My Town Monday: I was Born in a Haunted Hospital

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!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


My Town Monday: Haunted Aircraft at the USAF Museum

The first time I heard about hauntings at Wright Patterson Air Force Base was several years ago, when I heard that The Atlantic Paranormal Society was coming to film an episode of Ghost Hunters. Supposedly, a couple of office and storage buildings on base are haunted, as well as the Hap Arnold House.

What I learned more recently, is that there’s a much more haunted place on base: the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

It shouldn’t be any surprise, considering how much death is associated with some of these aircraft and artifacts.

The Black Mariah

The more recent hauntings are from the Vietnam war, both of which were involved in rescue/medical evacuation missions. The Black Mariah is a Sikorsky CH-3E amphibious transport helicopter that saw many highly classified runs. The Black Mariah is riddled with bullet holes. Supposedly, many soldiers died aboard the Black Mariah, and their voices and moans can still be heard where it sits in the museum today. (Note: according to its Fact Sheet dated 12/2010, the Black Mariah is undergoing restoration and can only be seen as part of the museum’s Behind the Scenes tour.)


The Hopalong, at the National Museum of the USAF

The Hopalong is a Sikorsky UH-19B Chickasaw that served as a medevac chopper in both the Vietnam war and in Korea. It’s also home to an apparition of its last pilot, who the museum’s night staff claim they sometimes see in the pilot’s seat, flipping switches and trying to steer the craft to safety. The seat is still stained with the pilot’s blood.

Bockscar, shown when it was delivered to the USAF Museum in 1961, with a group of its original crew. The nose art was added after the Nagasaki mission.

One of the museum’s more dramatic exhibits is the Bockscar, “the aircraft that ended WWII.” Named after its pilot, Frederick C. Bock, this Boeing B-29 bomber dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, which led to Japan’s surrender. Supposedly, people have seen the ghost of a young Japanese boy near the plane at night.

The ill-fated crew of the Lady Be Good

The Lady Be Good was a B-24D that disappeared after departing for a bombing mission over Italy on April 4, 1943. The other 24 bombers sent to Naples that day returned safely. But the Lady Be Good wasn’t found until sixteen years later, after a group of British archaeologists spotted wreckage while flying over the Libyan desert. After an intensive search of the area, remains of eight crew members were recovered, one of whom had trekked over 100 miles from the wreckage. The ninth crew member was never found. The aircraft was recovered in pieces, many of its instruments and equipment still in usable condition. Some of these parts were installed in other aircraft. According to the Lady Be Good fact sheet, a C-54 with autosyn transmitters from the Lady experienced propeller trouble; it managed to land safely only by ditching cargo. A C-47 with a radio receiver from the Lady had to be abandoned in the Mediterranean. An Army “Otter” plane got an armrest from the Lady Be Good, then crashed in the Gulf of Sidra. None of the ten men aboard were ever found. Some parts were, however – including the armrest. Now housed in the museum, the parts inexplicably rearrange themselves.

The Strawberry Bitch

Another WWII-era B24D, the Strawberry Bitch is one of the museum’s more popular attractions. With a range of over 2,800 miles laden with 5,000 lbs. bomb load, the B24 was well-suited for longer range missions like the raid on the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania, which were estimated to supply 60 percent of Germany’s crude oil. Visitors and museum staff have reported hearing rattles and clanks from the undercage where the gunner sat, and some even claim to have seen a shadowy figure inside. Others say they’ve seen strange lights inside the aircraft. Whatever its/their nature, the spirit(s) haunting the Strawberry Bitch are the only ones said to be violent: a former janitor from the museum claims one slapped him in the face once. Who knows, maybe he made a comment about the plane’s pinup girl nose art. 😀

Prisoners of War exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

There’s one exhibit at the museum that isn’t an aircraft, but evokes a sense of dread and unease in more people than any other: the POW exhibit. With my skeptical nature, I’d be more inclined to believe this is simply due to knowing the horrible experiences suffered by our prisoners of war, rather than any paranormal activity. Still, it makes one wonder!

I have to admit, I didn’t see or hear any evidence of ghostly activity when I visited the museum. If you’ve been there, did you? Do you know of any haunted museums in your home town?

More at the My Town Monday blog