My Haunted Hometown - Waverly Hills

'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.
~William Shakespeare

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
In the early 1900's, Northern Kentucky was ravaged by an outbreak of the "White Plague" otherwise known as tuberculosis. This prompted the construction of a new state of the art TB hospital.

The building that still stands in Louisville, Kentucky, was opened in 1926 with 435 patient beds, but by 1932, patient numbers had increased to 480 with nearly 100 applicants on a waiting list.

The sprawling 160,000 square foot facility was comprised of five stories and a basement. Like other tuberculosis sanatoriums, it was situated on a hill because elevation to drier, purer air was thought beneficial to sufferers.

Nearly 8000 patients died there from 1926 to 1961 when the hospital was closed. In order to keep up patient morale, a body chute was constructed to dispose of the dead so they would not be visible to the remaining patients. This "death tunnel" stretched 525 feet underground to the bottom of the hill where the bodies of the deceased were collected by the family or cremated.

The sanatorium currently hosts tours with all proceeds going to restoration of the building. The current owners plan on turning it into a bed and breakfast for ghost lovers. If you visit Waverly Hills today, there is a good chance you might run into the spirit of a child that haunts the third floor and has been known to play with toys brought in by visitors. You might also hear the disembodied voices of children chanting "Ring Around The Rosy" up on the roof, encounter an apparition of one of the two nurses who died in room 502, or cross paths with the shadow people of the fourth floor.

The sanatorium has been featured on Ghost Hunters, Scariest Places On Earth, Most Haunted and earlier this month on The Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.

Are you adventurous at heart? Would you spend the night at Waverly Hills?


Erica M. Chapman said...

Very cool!!! I've seen it on one of those shows! Um, don't think I'd spend the night, but I'd do the tour, maybe *bites nails*

I love that stuff, but I'm also really suspicious and unlucky, and so my luck would be some spirit would follow me home and never leave...

LOL - Gah! I'm crazy, as is this post. Thanks for sharing. I love Halloween!

Rogue Mutt said...

My sisters need to visit Louisville; they like all those ghost shows.

I wouldn't stay there unless they had room service and a high-speed Internet connection.

Melissa said...

OOOO! I love this kind of thing. And that being said, while thats true, you'd never catch me there after dark but exploring with the light of the sun on my back? For sure.

Marieke said...

Ooooh, that looks amazing! So spooky! And of course I'd love to spend a night there! :D

Lisa Potts said...

Erica, a friend of mine took some toys with her on the tour for the ghost children to play with.

Nothing much happened while they were there, but the next morning her children told her that someone had been in their room the night before and refused to sleep in their beds.

After a week, she phoned the owners of Waverly hoping they could help. They asked if she'd taken something home that didn't belong to her. After searching, she found a single marble that had been scooped up with her own things. Once it was returned to Waverly, the problems stopped.

Lisa Potts said...

RM, you should definitely tell them to visit.

Melissa, after everything I've heard about Waverly, I might have a problem visiting even in the light of day.

Marieke, they offer overnight stays for six months out of the year.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I've heard so much about it, that I would love to go for a tour. I would attempt to stay the night-but am not sure I'd make it!

Lisa Potts said...

I know I wouldn't make it all night!

amilner78 said...

Oooh! Awesome! I would totally stay the night...with a large group of friends of course;-) We get kicks out of scary eachother. My town had a "clinic" that was renovated a few years back, but most of my childhood it was abandoned and haunted. Lots of lore about why it was haunted. Love that kind if stuff!

Jenny Beattie said...

No. I most certainly wouldn't spend the night there. I'm simply not brave enough!

Hi to you from a fellow crusader!

Faith said...

Yikes... I honestly don't know if I'd stay there! It probably would depend on how creepy it was during the day. Haha.

Amie Kaufman said...

Eek! I would absolutely not spend the night, I'm a scaredy cat and quite willing to admit it! I would do the tour in a large group, in the middle of the group, squeezing the life out of my husband's hand. I'm absolutely fascinated by stories like this... and terrified of them!

Lisa Potts said...

am78 and Amie, I guess if you were with a large group, you'd only have to run faster than one of them!

Jenny, thanks for stopping by and welcome to the Crusade.

Faith, it's pretty creepy even by day.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh my gosh! That is amazing. I had no idea they put dead bodies down the death tunnels. I don't think I would spend a night there. I'd be too freaked out. =)

Quinn said...

I'd probably be freaked, but I'd definitely spend a night there. I'm actually tempted to hop on a plane right now ... on second thought, that would be an 18 or 20 hour flight and I'm pretty sure I'd miss work tomorrow. Better not.

Great post though. If I was in the area, I'd definitely check it out. I'm actually more interested in the shadow people than the ghosts. I've seen a shadow man before and ... I don't think they're the same thing as ghosts. But I don't know exactly what they are either.

Lisa Potts said...

Carolyn, I agree.

Quinn, wow that's a long flight! Almost sounds as scary as a night at Waverly.

The shadow people have been caught on film. Sometimes referred to as "creepers", they've been seen climbing the walls and crawling across the ceilings.

Elana Johnson said...

What a cool history! And, uh, I might. I'm sort of a wimp.

Arlee Bird said...

I own a DVD copy of the movie Death Tunnel that was filmed there. The movie is pretty bad, but the setting is impressive. In the movie a bunch of college kids spend the night there and horrible things happen.

It was not as good as the film Session 9 which was filmed in an abandoned mental hospital near Philadelphia. That one was pretty creepy.

Tossing It Out

Tracy Loewer said...

I spent 3 summers in a row at band camp in an old sanatorium when I was in high school. It was totally freaky, but waaaaay cool.

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