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Louisville, Kentucky

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

This former tuberculosis hospital tried to cure disease with good vibes. 

Nestled on the top of a placid hill, the abandoned Waverly Hills Sanatorium once tried to heal tuberculosis with peace and good vibes.

The sanatorium was established in the early 20th century to help deal with an outbreak of the then-incurable disease tuberculosis. With little knowledge of how to fight the illness, the creators of Waverly Hills based their treatment on quarantine, fresh air, and a positive attitude. To this effect the original facility consisted of two open-air pavilions which housed 40 victims of the disease. As the outbreak spread, the facility needed to be expanded and, in 1912, the larger building was built and patients from a number of surrounding hospitals were transferred to the facility. A children’s pavilion was also built to house not only young victims of the disease, but also children whose parents were too ill to care for them. A tunnel connecting to the base of the hill was also built so that workers and supplies could be ferried to the facility at the top of the hill. 

As the state of the patients worsened, people began to die in the facility on an almost-daily basis. The number of shrouded bodies being taken away from the building began to have a dramatic effect on the morale of the victims, which was hugely problematic since this was the cornerstone of treatment. The administrators began taking the bodies through the hidden tunnel to hide the morbid evidence from the other tenants, earning the tunnel the nickname “the body chute.” Luckily this misery came to an end in the 1940s when a tuberculosis drug was introduced that drastically lowered the need for such a large facility. In 1961, the hospital finally closed its doors. 

The empty building was purchased by a number of buyers in the following years in the hopes of changing the abandoned facility into an elder care facility or high-end condos, but nothing ever saw fruition. The current owners of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium use the derelict space as a “haunted attraction,” staging horror houses in the fall and running ghost tours the rest of the year. No matter the good vibes the site espoused, it still ended up as place to scare people. 

Know Before You Go

Today, the building is spooky enough to give anyone chills. During the Halloween season, Waverly Hills turns itself into a thrilling Haunted House. There are said to be several ghosts still haunting the echoing halls. Visitors have reported that stopping to click pictures was frowned upon by the owners.