The Disturbing True Story Of The Waverly Hills Sanatorium

waverly hills sanatorium

In Louisville, Kentucky, stands a lofty, bat-winged gothic building that has a reputation that fits its somewhat spooky appearance. That reputation is as one of the most haunted places in America, being featured on such ghost hunting shows as " Ghost Hunters ," "Ghost Adventures," "Paranormal Lockdown," and "Buzzfeed Unsolved." Its name is Waverly Hills Sanatorium, and in spite of its modern ghostly reputation, it was established as the best hope of peace for people struggling with tuberculosis in the first half of the 20th century. (Despite its name, Waverly Hills was not a mental hospital; a sanatorium is any institution that provides treatment and convalescence for chronic illnesses.)

Even in the face of the noble intentions of its administrators, Waverly Hills became the site of thousands of deaths in the face of a raging epidemic of a then-incurable disease. Here are just some of the horrible things that have led to Waverly Hills' reputation as a hotbed of unquiet spirits .

The earliest days of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills wasn't originally a hospital; it was a home with its own little schoolhouse. As Kentucky Historic Institutions explains , the land was originally the family home of Major Thomas H. Hays, who bought the land outside Louisville, Kentucky, on which the sanatorium now stands in 1883. There were no schools in the area, so Hays decided to build a one-room schoolhouse for his own children. The teacher he hired was named Lizzie Lee Harris, who was a big fan of the long series of novels by Sir Walter Scott known as "the Waverley novels" and asked Hays if she could name the school the Waverley School. Hays agreed, and in fact he liked the name enough to call the entire property Waverley Hill.

By the early 20th century, tuberculosis was sweeping the United States, and Louisville was particularly hard hit because of its growing industrial economy and location within the Ohio Valley, both of which contributed to a lack of fresh air flow through the city. The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital was formed in 1906 to find an appropriate location for, well, a tuberculosis hospital, and Waverley Hill was thought to be an ideal spot due to its distance from the city, its quiet location, and its high altitude, contributing to air quality. The Board liked the name Waverley Hill and kept it, though at some unknown point, the second "e" was dropped.

Fighting death with good vibes

In the early 20th century, when tuberculosis was raging, there was no known cure, and although the disease had been around since antiquity, the source of the so-called "White Plague" wasn't fully understood. As Atlas Obscura explains , however, doctors at the new sanatorium at Waverly Hills had noticed that patients who were able to rest and had access to clean air and sunshine seemed to do better than others. As a result, much of the treatment at Waverly Hills was based on what the medical field refers to as "good vibes" (which stands in fairly sharp contrast to the building's current reputation as a hotspot for the unquiet dead, but c'est la vie).

The location of the hospital itself was meant to contribute to the atmosphere of peace and rest, with Waverly being placed on a tall hill surrounded by charming little woods with lots of access to sun and fresh air. The original facilities at Waverly included two large open-air pavilions where the patients were placed to receive their prescribed fresh air and sunshine. Abandoned Online adds that other original treatments at Waverly included diets rich in vitamins A and C and protein and lots of bed rest. Obviously these treatments weren't going to cure the disease, but the goal was to reduce suffering and, most importantly, help stop the spread of the infection.

Epidemic and expansion

As the official Waverly Hills site explains, the original sanatorium was a two-story frame building with a half-timber design, with an administration building and the open-air pavilions for the patients to be exposed to air and sun. This original building was meant to hold 40-50 patients at one time, roughly half male and half female. However, tuberculosis reached epidemic proportions by 1910, and Louisville was particularly hard hit due to its low-lying position on the waters of the Ohio River, and– according to Abandoned Online –Waverly was soon overwhelmed with over 140 patients in a facility designed for 40 people. As a result, construction soon began on a much larger, more permanent facility.

In 1924, construction began on a new building that would be four stories of brick and concrete sprawling across 180,000 square feet, including separate rooms for patients rather than communal ones, sunrooms, labs, and recreation rooms. This new hospital was designed to hold up to 400 patients. It turns out they would need the space. By the late 1930s, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Kentucky, and in fact, Kentucky led the nation in tuberculosis deaths, due to a lack of state funding, long-term treatment options, and more permanent facilities like Waverly. Some 2,000 people a year were dying of tuberculosis in Kentucky alone.

The world of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

While it might be nice to think about living in a community like Waverly Hills where the philosophy of treatment is "sunshine and good vibes," it's important to remember that tuberculosis was an incurable, highly contagious disease that was spreading at epidemic proportions. If you went to Waverly, you were never coming back. As the Waverly Hills site explains, the sanatorium subsequently became a self-contained community for not only their patients, but also the families of those committed to its care. (Although for some reason, a "visitors' day" was allowed, in which visitors could come, hang out with people with an infectious disease, and then go back to their lives.)

The community at Waverly Hills became essentially its own city, complete with its own ZIP code and post office. Much of life's necessities were carried out within this community, including raising their own fruits and vegetables; raising, slaughtering, and butchering their own meat; and maintaining their own water treatment facility. Other amenities included laundry facilities and an auto maintenance garage. These facilities had to support not only the patients of Waverly, but also the doctors, nurses, and other staff who worked at the sanatorium, who had to separate from the rest of society due to the disease's infectious nature. Likewise, the uninfected children of patients had their own floor in the sanatorium where they had to live apart from the outside world.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium wasn't all sunshine and fresh air

While it's nice to imagine Waverly's philosophy of making things as pleasant as possible for their patients suffering from tuberculosis worked, the fact is, there's a limit to how pleasant you can make life for someone who's constantly coughing up bloody mucus. So while it's true that the most common treatments were exposure to sunlight, bed rest, healthy foods, and fresh air, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium Memorial records that several other methods were applied to patients, including surgical methods that were cutting edge for the time, but that might sound barbaric now. These included perhaps most famously artificial pneumothorax , which involved blowing air into either the lung itself or the cavity between lungs in order to artificially collapse the diseased portion of the lung, allowing it to rest and (theoretically) allowing the lesions caused by the tuberculosis to heal. Patients who were unlikely to survive this procedure tried to maximize rest to their lungs by lying on the side most affected by lesions, restricting the movement of the diseased lung naturally with posture and gravity.

For some time, a commonplace surgery for the treatment of tuberculosis was thoracoplasty , which involves the removal of multiple ribs with the intention of collapsing the lung. While doctors preferred to only remove two or three ribs at a time, most patients required as many as eight removed for this technique to be effective, meaning they had to endure multiple painful surgeries.

The body chute

It's impossible to say how many people died at Waverly Hills during its time as a tuberculosis hospital, but the fact is that, during its years of operation, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Kentucky and had no known cure, so patients at Waverly were dying at a pretty steady clip. While the legendary claims that some 60,000 people died at Waverly are grossly exaggerated, LiveScience cites historians who say the actual number is more like 8,000 total, with a recorded 152 deaths in 1945, which was the height of the epidemic. Either way, there was no shortage of dead bodies that had to be moved out of the sanatorium, and patients seeing corpses being wheeled out on the regular would be pretty counterproductive to Waverly's "no bummers" approach to medical treatment.

As a result, for the purposes of maintaining as high a morale among the patient populace as possible, doctors and staff would move bodies in secret. As Atlas Obscura explains , the hospital housed a secret tunnel through which the administrators would wheel the bodies of those who had succumbed to the disease. This enclosed tunnel led from the hospital to train tracks at the bottom of the hill, where the bodies could be lowered to trains that would carry them away. Perhaps needless to say, this grim passage earned itself an equally grim nickname: "the body chute."

Closing Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Although Waverly Hills did their best to make life as comfortable as possible for their patients and their families, nothing was going to truly make things better until a cure for the disease was found. As luck would have it, 1943 saw the introduction of a new antibiotic called streptomycin that was an effective combatant against the infectious disease. However, as Kentucky Historic Institutions explains , this treatment wasn't made available to the patients at Waverly until 1949. Once it was, though, new patients could now be treated at a regular hospital as outpatients. Slowly but steadily, the population at Waverly Hills was decreasing, but, like, in a good way. Abandoned Online records that the number of patients dropped from 373 in 1950 to 293 in 1960. In 1962, Waverly Hills closed as a tuberculosis hospital and all of its patients were transferred to a regular hospital.

The buildings subsequently sat empty for nearly a year before the facility was reopened in 1963 as Woodhaven Geriatric Center, a live-in nursing facility for elderly patients with dementia, mobility issues, or severe mental disabilities. Woodhaven operated in this capacity until 1982 when it was closed by the state. A grand jury found multiple instances of patient abuse and signs of neglect of the facility itself. Woodhaven was closed and all of its patients were transferred to another care facility.

The logical next step

According to Kentucky Historical Institutions , after Woodhaven Geriatric Center was closed for criminal abuse, the majority of the land and buildings were sold off to a developer, who intended to use the main building as a minimum-security state prison. However, a massive wave of protests from locals quashed this plan, and the backup plan of turning the building into apartments also collapsed due to a lack of funds. In 1996, Waverly Hills was purchased by a non-profit ecumenical group to build the most logical possible thing for the location: the world's tallest statue of Jesus. The goal was to make a 150-foot-tall statue on the roof of the sanatorium modeled after the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. However, the cost of the statue was estimated to be $4 million while the interior renovations turning the hospital into an arts and worship center would have been between $8 million and $10 million. Donations to the project totaled a mere $3,000, so giant tuberculosis Jesus was canceled.

The building and its surroundings were sold in 2001 to its current (as of this writing) owners, Charles and Tina Mattingly, who established the Waverly Hills Historical Society to raise money for the restoration of the building's interior. To this end, Waverly Hills now primarily serves as a haunted attraction, with ghost tours and annual haunted house events.

The ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Let's be honest: it's no surprise that Waverly Hills Sanatorium is considered one of the most haunted places not only in Kentucky, but in the whole United States. Despite its being founded on the principles of feeling good all the time no matter what your lungs are doing, it's still a big spooky building where thousands of people died before being wheeled through a body chute when their Marilyn Manson surgery went bad. As LiveScience explains , various ghost hunters and spook chasers have reported encountering all sorts of creepy phenomena within the halls of the long-abandoned hospital. You've got your old standards, like unexplained footsteps and the slamming of doors, weird noises, and so on. Obviously as Waverly was a hospital, the sound of screaming patients is thought to emanate from the long-empty rooms. The hallways are said to be the scene of phantom shadows running around, and of course there are numerous reports of footsteps, voices, and other sounds within the hallway known as the "body chute."

