove a bullet from an injured comrade.  He may have died trying to save someone.  Very noble, but very sad.

Boone Hall Ave of Oaks

      The Plantation is an extremely historical site that has remained a working plantation since late 1600s, which is very unique.  A heart breaking story is told by the locals called "The 13th Step."  In the 1700's, a young girl Ammie Jenkins grew up in the plantation and played along side her childhood friend Concha, who was an Indian boy.  Supposedly on her 18th birthday, he told her he loved her and she denied him.  Ammie shortly found a suitor and the night before she was supposed to marry him, an arrow entered her chest from the bedroom window.  Was it Cupid's revenge for breaking poor Concha's heart?  The irony.  She was able to stumble down to the porch, with the arrow in her chest, where her future husband waited for her.  Bleeding, and gasping her last breaths, she made it to her fiance's arms, where she died, on the 13th step.  Years passed before anyone would walk on the step because the bloodstain never seemed to go away.  No one seems to know what happened, where the arrow came from or what happened to Concha.  These are all questions I have.  Perhaps a hurt and angry Concha shot the arrow himself, taking revenge for his broken heart.  If he couldn't have her, then no one could.

Boone Hall Plantation
     Okay, so everyone knows that Blackbeard's Ghost is said to haunt Charleston, South Carolina.  Over the years, ghosts of Pirates have been sighted quite often under the oaks along the area of Charleston, known as the Battery.  Many Pirates were hung from the oak trees on the battery. A lot of people have seen  the pirates that were hung there, walking around, or should I say "hanging" around? Too soon? Sometimes people claim to hear the pirates screaming at them under the same old oaks.  With as much regard as one gives a stained, ratty towel, hung outside to dry, during a hurricane, "Screw it." you think. "It's not worth getting wet."  Apparently no one had a problem with hanging pirates, often just based on random accusations.  You would be hung if you were even accused of associating with pirates.  Yes, many real pirates were hung. But I'm sure innocent people were too, simply accused by ignorant people, who were greedy for attention, as in the Salem Witch Trials.

hanging of Pirate Stede Bonnet 1718

     The Ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate is seen often out at Folly Island, only a few miles from Charleston.  Blackbeard and his cut-throat, murderous, unruly, socially completely unacceptable-  pirates, once blockaded Charleston and threatened to burn the city. Okay.. so they weren't very nice... gentlemen? Thugs? What a lot of people don't know is that Folly Island was one of Blackbeard's hide outs and he had a house built there that has since blown away in a hurricane.  Karma let nature do her thing on that one I suppose. A memorial is located at the Battery in Charleston, SC. It is the location of where almost 50 pirates were hung in the late 1600's and early 1700's. They were hung here and then placed over the battery into the water so any pirate entering will see the others and know not to enter Charleston.

Flag of Blackbeard
Battery Area

      Now lets visit the Battery Carriage House Inn, which offers simple pleasures, complete relaxation, and ghosts.  Can those co- exist? Can you relax with ghosts around?  It promises to be intimate and elegant, with cozy, romantic rooms.  Yeah, until you see a ghost!  That would definitely be a mood killer!  The Inn has 10 rooms and 1 suite, a retreat from the modern world. It is home to several ghosts.  Many guests and employees have had odd encounters with a ghosts.  But I suppose any encounter with a ghost would be a tad odd.  There is a "gentleman ghost" and there is the headless torso.  Tour guides often mention these ghost legends in their stories.  The gentleman ghost could have been a young man who's family owned the house earlier in the century.  He had some sort of mental problems, which weren't understood at all back then.  He was quiet and sensitive, with no warning at all, one day he threw himself off the roof.  I myself would have looked for a way taller building just to make sure. But what do I know?  The headless torso is likely a man from the Civil War era.  The Battery was an active artillery installation during the siege of Charleston, and all the houses in this area were damaged and abandoned during the the 4 year bombardment.  People have often felt a presence or the sensation of being watched here.  

