For those who want to experience the paranormal first hand, The Waverly Hills Sanatorium ghost building must be worth a visit.
Rising up like a great Gothic cathedral against the Kentucky skyline, this derelict hospital embodies all that is ominous and sinister in a building.
Complete with towers, turrets and archways, grotesque gargoyles peer down from its crumbling façade. The appearance of the building is so chillingly disturbing, one may expect to see the legend Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here inscribed above the entrance.
Left to decay for many years, hundreds of glassless windows now stare silently out at approaching visitors. Rumored to be one of the most haunted buildings in America, the sanatorium is both forbidding and strangely enticing. It is easy to see why it has attracted vandalism, destruction and ghost hunters over the years.
Now owned by someone keen to promote its haunted history, the building is being slowly restored and continues to attract paranormal investigators from all over the world.
A Brief History
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky, was built with the best of intentions. During the early twentieth century Louisville, like many other towns and cities, was overwhelmed by the white plague of tuberculosis.
Desperate to provide a hospital which would both treat and isolate those suffering from TB, a wooden structure was erected on the site in the early twentieth century.
Due the number of TB Sufferers the building was forced to expand and eventually it was replaced in 1926 by the current brick and concrete structure.
Photographs of the time show happy smiling patients and staff enjoying a regime of nutritious food and fresh air. The terrible truth was that many of the patients admitted to the hospital unfortunately died, including young children.
It is difficult to calculate how many patients died in this building from TB but figures range from a conservative 8,000 to 63,000.
Eventually, the advent of antibiotics meant that there was no longer a need for a TB hospital in the area. In 1962 the building became the Woodhaven Geriatric Center. This facility closed in the early eighties after reports of abuse, cruelty and neglect.
For twenty years, the building lay empty. Keen to demolish the building, but prevented by the authorities, the owner encouraged vandalism and destruction.
It is hard to know what happened in the building during these years, but it is certainly the time when rumors of hauntings, devil worship and strange occurrences began to circulate.
Eventually, the building was sold to someone with an interest in the paranormal in 2001. It has since become one of the most popular sites in America for psychic and paranormal investigators.
Who Haunts Waverly Hills?
Mary Hillenburg: Rumored to be pregnant by one of the doctors at the Sanatorium, a young nurse Mary Hillenburg is said to have committed suicide on the fifth floor.
Mary supposedly hung herself with an electric light flex when her lover refused to have nothing to do with the baby.
Another theory is that the doctor was performing an illegal abortion on the mother of his unborn child, which went wrong. He then disguised the botched operation by staging a suicide.
Pregnant women have reported feeling nauseous and unwell when approaching the area where Mary died. Many others have captured ghostly images of a nurse on their cameras.
Another nurse is reported to have jumped from the fourth floor and died when she fell on the patio area below. Visitors have reported a sharp shove in the back when investigating this area. Did she jump or was she pushed?
Timmy: One of the saddest aspects to the sanatorium’s history is the number of children who died. Timmy is a mischievous little boy who still haunts the building.
Timmy likes to play hide and seek and loves balls. There are reports of Timmy moving a ball on request, certainly there is documented video evidence available for examination.
There are also other reports of people hearing children playing ring games on the roof. This does correspond to the history of the building when children were taken up to a safe area on the roof for fresh air.
Mary Lee: It is not known who exactly Mary Lee was. What is known is that a photo of a young woman found at the sanatorium and signed Love Mary Lee, bears a striking resemblance to a ghostly apparition photographed peeping around the door of a room on the 4th floor.
The Baker: The ghostly apparition of a white coated man has been witnessed in the kitchen area of the building. Sightings of him are often accompanied by the smell of freshly baked bread.
The Chained Lady: Visitors to the sanatorium including psychics have reported the upsetting site of an elderly lady, shackled handcuffed and bleeding.
The poor distressed creature is said to scream out for help. Who was she and why was she shackled? Was she perhaps a victim of the cruelty that took place in the geriatric center?
The Fourth Floor: The most active area of the building, it once housed the morgue and the operating rooms. Unfortunately, it is the also the area where many cruel experiments and operations were performed on TB patients.
These operations were almost always unsuccessful and the patients died. The procedures performed included deflating and re-inflating the lungs with a balloon type device and breaking ribs to aid breathing.
A white coated doctor is often seen in this area, doors slam and shadow people have been witnessed darting about the area.
The Body Chute: A tunnel originally built to aid the delivery of supplies to the sanatorium has become one of the most disturbing elements of the history of the building.
Concerned for the mental health of surviving patients, the dead were removed covertly from the wards. Their bodies were then transported down the tunnel, earning it the name the body chute or the death tunnel.
The tunnel is a hotspot for EVPs. Other phenomenon recorded include, shadows, voices and unexplained footsteps.
The Creeper: The most frightening haunting of the Waverly Sanatorium, must surely be that of The Creeper. Witnesses report seeing shadow people darting about the building.
This dark entity though, is not of human form. Said to move on all fours, this ghostly creature can run up walls and across ceilings. Video evidence appears to show an animal type creature moving rapidly along the corridors.
People who see The Creeper are filled with a sense of foreboding and dread. There are lots of different theories as to the origins of this creature.
Is it attracted to Waverly because of the misery and sadness that has occurred there over the years or was it summoned by intruders dabbling in black magic during the building’s derelict years?
There is a vast amount of evidence to peruse on the internet about this building and its terrifying occupants. Now open to visitors and paranormal investigators, people have posted hundreds of ghostly images, videos and EVPs as evidence of the haunting of Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society has perhaps undertaken the most sustained investigations into the building. During their investigations they recorded strange lights, shadowy figures, objects moving on their own, doors slamming and unexplained noises.
A continued source of interest to paranormal investigators, the sanatorium is the subject of numerous TV programs and films.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium claims to be one of the most haunted spots in America. There is certainly a mass of photographic, video and EVP evidence as well as eye witness testimony, to support this claim.
Whether a firm believer or a confirmed skeptic the Waverly Hills Sanatorium ghosts must surely merit investigation. For the really brave it is possible to join one of the night time paranormal tours.
What self-respecting paranormal investigator could pass up the chance to explore this eerie phantom ridden building?
As you enter the shadowy portals of this haunted hospital though, a little advice; be fearless, be open- minded and whatever you do don’t stray from the group!