Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mayhem In the Air & The Waverly Hills Sanatorium

We're getting closer to Halloween - the release date for the Mayhem In The Air anthology from Untethered Realms - so I thought I would share the haunted place that helped inspire my entry in the collection. If you've visited this blog before you know I love ghosts and haunted places!

The entrance to Waverly Hills

When I first learned about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium near Louisville, Kentucky, I knew at some point I would end up writing about it or including it in a story in some way. While Waverly Hills is not mentioned in my Mayhem story Cardinal Sin, it did inspire the tuberculosis hospital where the story's character loses his life.

Jefferson County, Kentucky experienced a tuberculosis epidemic in the early decades of the 20th century, which led to the building of the huge sanatorium. Waverly Hills became a self-contained community, with its own zip code, post office, and farm to raise vegetables and livestock for its residents. The doctors and nurses lived at Waverly alongside the patients, which numbered into the 400s at any given time. The sanatorium opened for business in October, 1926 and served as a TB hospital until the 1960s, after antibiotics had rendered the facility obsolete.

It's not hard to imagine that there are lots of legends and haunted tales from those 40 years of operation. The fifth floor is considered the most haunted area of the hospital and is likely the floor where mentally ill TB patients were housed. Room 502 is the most popular room for ghost hunters to visit, as the head nurse committed suicide by hanging herself from the light fixture in 1926. In 1932, another nurse who worked in the room was said to have jumped to her death from the nearby patio.

The creepiest thing about Waverly Hills was the "body chute," a tunnel originally used to transport building materials during the construction of the hospital. Once the hospital was in operation, the tunnel was used for something very different. It became known as the body chute because it was used to remove dead patients from the hospital floors and transport them to hearses waiting at the body of the hill on which the sanatorium stood.

Researchers estimate that approximately 8,000 people died at Waverly Hills over the years, so there must have been lots of bodies going down that chute. It's no wonder the hospital is now a haunted hotspot, and considered one of the most haunted places in America.

Neither the body chute nor Room 502 play any role in my story, but they certainly are fuel for the imagination. I still have thoughts of writing about Waverly Hills and it may show up in another story someday.

Meanwhile, here is the blurb and story loglines for Mayhem In The Air!

Mayhem book blurb:

From Amazon bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Mayhem in the Air, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet hot robots, hungry winds and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien planets, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead. Mayhem in the Air is the second, long-awaited story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.


"A Strange Penitence" 
by Catherine Stine - A young artist pays a supernatural price when a drawing trip to North Carolina turns deadly.

"Mass Transit" by Graeme Ing - For Emily, mind over matter is not just a saying, but the gateway to her career among the largest starships built by man.

"A Tangled Weave" by River Fairchild - A TimePulse rips through the Great Tapestry of Life, leaving Earth’s history in a jumble, and Death and Chronos in a race to save the world yet again.

"Corrosive" by M. Pax - In a world ruined by pollutants, Bex sets off to establish a new homestead with her dreamy robotic man. Already farming her plot of land is another dreamy man with radical ideas, presenting new challenges as corrosive as the air.

"Saving Scrooge: A Short Story Prequel to the Saving Marley Series" by Gwen Gardner - Marley is sent from purgatory to save the soul of his old friend. Can he save his own in the bargain?

"The Silent Wind" by Christine Rains - A team of specialists must dispel a mysterious storm on an alien planet to prepare it for colonization. One by one the crew disappears until only a seasoned soldier remains. How can he battle a hungry wind that makes no noise?

"Paper Lanterns" by Cherie Reich: In order to keep his promise to his daughter, Mayor Alfred Merry must betray the woman he loves.

"Chaos. Hope. Love." by Misha Gerrick - Although Eris is the goddess of chaos, her life has fallen into a nice and comfortable routine. Until someone from her past shows up in her bookstore.

"Cardinal Sin" by Julie Flanders: Beleaguered hospital workers bury the living with the dead in the midst of a tuberculosis epidemic and a seething spirit vows vengeance from the skies.

"The Ark" by Cathrina Constantine -Plagued with memory flashes of fiery explosions and running for her life, Fallon emerges from a drugged stupor to find herself in an airborne Ark, and the earth below is a drowning wasteland.


  1. Congrats on the story, Julie!

    I wonder if the nurse really did commit suicide or if it was murder? And if it was suicide, why...?

  2. Maybe the head nurse was dying of TB and didn't want to end up like the patients she saw there?

  3. So sad. I mean, I guess death is just a part of life, but to think of all those people affected by it...

  4. 8,000 deaths - yikes. And that chute. I'll have that image in my head for while.

  5. I've seen Waverly Hills on a few ghost hunting shows. A creepy place! And yay for Mayhem! It's almost time to share it with the world. :)

  6. Sanatoriums are always haunted. Ew...a body chute? Cringes. Mayhem in the Air sounds like an awesome collection. Woot! Way to go, Untethered Realms!

  7. That looks like a creepy building, even without the history!

    Congrats on the collection - sounds brilliant.

  8. I must be weird. The body chute kinda sounds like fun and very interesting. ;)

    Yay for Mayhem in the Air! It was great learning about the inspiration behind your story "Cardinal Sin."

  9. A body chute? It sounds like a horror based amusement park. *shudder*

    Grats on the upcoming release!

  10. The Ghost Hunter dudes investigated there several times. It's definitely creepy from the outside. the TB epidemic was horrific. There were so many epidemics. It's quite sad.

  11. Congratulations on the release! Wow, what a scary place for inspiration. The body chute business just freaks me out. But if it gave you inspiration, I'm all for it:)

  12. I have heard of this hospital and it does sound scary when you think of all the patients. I wonder if they would ever turn it into condos or something like that. I just taped something on PBS about the hidden epidemic which is about TB. Congrats on the book-to all of you who contributed

  13. Mayhem in the Air sounds like a great collection!
    Sanatoriums seem to always be haunted, right? And I'm so cringing at . . . a body chute? Yikes!

  14. Hi Julie,

    Mayhem in the Air most certainly intrigues. What a collection!

    The Waverly Hills photo looks somewhat reminiscent of the mental institution that I once stayed in. I went to sections that were something out of Victorian times.

    Thanks for story and the blurb.

    Have a peaceful weekend, my friend.



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