Battery Carriage House Inn
     Take a night time tour of the Charleston Graveyard.  It is one of Charleston's oldest graveyards.  The walking tour takes you inside the wrought iron fence.  You can't do that alone at night.  On the tour you get inside the gate of the Graveyard and you can explore every dark corner, inspect the old tombstones, and walk across graves if you are brave.  See if you can have a ghost experience.

Charleston Graveyard
     A random factoid: the technical difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is consecrated ground.  Often it is interpreted as a graveyard being attached to a church building. I didn't know that.  You learn something new every day! Unless you don't, then you are dumb. Or a rock.  It goes without saying, that there are ghosts in this graveyard.  There is the ghost of Sue Howard Hardy, a grieving mother who prays at the grave of her dead child. Born in 1858, she was the wife of Gaston Hardy. They lived in Charleston and were happily married.  Alas, Sue would never live to an old age or get to have children and watch them grow up. Sue became pregnant, but her baby was never to take a breath of air. The child was stillborn on June 10, 1888. Only six days later, on June 16, 1888, Mrs. Hardy took her last breath and rejoined her child. We don’t know why she died, perhaps complications from childbirth combined with the sadness over the loss of her child.  Did heartbreak help cause Mrs. Hardy's death?

The ghost of Sue Hardy, kneeling at her baby's grave
     There are copious amounts of ghosts haunting the graveyard. A multitude of poor souls died in horrific ways.  Doctors in Charleston, South Carolina didn't take chances when it came to contagious diseases.  They didn't know much about making them better and damn sure knew how many lives the contagious diseases and plagues had taken over the years.   The doctors would do whatever was possible to eliminate contamination.  The dead got buried, quickly.  Unfortunately, the dead weren't always dead.  In the worst way to die, many people were buried alive. Fall unconscious in a hospital, wake up in a grave.  How horrible.  I'm sure that leaves us all feeling a little short breathed. Imagine being sick and passing out at the doctors office, being pronounced dead by an idiot, then buried.  They'd wake up panicked I'm sure, gasping for oxygen in the little box they were buried in.  They probably screamed and cried and scratched at the top of the box until their nails came off. Maybe a lucky one or 2 escaped?  Maybe not. Just imagine, you wake up in a box, with little to no oxygen, you claw and beat the top and sides until your hands are broken and bleeding.  Even if you were lucky enough to be able to tear open the coffin through the top, dirt would come pouring in.  Dirt, worms, bugs.  There would be a race with time, trying to dig yourself out 6 feet, before you suffocated in the dirt.  No one would ever know you had been buried alive.

Ghostly Image

     Poogan's Porch is one of Charleston's oldest independent culinary establishments, with a fresh approach to Lowe Country cuisine.  It has been recognized by Martha Stewart Living, Wine Spectator and the Travel Channel.  The Travel Channel named it one of the most haunted restaurants in the world. We definitely know where to go to eat now!  It was built as a spacious and grand Victorian home in 1888, the structure and it's neighborhood had by 1976 changed suitable to allow for the conversion of the house into a restaurant.  The owners of the home sold it and moved away.  A little dog named Poogan, stayed behind.  As far as he was concerned, the porch was his.  After all, he'd been a neighborhood fixture for years, wondering from porch to porch, in search of back-scratches and table scraps. Everyone loved him.

Poogan's Porch
     From his proud perch on the porch, he served as the official greeter.  It seemed only right to name the restaurant after him.  He died in 1979 and is buried in the front yard of Poogan's Porch. There is a little memorial for him.

Poogan's grave

     On Poogan's Restaurant website they say " We believe in conversations on porches, Sunday brunch, and old Southern dogs, ghosts, seersucker, biscuits, homemade and handmade, sweet tea, handwritten recipes, friends old and new, great stories, gracious hospitality and our moms. Not necessarily in that order!"  Wow, that's the longest run on sentence ever!  What a philosophy. Diners and employees have looked out windows and seen the ghost of Poogan, on the porch, still greeting people.  There is also the ghost of an older woman, dressed in black, and has not only been seen by employees and customers, but also by people staying in the hotel across the street!  They think the ghost's name is Zoe St. Armand.  She lived in the home with her sister Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth died in 1945, Zoe became very lonely and depressed.  She died in St. Francis Hospital, where family took her to live out her final years.  How nice of them.

