Scary Tales From The Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Louisville, KY, is home to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which many people believe is one of the most haunted places on Earth. While the building is now primarily a tourist attraction for those with creepy predilections, it used to be a functioning tuberculosis hospital. In 1910, when the hospital was established, this was a place where roughly 8,000 people died bloody, excruciating deaths, as there would be no real cure for tuberculosis, known as the white plague, until streptomycin was invented in 1943.
With all of that suffering, it’s not surprising that rumors of creepy doppelgängers, ghostly children, demonic forces, and more have cropped up. It is one of the most famous Kentucky ghost stories, and the haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium is known worldwide. While spooky stories like these can’t truly be proven, there are plenty of people who will swear on their lives that they’re true. Haunted sanatoriums are scary, but the spooky stories from Waverly Hills Sanatorium are downright terrifying.
Some Of The TB Treatments Were BrutalPhoto: Cristóbal Rojas / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
With no real way to cure tuberculosis while the sanatorium was open, doctors did what they could to treat the illness. As a last resort, doctors devised treatments, such as inserting balloons into patients' lungs and filling them with air to help with breathing.
Doctors also removed ribs and muscle tissue to alleviate pressure and create more room for damaged lungs. This resulted in painful, ineffective, and often fatal surgeries.
They Had A 'Body Chute' For Deceased PatientsPhoto: Aaron Vowels / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Before the invention of streptomycin, tuberculosis was basically a death sentence. Bodies had to be disposed of somehow, and staff didn’t want to do it where the patients could see.
The solution was a "body chute," or a tunnel that led from the hospital to nearby railroad tracks. From there, a motorized rail and cable system lifted the cadavers into trains that would take them away.
Room 502 Was A Death Trap
When people in a sanatorium die, you’d expect it to be the tuberculosis patients, not the healthy staff. Despite this, Room 502 seemed to invite sadness. According to local legend, the head nurse of Room 502 was found hanging from a light fixture. This was believed to be a suicide, triggered by depression over an unwanted pregnancy.
Another nurse, who also worked in Room 502, jumped off the roof to her death. Who might have done it, and why, are unknown.
Ghost Hunters Smelled Bread Baking In An Abandoned KitchenPhoto: Coffee-king / Pixabay / Public Domain
One legend stems from the experiences of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society. When they visited Waverly Hills, they found the kitchen in shambles. Windows, tables, and chairs were broken. The cafeteria was in a similar state of disrepair. Finding nothing useful, the team tried to leave, but before they could, they heard footsteps. Then, they heard a door swing shut, and they noticed the smell of freshly baked bread.
No one else was in the building, let alone using the ruined kitchen to bake bread. There seemed to be no explanation for what they had witnessed.
Tourists Experience The Ghost SIghtings TooPhoto: Kris Arnold / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
True Ghost Tales featured a story by Joey, a visitor to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. After Joey and a few of his friends learned about the spooky history of the place, they had their own haunted experience.
After touring the building, they headed to the roof to decompress. They began to see shadows moving around and started getting scared. Joey’s friend Chris got so scared he wanted to jump off the roof. The group went back inside, still pursued by shadows. They started to hear doors slamming shut and see mysterious footprints appear from nowhere in puddles of water. Chris began to cry, and the rest of the group barely held it together, but finally, they made it out of the sanatorium and into Joey’s sister’s car.
Were their minds playing tricks on them, or was it the miserable souls of dead tuberculosis patients?
A Bleeding Ghost In Chains Haunts The Hospital
One of the saddest ghost stories is that of an elderly woman who supposedly roams the hospital, moaning and bleeding from her chained hands and feet.
Though she cries for help, when outsiders approach her, she runs away screaming in terror.