The bottom line is that they are now INCREDIBLY CREEPY and some, like the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky (pictured), are famous for being 'haunted'. The current owners of course now have a vested interest in pumping up the creepiness factor (they hope to turn it into a hotel to attract haunted house fans) but there's no doubt the place is fairly creepy on its own - complete with its own 'Death Tunnel':
One of the most talked about and famous aspects of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is the Body Chute or Death Tunnel. The Body Chute is the preferred name.
The Body Chute was once used to transport the bodies of deceased TB patients from the hospital to the bottom of the hill to waiting hearses or trains. At the peak of the TB epidemic, many patients died everyday. In order to keep morale up and not upset living patients, the hospital administration decided to use the Body Chute to discretely send bodies away from the hill. The logical step was to transport the bodies down the tunnel that was used to carry supplies and heat to the hospital. A railcar wench-type system was used to carry the bodies from the top to the bottom of the hill.