Zoe(on rt) and her sister Elizabeth
      The owner of Poogan's Porch had a run in with Zoe one night while trying to close up for the evening.  While trying to set the alarm, she was disturbed by heavy wooden stools being flipped over and large doors being slammed.  On another occasion, the daytime chef opened up, made coffee, and left his cup sitting on the stairs while he went to open the back door for the grocers.  When he returned, his coffee cup was gone.  He was confused, and tired, as it was early in the morning and the poor man couldn't even find his coffee!  That would put anyone in a grouchy mood. Unsure he really did pour himself a cup or not, he decided to go pour another.  When he returned, he found the mug sitting right where he'd left it, but with a faint lipstick stain around the rim.  A woman once saw Zoe banging on the inside of the window of the restaurant, as if she were locked in.  She is known to be a pretty benign spirit but has reportedly sent at least one person to run screaming from the restaurant. Wouldn't that be a sight to see? Why would you run screaming in public from a ghost? To see how insane you can make yourself look or to see how much you can embarrass yourself?  They definitely weren't the "thrill seeker" type.  Why would you go somewhere haunted, because it's haunted, and haul ass when you see a ghost?  It's like one of those Ghost Hunting shows. I'm always sitting on my couch yelling at Zach from "Ghost Adventures" to stop running and film a damn supernatural occurrence. But still I watch it. I'm sure a ghost would scare me too. But I would be more intrigued, not run away. I should go on "Ghost Adventures!"  That'd be awesome. Maybe one day.

Poogan's- present day
     Charleston has not had an easy history. Turbulent from the beginning, and the site of many battles, it is inevitable that some of the souls still wander the streets, living someplace in the middle, no longer alive but without the peace that comes from crossing over to the other side. Besides massive amounts of supernatural haunted activity in Charleston, the city is full of culture, history and is a must see beauty on the east coast.  Tourists can take in the historical buildings with outstanding displays of architecture, visit museums, or take countless tours of the city, relax at one of the numerous parks. You can go shopping and take carriage rides on the waterfront.  There are over 20 haunted places in Charleston, South Carolina, so that's what I would be doing the whole time; seeing as many as possible of the haunted places.  I'm going to dedicate a mini vacation to trying to see if I can go to all 20 places in Charleston. Ghosts beware! Here I come!!!!


random orbs

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Visit Waverly Hills Sanitorium With Me, and Test Your Sanity!

Graffiti in the Sanitarium

More ominous graffiti 

Main entrance (see gargoyle on top, barely)
view from the ground

     The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky, caught my attention on my search to find the most haunted places in the United States, that I'd love to visit.  It is famous for being haunted.  Several Ghost Hunting shows have visited it and come back with "evidence."  It has been rated Number 2 in the television special "Scariest Places on Earth." It has been frequented by many people, both paranormal and ghost hunters and regular people who just wanted to see the place for themselves, They want to see if the stories they've heard are true. I'm also the type that has to see it for myself.  Many regard it as the most haunted hospital in the United States.  The buildings and facilities were put up for sale a number of occasions, and many new potential owners were intrigued and wanted to try to make something else out of the building. Now it is owned by Charlie and Tina Mattingly and the Waverly Hills Historical society. They have decided to use the notoriety of Waverly Hills history and actually promote the stories surrounding the place.  They have made Waverly Hills into a tourist destination.  There are tours and ghost hunting activities that people can do. 

    Commercialization at it's finest, you can order Waverly Hills merchandise online now!

