It’s true! And I never knew until yesterday, when looking for an appropriately-spooky topic to blog about. Who knows, maybe that explains my weirdness.
The hospital in question is the medical complex now called Elizabeth Place, which houses numerous doctors’ offices and has a couple dozen inpatient rooms. It opened in its current-day incarnation as a physician-owned medical center in 2006, after the facility had lain empty for six years.
Before that, it was known as the Franciscan Medical Center, having been re-named from its former appellation, and the one most people still know it by: St. Elizabeth Hospital. And St. Elizabeth had been around a long time – it was originally opened by the Franciscan Sisters in 1878. So it has had a lot of time to collect spiritual remnants. As a charitable organization, the Franciscan Sisters’ policy was to never turn anyone away, regardless of ability to pay, so many indigent and homeless Daytonians were treated there. Big surprise – lack of funding was the main reason the hospital was forced to close in 2000. At the time of its closing, the 321-bed hospital complex included seven buildings.
It was then that the stories of hauntings started coming to light.
Many of these are the typical phenomena: cold spots – including ones where people thought the cold spot was “following” them, sensations of being watched when no one was there (but there were tons of cameras in the place ), seeing a shadowy person reflected behind one when approaching a mirrored glass wall – and the person reporting the visual was alone.
Many people have reported elevators stopping and opening their doors on floors where no one had pushed the call button. Security guards who worked the facility while it was vacant claim to have seen an empty wheelchair in the lobby, spinning in circles. Other people have reported hearing “voices,” when they were alone. (Judging from the stories, I don’t think these people were writers. We hear voices regularly. )
While the buildings were vacant, they still had minimal power – just enough that the security guards could see to make their rounds. One guard reported walking through what had housed the inpatient adult psychiatric ward. One of her companions remarked that he wished it were better lit, and every single light in the area – including those that were supposedly disconnected – came on! Other weird happenings during the time the facility was unoccupied include a bright flash of light in an upper floor room, that was captured by a security camera mounted on the exterior of the Dayton Heart Hospital next door. Security guards rushed to the room, fearing an electrical short that could start a fire. They found nothing amiss, and nothing that could have caused the bright burst of light.
The weirdest thing about that story? The room where the burst of light had appeared was one where a resident nun had committed suicide many years before.
But the phenomenon I read the most accounts of was the “perfume spot” (photo here). This looks like the corner of a large treatment room, or perhaps a hallway. Whatever it is, many people have reported smelling a strong rose-scented perfume. This happened before the hospital was closed, too. One theory is that the perfume-wearer is the ghost of a pharmacy worker, whose boyfriend murdered her when she refused to get drugs for him.
It’s been many years since my mother was in St. Elizabeth’s hospital. My brother is five years younger than me, and by the time he came along, my family had moved to the suburbs, so he was born in a newer, suburban hospital. I asked my mom if she recalled anything spooky or weird during her stay at St. Elizabeth in the sixties. She didn’t – but then, that doesn’t surprise me, considering that she gave birth to me there, and I’m the most unintuitive person I know. In researching, I also did not run across any mentions of possible paranormal activity occurring after the facility was reopened as Elizabeth Place.
More info, including photos and a tour of the hospital while it was vacant, can be found on the Forgotten Ohio website.
What do you think? Could being born in a haunted hospital influence a would-be writer? Do you know of a haunted hospital, or have one in your hometown? I’d love to hear from you!