Inside The Haunted Halls Of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Though its doors have been closed to patients for more than half a century, it seems not all the occupants have left.

July 28, 2021
Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky

Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky

From 1910 to 1962, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville housed thousands of tuberculosis patients; the facility was so vast that it had its own ZIP code, post office and water treatment facility.

Photo by: The Real Waverly Hills Sanatorium

The Real Waverly Hills Sanatorium

From 1910 to 1962, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville housed thousands of tuberculosis patients; the facility was so vast that it had its own ZIP code, post office and water treatment facility.

Related To:

In the early 1900s, Kentucky’s hospitals were at a breaking point. The warm, wet weather was the perfect breeding ground for tuberculosis, an airborne, bacterial disease that ate away at a patient’s lung tissue and had caused roughly 25% of all deaths in the United States by the end of the 1800s.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium went from a two-story wooden structure to a sprawling five-story facility to treat the increased number of patients.

The sanitorium opened in the midst of a widespread epidemic

It was within this devastating context that the Waverly Hills Sanitorium first opened its doors on July 26, 1910, as a two-story wooden structure built to house about 50 patients. By October of 1926, the hospital had expanded to its current 400-hundred-bed capacity to accommodate a continual influx of patients.

Because of the highly contagious nature of the disease, extreme quarantine measures were required for patients and staff alike, meaning Waverly Hills had to function as an island unto itself. The self-sufficient facility produced its own food, raised animals, and ran a functioning post office.

It also featured a 500-foot-long tunnel that spanned from the first floor of the building to the bottom of the hill. Supplies could be brought in from the bottom, and the countless bodies of deceased patients were discreetly removed from the top.

In 2010, Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin of Ghost Adventures captured EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recordings. Their investigation also produced video evidence of a shadowy figure emerging from one of the rooms.

Brutal treatments for an unforgiving disease

24th January 1933: Patients crippled by tuberculosis are treated outdoors in the snow at the Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital in Nottinghamshire. Whatever the weather, they spend their days lying on iron bedsteads in the open air, as a 'curative' measure. [Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images]

24th January 1933: Patients crippled by tuberculosis are treated outdoors in the snow at the Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital in Nottinghamshire. Whatever the weather, they spend their days lying on iron bedsteads in the open air, as a 'curative' measure. [Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images]

Prior to the development of a vaccine, treatments for tuberculosis ran the gamut from unobtrusive to barbaric. Physicians often prescribed rest, fresh air, and sunlight. These curative measures were often carried out in all seasons, including the depths of winter. Other approaches were more markedly brutal. In some cases, patients had their lungs surgically resected (partially removed) or collapsed in order to let the organ “rest".

With the introduction of a vaccine, case numbers plummeted, and in 1961 the sanitorium was officially closed. However, it seems the pain and suffering of so many souls has left a permanent mark upon the site. There’s a reason Waverly Hills is regularly placed on paranormal lists worldwide.

Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Kindred Spirits investigate the 5th floor after the owner expressed concerns over a new entity. [screenshot via Discovery Inc.]

Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Kindred Spirits investigate the 5th floor after the owner expressed concerns over a new entity. [screenshot via Discovery Inc.]

When Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Kindred Spirits made their first visit, they recalled being struck by the powerful desperation they felt in the nurses’ wing. They returned in 2019 to try and resolve that energy, only to be met with something much more menacing.

A reputation as one of the world’s most haunted places

Prior to its designation on the National Register of Historic Places, Waverly Hills had been left to decay. The abandoned hospital gained notoriety as a popular ghost hunting spot for local teens and lovers of the paranormal. It did not disappoint. Countless stories emerged of shadow people and ghostly children, cementing the building’s sinister reputation.

In 2001, Charles and Tina Mattingly purchased the property and began its restoration. Volunteers soon had their own encounters to add to the growing lore of Waverly Hills. Many reported unexplained slamming doors and sightings of a mysterious man in white drifting throughout the corridors. Others had run-ins with Timmy, a spectral boy who roams the hallways and likes to play ball. When the facility officially opened to the public for tours, visitors continued to corroborate these experiences.

The notorious hospital has attracted the interest of professional paranormal investigators from across the country.

Though its doors have been closed to patients for more than half a century, it seems not all the occupants have left the Waverly Hill Sanitorium. Join the Destination Fear team as they confront their fears and search for evidence of the hospital’s most notorious residents on the Season 3 premiere, now streaming on discovery+.

Next Up

Watseka Wonder: The Startling Story Of The First Documented Possession

Tales of paranormal activity date back thousands of years, but a tiny Illinois town holds the distinction of being the site of America’s first documented demonic possession.

Come Party With the Paranormal in Round Two of Fright Club

Jack Osbourne and the Ghost Brothers – Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey – serve up more paranormal insanity in the hilarious and spooky competition in the all-new season premiering June 30 on Travel Channel and discovery+.

What It's Like To Spend A Night At The Creepy Clown Motel

A small town swept by disease, an adjacent cemetery, and a room packed with over 2000 clown figurines. Located in the sparse desert between Las Vegas and Reno, it’s easy to understand how the World-Famous Clown Motel earned its title as America’s Scariest Motel.

All-New Shock Doc Examines the Supernatural Consequences in Demon In The White House

Is it possible two grieving mothers, dabbling in seances inside the Presidential residence, conjured something other than their beloved sons? Shock Docs: Demon In The White House premieres on discovery+ on Friday, November 26.

Woman Who Owns 'The Conjuring' House Discovers 'Creepy Basement'

A video on TikTok says there was a daycare in the famous abode right after a traumatized family fled the haunted property.

The Haunted History Of Connecticut's Union Cemetery

Union Cemetery, occupied by the legendary “White Lady,” is considered one of the most haunted places in America.

7 Paranormal Sightings in the White House

America’s house is home to more than just presidents and their families.

Ghost Adventures Investigates Infamous Rhode Island Farmhouse

In a small town in Rhode Island, sits the infamous farmhouse that became legendary after serving as the basis for the hit film The Conjuring. But the true history of the home is even more terrifying than the film, so Ghost Adventures is set to lockdown at the Harrisville farmhouse this Halloween to investigate the haunting behind the curse.

6 Bone-Chilling Twitter Threads You Shouldn’t Read In The Dark

Leave the lights on when you binge-read these collections of short tweets that weave together months-long horror stories.

On TV

Trending Now

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.