     The following link is for a video that promotes Waverly Hills as a great place to rest, with good, well balanced meals. It made it seem more like a spa than a hospital. In reality, about 63,000 people died of Tuberculosis in The Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

                         Gargoyle on top of Sanitarium, guarding what exactly? 
              On a hospital? How could patients enter such a dark place with hope?

     During the 1800's, Waverly Hills was initially a residential area.  Because of the close vicinity to water, there were many cases of people suffering from tuberculosis.  This was aggravated by the high number of people living there.  In 1910, a small building which had 2 floors was built in Waverly Hills.  This building was intended for people who had tuberculosis.  It started with about 40 patients.  Louisville needed a hospital for the mounting tuberculosis cases in the area, so this filled the imminent need for a small hospital. Then, the area was ravaged by an outbreak of tuberculosis(also known as the White Plague).  This outbreak prompted the construction of a new hospital because the original one could no longer accommodate the vast number of new patients.  As a result, it closed down in 1924.  A new hospital was built to replace the previous one. They needed a more durable structure, and more beds so that patients wouldn't have to be turned away for lack of space. Construction began in March 1924 of  a new, 5 story hospital that could accommodate more than 400 patients.  It was 800,000 square feet and way out from the city.  It was located so away from civilization, in hopes to keep the sick away so they wouldn't infect other people. They were basically banished. This hospital was the most advanced in treating patients with tuberculosis during that time. People with tuberculosis could live in the hospital facilities while getting treated. They made it sound way better than it really was. It was a hellish, cesspool. One "luxury" they allowed patients occasionally was to let them go to their big auditorium and see an old picture show. Exciting. How generous.

                Advertisement: Nurses await you here to tend to all your needs and help you rest 
                and recover.  Reality: Hospital staff awaiting you here at Waverly to experiment on    you and help guide you into the next life.

                                             A solarium. Each floor had at least one.

   The "treatments" for patients with Tuberculosis ranged from the relatively non invasive, to the very invasive, sometimes even causing death. Heliotherapy, was done in sun rooms, using artificial light in place of daylight.  They actually prepped the dying this way too. If they were knocking at death's door and looking pasty white and ill, they had to go tanning. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is where the first tanning beds in the world were made.  They believed that the dead "looked better" if they were tan.  The staff figured that it would be easier for the families to see than ghastly, pale corpses.  I doubt it really made much of a difference. Dead is dead. Families were grieving for a loved one who died in a horrible way.  A tan wasn't going to help that. There was a different version of Heliotherapy for patients that was much harsher.  They would put the patients out in direct sunlight, on the roof or open porches.  In some cases, patients had to withstand weather conditions even in the middle of the winter.  They would even get snow on the ends of their beds.  I suppose that was the "rest" that the sanatorium promised?

                                          Patients in steam cabinets for treatment
       Most of the chilling stories told about the Waverly Hills sanatorium are frequently based on or connected to it's history.  If patients didn't just die of tuberculosis they would probably die from abhorrent experiments that doctors and staff did on them. It was very sick and twisted. The remedies and therapies for Tuberculosis then, were atrocious. This is why many believe that the hauntings in Waverly Hills are done by vengeful spirits mostly. There was a "Draining Room" where they hung the dead upside down from poles near the body chute. They would slit them from stomach to pelvic area to drain their blood. It sounds so savage, like something from a horror movie. They thought that a supposed bio hazard as Tuberculosis infected blood, would be best filtered through a sewage pipe. Ignorance is bliss. Many people died. Few patients ever would leave Waverly Hills.  Those admitted into the hospital had horrible care and the doctors were testing people like lab rats.  They performed a lot of lobotomies.  Some patients had deflated lungs (Pneumothorax) and the doctors would surgically implant balloons within their lungs to physically expand them.  Some people had ribs and muscles removed to have more room for oxygen intake.  This was called a Thoracolplasty.  Few patients survived these experiments. The few that did, were genuinely mentally affected by their experience there.  The hospital clearly deeply impacted them, as it would anyone I'd imagine.  There is a movie, documentary called, "Spooked," about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. I found it very interesting and informational. It also has interviews with a few survivors.

