Waverly Hills Sanatorium: 2 Hour Paranormal Night Tour

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Author: Vampirewitch39
VR Publish Date: Aug 17 2010

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is located in Louisville, Kentucky. It is known as one of the scariest places on earth. Even years later, after the last patient is gone, this old TB hospital is well documented for its paranormal activity.

While there is many websites dedicated to this location, I will list several at the end of this article, I wanted to give you my take on the two hour night tour, which was given by the current owners as part of raising funds and knowledge to save this landmark.

Just a little about Waverly Hills Sanatorium-

- The first building was built in 1910 with enough beds to hold 40 patients. More buildings were later added, but the rooms were quickly filling do to the amount of the ill patients.

- To meet the needs of the many who had this terrible disease, in 1926 the building which stands there today, was finished. It held enough beds to occupy 435 patients.

- Several outbuilding were re-furbished and additional buildings were added to house the doctors and nurses who stayed on the property. Including buildings for the farms, a powerhouse, a water plant, schools, laundry facility, workshops, and even a radio station.

- Located ten miles outside of the town on a large acreage of land, sitting on a hill- it was a town all on its own. At the time, tuberculosis had no cure and the idea of fresh air was a good cure to help the ailing patients. No matter the season, whether it was the spring, summer, fall or winter, the patients were rolled outside for up to 13 hours a day. They believed that rest and good food would also help heal the ill. There were several forms of medical practices used, more harmful then good at the time.

- After the cure was found and the need for such a hospital faded it was closed down in 1961. It was reopen as Woodhaven Geriatric Center / Woodhaven Medical Services in 1962, which shortly closed in 1980.

- The first private owner brought the old hospital in 1983 for $305,000. He wanted to convert it into a minimum-security prison for the state, but the developers dropped the plan after neighbors protested. Sold to another private owner who plan to tear the building down for the erection of a 150 ft. tall statue of Jesus Christ and an adjoining Christian meditation center. This plan failed and it was resold in 2001 to the current owners, along with a smaller acreage of land. While the current owners care for the building and its history- they have inherited a building in need of much repair. With the new security systems and security personal the building is no longer being vandalized and on the slow but steady path to being repaired.

- Death rates are unclear. Most agree it was in the thousands over the years it was open. Records state the highest number of deaths in a single year at Waverly Hills was 152. The total is unclear, but at the peak of the illness it is said one death an hour. Several articles I have read calls for it in the 6 to 7 thousand range.

I have always been fascinated with old buildings, and what is scarier then a hospital? I took two of the tours, but for now I wish to tell you about the two hour night time paranormal tour.

To start, the two hours is kind of misleading, as it was a good 45 minutes for the tour to start with a video shown of TV show clips telling you of just how scary the place was. Then for a few minutes they allowed you to shop in the gift shop. In the end, you spend a little over an hour in the building itself.

You better be able to walk and climb stairs in order to partake in this tour. While the building at one time had a elevator, it is no longer in use. The building also has just the bare use of electric (Exit signs is all you see as far as lights), so have a flash light handy.

My first impression of the building was that it was huge, way bigger then I had in my head of it being. When you remember this building was built back in the first of the 1920's, you have to take the time to see the wonder of it. The shape of the building (sort of shape like a shallow bowl) was to help with the air flow, also the reason it was on top of a hill. Remember- air condition was not around then.

The second I was inside, it hit me just how clean it was. Yes there is clear signs of damage to the property, windows missing, the ever present graffiti spayed on the walls and wood, the built in cabinets and bathrooms destroyed by uncaring jerks, but it was swept clean with no debris laying about the route the tour guide takes you. From some of the pictures I had seen from years past of old tires, dirt, trash- the place is in great shape.

The tour guides lead you where they wish you to go, allowing no one to wonder off alone. My tour of the night had three guides, one in front and two in the rear of the group to make sure no one wondered off. You can't blame them, seeing all the damage left by the people before. You can also understand why there are security cameras at all stairways and doors. So if you plan to hide inside while the tour is going on, you might want to forget about it. While the building frame is of stone and brick (fireproof for its time), I am sure some of the building is unsafe.

