Most Haunted Hospitals in America
Are Hospitals Haunted?
Hospitals are among the most haunted places in the world and with good reason. Many traumatic things occur within the walls of a hospital—illness, despair, sadness and even death. Because of these common occurrences, hospitals are probably the most likely places to harbor ghosts and other kinds of hauntings. Spirits of people who die suddenly are sure to linger, as well as the spirits of those who have recently died and have yet to cross over. Another kind of haunting within a hospital is no doubt one of a residual nature, hauntings that play out events that have had a lasting impact on the hospital's energy itself.
Whatever the reason for these hauntings, they exist and can be found in many hospitals all across the United States. In this article, we will learn of just a few of the most haunted hospitals in the U.S.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Established in 1855, St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Southeast Washington D.C. was one of D.C.'s first functioning psychiatric hospitals. In fact, it was one of the first established psychiatric hospitals in the country. At its peak, it held about 8,000 psychiatric patients, of whom were said to have been abused and mistreated throughout the years of operation. The Center Building, the oldest portion of the hospital standing today, is said to be the most haunted on the property.
During the Civil War, part of the hospital was used as a medical-surgical unit for wounded soldiers while the other portion still cared for psychiatric patients. If the walls could talk at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, they would have sad and chilling tales to tell. St. Elizabeth's housed mentally ill patients of a nonviolent nature, but also housed some of the very violent nature including a few would-be presidential assassins: John Hinckley Jr., Richard Lawrence and James Garfield's assassin.
It is said that people who work at St. Elizabeth's Hospital experience chilling things even to this day. Odd sounds like crying and moaning, as well as phantom footsteps are the norm particularly in the Center Building on the campus. People have also experienced waves of freezing cold air with no known reason in the Center Building. Tales of ice-pick lobotomies performed at St. Elizabeth's circulate the internet, and may very well have some truth as thousands of brains and other medical specimen preserved in formaldehyde have been found at St. Elizabeth's. There are also stories of unmarked graves and missing bodies at St. Elizabeth's, and a creepy incinerator where some of the people's bodies might have been disposed of. A grisly account of medical history? Yes, it is, but unfortunately these things happened more than we could imagine in the early history of psychiatric care.
So who haunts St. Elizabeth's Hospital in our nation's capital? Is it the Civil War soldiers who lost their lives within the hospital walls? Or perhaps it is dozens of the mentally insane patients who were experimented on and punished by death at the hands of immoral psychiatric doctors in decades past.
WARNING: Today the hospital is still functioning, and it is a private property and in part owned by the government so trespassers will be arrested.
Waverly Hills Sanitorium
I've written an entire article about the paranormally-infested Sanitorium known as Waverly Hills in Kentucky. In fact, entire novels could be written detailing the horrifying accounts of those who have been brave enough to venture into the dilapidated building. Waverly Hills Sanitorium opened its doors in the early 1900s, decades after the establishment of St. Elizabeth's Hospital; however, the horror to occur within its walls is all-too-comparable to that of St. Elizabeth's.
It began as a regular medical hospital, specifically built to house patients with consumption (today we know it as Tuberculosis). Unfortunately there were so many TB patients who were dying and no advancement in western medicine that the doctors performed various experimental surgeries and procedures. Some all too gruesome to mention here. In direct effect of these experiments, people's deaths were hastened and their ghosts are now thought to be stuck in the corridors of Waverly Hills...stuck between this world and the next.
After the TB patients grew less and less frequent, Waverly Hills Sanitorium turned into a hospital for the mentally ill in the 1960s. And of course you can guess what happens from there...more grisly experiments and lobotomies were performed and people died from such. Because of all of the deaths and sadness that occurred in Waverly Hills Sanitorium throughout the twentieth century it is no doubt there have been dozens upon dozens of ghostly experiences afterward.
More than one paranormal investigation has taken place at Waverly Hills, and it has been featured on ghost hunters television shows for the past few years. It is said that there is a death tunnel in the Sanitorium where dead bodies were transported from one building to the next. If you are to visit the Death Tunnel today, it is pitch black and people say there are multiple evil spirits present that will grab and torment the living. There are two more famous ghosts at Waverly Hills: a little boy ghost and the ghost of Mary. They have been captured in pictures in recent times, and their stories are very sad. Mary has been known to play hide and seek with the ghost hunters, and the little boy is said to bounce a ball in the hallways...spooking all those nearby.
Today Waverly Hills Sanitorium stands...abandoned and alone...or perhaps not so alone?
Pennsylvania Hospital, also called Penn Medicine, was established in Philadelphia over two-hundred-fifty years ago and was called the nation's first hospital in 1761. Probably the most famous of hauntings in the state of Pennsylvania, this is because there is a statue of William Penn on the grounds that is rumored to come to life on a full moon. Of course the sad history of treatment of the mentally ill also adds to the hair-raising qualities of this property.
Apparently there is a "dry moat" around the hospital that was once used to "exercise" the mentally ill patients. It turned in to some sort of a spectacle and the local townsfolk would come watch this taking place on a daily basis. A wall/fence was built to discourage the people from watching the mentally ill. The Pine Building is said to be extremely haunted...Ben Franklin himself had visited the hospital during his lifetime.
Between the mentally ill being cared for here and the thick history of the place, there are quite a few ghosts and spirits on the premises. You'd have to visit to meet one, though...
Any Hospital Could Be Haunted...
With all of the pain, suffering and death that occurs in hospitals nation-wide, I wouldn't be surprised if every hospital in America has its own resident ghost. Once I thought I saw a little girl walking down the hallway in a hospital where I worked, only to turn my head and she disappeared. That's enough to give anyone the chills!
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© 2015 Nicole Canfield