What the floor of the Draining room probably looked like

Electroshock therapy room

A TB infected lung, followed by some sort of experiment. A lobotomy anybody?

                                                       The staff at Waverly

        There are a lot of places in the Waverly Hills Sanatorium that are very haunted. The body chute of course, and a lot of ghostly activity has been experienced room 502.  A head nurse died in room 502.  She hanged herself from a light fixture.  She was 29, unmarried, and pregnant, in 1928.  They say she was depressed because of her situation and couldn't bear to live any longer. (how astute!) Apparently, mental patients continued to walk around, ignoring her hanging body.  It was finally discovered by the next nurse who showed up for duty. Talk about a rough day at work!

                                  The much talked about, very haunted room 502

   In 1932, another nurse who worked in room 502, jumped from the balcony of the roof that leads from the room. They say she caught Tuberculosis from a patient and didn't want to suffer the slow agony of death that she had seen with so many patients.  She was killed instantly when her body slammed into the unforgiving ground, 5 stories below.  Maybe she drank the same water the other nurse did, or perhaps the Waverly Hills Sanatorium really can make you a little nutty.  The doctors definitely did, with all of their experimentation.  If ever a place was haunted, this is it.

                          The doorway the nurse ran through leading to the roof she jumped off of

                     The roof, the nurse's final view before throwing herself off the edge
     There is a Tunnel, the body chute or the Death Tunnel as it's commonly known. It was constructed at the same time as the main building.  It began at the 1st floor and went 500 feet to the bottom of the hill.  One side had steps to allow workers to enter and exit the hospital without having to walk a dangerous, steep hill. The other side of the tunnel had a set of rails and a cart powered by a motorized cable system, so that supplies could easily be transported to the top.  Air ducts leading from the roof of the tunnel to above ground level were incorporated every 100 feet to let in light and fresh air. Perhaps the staff would use the tunnel to go outside and take a breather, when the stench of death overwhelmed them.  They went outside to their "happy  place," smoked a cigarette, and went back inside to care for more dying patients.
                                    The Death Tunnel side with the stairs for employees

                                                    Entrance to Death Tunnel

     People were lining up to go get "cured" at the Waverly Hills treatment center.  They had full faith that they could save their lives.  The "word" was that people were surviving the disease, all thanks to Waverly Hills. Specialists were helpless and sent patients to Waverly for treatment. In a desperate search for a cure, people found a faint glimmer of hope in the Waverly Hills facility. As antibiotics had not been discovered when Waverly had opened, treatment consisted of heat lamps, fresh air, high spirits and reassurances of an eventual full recovery.  Lies basically.  People were slowly drowning in their own blood as their lungs filled up. As they would struggle to breathe, the nurses and doctors would reassure them that you'd be fine.  Even as a patient took their last gasping, desperate breathes, they would be reassured.  The nurses tried to keep patients in high spirits.  Then they died and became spirits.

                              TB treatment with sunlight. They were pulled out of their
                                          rooms and brought into the sunlight.

Many children were admitted for TB, and there were many orphans

        Once Tuberculosis hit it's peak, deaths were occurring daily. At one point, they say about 3 people died an hour. .  The sight of the dead being taken away in view of the patients was obviously not to great for the morale. If you are already dying, coughing up your own blood,  you don't want to see someone who died from what you have, getting wheeled casually down the hall in front of you.  The infected lost the will to live.  They became depressed (perhaps they were just making peace with their inevitable dark fates). This contributed to a higher death rate. At this point, the tunnel took on another use.  When patients died, their bodies were placed on the cart and lowered to the bottom where a hearse would be waiting to take them away discreetly, out of patient view, saving morale.  I'm sure they didn't notice when people started disappearing randomly. That's much more subtle. The doctors also believed this way of disposing of the bodies would combat the disease and keep it from spreading.
                                The death tunnel used to remove dead bodies