American Hauntings reports sightings of more specific apparitions, including a ghostly hearse seen dropping off coffins at the back of the building, a woman with bleeding wrists begging for help, and a man in a white coat seen wandering around a trashed kitchen full of broken windows and destroyed furniture, accompanied by the scent of food.

The infamous fifth floor

As the legends go, the most haunted location in the entirety of the Waverly Hills facility is the fifth floor. According to American Hauntings , the legend is that the fifth floor was where the mentally disturbed patients were housed at Waverly. This floor, particularly Room 502, is the center of much of the ghost stories surrounding Waverly and was the area of prime interest for ghost-hunting teens breaking into the abandoned hospital for years. The stories say that it is on this floor that people have seen shapes moving in the windows, heard voices telling them to get out, and even–so they say–jumped to their own deaths.

The stories say that a nurse was found in Room 502 in 1928, having hanged herself from a light fixture. Apparently she was in despair over finding out that she was pregnant out of wedlock. Another nurse who worked Room 502 in 1932 is said to have thrown herself off the roof patio onto the ground below ... though some say she was pushed. (By a ghost? By the other nurse ghost? Who can say? We're just asking questions here.) Voices in the Attic reports that some pregnant visitors have felt extremely uncomfortable in Room 502, while others have felt supernaturally compelled to jump from the window, even to the point of having to be talked down.

The truth about the fifth floor

As is frequently the case, however, reality comes in to poop the party. American Hauntings explains that the legendary fifth floor of Waverly Hills was not at any point used to house or confine mentally ill patients. Its residents were just as free to move about the floor as patients on any other floor. In fact, the floor was designed for this exact purpose, with two wards centered around the nurses' station that were glassed in on all sides in order to maximize sunlight, according to Waverly's treatment philosophy. These glassed-in wards did, however, lead to rooftop patios such as the one the legends say the nurse jumped from, and from which visitors allege they've felt compelled to leap from.

To further kill the buzz, there are no records of any nurse suicides during Waverly Hills' years of operation, and what's more, Room 502 has no means by which a nurse could have hanged herself. The room has no rafters, the sprinkler pipes that exist in the room now weren't added until the 1970s, and the light fixture in the room is far too delicate to support the weight of a person. The only source ever cited by people telling these stories of Room 502 is a now-deceased former staff member who would have been elementary school age at the time of the nurses' alleged deaths.

Timmy and the Creeper

Outside of the fifth floor, there are a number of other commonly reported apparitions around the grounds of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Voices in the Attic records the story of one famous enough to have a name: Timmy, the ghost of a young boy who wanders the halls. According to the stories, Timmy moves around the hospital, either playing with his own leather ball, or seeking something else to play with. Some guests have reported bringing balls of their own for Timmy, only to subsequently see those same balls floating down the halls, carried by an invisible hand.

Other common sightings include an older woman with chains around her wrists, often believed to have been a resident when the building was a geriatric center. Apparently this ghost howls for help only to run away screaming when anyone approaches her. Another notable apparition is known as "the Creeper," due to its creeping, crawling movements up and around the walls, ceilings, and floors. It's said that proximity to the Creeper brings with it an overwhelming feeling of dread. While there's no explanation for who or what the Creeper might be, some think he might have been a mistreated patient whose contorted appearance reflects the trauma they experienced in life. At any rate, that's a lot of darkness for a place founded on the principle of fighting disease with sunshine.

What's so scary about Waverly Hills Sanatorium? Get to know a haunted Louisville property

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Louisville's Waverly Hills Sanatorium has been called " the most terrifying building in America ," with an infamous history that draws paranormal thrill-seekers from all over the world.

Lately, the southwest Jefferson County site has been at the center of a lawsuit between its owner and the Waverly Hills Historical Society, a group leased to take care of the property.

But even before protesters showed up at the gates on Paralee Drive in 2022, Waverly Hills has always been a well-known Louisville landmark — first as a tuberculosis treatment center in the early and mid-1900s to its more recent "haunted" history.

Who's running Waverly Hills?: The bitter feud over Louisville's most famous haunted site

What to know about Waverly Hills' history

Before it gained fame as a so-called "haunted" site, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium served as an important medical center in Louisville.

Construction on the site began in 1908 and it opened in 1910, according to Waverly Hills' website , to serve as an isolated medical center for patients afflicted with tuberculosis, which had been spreading through the Louisville area. After an expansion in 1926, the property could hold more than 400 patients at once.

Tuberculosis was often deadly and extremely contagious, so patients were usually kept quarantined in secluded spaces. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium was built as a self-sufficient community, with its own ZIP code, post office and farmland. Doctors and other employees were unable to leave the grounds.

For Courier Journal subscribers: What issues must Louisville's next mayor try to fix? Here's what residents told us

Tuberculosis treatments advanced in the early 1960s, as an antibiotic that could cure the disease was developed. The facility was closed and renovated in 1961, reopening the following year as a nursing home where it served patients until closing again in 1981.

Waverly Hills remained closed for about 20 years at that time, as the property fell into disrepair. It was purchased in 2001 by current owners Charlie and Tina Mattingly, who founded the Waverly Hills Historical Society two years later.

The groups worked in the following years to renovate the property, which grew in popularity as a well-known "haunted" location among the paranormal community, with shows like A&E's "Ghost Hunters" filming on location.

Ghost stories: Here are 300+ haunted places to explore in Kentucky and Indiana

How did Waverly Hill get its haunted reputation?

So how did Waverly Hills go from a serene and secluded Louisville complex to a site with a supernatural reputation in popular culture?

In a 2001 newspaper story ahead of an on-site taping of Fox Family's "Scariest Places on Earth," a Courier Journal reporter noted "countless local legends about the place being haunted" had been fueled by the high number of people who succumbed to tuberculosis during the more than 50 years it housed patients.

(The name, too, may have played a role in its notorious history, with then-Courier Journal reporter Thomas Nord describing it as "like something out of a comic book, a place where the Joker might hide out from Batman.")

Meet Wayne Hettinger: How did ignorance help create Thunder Over Louisville? A Q&A with the man behind the show

Still, several sites on the property, where more than 6,000 people are believed to have died, have taken on a life of their own in paranormal popular culture.

The infamous 600-foot body chute, for instance, that was used to discretely move thousands of corpses through the facility has grown in infamy and is often cited as a place where ghostly experiences take place. In a 2017 interview with The Courier Journal, Tina Mattingly said orbs and balls of light are believed to have been seen in the chute, along with spirits.

"Room 502" is also notorious. The room in the rooftop chambers is believed to have housed tuberculosis patients with mental illnesses, according to a 2010 Courier Journal article, and was allegedly the site of a nurse's death by suicide.

How to get tickets to tour Waverly Hills

Address: 4400 Paralee Drive, Louisville, KY. 40272

Phone number: 502-690-7880


Tour prices:  Two-hour paranormal tour, $25; Two-and-a-half-hour historical tour, $30; Six-hour public investigation, $90; private overnight investigation, $1,000

Lucas Aulbach can be reached at [email protected], 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach .

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Welcome to waverly hills.

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium and a beautiful example of Tudor Gothic architecture. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Today Waverly is visited by thousands of people each year in search of history, architecture and the paranormal. We offer Historical Tours, Paranormal Tours as well as both public and private Investigations.

2023 Waverly Hills Haunted House

Are you ready for the spooktacular waverly hills sanatorium haunted house we are back and ready to scare you the haunted house opens september 29-30 and will be open every friday & saturday evening through october., gates open at 7:30 pm and close at midnight. everyone in the gate by midnight will get to go through the haunted house. , notice: all r.i.p. ticket holders must be in line by 11 pm..

General Admission : $25

RIP (Mini tour and Haunted House) : $65

Waverly Hills Haunted House

Historical Tour

Approximately 2 Hours

Paranormal Tour

Public investigation.

Approximately 6 Hours

Private Investigation

Approximately 8 hours

Visit Us Today

Schedule your visit, follow us on facebook for updates, 502-690-7880, 4400 paralee drive.

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Attention re: Asylum Haunted Scream Park 2020 has been a hell of a year so far. There’s no avoiding all that’s been happening, it’s affecting us all, and we know that everyone is facing their own struggles through everything that’s been going on.

Another struggle we’ve been facing, and painfully holding inside, is something personal we have been hit with. The Asylum Haunted Scream Park is closing for good, and there’s nothing we can do to change that. It was not due to the  CoronaVirus, but rather was a business decision.

We appreciate all of our supporters over the last 10 years. You are the reason we did all of this. We built our own world (one we liked better than the real one sometimes), and we hope our crazy minds have at least provided you some entertainment over the years as we welcomed you into that World. It may evolve into something new in the future, and the creative minds of the Asylum Haunted Scream Park are still involved with another amazing Haunted House (The American Horrorplex [ Americanhorrorplex ]) so you can still check it out this 2020 Season.

But for now, the World we created is ending, and we will be forever grateful for your patronage over the years.

Stay safe, stay smart, and help mold the real world into the world we all want it to be.

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium haunted house tours begin this weekend

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of Louisville’s premier haunted attractions is opening up its haunted house experience this weekend.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium’s haunted house tours begin on Sept. 30 and run Fridays and Saturday nights through Oct. 29.

Proceeds from the haunted house benefit the Waverly Hills Historical Society, a nonprofit organization created to preserve the history of Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was a former tuberculosis hospital in Louisville which has been registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The location has since become a favorite for thrill seekers as one of the most haunted locations in the world.

Haunted house tours will run from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night, with ticket sales ending around midnight, according to Waverly Hills’ website.

Tickets must be purchased online , but a limited number of tickets may be available for purchase on site.

More information on the Waverly Hills Sanatorium can be found here .

Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.

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Waverly Hills haunted house opens for the season this week

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The latest breaking updates, delivered straight to your email inbox.

Louisville's notorious, old (and very spooky) sanitorium is opening its haunted house this week.

