LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Driving down a narrow wooded lane on a sunny Saturday afternoon shouldn’t seem too ominous, but when the trees open up and reveal a looming, five-story former Tuberculosis hospital famed to be one of the scariest places on earth, well for a first-timer it comes as quite a shock.
On Saturday, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium held its final casting call for its annual haunted house. A small group of brave souls came to see whether they had the acting chops to scare the living daylights out of people.
But behind the scenes, there’s nothing scary about auditioning. This small group laughed and joked as they were introduced to one another and the staff at Waverly Hills. The group filled out forms and received a brief introduction in a small, brightly lit building next to the hospital, then they each took a picture with their application number before heading outside to start their audition.
As a group, the participants tried their best zombie walk, screams and scary voices to stand out over the competition. Some were intimidated by the group while others took the moment to shine above all the rest. But as owner Charlie Mattingly knows, choosing actors for their haunted house isn’t the hardest part, it’s retaining them.
“These people don't have any idea,” said Waverly Hills Sanatorium owner Charlie Mattingly. “The people, they think they know, but they do not know what they're up against.”
Mattingly says that even after all the auditions and rehearsals, almost 50 percent will drop out before the Halloween season is over. He notes that it’s a bad percentage, but its unlikely to change as people frustrated with not producing their biggest scares, give up and drop out. For those that stay, the payoff is well worth the work.
The Waverly Hills Scare-a-torium offers 40 rooms of scares, shocks and thrills for those who dare to enter. The diehards will delight in its surprises and the newcomers, not already intimidated by its sheer size and history, will do best not to run screaming into the night as the Scare-a-torium’s creatures take the haunted house experience to the very edge.
But it’s not all about the thrills. Charlie Mattingly just wants to make sure that everyone enjoys their experience.
“The other part of this is humor. Entertainment,” said Mattingly. “If we can't scare you, let us see if we can make you laugh a couple of times."
The Waverly Hills Scare-a-torium will open in late September through the end of October. Voted as one of the best haunted houses in the Louisville area and housed in the creepy Waverly Hills Sanatorium, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. For ticket information, go to therealwaverlyhills.com.
And for those who love history or want to experience the sanatorium’s famed paranormal side, you might want to call them up soon for a tour. Tours are held March through August, for more information call (502) 933-2142 or visit their tours page at therealwaverlyhills.com.
All proceeds from the Waverly Hills Sanatorium haunted house and tours go directly to restoration of the former Tuberculosis hospital. Charlie and Tina Mattingly have been slowly restoring the sanatorium since they purchased the property in 2001.