The tour leads you to the most active parts of the building, as far as paranormal. At the most, you spend just a few minutes at each location, the sound of the group a never ending noise. If you think you will go on this tour and hear the sounds of footsteps, doors closing, heavy breathing or an EVP then you would have wasted your time. The group I was in that night was of twenty four loud, talkative teens and few adults. Even after the warnings before the tour started to keep quiet it was still a loud bunch. Seems you can't duct tape mouth shut these days.

Now, I know you are asking- did I see anything? Sort of. I did get a interesting picture (shown below) I would also say it could only be a light reflection or blurring of the flash as you are not allowed much time to take pictures at night.

When we arrived at the 4th floor, the last stop of the tour inside the main hospital, we are instructed to turn off all cameras, cell phones, and flashlights. Anything that gave out light had to be turned off. Seems the tale of this floor is of a group of teens who broke into the building but were unable to get out of the 4th floor due to "shadow people" holding the doors closed.

They then split the group in half, and then told us to watch the doorways for shadows. Even a few brave souls got the pleasure of walking down the dark hallway a little way, turn, and coming back to the group as we watched for the shadows of dead to join in on the walk. Got to give it to the tour guide- they sell this part really nicely and some said they saw shadows.

Not seeing any shadows myself and kind of getting feed up with all of the talking and screaming of the teens and adults, I moved to the very back of the group a few feet away and watched over some ones shoulder as one person after another took the shadow walk. I wasn't able to get a great view, but I was also not being grabbed at or dealing with screaming in my ear.

Then something happened, when I felt it. Standing there at the back of the group, still watching, when I just felt something at my side for just a second. You know how you are standing at a check out line and someone just walks up to your side? You know they are there before you ever see them kind of feeling? That was it.

Thinking it might have been something as simple as a bat, I looked around in the dark, seeing the 3rd tour guide standing a few feet to my other side, leaning against the wall facing me.

I went back to watching the shadow hunt, thinking it was nothing when it happen again, this time more of a presence, an energy, passing me at my side. I did turn at this one, looking behind me at the dark hallway and the 15 feet or so between the two groups and seeing nothing, not even a shadow. The tour guide asked me what I saw and I said I felt some kind of presence. She tells me she had seen it also.

I turned to look into the room beside me, where it had to of come out of, when we saw a light on the ceiling. She stepped forward, as I asked if she had seen it, she whispered yes to me. Telling the other tour guides she was going to step into the area, she then stepped into the dark room. Have to say she was a hell of a lot braver then me.

The shadow hunt ended shortly after wards and we moved on with the tour. Seeing her a few minutes later I asked if she found out what the light was and she told me it was a flashlight from people in the parking lot waiting for the next tour to start.

I have to give it to her- she was honest. I could of left there with a story of how a light appeared and disappeared on the ceiling and Floor 4 would of gain another tale to be told. Did I see a ghost? No. Did I feel something on the 4th floor? Yes, and that just makes me want to go back again.

While the owner does offer a half night (4 hours ) and a full night (8 hours) tour that is more for the die hard paranormal investigators, for the cost of this two hour tour you get to experience the building in the dark, given a sense of just how spooky it really is.

My lasting impression - these folks care about the building. The tours guides, a lot of the work on the building even, are done by volunteers. The owner was there on both nights, over seeing the tours, and answering any questions.

While there is several ghost tales of the building, I found the Body Chute, or Death Tunnel, to be the most disturbing for me. This tunnel ran underground to the bottom of the hill, having many uses including bringing in supplies and employees during the winter months. But it took on a much deadlier use as the doctors decided to transport the dead down the tunnel to try and keep the patients from seeing all the bodies being taken away. At the peak of the TB epidemic, it is said to have had one death an hour. To try and keep the moral up they used the pulley system to haul the dead down in a cart.

Standing there in the dark, you can just imagine being a nurse, as you walk up the stairs to see the bodies of people you took care of lowered down and knowing you could be in that cart at any time.

As the teens started to whoop and howl, showing no respect to what this tunnel stood for, I left to return to my car. Looking up at the tall Gothic, 450 bed hospital building and wished all the souls that had stayed in the building some peace.

Websites for more information:




Youtube has several ghost videos on the location as well. Several Ghost/ Paranormal TV Shows have also been to the location.

** All pictures owned by Vampirewitch39.

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Optional comment:

Nov 19, 2023

YouTuber Celina spooky boo just went here in 2023.

Sep 10, 2023


Aug 29, 2023

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