Waverly Hills is commonly referred to as one of the most "haunted" places in the United States.

And whether you believe that or not, most would agree it's pretty creepy.

The sanatorium opened in 1910 to accommodate tuberculosis patients when the city suffered one of the largest outbreaks in the country.

And while it hasn't been a hospital for years, it is now a popular place to get a scare.

Once again, the facility is hosting a haunted house for spooky season. According to the website, it'll be open Friday, Sept. 29 and every Friday and Saturday through October.

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Organizers told us gates open at 7:30 p.m., and doors to the Haunted House open at 8 p.m.

They said it costs $20 cash at the door, or $25 online.

You can also get RIP tickets, which includes a mini tour. Those tickets are $60 cash at the gate, or $65 if you buy them online.

haunted asylum in louisville ky

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Scary Tales From The Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Anna Lindwasser

Louisville, KY, is home to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which many people believe is one of  the most haunted places on Earth . While the building is now primarily a tourist attraction for those with creepy predilections, it used to be a functioning tuberculosis hospital. In 1910, when the hospital was established, this was a place where roughly  8,000  people died bloody, excruciating deaths, as there would be no real cure for tuberculosis, known as the white plague, until streptomycin was invented in 1943 . 

With all of that suffering, it’s not surprising that rumors of creepy doppelgängers, ghostly children, demonic forces, and more have cropped up. It is one of the most famous Kentucky ghost stories, and the haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium is known worldwide . While spooky stories like these can’t truly be proven, there are plenty of people who will swear on their lives that they’re true. Haunted sanatoriums are scary, but the spooky stories from Waverly Hills Sanatorium are downright terrifying. 

Some Of The TB Treatments Were Brutal

Some Of The TB Treatments Were Brutal

With no real way to cure tuberculosis while the sanatorium was open, doctors did what they could to treat the illness .  As a last resort , doctors devised treatments, such as inserting balloons into patients' lungs and filling them with air to help with breathing.

Doctors also removed ribs and muscle tissue to alleviate pressure and create more room for damaged lungs. This resulted in painful, ineffective, and often fatal surgeries. 

They Had A 'Body Chute' For Deceased Patients

They Had A 'Body Chute' For Deceased Patients

Before the invention of streptomycin, tuberculosis was basically a death sentence.  Bodies had to be disposed of somehow, and staff didn’t want to do it where the patients could see.

The solution was a " body chute ," or a tunnel that led from the hospital to nearby railroad tracks. From there, a motorized rail and cable system lifted the cadavers into trains that would take them away.

Room 502 Was A Death Trap

When people in a sanatorium die, you’d expect it to be the tuberculosis patients, not the healthy staff. Despite this, Room 502 seemed to invite sadness. According to local legend, the head nurse of Room 502 was found hanging from a light fixture. This was believed to be a suicide, triggered by depression over an unwanted pregnancy. 

Another nurse, who also worked in Room 502, jumped off the roof to her death. Who might have done it, and why, are unknown.

Ghost Hunters Smelled Bread Baking In An Abandoned Kitchen

Ghost Hunters Smelled Bread Baking In An Abandoned Kitchen

One legend stems from the experiences of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society. When they visited Waverly Hills, they found the kitchen in shambles. Windows, tables, and chairs were broken. The cafeteria was in a similar state of disrepair. Finding nothing useful, the team tried to leave, but before they could, they heard footsteps. Then, they heard a door swing shut, and they noticed the smell of freshly baked bread. 

No one else was in the building, let alone using the ruined kitchen to bake bread. There seemed to be no explanation for what they had witnessed.

Tourists Experience The Ghost SIghtings Too

Tourists Experience The Ghost SIghtings Too

True Ghost Tales featured a story by Joey, a visitor to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. After Joey and a few of his friends learned about the spooky history of the place, they had their own haunted experience. 

After touring the building, they headed to the roof to decompress. They began to see shadows moving around and started getting scared. Joey’s friend Chris got so scared he wanted to jump off the roof. The group went back inside, still pursued by shadows. They started to hear doors slamming shut and see mysterious footprints appear from nowhere in puddles of water. Chris began to cry, and the rest of the group barely held it together, but finally, they made it out of the sanatorium and into Joey’s sister’s car.

Were their minds playing tricks on them, or was it the miserable souls of dead tuberculosis patients? 

A Bleeding Ghost In Chains Haunts The Hospital

A Bleeding Ghost In Chains Haunts The Hospital

One of the saddest ghost stories is that of an elderly woman who supposedly roams the hospital, moaning and bleeding from her chained hands and feet.

Though she cries for help, when outsiders approach her, she runs away screaming in terror. 

There's A Child Ghost Named Timmy

There's A Child Ghost Named Timmy

One of the more well-known ghosts at Waverly Hills is a little boy known as Timmy . Timmy was around six or seven years old when he died in the hospital. Since he died with his whole life ahead of him, his spirit can’t move on, and he wanders the hospital trying to have fun.

Visitors often bring balls for him to play with, and many claim they see the balls moving, seemingly on their own. Believers in Timmy say it’s him, while skeptics say the balls are moving thanks to either the wind or uneven flooring.

The Whole Place Is Haunted By A Grim Presence Called The Creeper

If you’ve ever felt an overwhelming feeling of doom that you can’t explain, you might have come across a being like The Creeper .

The Creeper is a dark, terrifying entity that crawls along the floors and the walls of Waverly Hills. Some believe it’s an otherworldly spirit or a demonic force, while others believe it’s a human spirit that has been twisted by the trauma of death. Whatever its true nature, those who encounter it are invariably filled with dread. 

Tour Guides Reported Seeing Doppelgängers

Tour Guides Reported Seeing Doppelgängers

Doppelgängers , also known as “double-walkers," are a type of spirit that can mimic the appearance, voice, and mannerisms of anyone or anything it encounters. This could mean looking across the room and seeing an exact replica of yourself, or watching what appears to be your sister strangling a cat, even though she loves cats. 

Tour guides at Waverly Hills have reported seeing doppelgängers of themselves, and of others. In some cases, the doppelgängers were almost identical, except for black holes where the eyes should be.

A Female Ghost Was Seen Peeking Around Corners

Mary Lee was a young woman who lived in the sanatorium while it was open. On September 10, 2006, Tom Halstead of Missouri Paranormal Research took a photograph of a ghostly apparition that looked almost exactly like Mary.

Some believe Mary is the nurse who hung herself in Room 502, while others believe she was the daughter of a Waverly Hills doctor, who contracted TB herself from prolonged exposure to patients. 

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What Happened Inside Former Kentucky Asylum with Secret Tunnels Will Haunt Your Dreams

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If you think that Waverly Hills Sanatorium , in Louisville, KY, is a scary place, you have yet to hear about the  Lakeland Asylum .

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Where was Lakeland Asylum?

It used to be located in an area now known as E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park . The 550-acre park is on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky.

The asylum was established as the fourth insane asylum, in Kentucky, in 1873. As with many facilities like this, its reputation is one of mistreatment of human beings that were sick and suffering. It's chilling to think of what people went through in the name of medical treatment.

For someone who suffers from mental illness, the thought of places like this fills me with fear and anxiety. When you read about the history of laces like this, you discover how people with mental illness were treated. Because of a lack of understanding of mental illness, patients were subjected to extreme electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and other forms of torture as attempts to try and 'cure' them.

The scariest part of all is that asylums were used as a place to put undesirable people away. There was a time when you could be admitted to an insane asylum for any reason. It didn't even require a doctor's referral. Anybody could admit you. For that reason, asylums would be filled with people that society didn't want to deal with like the mentally or physically handicapped, unwed mothers, poor people, and the elderly.

With my anxiety, I would have been someone admitted to a place like this and subjected to horrific forms of treatment. Many, many people would have found themselves in places like Lakeland Asylum with no means of escape.

What went on at Louisville's Lakeland Asylum ?

Terrifying and unthinkable things happened at the asylum. Because mental illness was so misunderstood and treating people you didn't understand unkindly was so accepted, chilling things were done at the asylum.

According to Serious Paranormal ,

Other more specific stories of torture and murder circulated about the asylum as well. According to ,

Were there tunnels and a cave under Lakeland Asylum?

Yes, the Saurakraut Cave, with its many tunnels, sits right below the land where the asylum was built. Many locals say that the tunnels were used as a place to do more horrendous things.

See more of the history, photos of the original structure, and what remains of the asylum now.

So many places like Lakeland Asylum existed. It makes me sad and angry that so many people suffered in these terrible places.

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haunted asylum in louisville ky


haunted asylum in louisville ky

Kentucky's Haunted Hospitals & Asylums

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Categories: Real Haunted Places | Real Haunted Hospitals & Asylums

Know of a Real Haunt that we don't already have listed? Please Let Us know

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Kentucky’s 5 Spookiest Old Asylums Still Standing Today

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Jenn Shockley

I am somewhat a cliche'. I grew up running around barefoot on a farm in Kentucky. I love writing, art, sunshine, all animals and my incredibly patient husband, who tolerates my "crazy animal lady" side.

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Just the very word asylum can send a shiver down your spine. In particular, if you happen to know anything about the history of these mental institutions in Kentucky, and across the US. The old mental “sanctuaries” were places of experimental treatments, and in some cases, torture. Here are the five creepiest abandoned asylums in Kentucky that still stand today.

haunted asylum in louisville ky

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An Abandoned Mine Cave In Kentucky, Mullins Station Is Hauntingly Beautiful

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This Eerie And Fantastic Footage Takes You Inside An Abandoned Ames Department Store In Kentucky

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An Abandoned Ship That Once Welcomed Madonna Has Sat In A Kentucky Creek For Over 30 Years

An Abandoned Ship That Once Welcomed Madonna Has Sat In A Kentucky Creek For Over 30 Years

haunted asylum in louisville ky

Kentucky is no stranger to haunted lore and legends, with  spirits said to wander some of the state’s most legendary establishments . The Bluegrass is also home to its very own  ghost town , too, an abandoned mine that’s an eerie reminder of a bygone time. But these abandoned asylums in Kentucky might just take the (creepy) cake!

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Abandoned asylums in kentucky.

