Waverly Hills Sanatorium: The Two-Hour Tour

My co-workers thought I was nuts. Others knew there was no holding me back. I would eventually tour Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

We’ve talked about it for years, but haven’t been able to plan a big group, and we had no idea what to expect. All I can say is we will definitely go back. Here are tidbits from our two-hour tour:

Body Chute

We walked to the bottom of the body chute. There were steps on one side and a ramp on the other, and both descended at a 45-degree angle. It was daylight when we went down, and I don’t think I could go down in the dark. There’s only one way out.


It was very cold inside. It was chilly outside, but there were times I put my nose in my son’s sleeve to warm it up. It was 15 degrees colder inside the building, which probably measured about 40-45. I also found it interesting there was no draft, especially because of missing windows.

Shadow People

I knew James would volunteer because he would never miss that opportunity. I saw one shadow on the floor, but I did see the hallway go black. And I watched him disappear into the darkness. For his full story, read A Walk with the Shadow People.

Hair Pulling

Waverly Hills’ Facebook page warned me of this. I had my hood up the entire time because I didn’t want to risk it and, as mentioned, it was cold. We were in the electroshock therapy room and something grabbed my hair clip through the hood. I was about a foot from a wall, and there was no one behind me. I was also standing still, so there was no way my clip got caught on the hood.

Lil Man’s Ghost

My son was such a trooper and escorted me the entire time. After our tour, he told me when we first arrived he saw a full figure in a window, and it slowly disappeared. He isn’t one to lie to exaggerate, so I believe him with all my heart. He also admitted he is not afraid of ghosts now, which made the trip even more worth it.

Tour Guides

It’s interesting the guides are volunteers, and the two we spoke with have been volunteering for 10-plus years. There are no gimmicks, no one jumps out, and nothing is staged (except for a few Halloween decorations left over from their biggest fundraiser). The money goes back into the facility, which needs windows replaced and some cosmetic work.


We're not sure what on the left... On the right, we think it's a Blackberry lol.
We’re not sure what on the left… On the right, we think it’s a Blackberry lol.
I took this right before we left. No settings were changed, and I think it turned out cool.
I took this right before we left. No settings were changed, and I think it turned out cool.
Outside Waverly Hills
Outside Waverly Hills
View from outside and down the fourth floor.


One of the rooms. I didn't spend much time in them.
One of the rooms.
I didn’t spend much time in them.
Two sisters stayed here. One lived the other passed.
Two sisters stayed here. One lived the other passed. Story says you can hear the deceased one calling for the other.
Gathering room
Where people gathered for religious purposes, etc.
It was still daylight.
Outside of Waverly Hills
Outside of Waverly Hills.
It’s a huge facility.


Off the Top of My Head #10: A Walk with the Shadow People

Off The Top of My Head

“I’ll do it.”  There was no hesitation or doubt.  Even the small apprehension caused by timidity of the unknown wasn’t severe enough to stop the response.  The fear for missing the chance was more severe…  Standing on the lightless 4th floor of Waverly Hill Sanatorium, having gone through the better part of a two hour tour, heard stories of the innumerable ghosts that legend says still haunt its halls and seen photographic and physical evidence to corroborate several of these stories, when the tour guide asked “I need a volunteer to walk to the end of the hall alone, who will do it?”  “I’ll do it” was my response almost before he could finish the statement.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was once the gold standard in tuberculosis treatment and research in the world.  I won’t provide the history of it, numerous sites are available for that, but over the years since the closure in 1981 of the home for the elderly which inherited the building Waverly Hills has been the subject of ghost stories and legends and now has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in America.

The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone.  When I go back I'll bring my real camera.
The only camera I had was, unfortunately, my phone. When I go back I’ll bring my real camera.

I’ve had an interest in Waverly Hills since I first saw a documentary about it in 2006.  The documentary itself was full of some horror movie cheesiness (and was produced by the makers of a B-rated horror movie Death Tunnel) but it also contained footage of the old hospital, a good deal of history, and interviews with former staff and patients.  It was also intriguing.  There is something inherently frightening about hospital settings, massive structures, you know people have met unfortunate ends there, and dark corridors with numerous rooms.

A friend organized an opportunity to go and my RevPub co-author and fellow ghost enthusiast and her son joined the group and we all ventured to just south west of Louisville, Kentucky to go on the paranormal tour.

We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out.  As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside...
We started the tour at dusk so the sun was still out. As the tour progressed it got darker and darker outside…

The tour itself was excellent.  We had a great tour guide who provided levity when needed and gave actual history of the grounds and facilities along with the tales of the supernatural.  But it was the 4th Floor “Shadow People” that made the tour for me.

You stand at the end of the dark corridor, first as a group (there were about 20 of us) and watch the floors, light coming in from the glass-less windows shines through the doors of the vacant patient rooms.  By paying attention you can see shadows moving…almost like patients pacing in their rooms.  When the guide asked if someone would walk the corridor, past the numerous rooms, and stop in the dark shadows I couldn’t pass it up.

I won’t lie, it was unnerving.  The entire time in Waverly Hills I was freezing.  I never once felt threatened or afraid, but there was always an awkward feeling like something…off.  Almost like a painting slightly out of proportion…you realize something isn’t normal but you can’t quite place what it is.  Walking the hallway was a mixture of adrenaline and what I can only describe as “pressure.”  Not a heavy weight on you…just an environmental pressure like the space itself is closing in around you.  I’m not easily scared, but the whole experience was so unnerving that if the tour guide had asked me to walk to the wing of the hallway, by dozens more empty rooms and out of sight of the rest of the group, I would’ve hesitated to do it…

This is how that dark hallway looked from my view...only darker...
This is how that dark hallway looked from my view…only darker…

I couldn’t see what was happening behind me, but I was told the shadows in the doors definitely peaked when someone passed (there’s nothing quite as heart-stopping as having your back to several supposedly haunted rooms and hearing the tour group softly gasp…) and that during my walk back I seemed like I was swallowed in the blackness.

It was an incredible experience that will take some time to fully digest.  I’m definitely glad I did it and plan to go back for the full-on paranormal investigation.

Waverly Hills Stairs

To schedule your own tour or investigation visit their site here!