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Mind O' Mousie Home
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Sanatorium Index
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Essex Mountain Sanatorium
Tina Mattingly
Email the owner for tour information! I am not associated with Waverly Hills or the Waverly Hills Historical Society, this is simply a fan page. I CANNOT arrange a tour for you or give you a tour schedule/cost range!
Waverly Hills History Places in Time
National Register of Historical Places Waverly is near the bottom.
Waverly Hills Historical Society, Inc
Waverly Hills/Woodhaven Memorial Page
Waverly Hills on Wikipedia
Waverly Hills Yahoo! Group Waverly Hills Blog I'm fairly certain this isn't an official blog, but it has contemporary and vintage photographs that are well worth the visit.
LGHS' Waverly Hills Photos
LGHS' Waverly Hills Investigation Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills Waverly Hills
Tuberculosis (in Lungs)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Tuberculosis Nodes (Skin)
Miliary Tuberculosis in Cut Section of Lung (Not for weak stomachs!)

While I am heartily interested in the paranormal activities associated with this institution, it is my sincere wish to be as respectful as possible. In this spirit, I have tried to keep to historical facts and documented evidence. If this needs correcting, or I missed something, please email me the information and a credible source. Thank you!
Contents of this page:

  1. Waverly Hills Timeline
  2. The Infamous "Body Chute"
  3. Reported Hauntings
  4. Photos of Waverly Hills


  • 1908: construction begins on the original Waverly Hills Sanatorium
  • 7/26/1910: original Waverly Hills Sanatorium opens, reaches overflow quickly, creating need for larger hospital
  • 3/1924: new facilities begin construction
  • 10/17/1926-1961: Waverly Hills in operation as a tuberculosis treatment center
  • 1961-1963: hospital is remodeled
  • 1963-1980: in operation as Woodhaven Geriatrics Center
  • 1980: Woodhaven is shut down because of reported and proven patient abuse; hospital is permanently closed as a working facility
  • 2001: current owners (the Mattinglys) purchase the property and begin restorations
  • Present: the site has been home to ghost hunts and still hosts historical tours (use the link in the Waverly Hills Links section to email Tina Mattingly of the Waverly Hills Historical Society for information)

The other name for this, the "Death Tunnel", is far more accurate. The term "chute" implies that they merely chucked bodies down and let them fall of their own accord. However, there is no way that would be possible- the stairs and platforms would slow the fall and even potentially create a stuck-body pileup! In reality, the bodies were moved down using a motorized track and gurney tables with specialized wheels.
This may seem a little odd to most, but realizing several facts about sanatorium life might clear up the sinister reputation the "Death Tunnel" has gotten. First of all, many people were dying daily. Through the years that Waverly Hills was open, over 60,000 people died there. For those tuberculosis patients desperately hoping that they themselves wouldn't die, it must have been both depressing and demoralizing to see their dead hospital mates near them and the hearses coming up front to collect bodies. Not to mention there were so many people who needed treatment that they had to clear beds as quickly as possible after a patient was released or died; remember, Waverly Hills was only built to accomodate 400 patients at a time! The fastest way to dispose of the bodies and the problem of the depressing hearses was to have the dead picked up at the bottom of the hill- and the easiest way to get them there was by the steam tunnel now known as the "Body Chute".
There were other uses for the tunnel, of course... It was a steam tunnel designed to keep the hospital warm in the days before central heating and air conditioning. In the middle of winter, it served as an excellent way for employees of the hospital to get up the hill. Since it was heated and underground, it was quick and practical for employees use the tunnel to get to work without freezing their knickers off. Also, cinders the Waverly Hills boiler room used to heat the steam tunnel helped pave some of the local roads.
Want more on the "Death Tunnel"? Click here for pictures and info!

Because so many people died on the site of Waverly Hills Sanatorium (reportedly one person an hour at the height of the T.B. epidemic), it is logical to believe that the remnants of at least a few of these people would hang about for a while. At least, it's logical if you believe in ghosts! Even if you don't, suspend that disbelief.... It's fun to at least read about ghosts and get creeped out, even if you don't think they're real! (Please note: I have attempted to keep only to the haunting activities where there is physical evidence- like photographs, EVP, or equipment reads- to prevent dregging up unsubstantiated rumors.)

  1. The Electroshock Room
    Keith Age of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society (LGHS) was doing a segment for Fox Television's Scariest Places on Earth special. On his tour before the show to pick up hotspots, he followed the signal on his electro-magnetic field reader, or EMF. The meter needled out at the highest reading when they went into a room and heated the machine so much that solder melted and started to drip out of the case. The temperature dropped drastically as well. There was no electricity in the building whatsoever at the time.
  2. Phantom Lights
    On the same tour, the group came across an area where the EMF registered a field. They snapped several photographs of the area. When those photos were developed, a turned-on lightbulb appeared. Again, there was no electricity in Waverly Hills at the time. There also were no light bulbs remaining, and no glass in the windows to reflect any flashes from a flashlight or camera.

Below: the original Waverly Hills facility in 1910
Original 1910 Waverly
Below: colorized photograph of the second Waverly Hills facility, circa 1926
1926 Waverly facility
Both photographs presented here courtesy of, with much gratitude!

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