What are the creepiest abandoned places in Kentucky?

The Bluegrass State is home to its fair share of creepy and abandoned places, and if you're into paranormal activity and ghost hunting adventures, these abandoned places in Kentucky are worth exploring:

  • Cave Hill Cemetery . In Louisville, Kentucky, Cave Hill Cemetery is a 296-acre Victorian-era National Cemetery and arboretum that's undeniably beautiful. The largest cemetery in Louisville by area and number of burials, Cave Hill has long been the topic of ghost stories and hauntings in the Bluegrass. Home to over 100,000 interments, or grave sites, many notable Kentuckians are buried at Cave Hill, from Colonel Harlan Sanders and Muhammad Ali to famous bourbon barons and Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of the famous explorer. Unfortunately, this beautiful place is rumored to be incredibly haunted!
  • USS Sachem . In a creek in Petersburg, Kentucky, the USS Sachem has sat abandoned for over 30 years. Once a majestic tourist boat, proud vessel in the U.S. Navy, and even a backdrop for a Madonna video, this abandoned ghost ship has descended into decay. The vessel's story begins in 1902, when she made her sailing debut as a luxury liner used by businessman and yacht enthusiast John Rogers Maxwell. This New York mogul sailed her up and down the Empire State coastline in the early 1900s. Curious to learn more, including how this abandoned ship attracted the eye of Madonna herself? Read on!
  • Big South Fork, Kentucky . Big South Fork is an area where the imagination can easily run wild. Encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, it's a place of deep beauty -- and deep mystery. Blue Heron, also known as Mine 18, is an abandoned coal mining town and was a part of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company's historic operation. The Blue Heron mines ran from 1937 until 1962, when operations ceased being profitable. Today, this Kentucky ghost town is eerie, unsettling, and wholly irresistible for KY ghost hunters.

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Explore Kentucky

Best Haunted Houses near Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville, KY

3101 Pond Station Rd, Louisville, KY 40272

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"I went on a 2 hour historical tour and I truly enjoyed it. I always wanted to go since I've seen it on The Most Haunted Places series growing up. It wasn't as scary as I imagined but I guess that's a good thing. If we weren't on the group tour and it was like 2-4 people it would be very creepy. A must if you are into Dark places. The experience was totally worth it. Our tour guide was great."

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Most Haunted Places in Louisville, KY

The history books would have you believe that Louisville KY, is simply a fairly young river town that was founded by George Rogers Clark. Before going on to game fame for the Derby. However, what they certainly will not tell you is that there is a much darker side to this city. Louisville has more than its fair share of creepy tales to tell!

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Louisville, KY:

10 - The Brennan House

The Brennan House

The Brennan House is a 3 story Victorian style residence, that was built in 1868 for Thomas and Anna Brennan and their family of 8 children.

This was their dream home and they cared very deeply for it – both in life and after their death! Visitors have reported seeing a number of different apparitions around the house and it is common for the spirits to manifest in photographs taken on the property.

Two of the Brennan girls, Beulah and Mae were musically talented and they have been known to entertain visitors with piano and violin music. Meanwhile, Dr. John Brennan, one of the sons, makes his presence know via the smell of his cigar smoke!

Several visitors have also captured a face in their photographs which looks a great deal like Mr Thomas Brennan himself.

9 – The Brown Hotel BOOK NOW

The Brown Hotel

The Brown Hotel is an impressive building that spans 16 storys and boasts a total of 293 rooms. It was built in 1923 by J.Graham Brown, who also lived in the penthouse suite of the hotel right up until his death in 1969.

In life, Mr Brown believed in offering the very best in customer service and it seems that he has not given up that ideal even following his death!

It is very common for Mr Brown’s spirit, to make an appearance during busy times at the hotel including Derby week and during receptions or conventions being held at the hotel.

His apparition usually appears standing in what was his favourite spot, under the arch on the mezzanine, where he is able to survey the hotel ensuring that guests have everything they need.

A number of staff say that they have locked eyes with the ghost at which point he may or may not nod his approval before vanishing leaving behind, the faint smell of his favourite cigars!

8 – First Church of Christ Scientist

First Church of Christ Scientist

The First Church of Christ Scientist, is home to a pretty famous apparition that has come to be known as ‘The Lady of The Stairs’.

Those who have seen her describe her as a beautiful young woman. Who is dressed in a white gown and a grey silk shawl. She is usually seen pacing around in a nervous fashion and is often said to appear distraught.

Some witnesses have even heard her crying. It is believed that she is so upset due to a tragic misunderstanding regarding her fiancé.

The pair were said to have planned to elope during the flu epidemic of 1918-19, but he never showed up to meet her.

The girl waited for hours in the cold night air and ironically ended up contracting the flu. Completely unbeknownst to her, the reason her love did not arrive at the designated meeting spot, was that he too had contracted the deadly flu virus and was unable to come to her.

Within three days both of them were dead.

The lady is said to remain at the church, still waiting on the arrival of her sweetheart.

7 – Seelbach Hilton Hotel STAY HERE

The Seelbach Hilton Hotel in downtown Louisville, Kentucky

The Seelbach Hilton is probably one of the most luxurious hotels in Louisville. It also happens to be one of the most haunted!

The hotel dates back to around 1903 and over the years staff members and guests alike, have encountered a variety of paranormal activity.

One of the most common reports, is of televisions turning on at full volume, at exactly 4am and also the sound of running footsteps when nobody is there!

However, the most well known spirit that is said to remain in residence at the Seelbach Hotel is ‘The Lady in Blue’.

There are a number of variations of her story and it is not clear which one is most accurate. But the key points that most people agree on are that her name is Patricia Wilson and that she fell to her death in one of the hotel’s elevator shafts.

Depending on which version of the story you choose to believe she may have been pushed, fallen by accident or taken her own life.

Those who have seen The Lady in Blue describe Patricia as a pretty lady with long dark hair and a beautiful blue dress.

She is most often spotted on the eighth floor and close to the mezzanine elevators.

Learn more about the haunted Seelbach Hilton Hotel, Kentucky

6 – The Belle of Louisville

The Belle of Louisville

One of the most haunted places in Louisville KY is the Belle of Louisville, a well known steamboat that is considered to be one of the city’s crowning jewels.

The ship was previously known as the Idlewind and during World War II, Captain Ben Winters apparently decided to install some gaming tables and slot machines on the ship.

However, it was soon raided by authorities and the Captain suffered a heart attack during it. He passed away in his cabin, but according to employees and visitors he certainly did not leave!

A number of strange occurrences have been reported in the years since his death. Including the main wheel in the pilot house moving on its own. Despite the bridge being locked down and several crew members have seen the Captain in his dress uniform around the ship.

Captain Winters is by no means the only spirit haunting The Belle of Louisville.

There are also reports of a deckhand named Floyd hanging around. Floyd was crushed to death by one of the pitman arms that controls the paddle wheel and ever since the crew say that they can hear Floyd whistling a jaunty tune, just like he was known to do when alive!

5 – Cave Hill Cemetery

Cave Hill Cemetery

Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, is the largest Victorian era cemetery, in the United States that remains in a good state of repair.

It was established in 1848 and among those buried there are the earthly remains of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

The cemetery is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in Louisville, KY.

Among the reports of paranormal activity linked to this particular burial ground are sudden blasts of icy cold air, unexplained light anomalies and disembodied whispers when nobody else is around.

Most witnesses who have braved the cemetery at night describe a floating green light, flitting around between the headstones and others say that they have heard a number of strange noises, including what sounds like headstones being knocked over!

4 – Louisville Palace Theatre

Louisville Palace Theatre

When it was originally built back in 1928, Louisville Palace Theatre was known as the Lowes Theatre. These days it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Louisville KY.

There are a number of different spirits who are said to call Louisville Palace Theatre home. Including a faceless woman in forties attire, a man in thirties style dress and a small giggling child.

However, the most well known spirit that haunts the Louisville Palace Theatre is Fred, the former chief engineer from back when the theatre was known as Lowes. In 1965 he actually died of a massive heart attack in the basement of the theatre, where he had been working for nearly 40 years.

He is seen all over the building dressed in his uniform and a flat top hat. Those who have seen the apparition have confirmed, via photos of the man during his life, that this is indeed Fred Frisch.

He is most often encountered making his rounds in the evenings. Though on one occasion during renovation work, he apparently saved a construction worker’s life by waking him up, just before he fell from the scaffolding where he was napping!

3 – Phoenix Hill Tavern

Phoenix Hill Tavern

The Phoenix Hill Tavern is another one of the haunted hotspots that Louisville has to offer.

Staff have reported hearing the sound of someone walking down the stairs and footsteps traveling across the floor when nobody is there.

There are also frequent cold spots and staff have frequently noticed strange white flashes in the mirrors!

Perhaps the most compelling reports of paranormal activity, coming out of the Phoenix Hill Tavern is that objects regularly move by themselves or disappear completely!

2 – Old Louisville

Old Louisville is one of the city’s most historic districts. This Victorian suburb was built in the 1870s, and it is one of the largest preservation districts in the United States.

It is a beautiful area to visit, but during the tuberculosis epidemic a large number of residents died and many of the homes were burned to prevent the spread of the disease.

That probably explains why so many spirits are seen wandering around the area day and night.

Local police say they have lost count of the number of times they have been called to investigate intruders, seen wandering into houses dressed in Victorian clothing!

1 – Waverly Hills Sanitorium

Waverly Hills Sanitorium

If you have any kind of interest in the paranormal then you probably know all about Waverly Hills Sanitorium. It is probably one of the most famous haunted buildings in the entire United States, so of course it tops our list of the most haunted places in Louisville KY!

The former tuberculosis hospital has seen thousands of deaths (an estimated 63,000) over the years and has been featured on just about every paranormal themed television show there is!

Ghostly figures, disembodied screams and other unexplained noises have been reported in just about every inch of this hospital.

Of all the paranormal hotspots in the building, the main focal point seems to be the so called ‘Death Tunnel’, which was used to transport the dead bodies out of the hospital.

Other well known spots include room number 502, which is where a pregnant nurse took her own life and still haunts the building, and there is also a little boy named Timmy who will frequently play with balls and other toys that visitors bring for him.

