Have you ever been to a nursing home or hospital and wondered how many people have died there over the years? One day in 2009 while I was working at a nursing home, I became convinced that ghosts indeed do haunt facilities where death happens all the time.
I was hanging up calendars one afternoon, in each of the patient rooms. As I was fastening a calendar to the wall with pushpins, I heard the sounds of someone violently vomitting. The sounds were coming from the bathroom on the far end of the patient’s room. The door to the bathroom was shut, so I knocked on it to see if the person inside needed help. I didn’t get a response, so I slowly turned the door knob and walked in. To my surprise, there was no one inside the bathroom. I was frightened and wondered what was going on. As I walked away from the bathroom, and went back to get my calendars to place in the other rooms, the bathroom door quickly slammed behind me. This was scary. I knew no one was in the bathroom and there was no breeze coming from anywhere that would cause that door to slam on its own. Something had slammed the door.
When I approached the door again, I quickly opened it and saw that the light was now on in the bathroom, and there was still no sign of anyone there. I shut the light off and went quickly to my remaining rooms that needed calendars. That incident had really freaked me out. Later that day, I spoke with one of my coworkers about the incident and he told me that just days before he had been in that same bathroom and the lights kept coming on and off on their own. He said that he had been freaked out by the occurence, but didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want them to think he was “seeing things”. He also told me that he felt an unexplained uneasiness whenever he entered that particular patient’s room. He told me he often hurried to finish whatever he had to do in that room because the unsettling feelings were too much to stand for any prolonged time frame.
My coworker went on to tell me that one time he heard someone in that same patient’s bathroom talking very softly through the door, requesting help. He said it had sounded like a woman’s voice, just above a whisper. He had quickly gone to get a nurse’s aid to assist the woman in the bathroom. When he approached the first nurse’s aid he encountered in the hallway, he told her about the woman that needed assistance. The nurse’s aid gave him a funny look and said, “Oh, that room?” He confirmed which room it was by pointing down the hall to the last room on the left hand side of the hallway. At that moment, the nurse’s aid walked away and ignored him and his request for her to go take a look and see if someone needed help. It was as though she was either afraid to enter the room, or she knew there was really no one in the bathroom- as if this had happened before to her. My coworker told me that he felt as though the nurse’s aid knew something about the bathroom and did not want to talk about it with him.
While I worked there, I saw as many as twenty people die right in front of me. I witnessed many patients being given their last rites by their pastors. I saw many hospice patients take their last breaths with me holding their hands. I even had patients that refused to let go of life until I came to see them one last time.
I wondered how many of those people still haunted the nursing home, possibly not knowing that they are dead. I wondered how many ghosts were desperately trying to pass over to the other side but were unfortunately trapped in the facility. These thoughts still come to my mind, even though I don’t work there anymore. Furthermore, any time I enter a hospital, hospice, or nursing home, I think of all the spirits that are possibly all around me and how many of them don’t want to be there anymore. I sometimes wonder if it would be helpful for a priest to come and bless these facilities whenever these strange things happen. Perhaps then these places would not be so unsettling and would not make us feel so uncomfortable.