Graveyard Shift Scary Tales From The Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium  

Anna Lindwasser
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Louisville, KY, is home to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which many people believe is one of the most haunted place 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 meant a place where between 8,000 and 63,000 people died bloody, excruciating deaths, as there would be no real cure for tuberculosis until streptomycin was invented in 1943. Waverly Hills was also the site of at least two suicides, which strangely enough took place in the same room. 

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 Brutal


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Because there was no real way to treat tuberculosis while the sanatorium was open, doctors did what they could to treat the illness. While some treatments were pleasant if ineffective, like fresh air, sunshine, rest, and good food, others were basically torture

As a last resort, doctors would sometimes insert balloons into patients' lungs, and manually fill them with air to help with breathing. Doctors also removed ribs and muscle tissue to give the damaged lungs more room to expand. These bloody treatments were painful, ineffective, and often fatal. Despite this, they were considered some of the most advanced methods for treating tuberculosis at the time.

They Had A "Body Chute" For Dead Patients


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Before the invention of streptomycin, tuberculosis was basically a death sentence. This meant that a lot of the people who entered Waverly Hills weren’t leaving alive. 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 bodies into trains that would take them away. Try not to imagine walking by the railway just in time for a delivery.

Room 502 Was A Death Trap


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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 be a center for disaster. According to local legend, in 1928 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. No one knows how long she hung there before somebody found her.

Not four years later, another nurse who worked in Room 502 jumped off the roof patio to her death. While no records exist to explain why she did this, some believe she was pushed off the edge. Who might have done it, and why, are unknown.

Ghost Hunters Smelled Bread Baking In An Abandoned Kitchen


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Photo:  Pixabay

One legend stems from the experiences of the Louisville Ghost Hunter’s Society. When they visited Waverly Hills, they found the kitchen in shambles. Windows, tables, and chairs were broken, and there were puddles of stagnant water everywhere, due to a leaky roof. 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. Then 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.