Hospitals & Nursing homes GHOST STORIES


Haunted hospital ghost stories are the stuff of legends. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are often places of emotional trauma, as well as death. This makes them a deep source for many a ghostly tale.

When one reads accounts of hospital ghost stories, it is not uncommon for certain areas of the hospital to be deemed “active.” In other words, certain areas within healthcare buildings seem to be more active than others. And, the active areas are more likely to be certain patient quarters, operating rooms and morgues that are the most haunted.

Haunting activity by ghosts within hospitals seems to be centered around places where death has taken place. Interestingly, areas that are especially known for mental disorders may also be more actively haunted. There are no boundaries or written rules that ghosts must follow, however, for ghosts may haunt whatever areas of a hospital that please them most, should they choose to haunt a hospital at all.



Hospital Ghosts: Stories From Nurses

Hospital GHOSTS

Why do hospital ghost stories persist? Well, what makes a ghost? A ghost is a disembodied human being who is “lost.” Medical facilities may be the last place a departed soul remembers, and a place where their last state of mind was not so good. Hospitals are places where heavy drugs may be administered, along with the possibility of strong physical and emotional suffering by the deceased (and loved ones, too). It could be possible that the mental condition of the disembodied spirit may still be off-kilter and searching for help and direction. Could this be the reason so many nurses have ghost stories from within the hospital walls? Could ghosts be asking for staff help?

Some nurses do report that when dealing with death, they often want to help the person “cross” over. Some caregivers willingly stay as the person’s soul departs, providing comfort and guidance. Some nurses, when they realize the spirit of the room’s occupant has not moved on, will speak out loud to the deceased, letting them know their body is now expired. This way, the ghost (a human spirit without a body) has some direction and might understand their condition. The goal is for the person’s spirit to move on into the light, leaving the earthly realm behind.

It should be surprised that many hospital ghost stories can be found circulating about now-defunct hospitals. One such notoriously haunted (former) tuberculosis institution is Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky. The abandoned hospital is said to have ghosts that manifest as moving shadows, see-through apparitions, cold spots and disembodied voices. Many deaths due to tuberculosis occurred there, as the place could only use natural and experimental cures to attempt to heal the ailing.

After tuberculosis was cured, Waverly Hills became a geriatric and mental hospital. In-humane treatments, such as electro-shock, were administered at the hospital until it was closed in 1981 due to patient abuse.

Almost every hospital has some sort of ghost story attached to it. For example, an old military hospital in England had an oncology ward that was known for one strange occurrence: the nurses’ keys would turn up missing, only to re-appear in one of their pockets after quietly searching the entire ward. This ghostly event happened more than once and to more than one nurse! Yet, it was not the only ghost story to be found in the same ward. There was another ghost story about two soldiers who were both sick with cancer became friends, both surmising that if they both passed, they would leave this Earth together. When one of them died, he appeared to his screaming soldier friend, who was said to have screamed in terror, “I’m not ready to go, yet!”

A Derby (UK) hospital recently had it’s own ghost story come to the forefront. A mysterious apparition has been seen regularly by both patients and staff, so much so that a chaplain was called in to help the situation. This is a new hospital, but it was built on the site of an old hospital. Could former ghosts still haunt the same grounds? Apparently, so!

More Stories About Ghosts in Hospitals
Another hospital ghost story involves a nurse working in oncology one night. A female patient in the cancer ward, who was near-death, was given to her to look after. When the nurse entered the room, the patient was standing at the top of her bed exclaiming, “Don’t let them take me!” She was pointing to a black mass the nurse could physically see up in the corner of the room. The patient died a few minutes later.

This next ghost story is from a hospital nurse who wrote to us about seeing something similar. She was caring for a dying man. He was frightened and so the nurse spent quite a bit of time calming and reassuring him. Eventually, the man calmed down and the nurse left to go to her station, which was very close by. As she glanced over to him, she saw a shadowy-shape standing over his bed and looking down at him. Needless to say, she was terrified!

Another true, hospital ghost story tells of a nurse who worked in a labor and delivery unit. Being a small hospital, the nurse was often there by herself. To keep things quiet, the lights were often kept low in the delivery unit behind her. Back in the unit, the nurse could often hear metal objects clanging and doors shutting; sounding similar to somebody who was being prepared for a C-section. There was also a presence always within the small room, though no one was there. If that weren’t enough, a patient room nearby, that had been converted to a storage room, had a nurse’s call light that would go off in it. Was the delivery unit haunted by a former patient, a deceased doctor, or both?

