The Medfield State Hospital, used to film Shutter Island and called the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, has re-opened for walking tours. Read my article here: https://www.hauntjaunts.net/visit-ashecliffe-hospital/.
Old South Pittsburg Hospital Shut Down
Old South Pittsburg Hospital (OSPH) has been shut down by the City of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. The shuttered hospital is a favorite location for paranormal enthusiasts as it provides unlimited access to three levels, sits in a quiet residential neighborhood, and is easily accessible off the interstate. OSPH will remain closed for an indefinite time.
The hospital was operational from 1959-1998 until a modern hospital was built in the next town. Physician Gary Stephen Hayes and Diane D. Hayes purchased the abandoned facility in March 2000 for $202,500. At some point, the property was re-deeded in the name of Alpha Concepts, LLC, an administratively dissolved company. State records indicate the LLC was administratively dissolved in 2007. [Dissolution is not fatal for a company. It means that a company has not remained current in paying state fees; however, a company can pay late fees and become current in most states.] Early reports stated that the property was deeded to OSPH Ghost Hunts, LLC, another administratively dissolved company (2016); however, I could not confirm. Either way, the address for Alpha Concepts leads back to Dr. Hayes. It’s his Alfa Romeo tucked in one of the hallways.
An anonymous caller contacted the city complaining about black mold and possible unsafe conditions. City Administrator Gene Vess told media outlets that black mold was found, causing an environmental hazard. Coupled with the zoning violations and the lack of proper city and state business licenses, the owners face a large hurdle to clear before events may resume; however, unsuspecting travelers may not know.
According to the OSPH website, the hospital is open for business. Nothing on the site indicates problems. Their Facebook page is more candid, although overly optimistic about how long the renovations will take, let alone the cost. A quick online calculator shows that the clean-up on the black mold will run from $30,000-54,000. Ouch. The price increases if other environmental hazards, like asbestos, are discovered. Word of caution: I’m concerned with the language used on the FB page stating that their employees are removing the black mold. At no time should inexperienced employees, family, or volunteers attempt to remove black mold. Black mold is dangerous.
Additional events are actively promoted tonight. The ticketing site appeared to let me purchase a $139 ticket to investigate with the Klinge Brothers. At no time did the site alert me to the closure. Troubling.
The March 2018 closure was not the first problem OSPH has experienced. The federal government filed a lawsuit on the 1100 Holly Avenue property last September (2017). The suit alleges that the Hayes failed to pay $506,036 in unpaid taxes, plus an additional $46,679 in employment taxes from another location. To date, the suit has not been settled or come before the Court.
This week’s news of the facility being closed indefinitely highlights the problems with abandoned properties. When I investigated OSPH, I was not informed that black mold was present. I was warned not to step on the tiles in the basement chapel as they would release asbestos but nothing on black mold. [I was extremely careful in the chapel—just saying.] What happens when property owners fail to inspect the grounds for environmental hazards? Or after inspecting the property, they decide to withhold information? Deeply troubling. I will be following up over the summer with answers and comments. Stay tuned.
Why Hospitals Are Haunted
Ghosts haunt hospitals. Paranormal teams can investigate a lot of shuttered hospitals; however, very few have access to those that are open. Unlike cemeteries where the dead don’t have a strong connection, hospitals across the nation are the perfect locations for residual hauntings.
Prior to 1885, sick people were cared for at home by their family. According to Wendy Cage, author of Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine, early American hospitals “provided lodging for the homeless, the poor, and travelers.” While some cities operated hospitals, a large number were established by religious organizations, specifically Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations. Volunteer chaplains in many of these hospitals visited nearly every patient who died while admitted. Religious beliefs, prayer, and spirituality played a large role in the hospital ministry, even in an unofficial capacity. God and the afterlife may have been contemplated.
The pre-1920 hospital was where people went to die, not heal. These facilities were the place of last resort; staff were compassionate and helped ease death. For some, it was the last positive human experience; therefore, it would make sense that some dead would remain.
Modern US hospitals emerged after the Civil War. By 1920, people went to the hospital to be cured—not die. However, those who died in these hospitals may still have had a connection to the better service they received and may linger long after death.
Taunton State Hospital, Taunton, Mass.
Not all spirits who haunt hospitals are malevolent. In fact, there are numerous stories of helpful spirits or friendly spirits in closed hospitals. Nurses are commonly identified as haunting hospitals. Patients, too, linger. Few spirits are truly evil. Of these evil spirits, many may have not died at the hospital but are drawn there. However, abandoned asylums may be a different story.
Most of the facilities featured on Top Haunted Hospital lists were actually asylums. Further, a lot of these asylums and sanatoriums were horrible places. Cruelty prevailed. Understandably, these locations have a lot of negative energy and evil spirits attached. These abandoned facilities are dangerous. Anyone contemplating investigating an asylum or sanatorium should protect herself in body and mind. Say your prayers. Call on your spirit guides for protection. And when leaving, make sure that nothing or no one follows you home.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia
If you find yourself in a hospital, look for these identify factors to see if the hospital is haunted:
Crisis and death happen at hospitals. Staff are employed over long periods of time and are attached to hospitals. Paranormal teams should head out to rural hospitals that have been closed and abandoned to investigate. These facilities present an opportunity to test new equipment, practice techniques, and discover new stories. Hit me up; I may tag along!
Salvation for Fairyland
“You can’t put a price on history.”
Seemingly simplistic storybook-themed amusement parks popped up in the mid to late 50s. They were travel destinations for families with children. Over the years, decreased attendance and changing interests drove parks to update exhibits. Modernization was costly; therefore, many parks closed facilities and removed the exhibits. Few remain today. Some of these historically significant relics have been destroyed, thrown out, or lost. Fairyland, located in Tampa, Florida, seemed destined to the same fate; however, an auction saved the exhibits for future preservation. Preservation of these old amusement parks is vital to our American history.
