Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Louisville, Kentucky

On July 23, 2005 my friend Mark and I attended a ghost tour given by the Louisville Ghost Hunter's Society at the historic, haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. This is by far one of the most haunted places I've EVER visited. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I made another trip there for a longer hunt on May 9, 2008.

For ease of use, I have divided the photos into the following sections:

You may notice that some of the photos are very dark...that's because most of them were taken after 11PM. It WAS dark!

Here's a brief history of the building:

Construction of Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium began in March 1924. It officially opened it's doors on October 1, 1926. It replaced the former TB Hospital that stood not too far from the current building. The old hospital only accomodated 40-50 patients, and it wasn't long before it was extremely overcrowded. Waverly Hills was built with 506 rooms, it was MUCH bigger than the original hospital.

Tuberculosis was a very contagious disease during the early twentieth century, and doctors didn't have any good way to treat it. They didn't have any antibiotics for it like we have today, so the most common treatments were fresh air, good food, and sunlight. There were always lots of patients at the hospital, and rumor has it that over 60,000 died while staying there. However, I recently heard from a website visitor who provided me with more convincing information stating that the actual death toll was probably around 8,200 patients. To see his analysis, please click here.

Waverly Hills was a state-of-the-art facility. The rooms were very nice, and many lead out to porches so the patients could get plenty of fresh air. They even had radios with headphone jacks on the porches and in the rooms so patients could listen to music. The sanatorium had a chapel, a school for the children, and special housing for the hospital staff also.

Because so many people died at Waverly Hills (and because it's such a creepy looking building!) it has a reputation for being haunted. It's even been named one of the top haunted places in the country. And after visiting, I must say I agree. It's definitely the most haunted place I've visited so far! It's not at all uncommon for people to see shadow people, orbs, strange lights, or to hear unexplainable noises.

One of the most well known ghost stories about Waverly Hills centers around Room 502. Legend has it a crazy patient murdered a nurse in this room by stabbing her to death. People claim to see the patient's ghost running out the hospital's front door in a white nightgown, screaming at the top of her lungs. While there is no record of a nurse being stabbed in this room, there are records of a nurse hanging herself. She got pregnant by one of the doctors, and since it was very looked down upon she decided to take her life in Room 502. Many people have experienced strange things in that room, and most believe it is her ghost that haunts it.

The Death Tunnel is another popular haunted area. One of the uses for this tunnel was transporting dead bodies out of the hospital. Since seeing hearses arrive and take away many bodies on a daily basis would bring down other patients' morale, the hospital staff thought it was best to transport the bodies away in an underground tunnel that the patients couldn't see. Some people believe that many of the deceased patients who left the hospital via this tunnel still haunt it.

In October 2006 I received the following observation from Amber R., a website visitor:

As I was looking through your indoor pictures, I noticed almost all of your pics have orbs in them, especially the one labeled "Mesh wire over windows." And I couldn't help but wonder if you noticed the apparition of a man's face in that picture, right above the really bright orb towards the left. It's really creepy.

In June 2007 I received the following e-mail from Sandy S. with observations regarding my photos:

There are two photos that are of some interest in the section called Interior. Take a look at your staircase picture, look straight up from the middle column in the window, and you will see the face of a boy; a little to the right and up just a little you will see face of woman. Look to the far right, in the corner of the window, and you will see an old man. Come straight down from the old man face and to the right of the corner of the window and you will see a man with mustache.

The next picture is your morgue picture. I can see 15 faces in this picture and there may be more. There are to many to give you direction as to where they are.

In November 2007 I received an e-mail from Melissa with an observation regarding one of my photos:

I was just wondering if you ever noticed the first photo you have up, viewing the front of the sanatorium at night? Notice the huge ball of light in the front near the tower? Also, if you look at the top of the tower near the back you will notice a faint light. I haven't been there, but I do think its odd for such a bright light to show in the dark.

I also received an e-mail from Victoria with an observation in November 2007:

Regarding your Waverly Hills "staircase" picture: I know there was some mention about faces being seen, but I do believe there is one more. If you look through the banister to just below the bottom right of the window, you will see a nurse. She by far is the clearest and most convincing of them all!!!

I also received an e-mail from Justin with a photo observation in November 2007:

When looking at the Waverly photos, I kinda threw the streaks of light off as a camera malfunction until I went back and looked at all the photos with the streaks. The one that caught my eyes was in the storage room - you can actually see the reflection of the light in the window which to me debunks the possibility of it being a malfunction.