Speaking of nurse call lights, some nurses report having answered them to find patients asking, “Who is the man in black standing at the foot of my bed?” When asked if the man is “scary,” patients typically reply, “No.” This is said to really freak a few nurses out! Interestingly, dark, human-like figures standing at the foot of hospital beds do nicely parallel near-death experience reports of loved ones coming to help the dying cross over from this plane to the next. 

Nursing home ghosts and their stories are legendary. Many people who have worked in nursing homes have stories surrounding the deaths of patients and ghostly encounters. 

“Recently, a relative of mine who works at a nursing home shared an interesting custom specific to the place she works. After a resident passes, they will often open a window in order to symbolically free the spirit of the recently deceased. I thought that was interesting.” – Louis

The following are stories of ghosts within the nursing home and care facilities.

Some nursing home stories tell of animals, such as a resident cat or dog, that will instinctively notify workers of those who are about to expire. Often times, such animals will comfort the dying patient before they leave this world behind. How do they know what is about to happen, sometimes better than nurses and doctors?

Most nursing home ghost stories tell of disembodied humans witnessed within the facility. But, what makes nursing homes such a popular place to see ghosts? We can only surmise that the answer is the same for hospitals: many die within their walls. Does this mean that ghosts are trapped within hospitals and nursing homes? No, but it is likely that people who pass within hospitals and health care facilities may be disoriented due to failing health, mental disorders or even medication.

Could it be possible that some ghosts might not be aware that their body no longer exists, walking around as if in a dream? Or, do some ghosts remain behind due to unfinished business, attachment to a caregiver or resident, or maybe some other emotional trauma? We are sure that the reasons vary, but one thing is for certain: Nursing homes have their fair share of ghosts stories!

One particular ghost story from a nursing home worker does indeed point to mental instability as possibly being the cause of some ghosts experienced, for his experience took place within an Alzheimer’s – Dementia ward of the assisted living facility. While working the ward alone, he would often experience movement out of the corners of his eyes. Nurse call lights would often go off in rooms that were unoccupied by patients. One room, in particular, seemed to have the nurse call light going off consistently. After it became bothersome, the caregiver accompanied by other nurses decided to check the room out together. When they entered, they immediately noticed the room was much colder than normal. After turning off the call light, they noticed the cupboard doors in the room were opening! Needless to say, all the nurses left the room promptly…

Another nursing home ghost story, a worker recalls hearing tales of residents being beaten by the facility workers. That was odd in itself, for she found it hard to be true. A few days later, she was working and heard patients screaming. As she walked down the hallway and searched the rooms, she could not find anything out of order, but yet the eerie screams persisted, coming from the hallways itself! Many times, this same worker would see ethereal people walking the halls, sometimes disappearing right into the walls! These experiences seemed to occur mostly at night. One particular patient told of being beaten and suffocated. When the worker checked on her the next day, she had died while having trouble breathing. One day, another resident, who was incapable of getting out of his chair himself, was found hanging by his neck. Were angry ghosts responsible for both of their deaths?

Many times, nursing home ghost stories are not believed by newly-hired caregivers. From the ghost stories we have read, many of them become quick believers. The nurse call light going off in unoccupied rooms at hospitals and nursing homes is probably the most common, ghostly phenomena reported. It happens so frequently at some places, that caregivers will typically enter the room, acknowledge the room’s former occupant who recently departed, letting them know that their body has died. Reports are that this usually works quite well. Perhaps, the ghost simply wanted acknowledged – verification that their body has died and that they are not in a dream. By receiving confirmation, it is likely that the person understands that they are indeed alright (as a spirit without a body) and can move on in peace.

Other ghostly phenomena that are considered quite common would be feeling, hearing and even smelling former patients. Of course, cold spots and sightings of patients’ spirits are also reported.

In Oslo, it was reported in the news that a Norwegian haunted nursing home’s ghost story became quite public. The ghost of an old nurse has been seen so often, that staff and patients were very frightened and a priest was called in to help with the haunting. The nurse has made her presence so strong that even her scent remains behind. And, she is not the only ghost haunting this nursing home, for other ghostly apparitions have been spotted within its walls. Reports of two old ladies who ask if everything is alright, along with the sighting of a little boy ghost are part of this nursing home’s legacy. The ghosts are not considered to be threatening, but still, patients and caregivers are quite shaken by the encounters.

Yes, ghosts in nursing homes are a common occurrence. The next time you get the chance, ask a nurse or caregiver to share some of their “odd” stories with you. They may not believe in ghosts, but I am sure they will have a story or two of some strange occurrences!

Steve Ramsey- Okotoks, Alberta – Canda



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