Waverley Hills SanatoriumDoes it really have a “body chute?” Did 100,000 people die in this hospital? Questions are plentiful when it comes to the Waverley Hills Sanatorium, but the urban legends are more colorful than the history.

Many paranormal shows on television have covered the infamous Waverly Hills. It has been featured 3 times on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters. It has been featured on ABC’s Scariest Places on Earth, VH1’s Celebrity Paranormal Project, Most Haunted, the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, and has been used in movies like Death Tunnel.

Waverley Hills Sanatorium officially opened as a hospital in 1910. “Sanatorium” is a tuberculosis hospital, often confused with “sanitarium,” which is a mental hospital.

Waverly is located in Jefferson County, Kentucky. This portion of the state has extensive swampland, a serious danger when it came to the spread of disease. A tuberculosis epidemic hit in the late 1800s and continually ravaged residents. A house once known as Edgewood stood on the grounds when the land was purchased in 1908. A wooden, 2-story building was erected for patients.

Louisville looked for a more suitable place for the growing number of patients by 1911. Small additions were constructed as needed, but they just weren’t capable of properly treating the ill. Construction began on the massive brick structure in 1924. The five-story giant we know as Waverley opened in 1926.

Here are the most popular legends:

Room 502 is haunted by an evil force. Years ago, a nurse found out she was pregnant by the sanatorium’s owner. To make matters worse, she then discovered she was infected with tuberculosis and was placed in room 502. She hanged herself with a light bulb wire right outside the door. Years later, another nurse went into the room. No one knows what happened, but she ran from room 502 to the rooftop. She plunged to her death.

A while after, another nurse visited the room. For no reason, she slashed her wrists and fled the building. She left a thick trail of blood out through the lobby and died just outside the entrance.

After the hospital closed, a homeless man took up residence in the structure. For some reason, he chose 502 as his sanctuary. A gang found out he was living there and found him. They murdered him in the room during a drug-crazed satanic ritual.


Waverley History Explored:

Many visitors claim they’ve witnessed paranormal activity at Waverley Hills. This article is not to refute the paranormal, but to explore the facts behind the lore. Room 502 is said to be particularly active by many today. Some visitors have reported symptoms of illness and physical attacks from whatever roams the building. Still, no documentation can be found to support the events in the stories. Kentucky has a well documented past with a number of newspapers and periodicals going back through the Nineteenth Century. No information on suicides or murders at Waverley Hills can be located.

Another legend is that over 100,000 people died there during its operation as a sanatorium. This is an exaggeration. Current estimates state around 8,200 people died there during its history. There are also rumors of experimental surgeries happening in both the sanitarium and in the nursing home. Rumors have even suggested possible military involvement to test mind control.

The “Death Tunnel” also known as the “Body Chute” was originally constructed to bring fuel and supplies directly from the trains to the hospital. The passageway slants downward. As the years passed, hospital administration realized it was a discreet method of transporting the dead. They carried bodies through the tunnel so they could be taken to hearses without the patients or hospital staff having to watch. It didn’t start as a body chute and isn’t a slide.

Streptomycin provided an excellent weapon against the White Plague when it was developed, in 1943. As a result, patient numbers diminished at Waverley. The decline was so dramatic that the hospital closed in 1961. It reopened as Woodhaven Geriatric Center around 1963. The nursing home operated until the state shut it down in 1982. It is rumored that the shutdown was due to patient neglect.

The fourth floor is considered the most haunted. The third floor is haunted by a little girl with no eyes. Witnesses have also stated a ghostly little boy plays with a bouncing ball. Some rumors also mention an entity called “The Creeper.” This supernatural black mass looks like a shadow as it crawls up the walls and along the floors.

Waverly is open to visitors throughout the year. If you want to test these claims, and your bravery, feel free to arrange a visit with the owners. Maybe you will encounter what so many visitors claim to have seen. Just remember that no trespassing is tolerated and always obtain permission from a property owner before visiting a haunted location.


8 thoughts on “Waverley Hills Sanatorium

  1. Hey Laura,

    I just noticed this article. I have done a bit of research as well and find the history and its lore a bit colorful indeed.

    I do have one point to make: Before the hospital came into being, the owner of the property built a small schoolhouse for his children, and then hired a teacher who subsequently applied the name “Waverly” to the structure. This, apparently, is how the name originated. In any case, you didn’t include this in your background, so I wasn’t sure you were aware of it, although you are excellent at research and have undoubtedly run across it as well.

    I have never heard about the hobo and the satanic killing, but I have heard that a hobo was found dead in an elevator. Apparently, no satanic circumstances were involved, and that his death was due to injury. In an old hospital that size, such an outcome is extremely possible, hence the reason trespassing is dissuaded.

    I do ask: Do you believe Waverly to be haunted, despite the lore and legends? If so, what is your rationale and reasoning? Hospitals do contain much pain and despair as a matter of course, so if any type of structure were to be haunted, this would be it, especially one with as many as 8,000 deaths over the years.

    Why the hell is the 65,000/100,000 death count continuously persisted? Is it because people find that more thrilling than fact? Read that as rhetorical, but I am still curious, LOL.

    By the way, I will register a new password and get in there to my articles as soon as I can. I may have new articles coming as well. I still have that link in my email inbox. Is it still usable? If not, can you please send me a new one? Sorry about that.

