Situated in Kentucky‘s bustling city of Louisville, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium has become known as one of the most haunted buildings in America and was at one point considered the most haunted place on earth. Tours of the grounds, including sleep-over tours and a Halloween special are offered, which you can book here.
Waverly Hills opened in 1910 as a tuberculosis hospital during the ”White Plague” to house 40 patients back in a time when no cure existed. The hospital expanded over the years, increasing to a capacity of 400 patients and was considered the most advanced tuberculosis sanatorium in the country.
In a search for a cure, questionable experiments were conducted, including patients’ lungs being exposed to UV light in an attempt to stop the spread of the bacteria. Balloons were surgically inserted into the lungs and then inflated to try and expand the lungs. Ribs and muscles were surgically removed to allow the lungs to expand and accept more oxygen, but most didn’t survive the operation. With fresh air also being considered a possible cure, patients were put outside, despite the season. There are even photos of patients covered in snow.
Those who succumbed to illness or experiments had their bodies disposed off through what was called the ”body chute”. This enclosed tunnel used a motorized system to secretly lower bodies to the railroad at the bottom of the hill so the corpses could be loaded onto trains. This was done so patients wouldn’t know how many people were dying as the doctors believed the patients’ mental health was as important as their physical.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium’s death toll is exaggerated to claim 50,000-60,000 deaths and some website even claim numbers exceeding 145,000, but according to medical records dating back to 1911, the number of deaths was said to be just over 5,000, which is still a hefty number for a single location.
The hospital closed in 1961 due to the development of streptomycin, an anti-biotic that lowered the need for such a hospital.
In 1962, the building was re-opened as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium to house older residents which gained similar mistreatment including electric shock therapy and poor conditions due to lack of funding, leading the sanatorium to be closed indefinitely in 1982.
Following the shut down of Waverly Hills, it became a place for homeless people looking for shelter, thrill-seekers, explorers and vandals. The building is barely still recognizable due to vandalism and the decay over time. It quickly became known as the local haunted house.
Ghost stories started to circulate and the paranormal community began to hear of all the resident ghosts that supposedly lived there including the ghost of a little girl who would run up and down the third floor solarium, a man in a white coat in the kitchen, a little boy playing with a leather ball, a woman with bleeding wrists and a hearse that appeared at the back of the sanatorium to drop off coffins.
More reports poured in with visitors experiencing slamming doors, lights in the windows of a power-less building, strange sounds, cries, screams and footsteps in empty rooms. The fifth floor has gained much attention with Room 502 being said to have a lot of activity and even unverified claims of people jumping to their deaths from said room.
More dark events took place in Room 502 including a pregnant nurse hanging herself and another nurse who was stationed in 502 jumping from the roof to her death. With many ghost hunters and explorers capturing pictures and video footage from inside the dark murky sanatorium and the rich history of illness, death and sinister experiments, it’s no wonder Waverly Hills has become known as one of the most haunted places on earth.
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