Learn more about the haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium

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The Most Terrifying Haunted Attraction in All 50 States

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, farms, theme parks, and historic buildings across the country transform into horror hotspots. No matter where in the U.S. you live, you can find a haunted attraction near you. We’ve rounded up some of the most terrifying options in all 50 states.

By mentalfloss .com | Oct 18, 2023

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

While some people use autumn as an opportunity to get cozy, horror fanatics see it as the time to get their adrenaline pumping. There are few better places to do this than at a haunted house, maze, or hayride. If October gets you in the mood to be terrorized by an actor in a clown mask , plenty of businesses across America are happy to provide that service. Whether they’re housed in a theme park or a historic prison, these are the most heart-pounding haunted attractions in all 50 states.

1. Alabama // The Haunted Chicken House

Location:  Heflin, Alabama

The Haunted Chicken House wins our unofficial award for most creative backstory. According to the attraction’s lore, the Seven Oaks Chicken Farm took a dark turn in 2003, when a local farmer named Dan imported genetically-altered roosters to boost his business. The birds mutated into violent monsters, and Chicken Dan recruited an army of slashers and monsters to help fight them. The result is one of Alabama’s most bizarrely spooky attractions. After walking through the actual Haunted Chicken House, guests can take a spin onboard the haunted hayride or the “Crazy Train” bus. Tickets are currently on sale for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout October. —Michele Debczak

2. Alaska // Fright Nite Haunted House

Location:  Anchorage, Alaska

Fright Nite has been freaking out patrons for more than three decades. Each production—usually open during the second half of October—features new actors, costumes, sound effects, and themes. And you can bet there will be evil clowns. —Kat Long

3. Arizona // 13th Floor Haunted House

Location:  Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix’s spooky 13th Floor offers four different experiences with creepy backstories. You may find yourself harshly judged by an evil nun with a sinister agenda, enchanted by malevolent spirits from the deep sea, or hunting down zombies infected with a global virus (too soon, guys!). There’s also an optional, interactive maze adventure that takes place in total darkness. If you think you can handle it, 13th Floor runs through November 4. —KL

4. Arkansas // The Reaper Haunted House

Location:  North Little Rock, Arkansas

Like a slasher movie come to life, The Reaper Haunted House —which has been scaring Arkansans since 2011—promises to shock its guests with more than 30 scenes of “blood, gore, and mayhem.” The terrifying tableaux continues through November 1. —KL

5. California // Knott’s Scary Farm

Location:  Buena Park, California

Knott’s Berry Farm transforms into Knott’s Scary Farm during spooky season. The Southern California theme park is celebrating 50 years of frights this year. On select nights through October 31, the park is overrun with terrifying creatures. In addition to the 10 unique haunted mazes, the event features five sprawling scare zones and four chilling live shows. When they’re not getting their pants scared off, guests can decompress over themed treats like cereal killer funnel cake and spookghetti pie . Tickets for 2023 are available starting at $60. —MD

6. Colorado // The Frightmare Compound

Location:  Westminster, Colorado

The Frightmare Compound is celebrating its 40th year of scaring the bejesus out of Coloradans in 2023, and the multi-experience complex of fear is not resting on its laurels. In addition to its legendary haunted house, which is populated with various blood-soaked ghouls, the Frightmare Compound also invites its victims into a museum of monsters and a coffin simulator that replicates the claustrophobia of being buried alive . If your heart can take it, there are also mini escape rooms that force you to figure out your own survival. The attractions open on September 15 and run through November 4. —KL

7. Connecticut // The Trail of Terror

Location:  Wallingford, Connecticut

This isn’t your average walk in the woods. Connecticut’s Trail of Terror is a roughly hour-long walk through a medley of monstrous frights. The scare crew may all be volunteers, but don’t underestimate their ability to get your heart racing. The Trail of Terror is open Friday to Sunday from September 30 through October 29. —Kerry Wolfe

8. Delaware // Frightland

Location:  Middletown, Delaware

Frightland , which has been in business for 27 years and counting, boasts eight separate experiences—Horror Hayride, Haunted Barn, Idalia Manor, Fear, Ravenwood Cemetery, The Attic, Ghost Town, and Zombie Prison—which span about 1800 acres and are all linked by a fictional backstory. Basically, Dr. Thaddeus Idalia lost his mind after his daughter’s death and devoted his life to trying to resurrect the dead. The vengeful subjects of his botched and terrifying experiments have now taken over his estate; not far, as it turns out, from the ghosts of his father’s equally chilling deeds . — Ellen Gutoskey

9. Florida // Halloween Horror Nights

Location:  Orlando, Florida

Every Halloween season, Universal Studios in Orlando applies the movie magic of its theme park rides to epic haunted houses. Halloween Horror Nights runs from September 4 to November 2 in 2023, and each night features 10 haunted houses built around a different theme. Properties like Stranger Things , The Exorcist (1973), and Child’s Play (1988) are brought to life through Hollywood-level makeup, set design, and special effects. In between waiting in line for walk-through experiences, guests also have to face the live scare actors who prowl the park. Prices vary by night, and you can order tickets in advance through Universal’s website . —MD

10. Georgia // Netherworld Haunted House

Location:  Stone Mountain, Georgia

It’s a rare Halloween attraction that can promise fun and excitement for the whole family, but Netherworld in Stone Mountain has entertainment for timid first-timers, terror enthusiasts, and those in between. For its 27th year this October, guests will be thrilled by two new haunts, “Cryptid Chaos” and “Primordial”—we hope they feature an epic battle between Bigfoot and, say, an iguanodon. Aside from those scares, Netherworld hosts escape rooms, a monster museum, and a Halloween midway with places to eat, snap a selfie, or chill with roaming costumed spooks. Netherworld runs through November 11. —KL

11. Hawaii // Haunted Plantation

Location:  Waipahu, Hawaii

If you feel haunted houses are passé, leave your attitude at the door of the Haunted Plantation . Located on O‘ahu in Waipahu, the site of an actual former sugar plantation, the attraction spends most of the year as a living history museum. It transforms into an outdoor scare factory in October, complete with heart-pounding frights and more than 60 actors in professional special effects makeup. Timed reservations are required. —KL

12. Idaho // The Haunted World

Location:  Nampa, Idaho

The Haunted World boasts a whopping 35 acres of frights, including Gristle’s cornfield, a 700-foot dungeon, “Hacksaw Jim’s Stanky Cellar,” and a 55-foot Slide Into Darkness. Cap it all off with a visit to Cannibal Lecter’s Carnival of Pigs, and you’ve got yourself a nice little evening. The Haunted World is open Monday through Saturday in October. —Stacy Conradt

13. Illinois // Basement of the Dead

Location:  Aurora, Illinois

There are few things spookier than basements—and Basement of the Dead , located in Aurora, Illinois, takes those scares and ratchets them up to 11. The story revolves around a boiler explosion at Walker Laundry that maims two workers, who then disappear; soon people working in the laundry begin to vanish, only to later show up in pieces at the mouth of drainage pipes. The workers are still there, obviously, ready to snatch whoever comes into the basement next. Visitors report that Basement of the Dead has excellent actors who rarely fail to get a jump out of their victims, and the sets, music, and lights add to the terrifying vibe. There’s also a 3D haunted house. Basement of the Dead is open from late September to early November; you can get your tickets here . —Erin McCarthy

14. Indiana // Hanna Haunted Acres

Location:  Indianapolis, Indiana

With six separate attractions, there’s something for everyone at Hanna Haunted Acres . Visitors can make their way through Acres Manor, a grand haunted mansion that threatens to confront you with your deepest fears, or a carnival that promises to be a grotesque circus of nightmares. And if those don’t give you goosebumps, there’s also an Undead Underworld, the Horror Fields, Cannibal Chaos, and a Haunted Hayride. Hanna Haunted Acres is open every day in October—but they say their scariest days are November 3 and 4. That’s when your whole party has to make it through four of the haunts with a single glow stick. —SC

15. Iowa // Slaughterhouse

Location:  Des Moines, Iowa

Slaughterhouse in downtown Des Moines is a cannibal-themed haunt with an elaborate backstory about “America’s most heinous cannibal empire” from the mid-1800s. It’s open for fresh meat Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, and also on Thursdays in the two weeks before Halloween. When it’s not spooky season, Slaughterhouse is also an escape room where you have 60 minutes to help one of the people-eating clan’s victims break free from the torture. —SC

16. Kansas // The Haunted Cannery

Location:  El Dorado, Kansas

A visit to The Haunted Cannery starts with a covered hayride through Walters Farm and Pumpkin Patch. Once they arrive at the maze, guest will be forced to dodge clowns, zombies, and “anything horrific that comes to mind.“ A RIP-FAST PASS ticket gets you a ride on their “hell bound“ ambulance plus a special closed lid rolling casket ride (not recommended for the claustrophobic). The attraction is open Fridays and Saturdays through October. —MD

17. Kentucky // Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Location:  Louisville, Kentucky

Waverly Hills Sanatorium , one of the most haunted places in America, is a former tuberculosis hospital located in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s been estimated that 50,000 patients died at Waverly Hills while it was open from 1910 to 1961. While the historical society offers more fact-based tours year-round, they embrace the Halloween season by offering a haunted house on Fridays and Saturdays from the end of September through October—and if you buy the RIP pass, you’ll get a special mini tour of the upper floors of the sanatorium. Want even more? Private, eight-hour paranormal investigations start at $1100. —SC

18. Louisiana // The 13th Gate

Location:  Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The 13th Gate doesn’t limit its frights to one theme. The 13 realms spread out across the 40,000-square-foot property include a realistic pirate ship, an outdoor graveyard with zombies, and underground passageways filled with live snakes. General admission tickets are currently available for $35. Be warned that the intense attraction isn’t recommended for guests with certain health conditions—including a weak bladder. —MD

19. Maine // Nightmare on the Ridge

Location:  Auburn, Maine

Every year in October, Wallingford’s Orchard in Auburn, Maine, hosts the Nightmare on the Ridge . The haunted walk takes place outdoors, so it’s not recommended for people with a fear of the dark (or clowns). Tickets are now available for $25. —MD

