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We've all probably heard stories about the haunted building called Waverly Hills. But are they true or just a bunch of good spooky stories?
Waverly Hills is a massive and ominous structure that for 84 years has stood in Valley Station. From 1926 to 1961, it was a sanitorium, where people came from around the world to be treated for tuberculosis -- a lung disease that, at its height, was a virtual death sentence. Sometimes it saw a death every hour.
Thousands of people died there. It's also believed that many have never left. People report strange noises, or that something will touch them, or that a door will open and shut when there's no wind.
For the last nine years, Tina Mattingly and her husband Charlie have owned Waverly Hills. She says she has no doubt it is a haven for ghosts.
In recent years, Waverly Hills has become a top attraction for paranormal groups and even cable network shows such as SyFy Channel's "Ghosthunters," which recorded a thermal image of what appears to be a child crossing the hall. That convinced Fox 41's David Scott to check the place out for himself. He and a team of Fox 41 photographers decided to spend an entire night there.
They were accompanied by Tina Mattingly's own group of paranormal investigators, who are armed with an array of sensing equipment, including EMF meters which are designed to detect electromagnetic energy that spirits are said to emit.
The first stop was the gift shop, not far from the main entrance. It's also said to be one of the most active rooms in the building. The first bizarre incident happened almost immediately. Investigator Mike Flickner asked any spirits, "Can you show yourself?"
Instantly, another investigator's EMF meter lit up and beeped. Our Fox 41 night vision camera captured Mike asking the spirit to lower the temperature in the room from 74 and a half degrees to 71 degrees. In a span of less than two minutes, Mike's request is answered -- 71 degrees.
After leaving the gift shop, Scott and his crew noticed an unusually cold flow of air coming from the room next door. Next, they headed upstairs where so-called "shadow people" are said to roam the halls. The camera couldn't pick them up, but Scott says he saw something. So did Fox 41 photographer and previous sceptic Dave White: "I saw an arm, like the shadow of an arm come out of the doorway and go back down."
Next stop, the fourth floor operating room that still even has original surgery light equipment on the ceiling. The temperature test doesn't work there -- the presence said to often occupy this room is not there, and it's probably just as well. Investigator Scott Gray says he was attacked in that room two years ago: "I was sitting right here when it happened. Right about that time, it's like something walked up behind me and just punched me in my back and knocked me out of the chair. Now, I'm 6'3, 235 pounds-- it takes quite a bit to move me."
One flight up from there is the infamous room 502, where a nurse hung herself. She was single, had become pregnant by a married doctor, and had just found out she had tuberculosis. Investigator Mike Flickner places a flashlight in the window. He gets an immediate response when he asks his first question: "Are you a woman?"
Though it strangely didn't show up on our Fox 41 camera, the flashlight did quickly blink on then back off.
Next is a trip to perhaps the creepiest spot there, where the dead all left Waverly Hills, down a 500-foot long tunnel known as "the body chute." Originally it was built as a way to bring supplies up from the railroad at the other end. Then, someone got the idea to got the idea to make it an exit for bodies, to keep other patients from knowing just how many people were dying there.
The tunnel has been known to make EMF meters go crazy. However, on that night, they were still.
At that point, dawn was about to break and the crew was wrapping things up. They stopped just down the hall from the entrance to the body chutes to interview Mike Fleckner, when a mysterious sound cut the chat short.
Scott and his crew decided they had worn out our welcome, so just after 7 a.m., they bid farewell to Waverly.
Scott says, "I couldn't help feeling I was pretty lucky to be saying that."
If you want to check out Waverly Hills for yourself, it does offer tours that range from $22 for a couple of hours to $100 for the full night.
However, those are only offered from the spring through the end of August, when they start setting up for the annual haunted house.