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The Waverly Hills Sanitarium opened in Louisville, Kentucky in October 1926. The structure was created to house tuberculosis patients and staff fighting this dreaded disease sometimes known as the “white plague”. Waverly Hills was a 500 bed hospital offering a person anything they needed. A kitchen, laundry, dentist, library, and barber shop was located in the building.

Tuberculosis was rampant during this time affecting whole families and was so contagious that people were quarantined from the general public. This disease destroyed the lungs causing the patient to suffocate. It could also infect the brain, eyes, larynx and bones. Antibiotics had not been invented and the only treatment available was rest, fresh air and sunlight and to try and boost the patient’s immune system by good nutrition. Some did recover and return home but many people died. TB outbreaks continued to grow. It is said that more people died from tuberculosis than Americans who died in WW1. Many experiments were performed and surgeries done trying to find a cure for this dreaded disease but over 60,000 people ended up dying in this facility.

The hospital faced the problem of how to dispose of the bodies. Since a recovery from tuberculosis also requires a person to be in a good mental state of mind corpses had to be removed from the premises without other patients viewing the procedure. The staff and doctors thought the bodies could still be contagious because of body fluids.

The inclined corridor or tunnel was first constructed to move supplies in and out of the building but at some point it was decided it could be used to discreetly transport bodies off the hill without other patients witnessing it. The dead were placed on a cart and lowered to the bottom that was 500 feet underground. They were picked up by surviving family members or cremated.
In 1943 streptomycin was introduced and tuberculosis cases gradually lowered and the hospital closed in 1961.

In 1962 The Woodhaven Geriatric Sanitarium opened but was closed for good by the state in 1980 for alleged patient abuse.

The building was taken over by vagrants and ripped of anything valuable. By 2001 Waverly Hills had been nearly destroyed by vandals and the elements. The hospital soon gained a reputation for being haunted and stories began to circulate of resident ghosts like the little girl who was seen running up and down the third floor solarium, the little boy who was spotted with a leather ball, the hearse that appeared in the back of the building dropping off coffins, the woman with the bleeding wrists who cried for help. Visitors told of slamming doors, lights in the windows, strange sounds and eerie footsteps in empty rooms.

There is a legend about room 502 where two suicides are said to have occurred. A nurse is said to have hanged herself from a fixture in 1928 after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Another nurse is said to have been pushed or jumped out a window. It is believed that the mentally insane tuberculosis patients were housed on the fifth floor at Waverly.

The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society introduced the sanatorium to a national television audience, held two ghost conferences there and spent scores of thankless hours taking literally thousands of people through the building on more haunted tours than they could begin to count. They would also, during independent investigations and tours, experience numerous incidents of paranormal activity. According to many ghost hunters, the most common paranormal activity is the phenomenon of the shadow people, “moving shadows” that seem to have substance and are able to “walk” across doorways. They are supposedly able to block some light when a laser is pointed at them.
Below is a video of Waverly Hills and you can also learn more about it from the following link:

This will conclude my posts about scary things. Hope everyone has a great Halloween.


22 Responses

  1. Now that’s a ghost story! How eerie!! Thank goodness this place has long been closed.

  2. Man, that place is not on my short…or long travel list!Jlo

  3. Gosh, that was truly interesting. It’s hard to imagine 60,000 people died. Those poor nurses and doctors. That’s incredible. I bet the place is haunted but I would never go there to find out. Thanks for the post I really enjoyed that Judy!!

  4. As usual, a very interesting post, Judy. Goodness, I guess it’s no wonder it’s haunted with 60,000 people having died there. I must say, that building sure looks the part—a rather creepy-looking place. I don’t think I’d want to be there by myself!Thanks for a great post!

  5. WOW…I sure would like to revamp(no pun intended ) that place…Think of the marvelous architecture…It’s gorgeous!

  6. Interesting Judy! I’d hate to be shut in there at night!! It is really large. I’d say if a place can be haunted then this one might be with the sad history! Happy Halloween!!

  7. Judy, I have heard of haunted old houses, but never heard of an entire haunted hospital. Just wondering if this place is still actively used as a hospital, and what the government thinks about all this haunted activity. Its not clear if this is a government owned thing or private…but I certainly wouldnt want to go there ….

  8. Well done Judy on an escellent blog though I wouldn’t be on my list to visit. much research must have gone into writing this and I congratulate you.Yvonne

  9. OMWord Judy, what a place – Gosh even if they knocked the buildings down I have a feeling that anything that was built in it’s place would hold the feelings of sheer ghostliness and terror.. I certainly wouldn’t like to be within 10 miles of the place. These poor nurses and patients – poor souls ! Rob is of the generation that knew of folk who went into T.B. hospitals and my first Mother in Law knew of T.B. patients too – The patients, once they went into these places most of the time never came out, it was a death sentence. Some were there for 2 years, it must have been awful … I have heard of people going to see their loved ones – they couldn’t get in of course! but they would wave to them from the perimeter of the gardens – heartbreaking ! Thanks for posting this item Judy, lots of people nowadays haven’t a clue what happened then…

  10. Judy, What a frightening place.You certainly do a lot of research.Thank you for all the information I receive from your great site.Also thank you for all the personalencouragment that you send my way.Have a great day.

  11. I would love to have a wonder around there, it’s a very creepy looking place

  12. Ooooh. I saw this on “Ghosthunters”, a cable show and they recorded a number of incidents that you can probably get to online. I’m a pretty practical person, but if it’s true that the energy of a person can linger, than the years of suffering and heartbreak that went on here would be ripe and rife with it…Pearl

  13. We have a mental hospital in Oregon that’s bad. They say you can tell how strong a nation is by how they treat their weakest. We’re in trouble.

  14. So true Linda. Happy Halloween Judy – you deserve it!June in Oz

  15. Wow! What a Great Halloween post! You definitely have scared the daylights out of me! Yuuukk, scary place and I’d never want to go there to visit!!! I did enjoy reading the history of it though.Hope you have a lot of fun trick or treat kiddos tonight!! Hope you’ll post a picture of your adorable grandson in his costume so we can see him!!

  16. WOW! I was in Louisville yesterday! I would love go see the place but not go in it!! Heheh, the architecture looks GORGEOUS!Love you!Leigh

  17. It creeps me out reading about it! The place is so neat looking though, but not sure I would want to go in!!Love you!-Anne

  18. Interesting reading about our very own haunted house! I remember going to visit a great uncle in the sanitarium in PA when I was a little girl. I remember whether he died there or not, but I remember that he died when I was young. I had to wait in the car because he was thought to be too contagious and dangerous to kids. The sanitarium in Erie was much like Waverly Hills, I believe, as I can remember a brick building in a wooded setting on a hill. Odd the pictures that stay in your mind for 50 years…

  19. Creeeepy!!How awful that so many people died there from TB.Happy Halloween!!!!

  20. That is definitely a spooky story but really interesting. It’s taken me a while to get all of my favorite blogs onto my new blog site, but I’ll be back.

  21. You couldn’t pay me enough to go inside. I just read this today Judy. That place is scary!

  22. The Ghosthunters went there and explored it. There’s not enough money in the world to pay me to be there at night, possibly during the day, but NEVER at night in the dark.

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