20. Maryland // Bennett’s Curse

Location:  Baltimore, Maryland

A ticket to Bennett’s Curse in Baltimore earns you entry into four terrifying attractions . The oldest and most critically acclaimed is House of the Demons , where guests find themselves in the crosshairs of a war between vampires and vicious underworld demons. There’s also a 3D experience, an asylum station, and Legends of Halloween , the last of which features every classic Halloween creature you can think of. —EG

21. Massachusetts // Witch’s Woods

Location:  Weston, Massachusetts

Whether you want to see professionally carved pumpkins, venture into a darkened castle, or just go on a haunted hayride, Witch’s Woods delivers. The Jack o’ Lantern Jamboree and Horrorwood Chamber of Chills (a walking tour) are both free to visit—no admission required—but otherwise, tickets are usually $48 (though they’re offering $14 off coupons if you go on Sundays during October). The 2023 Halloween season runs through October 31. —Shayna Murphy

22. Michigan // Erebus

Location:  Pontiac, Michigan

If you’re the type of person who can’t get enough scares, you’ll want to experience Erebus . With 100,000 square feet, four stories, and a half-mile of walking, Erebus held the title of World’s Largest Haunted House in the Guinness Book of World Records for a number of years. It has also been named the best haunted house in the U.S. by USA Today . Between getting buried alive and running across a few hungry dinosaurs, you’re sure to find scares at Erebus you won’t find anywhere else. It’s open most days in October. —SC

23. Minnesota // Dead End Hayride

Location:  Wyoming, Minnesota

View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Dead End Hayride (@thedeadendhayride)

If your idea of a fun hayride includes singalongs and apple cider, the Dead End Hayride probably isn’t for you. At the attraction, which is located on 160 acres of wooded farmland, guests will find themselves at the mercy of more than 200 characters scattered across places like Castle Ruins. There’s also some pretty impressive pyrotechnics. It’s also open most nights in October. —SC

24. Mississippi // Haunted Castle

Location:  Tupelo, Mississippi

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tupelo Haunted Castle (@tupelohauntedcastle)

Now in its 15th year, the Haunted Castle changes up the scares every season. For 2023, they’re bringing back a fan favorite: The Lost in the Darkness Labyrinth, “an unnerving journey through a twisted maze that will test your sanity like never before.” You can get your creep on every Friday and Saturday in October (and on Halloween itself, of course). —SC

25. Missouri // The Darkness

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Lurking in downtown St. Louis is The Darkness , a horrifying walk-through attraction that has been called the haunted house industry’s Disney World. Inside, you can expect to encounter everything from zombies and demons to dolls and clowns, all with movie-quality makeup, costuming and props. If you can’t make it during October, don’t count yourself down and out just yet. The Darkness also does a Krampus-themed Christmas haunt, and a one-night-only Bloody Valentine event in February. —SC

26. Montana // Field of Screams

Location:  Victor, Montana

If you build it, they will come ... to the Field of Screams . The attraction kicks off with a corn maze that leads to a haunted playground, a mysterious swamp and, of course, a graveyard. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays in October, but for the less adventurous folk, Monday nights are Zombie Free—no creepy characters, just the chance to wander through the amazing sets, complete with fog, lighting, and music. —SC

27. Nebraska // Bloodrush

Location:  Omaha, Nebraska

With a name like Bloodrush , subtlety is not part of the program of this haunted attraction, which is really more of a haunted forest. During the 40-minute walking tour, you’ll encounter everything from zombies to chainsaw-wielding maniacs. If you expect to find relief in a nearby shack, chances are you’ve never seen Evil Dead II . It’s open Thursdays through Sundays in October, plus October 30 and 31. —Jake Rossen

28. Nevada // Hotel Fear and Asylum

Location:  Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is home to some of the best hotels in the world—and at least one of the scariest. The Hotel Fear and Asylum is a two-pronged attraction , with visitors able to explore a lodge meant to host families related to patients of the (fictitious) institution nearby. Naturally, both the accommodations and the facilities are anything but relaxing. Fortunately, vistors will contribute to some real-life health benefits by attending: A portion of proceeds go to the Paradise Ranch Foundation, which uses horse-assisted therapy for mental health issues. —JR

29. New Hampshire // Haunted Overload

Location:  Lee, New Hampshire

Megalophobes might cower at Haunted Overload , which features monstrous attractions up to 34 feet tall. If things get too scary, their Friday Night Lite tones down the thrills. The farm is also open during the day so parents and kids can stroll around without having any performers leaping out at them. —JR

30. New Jersey // Brighton Asylum

Location:  Passaic, New Jersey

Brighton Asylum , the self-proclaimed most-visited haunted house in New Jersey, has three award-winning attractions for adrenaline enthusiasts to visit. Whether you’re visiting Brighton Asylum’s patient areas, the subCULTure tunnels, or the Bleeding Grounds staff quarters, you’ll definitely be spooked. And if those aren’t enough, you can add on to the fun with escape rooms, axe-throwing, carnEVIL games, and paranormal explorations. In addition to scaring folks Friday through Sunday in October (and a couple of Thursdays), Brighton offers holiday haunts like Santa’s Slay, Dark Valentine, and even Saint Patrick’s Slay. — SC

31. New Mexico // McCall’s Haunted Farm

Location:  Moriarty, New Mexico

View this post on Instagram A post shared by McCall's Haunted Farm (@mccallshauntedfarm)

New Mexico’s top haunted attraction taps into the inherent creepiness of farms. The fictional backstory sets up the frights at McCall’s Haunted Farm perfectly: After the State Highway Department built an interstate through his farm, Farmer McCall went mad and murdered his family. There wasn’t enough evidence to convict him, but in the subsequent years, tourists began to go missing from the area. In the present, visitors can experience the Field of Screams—a corn maze haunted by Farmer McCall’s victims—and the Haunted Barn, which features an old meat processing facility that is now used for disturbing ends. Other activities on the property include zombie paintball, creepy carnival games, and a clown-themed maze. Tickets for Fridays and Saturdays leading up to Halloween are on sale for $28 to $38. —MD

32. New York // Headless Horseman Hayrides

Location:  Ulster Park, New York

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Attractions has operated for more than 30 years and consists of six haunted houses, a terrifying walking trail, a corn maze, spooky entertainment, and a haunted hayride new for this year called “Death Is the Only Cure.” In a The Last of Us -like twist, it features a mushroom that turns its hosts into a creature that resembles a crow. Headless Horseman Hayrides is open from late September until late October; you can get your tickets here .

33. North Carolina // Kersey Valley Spookywoods

Location:  Archdale, North Carolina

Don’t let Kersey Valley Spookywoods’ fool you: this is no kiddie affair. With 15 different horror sets to choose from, you’re sure to find one that makes your blood curdle. Sure, you’ll find your typical haunted corn maze and asylum settings. But there’s also the mineshaft-themed Depths of Despair, a vampire and werewolf melee called Agony’s Embrace, the mysterious Whispering Pines Funeral Services, and the Inferno, a hell-themed set that could have been designed by Dante himself. —SC

34. North Dakota // Acres of Terror

Location:  Leonard, North Dakota

Acres of Terror is celebrating 20 years of frights in 2023—and after two decades, it has scaring down to a science. It takes most people 45 minutes to an hour to wander through the haunted corn maze, creepy trailer, and abandoned school house, where visitors must do their best to avoid murderous characters lurking down pitch-black hallways. There’s also a short ride on a bus driven by a werewolf, something we’re quite sure you won’t find many other places. Drop by any Friday or Saturday, dusk til midnight, through October 29. —SC

35. Ohio // Spooky Ranch

Location:  Columbia Station, Ohio

True to its midwestern setting, the Spooky Ranch at Rockin’-R-Ranch has a haunted house and haunted barn. But the star attraction is the haunted hayride. The high-tech operation takes what’s usually a simple autumnal activity to a terrifying new level: The hayride features pyrotechnics, enormous animated creatures, and live actors. The Spooky Ranch is open Thursday through Sunday during October. (You can visit on Halloween as well). —KW

36. Oklahoma // HexHouse

Location:  Tulsa, Oklahoma

For an extreme haunt, look no further than HexHouse , named one of the top 15 intense haunted houses in the U.S. by . HexHouse promises that there are no cheesy animatronics or movie monsters, but does offer full immersion in “an altered reality that is much darker and less predictable than anything you’ve seen in the movies.” The house is allegedly based on the true story of an occultist who lived in Tulsa in the 1940s and held two women captive in her home. While we’re not sure how true that is, one thing is for sure: HexHouse will bewitch you. —SC

37. Oregon // The Fear PDX

Location:  Portland, Oregon

If you guessed that “Smiley’s Fun House” isn’t actually all that fun, you’re probably ready for The Fear PDX . In addition to Smiley’s, this mult-attraction haunted house includes The Mansion, The Harvest, The Forgotten, and Radioactive Rampage, and six other ghoulish sets. A new addition for 2023 is Chopped, a game where you compete against others to finish a task with one hand while the other is imprisoned in a small guillotine. Lose the game, lose your hand. —SC

38. Pennsylvania // Eastern State Penitentiary

Location:  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Performers waiting to scare visitors at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary is a real prison that opened in 1829 and shut its doors in 1971. Most of the year, you can tour the abandoned facility and learn about its history—but when fall hits, Eastern State turns into a horrifying attraction complete with five haunted houses (including one in 3D), cocktail lounges, flashlight tours of parts of the facility, live performances, and ghost stories within its walls. Halloween Nights at ESP is open late September through mid-November; tickets start at $39 and you can grab them here .

