Waverly Hills Sanatorium – The Holy Grail for ghost hunters. Any ghost hunter worth their salt must, sometime in their paranormal life, make the pilgrimage to Louisville, KY to investigate this shrine. The journey begins at the bottom of the hill. You can barely make out the building through the trees as you ascend the driveway. An old iron gate stands as a reminder that this is no ordinary place. Once through the gate you are greeted by a gargoyle standing guard at the corner of the building. As you pull over into the parking lot you begin to see the enormousness of the building. Its menacing presence reminding you of the staggering death toll tallied in this one place. Although the records are unclear, it is estimated the between 5,000 and 14,000 people lost their life in this building. At its peak, the death rate was one per hour. So much death that they began to use the tunnel that was built originally to bring supplies up the hill in the winter to transfer the bodies downhill. This was to help with the morale of the patients. Imagine being a patient with TB and seeing 20-24 hearses per day taking away bodies of your friends that just died of the same disease.
This building served as a TB hospital for more than half a century before a short stint as a geriatric hospital. It stood vacant for 25 years before being bought by Charlie and Tina Mattingly. They are the ones who have undertaken the monumental task of restoring this fine old building.
I am lucky enough to be friends with Charlie and Tina and been a volunteer at Waverly for 3 years. I have spent a lot of time alone in the building and have some incredible personal experiences. I have been scratched, heard voices, screams, footsteps, crying moaning, laughing and the unmistakable sounds of someone smothering. I’ve seen shadow people and full body apparitions. I have experienced about every type of paranormal phenomenon that you can imagine.
Perhaps the most profound experience occurred years ago while I was on my first overnight investigation. It was about four in the morning and I was walking with a coworker who had reluctantly joined me that night. We were on the first floor and had just passed the morgue when, without warning, my partner screamed and ran. I had no idea what had happened. I chased her down and asked what was wrong. “Something grabbed my leg” she said with a trembling voice. The reached down and felt of her pocket. “My cigarettes are gone. Oh my God, something just pulled my cigarettes from my front blue jean pocket”. I went back and found the pack laying just inside the morgue room. I then escorted her out and watched her drive off rather quickly. The thing you need to keep in mind is the significance of cigarettes being removed from someone in a TB hospital, TB being a disease that attacked the lungs. I went back inside to continue the investigation glad that I never took up smoking.
To sum up my experiences at Waverly Hills, the place does live up to its reputation. It is one of America’s top 10 most haunted buildings and should be on every ghost hunter’s wish list of places to visit. Waverly does offer 2 hour tours on weekends as well as 4 and 8 hour overnight investigations for the brave. For more information, they can be reached at 502-933-2142.