Charlie Mattingly’s ghost film attracts ghost hunters


Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville Kentucky is considered one of the most terrifying places in the world. In 1961, Charlie Mattingly spent $250,000
and became the owner. He filmed footage of the 5th-floor shell of what was once regarded as an impressive Neo-Gothic architectural building. The massive 800,000 square foot structure rests on a high hill overlooking Jefferson County woods. A restful place intended for sick patients changed into something macabre.

Waverly Hills was chosen for its beautiful scenic sights and pleasant breezy atmosphere. Mattingly was amazed by the poltergeist images that were captured on his film camera. Paranormal investigative groups saw his video and investigated the gigantic sanatorium for themselves.

Numerous paranormal television people investigated the gloomy hospital and generated public interest in taking personal ghost tours of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Waverly Hills Historical Society began the tours in 2001. Many people are skeptical about supernatural phenomena, but countless paranormal investigators, ghost hunters, mediums, parapsychologists, and tourists, claim personal encounters with strong poltergeist activity within the sanatorium walls. Overwhelming personal eye-witness accounts challenge disbelief.

Background history of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

In 1886, Major Thomas H. Hays, purchased land for a one-room schoolhouse for his daughters. Lizzie Lee Harris was the hired teacher. She named the place Waverly School, but The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital took over the building and didn’t rename their institution.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium was built at that location as a two-story frame building in 1908 and opened for business in July 26, 1910. Half the building contained timber and it was distinguished by its hipped roof. The sanatorium satisfactorily treated 40-50 patients. Tuberculosis was a severe epidemic and the small hospital was quickly overcrowded with 140 patients.

A larger sanatorium was constructed in March 1924. The Gothic style sanatorium opened October 17, 1926. The structure was considered huge and modern for its time and housed 400 patients. It included four-story patient rooms, a kitchen style cafeteria, a doctor’s operating room and a private work station for nurses. Patients enjoyed basking on their solarium porch. A children’s swing playground was located on the rooftop.

Tuberculosis patients enjoyed sunlight in the heliotherapy department. The main elevator is referred to as “the bell tower.” (Charlie Mattingly claims to have seen moving dark shadows up there at night.) The sanatorium continued the business until 1961 when antibiotic discoveries cured tuberculosis.

The sanatorium was quarantined, but quickly renovated, in 1962, and renamed Woodhaven Medical Services. Doctors and nurses treated diseases that badly affected aging people. The state of Kentucky closed the services down in 1980. Some paranormal investigators believe restless ghosts were more disturbed from that era than the tuberculosis period.

Over 63,000 people died inside the grim hospital. A haunting history developed because patients were mistreated; cruel scientific experiments were conducted on them. They suffered from shock therapy and other cruel treatments. The “Death Tunnel” or “Body Chute” is regarded as one of the scariest parts of the sanatorium. Dead bodies were transported downstairs through a tunnel and discarded out of the view of sick patients in an attempt to stabilize their morale. Bodies were loaded in hearses at the end of the 500-foot tunnel which led to the railroad tracks.

Important Criteria for judging Waverly Hill Sanatoriums haunted history

Should the entire world believe in the ghost stories that were told by people walking through Waverly Hills Sanatorium? Consider the credentials of people investigating the sanatorium. Studies were conducted by professional paranormal ghost hunters and psychics. Amateur ghost hunters also filmed and captured unexplained noises on audiotape. Countless paranormal groups and tourists walked within the decaying structure.

The Louisville Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters Ohio Search Team and Missouri Paranormal Research & Friends, are a few of the paranormal ghost hunter groups that visited Waverly Hill Sanatorium.

The haunt was seriously investigated by paranormal television crews, “Fox’s Scariest Places on Earth,” “The Atlantic Paranormal Society” (TAPS), “The Travel Channel,” Sci-Fi Paranormal Ghost Network,”  “Paranormal Challenge,” “Most Haunted” and there are several other paranormal groups and organizations.

Waverly Hills’ Ghost hunting technological equipment

Consider the quality of paranormal investigative equipment used. Amateur ghost hunters only need a still-life camera, cheap camcorder and audio recorder to investigate ghosts. Dowsing rods made from the straight branch of a tree are natural probing devices that check the electrical activity of objects.

Professional ghost hunters use electromagnetic field detectors (EMF), a device that measures electromagnetic emissions in the atmosphere. They use sophisticated audio equipment that records electronic voice phenomena (EVPs). They also use infrared thermometers that measure any changing temperature in solid objects around their investigative area. Are any authentic findings of paranormal investigations debunked as Photoshop fakes or reasonably explained by credible elements distorting actual images or sounds from investigative findings?

Paranormal activity discovered in Waverly Hill Sanatorium

On March 19, 2012, Cody Hicken and Dan Mullikin filmed a paranormal documentary of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Their research team captured unexplained noises. A ghostly breath was caught on audio in the operating room. The ghost hunters conducted an experiment with a flashlight. They verbally encouraged a spirit to use its energy to press a switch on the flashlight they set alone. The flashlight turned on three times in various floors of the sanatorium. They tested the flashlight on a round table that sat next to a radio digital clock. They wanted to see if the flashlight was affected by any kind of electrical power. The flashlight never turned on by itself.