      To paint a more vivid picture of Tuberculosis, it isn't just a simple cough and a fever that can kill you.  It is spread through the air from one person to another.  The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active tuberculosis coughs, sneezes or speaks.  People nearby may breath in these bacteria and become infected. It attacks the lungs, and then the rest of the body, such as the kidney, spine and the brain.  At the time, it was the leading cause of death in the United States.  In the 1900's, tuberculosis killed one out of every seven people living in the United States and Europe.  There are a few ways TB can kill you.  It can cause you to slowly suffocate as blood fills up your lungs  and you die of respiratory failure.  If you are lucky. Tissue in your lung is killed by TB, and eventually you simply cannot absorb enough oxygen.  Not to mention that TB generally would spread to other parts of the body, if you lived long enough, and cause organ failure.  The death by suffocation was better than the latter.  The persons lungs would fill with "tubercles"(tuberculosis bacteria, and blood) and they would slowly breathe less and less, until they died, from lack of oxygen, which would stress the heart, and it would stop. There can be complications with bones, kidneys, lymph nodes, and many other things.  Some would slowly just waste away because their body couldn't fight the infection.  One day they just wouldn't wake up.  The worst way to die there was of blood loss.  That is when the infection eroded a blood vessel and they bled to death.  Very messy and gory.  There would be blood pouring out of the mouth and nose, coughing and spitting up blood because of internal bleeding.  Then they would die, choking on their own blood, drowning in it.

                                         A depiction of dying of Tuberculosis
     After the introduction of Streptomycin, an antibiotic, in 1943, the number of tuberculosis cases gradually lowered. They were about 20 years to late, but it did lead to fewer patients at Waverly Hills Sanatorium.  With the development of better medications, some patients could just self treat themselves at home. In 1961, the Tuberculosis hospital was changed into an elderly care center.  It was called the Woodhaven Geriatric Center, a nursing home.  It was primarily for treating aging patients with various stages of dementia and mobility limits as well as the severely retarded (or Mentally Handicapped as we now say). These patients went to a place to die, where 63,000 people had already died. They had horrible living conditions, they were simply cast out. Patients were left in wet beds of urine and feces.  There were cockroaches everywhere. And people were dying as a result of doctors being uneducated about mental illness at the time. The Geriatric patients were put through torture and electroshock. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was again shut down in 1982, allegedly due to charges of patient neglect.
     There are countless stories and supernatural encounters related to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.  Considering the 63,000 white plague victims and the deaths at the geriatric center, I believe it is haunted.  There have been many ghost EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), videos and photos taken at the sanatorium.  Waverly Hills sanitarium stands as a massive fortress of doom, a monument to pain and suffering, with a Gothic style and gargoyles on the roof. Not the most inviting looking place.

                                 The "Welcoming" sign of the Hospital of horrors

                                   A view of Waverly Hills Sanitarium on the hill.

     Over the years, the Sanatorium has seen it's fair share of Paranormal Investigations from top Ghost enthusiasts throughout the world.  Lights have been witnessed in parts of the building, with no electricity running through it.  Objects have been thrown, people have been pushed and apparitions have been seen. For all of those who have stepped into the Waverly Hills Sanitarium, they are probably happy to have stepped out.  Me personally, I'd love to spend the night. That's just me. There are also self slamming doors, cold spots, screams, human shaped shadows moving around corridors, voices and wailing in the halls coming from nowhere, spirit clouds in different shapes and orbs of light moving inside buildings and on the grounds.  Many people also tell of a hearse coming into the area and leaving with caskets.

                                                      Orbs caught on camera
     There have been sightings of a little boy they call "Timmy" who died of Tuberculosis tragically at a very young age.  Some see him as a full apparition, while others witness Timmy rolling his favorite red ball down the dark and lifeless hallways.  They also hear the pitter patter of small bare feet throughout, and some guests can hear a faint and saddening whimper from beyond.  Shadow people are rumored to run rampant throughout the old sanitarium.  These appear as dark, yet larger than life silhouettes of bodies of a semi human form.  The "Shadow People are one of the most frequently reported phenomenon at the hospital. They can even be seen through windows from the outside of the sanatorium, with lights, with no electricity. Visitors say they felt coldness around their bodies, chills with shadow figures around.  Apparently, every night, shadow people wander around and will come towards you.  You can see patients in windows and doorways.  Shadows pass each other in the hall, trapped in repeated motions before their death.