39. Rhode Island // Haunted Labyrinth

Location:  Cranston, Rhode Island

Cranston’s Haunted Labyrinth is the longest-running haunted house attraction in New England (this will be their 39th season). But it’s more than just that, because there’s also an indoor maze filled with some frightfully fun surprises. This year’s theme—Nightmares Retold—will revisit some old terrors from the past. If you pay in cash, tickets go for $12; if you’re using a card, admission is $13. It runs until Tuesday, October 31. —SM

40. South Carolina // Nightmare Dungeon Haunted House

Location:  Greenville, South Carolina

The closest thing to being inside of a horror movie? Nightmare Dungeon Haunted House . Purportedly built inside an actual 150-year-old farmhouse, NDHH features more than 40 horror scenes, including CGI effects, pyrotechnics, and movie-quality props, costumes, and makeup. New this year is The Hellevtor, an eight-floor descent into the dungeons beneath the house. Visit any day in October, from 7:30-11 p.m.—if you dare. —SC

41. South Dakota // Fear Asylum

Location:  Brookings, South Dakota

It’s lucky number year 13 for Fear Asylum , and they say the patients are getting restless. Rumor has it the government has been testing on the unwilling subjects of the Brookend Asylum for decades, turning them into nightmarish creatures and ghouls. And when they don’t make it, the graveyard on the grounds makes for convenient disposal. If you’re not shaking in your boots by the end of the experience, you can add on two escape rooms and the mysterious “last ride.” —SC

42. Tennessee // Nashville Nightmare

Location:  Madison, Tennessee

Nashville Nightmare’s themed haunted houses prove that anywhere can be scary, from research labs to high schools. If there’s a secret to their success—and by success, we mean eliciting screams from guests—it’s probably the actors’ commitment to making you forget that they’re just actors. The premises also play host to a bar, an axe-throwing station, mini escape games, and a laser maze crawling with mummies. —EG

43. Texas // Cutting Edge Haunted House

Location:  Fort Worth, Texas

The Cutting Edge Haunted House , which is located in a century-old abandoned meat packing plant, embraces its roots. As the website reads, “The meat packing equipment from the Old West is still in use, but now it is a two-story human processing area.” The “humans” being processed may be mannequins, but that knowledge will do little to calm your nerves. The industrial carnage is brought to life through live actors and special effects. In addition to having one of the most creative themes of any haunted house, it’s among the largest of its kind, taking guests 55 minutes on average to explore it in full. Tickets are now on sale for the 2023 Halloween season, with prices starting at $39.95. —MD

44. Utah // Fear Factory

Location:  Salt Lake City, Utah

Built on the site of an old cement works where workers died gruesome deaths (seriously!), Fear Factory is made up of six buildings and two underground passages encompassing an entire seven-acre city block. In addition to being named on a number of scariest haunted houses lists, Fear Factory has been visited by the Ghost Adventures TV crew to investigate alleged satanic activity. Non-paranormal activities include a circus, catacombs, vampire lair, and hellish industrial sets. When parking gets scarce, you can even get picked up by the Zombie Bus. —SC

45. Vermont // Haunted Milton

Location:  Milton, Vermont

Stock image of door illuminated in red light in haunted house.

Deep in upstate Vermont and not too far from the Québec border, there’s a haunted lodge that could send shivers right down your spine . Haunted Milton hasn’t released too many details yet about what’s in store for the 2023 Halloween season, though the theme is “Mother Knows Best.“ You can check it all out for yourself starting on Thursday, October 26. Tours only run through to Saturday, October 28, and no people under 13 are allowed. If you’ve got $10 to spend, this creepy showcase could be perfect ahead of Halloween.

46. Virginia // Red Vein

Location:  Ashland, Virginia

If Friday the 13th (1980) is your favorite horror flick, this year’s Red Vein haunted house might be right up your alley (the newest addition to the haunted house is summer camp massacre-themed). But even if that’s not your jam, there are plenty of other scares in store, including an asylum, a haunted house, and Witch’s Woods. The house is run by Red Vein Army, a sort of horror collective —a group of people who, in addition to the haunted house, also operate escape rooms, haunted history tours, and were even once a traveling haunt actor troupe. —SC

47. Washington // Georgetown Morgue

Location:  Seattle, Washington

How’s this for a horrifying backstory: In 1965, the co-owner of a morgue in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle was killed when he was crushed by a smokestack during an earthquake. Three years later, on October 25, nine morgue employees were horrifically murdered when masked intruders forced them into the crematory and burned them alive. The local legend hasn't been verified , but it inspires a terrifying haunted house attraction every year in October. Georgetown Morgue was rated America’s 11th scariest haunted house by in 2022. If you’re brave enough, they’re open Thursday through Sunday in October, plus October 30 and the 31st. —MD

48. West Virginia // Fright Nights

Location:  Daniels, West Virginia

If you happen to be in southern West Virginia and you’re in the mood for something spooky, Fright Nights is the place to be. The haunted attraction boasts not just one, but five themed experiences , including a House of Wax where the “sculptures” are said to get more, ahem, “life-like” as you venture deeper inside. You can also explore a Stranger Things -inspired escape room . The 2023 Halloween season runs through Sunday, October 29, and you can grab tickets now. —SM

49. Wisconsin // Burial Chamber

Location:  Neenah, Wisconsin

Touted as the midwest’s largest haunted complex, Burial Chamber consists of four spooky attractions. In addition to the titular Buried Alive experience, thrill-seekers can enjoy Phobia Haunted Woods, Adrenaline Haunted House, and Insanity Haunted House. There’s also a unique “I Spy” experience: Find a number of specified items in a creepy room and win free pass upgrades. Be sure to book in advance! —SC

50. Wyoming // Nightmare on 17th Street

Location:  Cheyenne, Wyoming

Freddy Krueger’s got nothing on Nightmare 17th Street . With 14 individually themed rooms that span between classic horror and modern scares, there’s bound to be something that preys on your specific phobia. Even better—proceeds benefit various charities in Cheyenne, so everyone wins. —SC

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40 Acres, 5 Attractions, 1 Location - Live Entertainment, Food & More! Visit Multiple Haunted Houses in Louisville KY this Halloween, at 1 scary location!


5 AMAZING ATTRACTIONS AT 1 SCARY LOCATION!!! - DARKNESS FALLS ON ASYLUM (Haunted Trail) More than just a quiet stroll through the woods... Be prepared to face your darkest fears on this hellish mile long trek through frightful indoor and outdoor displays of terror. There's no way out and no way to escape when darkness falls on asylum. Make sure you bring your running shoes because Chainsaw Pete has no mercy for the weak, and the Butcher is in need of fresh meat! - ZOMBIE CIT(Haunted Trail) You've seen zombie movies. Come live one! Zombie City continues the story and the experience gets all the more frightful! BREAKING NEWS: A small rural city just outside of Louisville, Kentucky has been under a military enforced quarantine after a devastating new disease spread through the entire town threatening all of its residents. This disease is considered deadly, highly contagious, and there is currently no known cure. Neighboring residents, friends, and family are urged to remain patient, stay close to home, and wait for further instructions and updates on the situation... - XTERMINATE: ZALIEN ATTACK (Indoor Interactive) Think you can stop an invasion of killer zombie aliens? Well we've got a job for you! Get your adrenaline pumping in the brand new, fully interactive first-person shooting experience XTERMINATE: Zalien Attack! Navigate the winding hallways of our 9,000 square foot arena of doom on your mission to kill all zombie aliens, shut down power to the zalien stronghold, and take out the all powerful queen. Based on the movie "Overtime" and featuring celebrity appearances by TNA Professional Wrestler Al Snow. - CARNIVALE OF LOST SOULS (Family Fun & Entertainment) Family Fun, Live Entertainment, Freakshows, Games, Prizes, Food and MORE!!! Visit for Hours, Directions, Pricing and Tickets.

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Ghostly footsteps. Spooky, unexplained shadows. Inside this haunted Kentucky theater

haunted asylum in louisville ky

The old Art Deco theater was built to carry sound, but sometimes it does it when no one else is there.

Often you can hear echoes from The Capitol’s lobby all the way up in the upper balcony, and from the stage downstairs into the green room. Occasionally, it sounds like doors are slamming and the heavy soles of men’s dress shoes are clomping across the lobby floor.

This column started with that spooky bit of lore about the sound of men's dress shoes in the historic theater on Bowling Green ’s town square. It ends with me dumbfounded and wondering if I might have crossed paths with the dapper spirit wearing those loafers.

But before we get to the part where I discuss whether or not I saw a ghost, let's dive into the history of this haunted place.

Why do theaters, old performance spaces often attract ghosts?

The old theater has operated as part of the Warren County Public Library system since 2021, but its history goes much deeper than that. The iconic building is a community staple, and the theater's manager, Magnolia Gramling, says most people in the area have memories with it. Just about everyone who comes through the doors has stories about performing on its stage, touring it on field trips, or going to see a movie there with their grandparents back when it operated as a film house.

Overall, the history of the theater is a little fuzzy, but it first opened as a vaudeville house in the late 1890s and it was remodeled in the 1930s as a movie house. The theater underwent a massive renovation in the early 1980s and it reopened to the public as the Capitol Arts Center. Now that it's part of the library system, much of the programming there is free to the public, and Gramling says the library is in the early stages of launching a community-driven history project about the theater. They're eager to collect old ticket stubs, memorabilia, and oral stories to help preserve its legacy in Bowling Green.

Some of the stories just happen to brush with the paranormal, too.

Ghost stories and theaters go hand-in-hand. They’re like museums, hospitals, and churches in that way. So when Gramling welcomed me to the theater in late September for a tour, we invited Tamela Smith, a paranormal researcher in the area, to join us.

Candidly, Smith says she's hard-pressed to think of a theater that doesn’t have a ghost story tied to it, and there are plenty of superstitions linked to the performing arts. Often directors will leave a seat empty or flowers for the resident ghost on opening nights, and most stages have a “ghost light” that they leave on when the theater is closed.

Since the vaudeville house first opened nearly 130 years ago, countless characters have died or fallen in love on its stage. Audiences have laughed and cried. Theaters are hotbeds for nerves, passion and suspense, and the iconic building on Bowling Green’s town square is no exception.

“I really think all theater spaces are a little bit haunted,” Gramling told me, noting that every night before she locks up the last thing she does, is turn the ghost light on for The Capitol's spirits. “People that are (performers) in theater have these big personalities. So, it doesn't surprise me that folks who perform their whole lives would not stop.”

That made sense to me.

“If I was going to pick somewhere to haunt for the rest of my life, gosh, I'd want it to be a theater,” I mused, standing in the empty theater. “An afterlife full of entertainment.”

“For better or for worse,” Gramling said.

“Imagine hearing that same song during rehearsal over and over and over again,” I said, reconsidering it. “You know, one that's an earworm that never really leaves.”

