13+ Most Haunted Hospitals and Asylums in the World

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By Gil Wayne BSN, R.N.

1. Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA | Image via Waverly Hills Historical Society

Located in southwestern Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a closed sanatorium opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. The hospital immediately became overcrowded though, and with donations of money and land, a new hospital was started in 1924. Though death estimates vary widely, at least 6,000 people died at Waverly Hills during its 50+ years in operation. And after all of the death, pain, and agony within these walls, Waverly Hills is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the country.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA 4
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA (Patients) | Image via by The Owl / University of Louisville Libraries

Today, the hospital is briefly known for its primary purpose in the past but made a great name for being haunted. Ghost stories began to circulate like the little girl who was seen running up and down the third-floor solarium, the little boy Timmy who was spotted with a leather ball, the hearse that appeared in the back of the building dropping off coffins, the woman with the bleeding wrists who cried for help, and a man in a white coat who has been seen walking towards the kitchen and the smell of cooking food that sometimes wafts through the room. Visitors told of banging doors, lights in the windows when there should have been none, mysterious sounds and eerie footsteps in the hallways and empty rooms.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA (Hallway where a child spirit referred to as Timmy will play kickball with people) | Image by Aaron (ConspiracyofHappiness)
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA (Apparently showing the ghost of Timmy) | Image via mysteriousuniverse

Apart from these unnamed apparitions, the tales involving the 5th floor of the building are the most widely reported. Stories say that in 1928, the head nurse was found dead in Room 502. She allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from an exposed pipe or light fixture. She was 29 years old at the time of her death and supposedly devastated, pregnant, but unmarried. Her depression over the situation led her to take her own life. It’s unknown how long she may have been hanging in this room before her body was discovered. And this would not be the only tragedy to occur in this room.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA (Alleged ghost of former patient Mary Lee) | Image via mysteriousuniverse

Another creepy legend involves another nurse who worked in Room 502 (again) and was said to have jumped over the window four years later. No one knows the exact reason why she would have done this, but many speculated that she might have been pushed over the edge. There are no records to indicate this, but rumors continue to persist. Regardless of the tale, many Waverly visitors are convinced that an anguished entity lurks in Room 502.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA

Now that plans have been developed to convert the paranormal hotspot into a four-star hotel, you should be making hotel reservations as early as now! I would suggest a simple, yet recognizable room on the 5th floor… perhaps?

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky, USA (Cement cast nurse statue)

Special mention:

Ibaraki Higashi Hospital, Japan

Ibaraki Higashi Hospital is one of the rare “modern but wooden” hospitals that aren’t demolished yet. Located in the middle of a large urban area, the entrance to the hospital is guarded by a beautiful Japanese lady in blue and green.

The hospital equipment, machines, beds, and wheelchairs are still recognizable but scattered everywhere. The operating room – I guess – is still very active because of the reports of its setting being rearranged from time to time. Shadows and full apparitions are often seen along the corridors, including the sound of a little boy sobbing in a particular area is heard as well.

The Nichitsu Town Clinic, Japan

What is creepier than a small hospital situated inside an abandoned town? Located in Saitama Prefecture, Nichitsu is a former mining village lost among the mountains. The mine was abandoned some thirty years ago; same was the village. The tiny infirmary is at a corner of the Nichitsu village, hidden behind the trees, completely deserted, tucked away in a valley that’s often shrouded in fog, making its yawning, deteriorating architecture even eerier.

Although the unified town is worth a look, it’s within the wooden walls of a somewhat unassuming-looking clinic that real horrors can be found. Inside it lies strewn interior covered with dust and debris all over the place – including a collection of medical portions and human organs which are more or less recognizable in jars. There is even a human brain!

Strange sight and sounds of two little girls are the most widely reported, with personal accounts indicating laughing and then crying, as well as some children telling others to hide. These tales are often discussed on Japanese forums, especially about the mysterious disappearance of Nichitsu Brain.

Even though these paranormal occurrences aren’t backed by science, for now, they have persisted throughout history. Who knows, historical places like these – having extreme traumatic backgrounds – are now turned into museums, hotels, business spaces, or perhaps rebuilt into a hospital where you are now.


Gil Wayne ignites the minds of future nurses through his work as a part-time nurse instructor, writer, and contributor for Nurseslabs, striving to inspire the next generation to reach their full potential and elevate the nursing profession.

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