History of Waverly Hills

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is the kind of place nightmares are made of, or so people say

Welcome to Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Welcome to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. CC Aaron Vowels

Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the abandoned hospital opened its doors on July 26 in 1910. It was intended to treat patients suffering from tuberculosis. However, the epidemic spread like wildfire, and the facility had no other choice but to increase the two-story building to five. It was reported that each floor was just inundated with infected patients.

Remember, this plague would eat away at your lungs and was utterly contagious. With that said, Waverly decided to quarantine their patients. Death was so common that they even had a body chute. Yes, you can guess what it was used for. About 63,000 patients died because of their disturbing treatment methods. Believe it or not, doctors would insert balloons into the patients’ lungs and inflate them with air to help them breathe. They would even remove ribs and muscle tissue to allow the lungs to expand and let in more oxygen.

The body chute

The Steam tunnel was used to transport bodies to the bottom of the hill to keep them out of the sights of other patients. CC Aaron Vowels

Around 1943, the number of tuberculosis cases gradually lowered which meant the sanatorium eventually closed in 1962. The few patients that were left were sent to Hazelwood. In 1962, the building reopened and became a nursing home that treated most patients who were handicapped and suffered from dementia; however, in 1982 Woodhaven Geriatric Center closed because of patient neglect. Following in 1983, J. Clifford Todd bought the property to convert into a prison, but the town was not having it. The abandoned building was bought yet again with the intention of morphing into a chapel and creating the tallest statue of Jesus, yes, inspired by Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The total price to create such a place? $12,000,000. Robert Alberhasky, who bought Waverly Hills, was only able to raise $3,000. The project was killed in 1997. Have no fear though; it was sold yet again to Tina and Charlie Mattingly in 2001.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills Sanatorium via Wikipedia Commons


The Mattingly’s have been hosting tours of the property since they purchased it. All proceeds, including the haunted house attraction they have each Halloween, is used for the restoration of the building.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

A hallway in the hospital with water on the floor at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. CC Lwp Kommunikáció

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium continues to garner so much attention due to the paranormal manifestations people have claimed to have witnessed and felt. One of the most haunted places? The body chute. People say they see apparitions, shadows that seem to guard and haunt the tunnels, and, specifically, doctors opening and draining their patients.

Patient rooms

Patient rooms. CC Aaron Vowels

One of the most famous rooms in the building is 502. It has been said that you can see the ghost of a nurse in uniform telling people to get out of the hospital. Rumor has it that the nurse committed suicide in that room because she was pregnant and not married. Not only do people claim to see a nurse, but apparently there’s a little girl with no eyes who roams the third floor and a boy who plays with a bouncing ball. We know, it kind of sounds like the horror video game, “Silent Hill“, from trying to find the key to room 502 in the Alchemilla Hospital in Silent Hill: Origins, to the little girl Laura in Silent Hill 2.

Did you know?

  • Waverly Hills sits on a rise eight miles from downtown Louisville.
  • The building is 180,000 square-feet.
  • It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
  • It’s considered to be the most haunted place in the U.S.A.