“That’s a totally different kind of haunted,” Gramling said.

We laughed at that moment, but later, when I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be the theater's ghost, I wasn’t laughing at all.

More than one spirit haunts The Capitol theater building in Kentucky

Smith's primary project at the moment is finishing up a book on the ghosts of Western Kentucky University , but she had done a paranormal investigation at The Capitol a few years back with a group of students. During that time, they'd detected spikes in energy using an EMF reader , which measures ambient electromagnetic fields, specifically when they asked direct questions to the spirits.

Think along the lines of “Is there anyone here?” or “Do you have anything you’d like to say?”

Most of Smith's knowledge about The Capitol’s haunted activities stems from doing interviews with people who have first-hand experience with the unexplainable. Once Smith heard a story about an apparition that happened after a group of children practiced songs in a second-floor conference room. As one of the adults was ushering the singers back to the theater, she turned around and saw three young girls standing in the space. They weren’t part of her group.

When she turned back to look at them again, they were gone.

Smith had another story, too, about a worker, who was lingering after hours in an upstairs office. When that woman turned off her computer, she saw a shadow flash on her screen as though someone was moving behind her. No one else was in the building.  

Over the years there have been plenty of stories about people, who are up in the balcony, spotting figures in the seats below when no one else is in the building, Gramling said. Lights flickering and the sound of doors opening and closing are common. Sometimes, chairs will flap up or down when no one is sitting in them.

Between the three girls and the sound of men’s dress shoes, Smith says, it’s clear there is more than one spirit at The Capitol, but there’s no way to know what their tie to the space might be. That afterlife link could be to the modern theater, the old vaudeville house, or even the land. Over the years there may have been props or costumes that led paranormal activity into The Capitol.

Whatever it is, there’s a lot of it.

Is that wispy figure with a handlebar mustache a ghost?

Before we said our goodbyes, I pulled out my phone and took a few photos of the stage from the balcony so I could remember the eerie details such as the dated exposed brick, the worn chairs, and the ominous lighting for this column. I thanked whatever ghosts might be in the building for letting us come, and I asked whoever they were not to follow me home. (This is an important thing I learned in 2021 on another haunted Halloween assignment for The Courier Journal. )

Then about four days later, I sat down to write this.

When I pulled up those pictures, I almost dropped my phone.

There in the left corner of the picture near the front of the stage was a wispy, blurred figure. As I zoomed in further, I saw the outline of a man’s face and a long, pronounced handlebar mustache.

Could this be the face of the man walking around in the dress shoes in the lobby?

I called Gramling, immediately.  

“I think there’s a ghost in one of my photos,” I told her, with shaking hands as I texted the image to her.

“I totally see it,” she said. “Isn’t that right where Tamela said she was sitting when the EMF reader was going off?”

I sent the images off to Smith, who was so intrigued and excited, that she made an appointment to go back to the theater the next day. She wanted to see if she could find a light pattern that might explain this figure. Part of being a paranormal researcher is ruling out the obvious, and she wanted to do her due diligence. Essentially she was checking to see if there was a way to explain this unexplainable image on my phone.

Turns out, what we all suspected might be an apparition was most likely an unusual phenomenon of the carpet pattern and the ghost light that Gramling had placed on the stage.

It was spooky, but Smith said, it was almost certainly not a ghost.

But the two of them did decide, however, they were interested in doing another paranormal investigation at The Capitol to see what else they could learn. They told me I’m welcome to come along.

I laughed, nervously, at the invitation.

If I can’t handle a fluke with a carpet pattern, I certainly can’t stomach meeting three ghostly little girls.

Features columnist Maggie Menderski writes about what makes Louisville, Southern Indiana and Kentucky unique, wonderful, and occasionally, a little weird. If you've got something in your family, your town or even your closet that fits that description — she wants to hear from you. Say hello at [email protected] or 502-582-4053. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter @MaggieMenderski.


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    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a former sanatorium located in the Waverly Hills neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky . In the early 1900s, Jefferson County was ravaged by an outbreak of tuberculosis - known as the "White Plague" - which prompted the construction of a new hospital.

  6. Asylum Haunted Scream Park

    Kentucky Haunted Houses ASYLUM HAUNTS in Louisville KY highlights: 40 Acres - 4 Attractions - 1 Location Asylum Haunted Scream Park features 4 unique and separate attractions intended to provide quality entertainment and fun for the whole family. 2 Full Haunted Trails, A First Person Shooter Attraction, and a Freaky Fun Carnival with Games, Conc...

  7. Asylum Haunted Scream Park

    Asylum Haunted Scream Park, Louisville, Kentucky. 30,480 likes · 10 talking about this · 10,537 were here. 40 Acres, 5 Attractions, 1 Location - Live...

  8. ThanksForAllTheScreams

    The Asylum Haunted Scream Park is closing for good, and there's nothing we can do to change that. It was not due to the CoronaVirus, but rather was a business decision. We appreciate all of our supporters over the last 10 years. You are the reason we did all of this.

  9. Waverly Hills Sanatorium haunted house tours begin this weekend

    Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 7:45 PM PDT LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of Louisville's premier haunted attractions is opening up its haunted house experience this weekend. Waverly Hills Sanatorium's haunted house tours begin on Sept. 30 and run Fridays and Saturday nights through Oct. 29.

  10. Waverly Hills Sanatorium

    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places. The massive five story hospital was built in 1926 and sits atop Waverly Hill today. It housed 400 patients and was one of the largest facilities of its kind. Waverly served the community through decades of the worse TB outbreak in the country.

  11. Haunted Kentucky: Sauerkraut Cave and the History of Lakeland Asylum

    Welcome to Sauerkraut Cave If you were to take a stroll around E.P. Tom Sawyer Park, you would see a familiar and comforting scene of family BBQs and picnics, dog walkers, joggers, dozens of baseball fields, and countless excited children running around the grounds in a terrain rich with playgrounds.

  12. This Haunted Tunnel In Louisville Is Terrifying

    If anyone brings up a haunted tunnel in Louisville, they're most likely referring to the infamous "body chute" found at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. It's been covered by many paranormal experts and television shows, and is available for exploration via paid guided tours.

  13. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium

    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky. 267,487 likes · 3,660 talking about this · 90,047 were here. The Waverly Hills Historical Society welcomes you to the official Facebook page of one...

  14. Waverly Hills haunted house in Louisville opens Friday

    The legend of Louisville's haunted hospital: Waverly Hills Sanatorium Organizers told us gates open at 7:30 p.m., and doors to the Haunted House open at 8 p.m. They said it costs $20 cash at the ...

  15. Scary Tales From The Haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium

    Louisville, KY, is home to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, which many people believe is one of the most haunted places on Earth. While the building is now primarily a tourist attraction for those with creepy predilections, it used to be a functioning tuberculosis hospital. In 1910, when the hospital...

  16. Former KY Asylum with Secret Tunnels Will Haunt Your Dreams

    If you think that Waverly Hills Sanatorium, in Louisville, KY, is a scary place, you have yet to hear about the Lakeland Asylum. ... The 550-acre park is on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. The asylum was established as the fourth insane asylum, in Kentucky, in 1873. ... Kentucky Campground Is So Haunted, Some Won't Stay The Night ...

  17. Kentucky's Most Haunted Hospitals and Asylums

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium Louisville, KY Views: 4,460 Photos: 5 Rating: 4.6 / 5 Exp.: 5 This historic hospital first opened its doors in 1910 to treat tuberculosis patients. It has seen over 60,000 deaths within its walls and is believed to be haunted by some of those who died there.

  18. Kentucky's Spookiest Abandoned Asylums Still Standing Today

    1. Waverly Hills Sanitarium The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, 4400 Paralee Dr, Louisville, KY 40272, USA Kris Arnold The sanatorium was built in 1910 to treat victims of the "white plague" that was ravaging the country. It closed in 1961 as antibiotics were helping squelch the disease.

  19. THE BEST 10 Haunted Houses in Louisville, KY

    Best Haunted Houses in Louisville, KY - Haunted Hotel, Baxter Avenue Morgue, Waverly Hills Sanatorium, 7th Street Haunt, Legend of Pope Lick, Danger Run, Malice Manor, DR Nitemahr Haunted Asylum, The American Horrorplex, Legend at Pope Lick

  20. Best Haunted Houses near Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville, KY

    Best Haunted Houses near Asylum Haunted Scream Park - The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Haunted Hotel, Baxter Avenue Morgue, Malice Manor, 7th Street Haunt, The American Horrorplex, Legend of Pope Lick, Danger Run

  21. The Most Haunted Places in Louisville, KY

    Before going on to game fame for the Derby. However, what they certainly will not tell you is that there is a much darker side to this city. Louisville has more than its fair share of creepy tales to tell! Let's take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Louisville, KY: 10 - The Brennan House

  22. 50 Frightening Haunted Attractions Across America

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium, one of the most haunted places in America, is a former tuberculosis hospital located in Louisville, Kentucky. It's been estimated that 50,000 patients died at Waverly ...

  23. Asylum Haunted Scream Park

    Asylum Haunted Scream Park in Louisville, reviews, get directions, (877) 588-33 .., KY Louisville 3101 Pond Station Rd address, ☎️ phone, ⌚ opening hours. ... 1 Location - Live Entertainment, Food & More! Visit Multiple Haunted Houses in Louisville KY this Halloween, at 1 scary location! Description. 5 AMAZING ATTRACTIONS AT 1 SCARY ...

  24. Asylum Haunted Scream Park

    Asylum Haunted Scream Park has multiple haunts in Louisville, Kentucky near Indiana. This scary Halloween event has a trail, zombie paintball, laser tag

  25. The Capitol Theater in Bowling Green, Kentucky is haunted

    Ghostly footsteps. Spooky, unexplained shadows. Inside this haunted Kentucky theater. The old Art Deco theater was built to carry sound, but sometimes it does it when no one else is there. Often ...

  26. Spooky scavenger hunt 'Danger Run' celebrates its 30th Halloween season

    Louisville, KY » 58° Louisville, KY » ... Danger Run is an immersive haunted house experience you can have in your car. Author: Published: 7:28 AM EDT October 19, 2023 ...