Hawkinsville State Hospital, Georgia Archives.
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:
- Scrutinize clothing. Look to see if the clothing is of a different time period.
- Check to see if you’re hallucinating. Were you dreaming?
- Look at people to see if they appear whole. Spirits will be missing a limb or some other important feature.
- Notice changes in smells.
- Watch for changes in electricity.
- Pay attention to sounds.
- Summon the courage to ask the nurses if the hospital keeps a “Ghost Report.” The GR is a listing of ghost sightings and strange phenomena. Not all hospitals keep a log, but you may get lucky.
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!