I received an e-mail from Angela G. with an observation in April 2008:

I was wondering if you noticed the large light streak in the center if the picture from the morgue? At first glance, I assumed it was a halo effect you see in photos sometimes. But when you look closer, it appears to be coming from the top of the room with a purpose! What I mean by that is, if you notice the girl with long hair (his back is turned toward the camera), he looks like a target for the streak of light. It very well might just be a film malfunction, but I swear it appears that something was trying to target that man's head. Also, the light in this picture seems to resemble the other streaks of light you captured in the death tunnel photos. Wonder if something was following you around trying to communicate?

Note: I think the streak of light in the morgue photo is just from the flashlight Mark is holding.

I received an e-mail from Chaeley B. in December 2008, with some additional information regarding the hauntings at Waverly Hills:

When I read your re-telling of the history and read about room 502, I realized that the details weren't exactly correct, or at least left some to the imagination. The nurse that was killed hung herself from the doorway, from a water pipe, got stabbed to death, or jumped out the window...depending on who you talk to.

I wanted to know the truth, so I asked Ms. Tina Mattingly who owns Waverly. She told me that the reports of the nurse hanging herself from the water pipes was false because the piping wasn't installed until three years AFTER the nurse's death. It was said that she hung herself from the doorway, which is probable. It was also said that she jumped from the belltower's windows. She WAS pregnant, and unmarried. It was never told if it was a doctor, but it was thought to be the head doctor at the time. Down on the train tracks a little bit away from Waverly, they found a premature infant in a trashbag. Some think it was her kid that she aborted herself.

Anyways, I'm sorry to jabber on, but I wanted to tell you that the two most noted reports are that she either jumped (which I know to be truth, maybe not with her, but I do know ONE nurse jumped out of the belltower) or she hung herself from the doorway between room 502 and the showers. I just thought I would tell you and let you find out the truth for yourself.

In September 2009, I received an e-mail from Matthew with an observation regarding one of my photos:

I found something interesting in one of your photos. It looks to me like a man in a suit. It's in your May 9, 2008 album, and the photo is entitled "Chair with Wheels." Look in the far right window, and down in the bottom right corner you can see the light apparition of a man in a suit. Almost like a funeral suit.

There may also be something else in the same photo. Look at the middle set of windows. Third pane to the right. Right in the middle of the lower half. There might be something, but it may just be glare of the camera. Not sure - I'll leave it to you.

Here is the photo Matthew was talking about:


I received an e-mail from Tami P. in May 2012 with some observations regarding one of my photos:

In your photo labeled 'another photo of tunnel' I noticed a face in the upper left corner of the ceiling. Also, there are several faces, some skeletal, on the floor (these look like a macabre Picasso painting).

In the photo labeled 'workbench' there appears to be the face of a young woman peering in the window...she is in the far left of the frame.

I received an e-mail from Takia A. in August 2012 about an experience at Waverly Hills:

I didn't have a personal experience myself, but my best friend from high school has. We live in South Carolina, and as part of our "Senior Project" we had to pick a topic. Of course my best friend picked Waverly Hills. She wanted me to go with her, but I declined. I like reading about paranormal activity but I would freak if I even came close to anything. We watched a video about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, and that creeped me out enough. She has videos and pictures of her visit. She said the scariest part was the Death Tunnel. Each person on the tour had to actually go and walk to the middle of the tunnel and stand there for like a minute or so. I totally agree with you about it being the scariest place. Looking at the pictures, I can tell it's pretty creepy. I commend your website and its very instructing look through your pictures. And you're very brave. I work in a building that was an old hotel in 1925. We haven't heard anything major, but a couple of times we have heard noises and seen reflections. I heard someone whisper my name from the balcony (creepy) once. But I just wanted to share some information with you.

I received an e-mail from Jess L. in January 2012 with some observations regarding one of my photos:

In the picture "storage room" on the Interior Photos page, the first thing I noticed is right at the back, between the beam and end of photo and above the woman in red, it looks like a nurse hunched over or someone in a dressing gown? If you look closely you can even see the face. Also, in the window pane closest, where there is a reflection of (I assume) two of the people who were on the hunt, there's also a bigger face...

For more information about Waverly Hills Sanatorium, please visit the official site: www.therealwaverlyhills.com

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