By Rick Hinton
I get asked a lot, “What’s been your scariest experience?” There have been quite a few of a curious nature (shadows, voices, doors opening and closing, etc.) which have been intriguing and made an evening interesting, however, there is one location that got my heart racing with a series of events; and all on the same visit.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a tall, monolithic structure perched on the hillside of southwestern Louisville, Ky. In the early 1900s Jefferson County experienced a tragic outbreak of tuberculosis (the White Plague) resulting in a two-story hospital built to house these patients; it was far away from downtown Louisville. Opening in 1910, the building eventually grew too small to house all of the patients needing beds. Construction of additional buildings – and added stories to the hospital – culminated in 1926. The hospital closed in 1961. Nonetheless, it didn’t end there for the spooky looking building on the hill. Not yet.
Fast forward many years to a period when the former sanatorium was deluged by various television ghost teams declaring the place legitimately haunted. Afterward followed years of common folk doing their own investigations, and heavily endorsing their stamp of approval on social media. Scary stuff there! I had to see for myself, so I joined the pack, doing an overnight a few years back. The truth hit me like a ton of bricks. This place really is haunted!
- My team made a trek through the dark first level hallway. I was holding up the rear with a shadowy figure walking next to me I assumed to be my teammate Doug. In what little I could make out he was built like Doug anyway. We had our flashlights off so our eyes would adjust to the dark. We were silent, listening. Someone tripped in the group in front of me and I heard Doug – up there – laughing and making a comment. I switched on my light and no one was beside me!
- My teammates helped me into a morgue locker (at my request) and left me alone. I listened to their footsteps retreating. It was quiet for a while and then the small room seemed to come alive. I couldn’t see anything but black, yet outside the locker door I heard the sounds of shuffling feet and the clatter of things being moved on a metal gurney. They stopped as my team returned to let me out.
- The tunnel through the hill, from the hospital to the road below, was originally the entrance and exit for workers. It also served to deliver supplies. It eventually graduated into the “Body Chute” where the deceased were transported after passing in the hospital. Standing at the top, even a flashlight beam would not reach the bottom of the tunnel. While shooting a single laser beam to the bottom, it suddenly stopped upon something solid; and that something was making its way up the tunnel toward us! We could see the vague white outlines of a form. We watched it grow closer until the form disappeared, with the laser beam then shooting down into the darkness.
- On the fourth-floor terrace, I was alone and watching a dark shadow following me from within the inner hallway. It was playing hide-and-seek. It would on occasion peek a dark head around the door frames.
Even though the building – once a housing for the sick and dying – now empty, you feel eyes upon you as you stand outside and gaze upward. I expect you will for years to come.