                                                    A shadow figure

    Among the haunting stories of Waverly, there is said to be a little girl named Mary wandering about with the other lost spirits.  She is said to have very creepy features with no eyes.  She also plays with a small ball, like Timmy. Perhaps they play together. Who knows? She is said to haunt the 3rd floor, running around and playing hide and seek with visitors.  She has been seen crouching in corners and heard calling for help and walking through walls.  She asks people to play with her.  She looks about 6-7 years old and very confused. Understandably. She says "hello" and "watch out."  Perhaps she's looking for an eternal playmate?  On the 2nd floor, there are odors, cold spots, temperatures of 50 degrees or less, footsteps heard, the smell of food, fresh baked bread.  There is also a woman who roams the halls with bloody wrists and chains adorned while screaming for help. Apparitions of children can also be seen in the windows. The 4th floor is active as well, shadows have been seen wandering throughout the halls. Heavy metal doors have been known to slam shut on their own.  The 5th floor is probably the most haunted.  Not only is it haunted by the 2 ghosts of the nurses who killed themselves in the infamous room 502 that I mentioned previously.  This floor housed mostly the mentally insane patients of the hospital.  Activity is frequent within the halls of the 5th floor.  People see the full body apparition of a nurse wearing white.

                                              Apparition of a woman in white

                                                     Children playing on roof

     In the Cafeteria/Kitchen an apparition of a man wearing a white coat and pants has been seen.  He is believed to be a former employee.  Did he perhaps get Tuberculosis from a patient somehow? Sanitation wasn't very advanced back then.  Food has even been smelled though no food has entered these rooms since the closing of the facility in 1980. Was it perhaps this cook in the following picture, or another fellow worker? What happened to them?

        A cook in the kitchen. That advertised well rounded, healthy meals. Yummy.

     Allegedly one night, a security guard walking the corridors of the building stumbled upon a floating head in one of the rooms.  Scared out of his mind, he proceeded to run directly down the stairs and as he reached the bottom, he fell to the ground unconscious. I guess he wasn't the adventurous type. When he awoke, he left and never returned. Another guard has reported seeing the flicker of a TV set from the outside, in a dark room on the 3rd floor.  He went to investigate and found nothing.  At least he didn't pass out.  Other guards were unaffected and used to it. They said it happens all the time.

     In the tours, people claim to see the same things, "creatures" as they say.  Are they really creatures?  Ghosts are a different form of being, that used to be human.  So, to me, it seems disrespectful to call them creatures.  They are lost souls that lived life and died horrible deaths.  They deserve respect and reverence.  They knew they would probably die and still managed to try to cope and keep their spirits up.  That's true strength, looking death in the eyes.

                       The ghost of what appears to be a little boy. Could it be Timmy?

                                        unexplained lights going across hall

                                                 ectoplasm caught on camera

     There are tours but as far as randomly visiting the Waverly Sanatorium solo, on your own schedule, good luck.  The owners have posted a "friendly" reminder that Waverly is Private property and under 24 hour surveillance.  There is also on site security.  There is no Trespassing allowed or tolerated.  The only legal way for you to visit is to schedule a tour or investigation.  That's a bummer but I'd definitely go on a night time tour!  What a place! With such a haunted history. This is at the top of my list of haunted places to visit.

                                                       ghostly image in hallway

       Supposedly these heavy, metal doors slam them selves shut and re open, often. I think the ghosts would need WD 40 just to loosen up the door enough to open with all that rust.

                          Shadowy ghost figures behind tourist in death tunnel

                                                     Graffiti, self explanatory