There are those folks who simply do not like hospitals. They will tell you that they just do not feel comfortable there, that it has a bad smell, it holds bad memories, or simply too many people have died there. If you are a nurse, you’ll see plenty of nervous patients and agitated family members. People who enter your wing will twitch with anxiety and anticipation. Patients in your care will look up to you with fear in their eyes and uncertainty in their voices.

Even healthcare professionals can feel the hairs stand up on the backs of their necks on a lonely night. Many nurses have found themselves working the night shift, their feet echoing through a hall lit only by unnatural fluorescent light. Behind the doors of rooms, they can hear patients, some breathing quietly, others crying out while in the throes of a nightmare. The machines and equipment fill the air with inhuman ambient noise, just above the edge of hearing.

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Outside, the moon rises over the darkened land. Daylight is hours away. In the meantime, darkness reigns… It sounds like the setting for a bad tale about the paranormal. Exaggerated maybe, yet tales of hospital horror run rife.

Here are some stories to think about as you pace those hospital corridors…real or imaginary? You decide…

The vanishing girl

If you do a search for hospital ghost stories on the internet, this is one of the most common (and spooky) tales of healthcare terror.

A new nurse was at work at an unidentified hospital, and at one point he found himself in an older part of the hospital. There was an unused nurses’ station, and he’d heard from his new co-workers that this was once the pediatric wing, though it had long since been abandoned in favor of a more modern facility.

The new nurse was alone among the old furniture and dilapidated walls and soon found himself rounding a corner to a T intersection. There, at the intersection, was a little girl. Her clothes were slightly out of fashion. Her bearing and composure were just a little off. She stood, still, and her eyes met the nurses.

He walked toward her and when he was maybe fifteen feet away from the child, she vanished. The nurse saw nothing before him except the emptiness of the wall. He ran to the nearest elevator and frantically pushed the button to take him away from the old pediatric ward.

When he returned to his new co-workers, they all laughed. They said that, yes, that was the ghost girl. She haunted the hospital and was around all the time. He would see her again.

“Bless You”

When this tale surfaces on websites or blogs, there are two variations. Sometimes it happens in a hospital and at other times in a nursing home. However, the core of the story is the same:

A nurse, new to her position, had to fetch some clean linen from a closet. As she was folding linens, she sneezed. A voice behind her said, “Bless you.” The nurse turned around. No one was there. She was alone in the linen closet.

She thought she’d merely been hearing things. Maybe it was her mind playing tricks on her. But, just as the nurse was about to wave away the voice as a trick of the mind, she heard the voice again. This time, it was praying. “Bless you,” indeed.

She ran out of the linen closet and never went in alone again.

“Don’t let them take me!”

Probably the most disturbing popular story of hospital horror is one where a man says, “Don’t let them take me” or “Don’t let me die.” He gestures toward something invisible, either above or below. A nurse asks “Who?” and he just repeats his plea: “Don’t let them take me!” He passes soon after.

In some versions, minutes after life has left him, his eyes open. He sits up. The lifeless face looks at the nurse. “You let them take me,” he says. “You let them take me.”

Like Florence Nightingale lifting her lamp, you have the power to banish fear. Patients who are filled with anxiety can be made to feel more at ease with a kind word or a simplified explanation. Family members who find themselves given over to terror or rage can be brought to their senses by a nurse who has seen it all. The terrors of the night are little compared to a dedicated professional who faces it all with knowledge, empathy, and grit.

Do you have any hospital horror stories? Real or imaginary? Share them here in the comments below.

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