Built in 1957 with private funds, Tampa’s Fairyland Park and Zoo was situated on 15 acres and free. Advertising referred to the attraction as a “storybook park for children”; however, people of all ages enjoyed the various fable-themed life-size figures and props. The City of Tampa shuttered Fairyland in 1996. All of the items were placed in an outdoor storage lot and ultimately forgotten. Twenty years later, the deteriorated figures were discovered and scheduled to thrown out. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn referred to them a “junk pile,” yet refused to donate them to a preservation group. After public outcry, the city decided to auction them off. The heated auction grossed the city $28,300.
Save Fairyland! was created to solicit donations to purchase the lots and to raise awareness. They kept Facebook group members abreast of the auction. Although two mystery bidders attempted to thwart the bids and pushed winning bids to higher than expected prices, local businessman Gonzmart won 11 out of the 12 lots. The final price shocked members who were thrilled with a figurative Knight in Shining Armor defeating the outside bidders. The group continues to post restoration pictures along with Fairyland-related endeavors. To follow the restoration process, join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/savefairyland/.
The auction serves as an important lesson and strategy for other groups hoping to preserve the past. Perseverance pays off.
For more information view https://www.tampapix.com/zoo_old.htm. It is an excellent resource providing historical information, as well as loads of pictures.
Do You Ancestry? You May Have Paranormal Connections
The NPR episode detailed the StoryCorps episode of Bill Jones, a homosexual man who longed to become a father. The late sixties were a challenging time for adopting out older children, particularly in California. In 1969, Bill adopted Aaron, a hard-to-place boy who was born to a heroin addict. Bill retold the story to his friend, Stu Maddux, which was recorded for the non-profit StoryCorps. Its “mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Listening to Bill’s story as he discussed how Aaron was diagnosed as schizophrenic and dying from a heroin overdose at age 30 was heartbreaking. Bill has no regrets only enduring love for his son. His story resonates as people discover their family lineage and pen the stories of their relatives. Genealogy is a popular hobby and well worth beginning.
Outlining family trees has always been popular. Past generations kept records of family member milestones and past those memories down, usually through a family Bible. Today, it’s important to know your family history, most notable for medical reasons. People who know their family medical histories are better equipped to prevent illnesses. In addition, they are able to incorporate preventative measures into their lifestyles. However, not all diseases are hereditary.
Genealogy also provides a historical prospective by showing what events helped shape the person one becomes. It also links people to long-distance relatives one would never know or meet.
There comes a point when the genealogist hits a dead end. Or a roadblock. To help get over the obstacle, Ancestry.com started matching people’s DNA. By submitting saliva, one can learn the composition of her ancestry while connecting to other relatives. The DNA test makes a great gift. I purchased one for my mom for her birthday. Her DNA composition was nearly the same as she was told growing up: Irish, British, and Western European. I haven’t had much difficulty in her line. I’ve been able to trace it back to the 1700s. My father’s side, however, has been more problematic. Therefore, I just sent off my saliva to see my DNA matches. Fingers crossed I get some matches. If not, I’ll turn back to my mom’s side and keep updating my forms.
For me, genealogy is solving a mystery. I become a private detective sifting through clues and historic documents to assemble my lineage. I love it. I spend a lot of time researching my family lines. I go back through adding more details to the family information sheets I created. I’ve found incredibly fascinating facts. For instance, I have a cousin who died on the RMS Titanic. She was trying to get back to the United States to see her dying mother. She wasn’t even supposed to be on that ship, but her itinerary changed. Tragic story. One I’ve written down for my daughter to pass down to her children.
One day, I’ll go through reading census forms writing down old home addresses. Then I’ll Google the addresses to see if they still exist. Some do; most don’t. Towns evolved into cities; homes torn down for progress. A few years ago I wrote down townships. My grandfather on my father’s mother’s side was a farmer in West Virginia. His 1920 Federal Census report shows he lived near Nuttall, West Virginia. I jotted down a note about how the town was also called Nuttallburg and is now a ghost town owned by the Department of the Interior. Recently, I was reviewing his record adding more information when I read my notation. I was curious. So I did an Internet search. Turns out Nuttall is a pretty big deal in the paranormal world, and I’ve got direct descendants who lived and worked there! Outstanding. This summer I’m heading up to West Virginia to visit the area. Follow my blog as I add pictures and share my experience hiking through the old coal mining town.
I’m The Haunted Librarian. Been this for awhile. A man is attempting to impersonate me by setting up fake haunted librarian Web sites. His first one was shut down. His second one will be, as well. All of this in an effort to harass me. His actions are malicious. He’s very, very upset about a few blogs I wrote exposing a #ParaScammer pseudo-artist who lied about his art. There are many lessons here. One of the major lessons is: Do your research. Before you purchase anything from a Web site, investigate to see whether the artist is legit.
Another thing this man is attempting to do is harass my friends. Although my friends aren’t in the paranormal community, they do discuss, research, and investigate our lost society: specifically, the abandoned lives of past generations. Matthew Christopher runs a few great sites: Abandoned America, https://www.facebook.com/abandonedamerica.us/?fref=ts; https://instagram.com/abandoned_america/; https://twitter.com/abandonedameric. Check him out.
My other friend is Sean Galbraith. He is an urban explorer. Check out his Web site and social media, http://seangalbraith.com/, https://twitter.com/seanphotos, https://www.flickr.com/photos/smlg/.
These two men inspire my research in the paranormal. No, not every location I explore is haunted. Every location I explore has a story. It is our responsibility to listen and to retell the stories accurately.