As a nurse working the 7pm to 7am shift, there are many stories to be told of the strange happenings that occurred. You have to deal with life, as well as death-it is part of the equation. I worked at a hospital where original parts of a home were still utilized for the hospital building. There were several outbuildings, all connected to the main building by a tunnel. Rumors were that the tunnel had been used in the days of the Underground Railroad, as the hospital was founded by a Quaker.
I was a fearless night shift nurse, never worrying about traveling in the hallways and down dark corridors to go to the cafeteria. I became accustomed to not so bright light, especially in patients’ rooms-so as to not disturb their much-needed sleep(unless it was necessary). On one particular busy night on the med surg floor a patient expired. There is a procedure to follow when someone dies- that is you have to place the deceased's body in a shroud. Then the body has to be taken to the morgue. There were no transport people on that late Saturday night, so we had to take the body to the morgue ourselves. We had been in an original part of the building, which was connected to the rest of the hospital by several ramps. So my colleague and myself were wheeling the deceased into the elevator. No problem with that. Then we hit the first of three ramps. The deceased was very tall so his feet were already hanging over the bottom of the gurney. We attempted to get him down the one ramp to the other elevator which would take us to the morgue. The body almost fell off of the gurney as we went down the ramp. We managed to stop it, but not without an uncontrollable fit of laughter that comes with a highly bizarre situation. It helps to have gallows humor when you are in the medical field! We succeeded in getting the body to the morgue, but there was no room for the body. We had to move the bodies already there around so we could place the newest occupant in the morgue. On our way back to the floor a code was called-on our floor. We rushed up and unfortunately the patient did not make it. Please do not think there is a lack of respect for the dead, I know I always treated my patients as I would my own family-with dignity and respect. But our first thought was -where can we put the body? We did manage to fit the deceased into the morgue, with some more maneuvering!
The creepiest event happened the following Friday night. It was 2AM, and I needed caffeine. I was never a coffee drinker, so Coca-Cola it was. I made a trip to the vending machine-from the third floor down to the ground floor. You also had to go past the tunnel entrance to get to the cafeteria. It wasn’t so bad during the day, but at nighttime it was downright eerie! Next to the tunnel entrance was a rarely used elevator-it was the only elevator to the maternity floor, so only maternity patients and their families used it. I was heading to the cafeteria when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman dressed in head to toe black. She was maybe 20 feet away-in the tunnel. I thought nothing of it. Went to the vending machine and was heading back past the tunnel again. I didn’t see the woman in black. I thought maybe she was a family member of a maternity patient and was on the elevator, but the elevator was still on the ground floor-it hadn’t moved. I started walking faster to get around the corner to the elevators I needed to use to get back to the third floor. I felt cold and shivery and turned around and saw the woman dressed in black again. She was about 20 feet away from me again, but at the entrance of the tunnel. I got on my elevator and went back to my floor. I was visibly shaken. One of my coworkers asked what was wrong. I replied that I saw a woman in the tunnel, which at 3AM is very strange. I thought it was a family member of a patient. My coworker said no, it wasn’t a family member. She told me to follow her. I followed her down to the main entrance of the hospital, which I had never been in before. She showed me a portrait-it was the woman I had seen. It was the founder of the hospital. She had died in 1907. It was her home that was used for the original part of the hospital. She was wearing all black, common garb for Quakers at the turn of the twentieth century. Apparently, there have been many reported sightings of her in the area around the tunnel. I just happened to see her because of my need for caffeine! I never believed in ghosts before that!