Perched on a hill in Louisville, KY, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is known for its history of illness, death, and of course, ghosts. The old hospital has appeared on nearly every ghost-hunting show in the nation, and many insist Waverly is “the most haunted place in the United States.” Here’s why.
The History of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, KY. It originally opened in 1910 with a capacity of 40-50 patients, but underwent massive renovations in 1926 and could eventually accommodate up to 400 people. Waverly Hills remained open until 1961 until a new drug rendered the hospital obsolete. It reopened as a geriatric facility, but closed again in the early 1980s after the state found evidence of patient neglect.
The current owners of Waverly Hills now run tours through the property and organize a haunted house event each Halloween. Many people insist the old hospital is “the most haunted place in the United States,” and the facility has been featured on Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters (including a live Halloween special), Ghost Hunters Academy, Most Haunted, Paranormal Challenge, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, Scariest Places on Earth, among others.
TB treatments at the time of Waverly were primitive, experimental, and painful. Medical staff would often place sandbags on patients’ chests in an attempt to compress the lungs. They also tried electroshock therapy and experimental surgeries. Because of this, a stay at Waverly Hills was often an agonizing experience. Though death estimates vary widely, at least 6,000 people died at the hospital during its 50+ years in operation.
The Death Tunnel
An underground tunnel leads from the hospital’s main entrance to the bottom of a steep hill some 500 feet (or 150 meters) down. Whenever a patient died, doctors sent the body down the tunnel via a motorized cable system to a hearse waiting below. Thousands of patients left Waverly Hills in this way, though some claim the deceased never truly left.
Eerie events in the old tunnel include mysterious shadows, footsteps when no one’s around, and the creak and groan of the long-gone cables.
Legend has it a pregnant nurse committed suicide by hanging herself in Room 502. Some say she had TB, others say she was unmarried and pregnant by the hospital’s owner. Another nurse allegedly leapt from the room for unknown reasons. Now the mystery nurse (or nurses) allegedly haunts the room to this day.
The Haunting of Waverly Hills
Of course, the paranormal activity isn’t restricted to the death tunnel or Room 502. Other freaky events include screams echoing in the halls, shadow people flitting just out of sight, muffled conversations, flickering lights, and heavy footsteps when no one is around. A little boy named Timmy also allegedly haunts the hospital, rolling balls towards investigators. More than a few videos on YouTube show a child’s ball moving by itself.
Have you had an experience at the haunted Waverly Hills? Tell me about it!
Photos: Trip Advisor