They placed a large ball in the third-floor hallway. The ball didn’t move for about forty minutes and then suddenly moved down the hall into a different room. The investigators didn’t feel any wind and believed if drafty conditions had been present, the ball would have shown slight shaky movements before rolling away.

WHIP Ghost Hunters debunked some of the ghost images in their photos as possibly obscured by the wind. They also suggested that large trees outside the sanatorium created shadows. But they claim to have made contact with the spirit of a boy known to play pranks on visitors.

Ghost sightings and paranormal activity reported at Waverly Hills

Many tourist and paranormal investigators claim to have seen shadow people. The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society reported seeing them on the fourth-floor. One of the team members saw the dark silhouette of a man walk past him and disappear. This sighting is a frequent occurrence among other witnesses who saw flying objects on the fourth-floor of the sanatorium. It is considered the most haunted part of the building. They were attacked by a soda bottle and a flying brick struck one of them on the small of the back. A fluorescent light fixture with a broken bulb cracked off the ceiling and hit their president, Keith Age, in the face.

A 29-year-old nurse caught tuberculosis from a patient, conceived a baby out of wedlock, and hung herself in Room 502 from a light fixture. Her body was undiscovered for a good period of time. “Paranormal Association,” thinks her name was Mary Lee. Most paranormal investigators think Mary Lee is another ghost who roams the main building and has been spotted near windows. One of her old autographed photos was discovered in the sanatorium. Many visitors claim Mary told them that she has no eyes.

In 1932, another nurse, suffering depression, jumped to her death out of a window in Room 502. The research team from an episode of “Most Haunted” believed the nurse was compelled to kill herself after making contact with the first nurse who committed suicide.

Doppelgangers are rumored to exist in the interior walls of Waverly. Visitors claim they have encountered them and conversed with them. Doppelgangers (the term originated in Germany) can take on the appearance of a familiar friend. No tourist wants to see their twin image because it symbolizes a quick death.

Numerous Poltergeist activities witnessed at Waverly

  • Tina Mattingly claims to have seen a full-body apparition walking through the hall.
  • A “Creeper” or “Crawler” is a dark shaped figure that several visitors have seen crawl up and down the hospital walls of Waverly; most people believe it is demonic.
  • A little boy named “Timothy” bounces a ball and visitors have seen him quickly disappear around dark corners. Many ghost hunters believe he plays hide and seek with them.
  • Ghost children have been seen wandering around the sanatorium.
  • A haggard woman drags chains from her bloody wrists and bloody ankles; she screams when she flees past visitors.
  • Lights have been seen in the Sanatorium during the night although no electric lights are functioning in the building.
  • Slamming doors frequently occur inside the sanatorium.
  • Glowing orbs inside the sanatorium have been filmed by several paranormal investigators.

Numerous people investigating ghosts in the Waverly hospital believe they’ve been touched by spirits, have heard them whispering, heard garbled speech, moans, groans and been told to get out.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium paranormal television shows and short film documentaries

“Paranormal Challenge” is a show in which two teams of paranormal investigators compete against each other. Three men competed against three women at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. They were given sophisticated equipment to monitor poltergeist activity. Three women spoke to a female patient who had died very young. The electromagnetic meter they were given scored a high level of electromagnetic energy. The paranormal investigators believed spiritual contact was stronger when the women applied historical knowledge and incorporated it in interviewing spirits. One paranormal female investigator was carted down the “Death Tunnel” and walking steps of ghosts were heard following her. Ghostly walking steps were heard on audio after she rejoined her team.

“Most Haunted,” a paranormal television show presented by Yvette Fielding, featured an unforgettable paranormal terror that was experienced by one of the investigators. Carl lay back on a sliding bed in a morgue body-box that used to store sick patients and felt someone scratching his lower back and stomach. He was terrified. Investigators examined him and there were actual scratch marks on him. The paranormal investigators left the haunted sanatorium feeling that it was extremely dangerous.

The Darkness Radio/Ghost Adventures paranormal conference 2010 had ghost hunters that captured an orb floating around the first floor of what they believed was the arts and crafts room.

Living Dead (ghost hunter group) asked dead spirits questions and heard knocking responses and voices.

The United Paranormal Project conducted an investigation on June 5, 2011. They captured two anomalies on camera, and on the third floor, they witnessed dark shadowy shapes.

SciFi Paranormal Ghost Network caught poltergeist activity on tape. A small ball appeared next to the team and seemed to come out of nowhere.


Waverly Hills Sanatorium has received so many visitors that it seems like a haunted amusement attraction. Tina Mattingly and Charlie Mattingly own the sanatorium and convert the sanatorium every Halloween into a haunted house attraction. Proceeds are invested into the sanatorium’s restoration. Maybe tourists and paranormal professionals are haunting the spirits of the mansion.

Paranormal investigators and amateur ghost hunters have captured gripping evidence supported by audio, video, and photographs. Visitors feel an eerie environment permeating throughout the darkened hallways. It influences them with dark foreboding and makes poltergeist energy seem stronger. Some of the personal accounts and television shows may have made up fraudulent stories to entertain viewers. But the personal confessions, paranormal interests and material published on the internet and You-tube videos is tremendous.

Did a ghost actually carve bloody scratch marks on Carl? Anyone answering, yes, must never visit Waverly Hills Sanatorium alone. There are no reports which indicate that anyone has ever disappeared from the face of the earth through visiting this haunted place, but dark portals that lead someone back in time are possible.

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