    Take care.

    1. Hi, Mark! Great to hear from you. I’m finally getting around to working on this site some. Do you like the new template? I had to get one that will work with mobile devices.

      No, I’ve never ran across that about the teacher. The only thing the old records stated was an estate was once there, and it was all demolished to create the hospital.

      One of the reasons I do sites like this and VaCreeper is to try and combat some of the misinformation about legendary sites. There is far more erroneous info out there than factual or legitimate information. Over time, the lies become truth, sad to say.

      I think the numbers were just fabricated to make the stories more interesting. It’s like the Pearl Bryan murder and Bobbie Mackie’s bar (also in KY). Not a shred of evidence even remotely links the two events, but the legend says they are right together, and so does most “haunted” tv documentaries and shows.

      Most definitely. I do think Waverley is haunted. Hospitals are where people die, most of the time. I think they all are, especially after a number of decades or even centuries. It’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. The hospital where my father died was just built in the 1950s, and he died in the 1980s. The feel of the “old” part was almost palpable. You could feel someone near in most parts of it, or someone watching, even when there wasn’t anyone there. I was 12 and at the hospital all the time. I did a lot of exploring…lol.

      That’s fine. Let me know when you get the password stuff fixed and I’ll check the other.

      1. Hi Laura,

        I do not recall where I read about the schoolhouse, but it was a reputable source. In fact, it might have been the official Waverly Hills website, which I have visited. When I find the information and the source, I will happily share it. Perhaps I am in error on this. I will have to recheck.

        By the way, would you be able to share those old records with me? Did you find them through the same resource you shared the last time you directed me to those various articles? I have been conducting research on and off, but I got absorbed into real-life . . . You know what’s going on with me, so you understand. I would love to read more about the place when you have the chance.

        Of course,, dispensing with falsities is important. I am saddened as well to find so much false misinformation throughout the internet, especially when facts are easily available and accessible. I am all for finding truth to stories. Reality has a stronger appeal to me than fabrications. As the saying goes: “fact is stranger than fiction.” For me, however, fact is also more INTRIGUING than fiction, mainly because it reflects what has happened, and that gets my mind stirring all the time.

        Yes, I like the new template. It’s streamlined and easy to use. I presume these are the reasons you decide to redo the site, aside from making it mobile-accessible?

        1. I have all kinds of resources. I use Gutenburg.org, Google books, Chronicling America, and have a subscription to newspapers.com. Chronicling America is a good one for very early information on Waverley, you can just filter by date and location.

          The strange thing is, once the sensation has been so promoted and discussed, the truth becomes innovative and original. That’s just a funny twist by itself. Or just sad. But, I prefer to see it as amusing.

          TY. Yes, I wanted to give it a fresh look. I hope to be adding more and will probably need better organization. I needed a template that could handle a lot of different content.

  2. I am sorry to hear about your father. How did he die? I lost my father four months prior to my birth. He died as the result of a freak accident at the old Detroit train depot where he worked at the time. The man was riding a forklift (for the regular driver absent at the time) and toppled into an elevator shaft that descended to a sub-level. He died instantly.

    Therein lies another potential ghost story. I have heard the old place is haunted (although how can that be possible, unless someone once died there?). The depot, which towers some twenty or so stories, is still there, but it is not used. In this case, one possible story behind a haunting may be true, and I can attest to it. 😉

    As for hospitals, yes, I always feel something when I visit one. Perhaps its the despair, but it is, as you say, palpable. I presume your experience in the hospital with your father led you on the path to where you are now?

    1. He died after a 7-month battle with cancer. It was pretty traumatic. He’d never even had the flu before. He was diagnosed in March, and died in November. When you’re that young, you just assume they’ll be healthy until the end. But, I did know he would be gone before I was 16. I don’t know how I knew that, but I did.

      That sounds horrible. Your mother must’ve had a tremendous struggle. I think places like that are often haunted, too. Regardless of whether anyone dies, they are the center for some incredible ordeals. That’s a lot of negativity to influence a place.

      I’m sure his death had some influence, but I was born with a thirst for info on the supernatural…lol. When I was very little, I wanted to hear ghost stories all the time. I was heavily into ancient history back then. I don’t know why. I did start writing a few weeks after he died, though, and I’ve been at it since. I’ve always sensed things, and witnessed things. If I’d had the internet back then, it’s hard to tell where I would be today.

      To sum it all up, strange things happen around me and they always have.

  3. Hi Laura,

    I have lost many family members to cancer, including my sister two years ago, so it is an issue that is close to me as well. The time quickly progressed from the point we heard about her cancer till the day she died. The disease moves swiftly, indeed.

    As for Waverly School, here it is:


    Go down to “History” and read there. The section starts with the point about the school being erected there for his daughters. Yes, this is Wikipedia, but that site is getting better. You can also look into the references below as well.

    Strange experiences? I am not alien to those either, so I can definitely relate. 😉

    1. I’ll have to look into that. The thing with much modern information is it gives bits of info that weren’t known at the time of the event, so it’s really a coin toss. Not to say it is automatically false or anything, just that things like that are well-documented when they happen. The only thing the texts from that era said was a plantation house stood there. The need for a hospital and its earliest construction was well-documented. Fortunately, most hospitals in America have good backgrounds because they’re so new.

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