The Haunting of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

The Haunting of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Kayla Moriarty, Feature Editor

Named one of the haunted places in America, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville is home to terrifying paranormal experiences. Before it became a sanatorium, a man purchased the land to create Waverly School to educate his children. Soon, a deadly tuberculosis outbreak spread in 1910, and medical staff purchased this land to accommodate the sick. Initially, the sanatorium started as a small, two-story hospital. Sickness spread and the need for more rooms became urgent. The building became five stories and housed infected patients until tuberculosis died out in 1961. 


Kentucky was a desirable environment for the spread of tuberculosis. Lack of scientific progress and medicine left doctors almost clueless about how to treat this disease. Doctors believed fresh air, positive talk, and reassurance helped combat this illness. By this logic, if patients were to see dead bodies rolled out of rooms, their survival rate lowered tremendously. A tunnel previously existed for more efficient travel into the sanatorium for workers, but it would soon take on a darker role. Doctors began to secretly send deceased patients down into the tunnel to hide them from living patients. Multiple scientific discoveries later occurred.  Fortunately, doctors invented antibiotics, thus quickly putting an end to tuberculosis.   


Thousands of people lost their lives to tuberculosis at the hospital. Tourists have had multiple encounters with a ghost esteemed to be a six-year-old boy. Many paranormal investigative teams will encourage him to play with toys they leave out. Video evidence captured an unknown presence moving toys and balls. However, some hauntings go beyond patients. Room 502 is said to be one of the most haunted rooms in the sanatorium. Stories have gotten transposed over time, but allegedly multiple suicides of medical staff happened in this room. As mentioned earlier, the tunnel is rumored to be extremely haunted. Visitors claim to hear screams and disembodied voices echo in the night. According to a distraught visitor who had just seen a spirit, “and for some reason, it shocked and startled me so badly that I let out a yell.” This visitor had been on the fourth floor, known for the “shadow people” who dart across the hallway, disappearing into rooms. Despite whether or not paranormal activity occurs here, Waverly Hills is an interesting piece of history.




The photograph featured is not mine, it was taken by news staff at WLKY.