I woke up feeling pretty OK after a night in OSPH. The events of the previous evening had sent me into a deep sleep and I reckon I was able to recharge a bit, prepared to face our last night. That feeling of stability and the motivated energy changed as the sun went down, though. It was a gradual shift. Not an instantaneous change, but more of an internal struggle that I began to feel inside of my head. There was something going on inside of my that wasn’t quite right.
After a day in Chattanooga, we headed back to the hospital to get ready for round 2 of the investigation. I decided to take a nap in the early evening so that I would have the energy and stamina to stay awake through the night. The plan was an hour lie down around 7pm with the space heater pointed directly at my freezing cold feet, and then be refreshed and ready to conquer those Unexplainables. Without internet and cell phone service, it should be easy to relax without any distractions or disturbances. Right? Silly me. I am in a haunted abandoned hospital who has already demonstrated her lack of personal boundaries the night before. Disturbances were simply going to be a part of the adventure.
As I began to write my experiences from the night before, the #1 to this #2, I could hear movement outside the door of my room. Not just shuffling sounds of footsteps, though those were absolutely part of the mysterious noises coming from the other side of the door, but there was also the sound of heavy objects being moved back and forth – like furniture. It didn’t take too long for the mysterious mover in the hallway to decide to up his game. Maybe it was because I wasn’t acknowledging his initial efforts, or maybe because it’s just a part of his choreographed haunting, but after about thirty minutes of loud heavy scooting across the floor, came the knocks on the door. Really loud knocks. So loud that I said, “yes? come in…” thinking that it was an actual person rapping at my door, and not some phantom pounding from an Unexplainable.
I’m not really sure what to make of involuntary physical and mental reaction I had to the uninvited guest banging on my door, but with every pounding came a wave of sleepiness. The aggressive knocking came in bundles: bang, bang! – pause for a minute or two, then another, bang, bang! It was as if each banging knock was taking from me, pulling my energy straight out of my body. By the fifth or sixth time it happened, I could hardly keep my eyes open. I had fallen into a cocoon, a cool dry place suitable for a coma. And as I was thrown into unconsciousness, my one hour nap turned into 3.5 hours of deep sleep.
I began to come out of my slumber, but couldn’t quite get myself “together.” I felt almost incoherent. Then those feelings of uneasiness and detachment from myself that I spoke of earlier, began racing through my bones and my brain. I began to feel agitated, suspicious, and paranoid. I felt isolated, but couldn’t muster the energy or the wherewithal to get myself out of the room. It was already 11pm and the guests were well into their ghost adventure, but I was stuck in my room trying to understand the punches of anger and paranoia that were bullying me. I was in mental quick sand.
After a verbal struggle, Tim got me out of my room and we headed into the thickness of the hospital’s night air. The hospital almost felt empathetic to my internal battle that was going on. I can’t really explain it, but she felt understanding and supportive of the disdain that I was feeling… for nothing in particular.
We headed back to the clinic for a bit and then decided to venture down into the basement where the hospital’s records room was, as well as the hide out for a convicted sex offender. The sexual predator stayed, or rather hid out, in this room months. He was a pedophile who committed incest and rape. The owner of the hospital at the time knew the dastardly coward and gave him a room in the basement to hide from authorities, and also die in. The wicked creep keeled over in that basement room and his body lay undiscovered for six days. The room still holds some of his belongings, which is weird, but his dirty sox can’t compare to the dark dampness that fills the air. An atmosphere of sick and sordid memories of an evil dead person.
We moved onto the records room, which strangely now looks like a chapel as it is filled with old church pews. It has been an area where people have reportedly experienced lot of activity – maybe those pews make the malevolent Unexplainables angry. It’s dark. The pews are lined up just like you would see in a church, facing the far back wall of the room, where there is a random metal chair sitting by itself and facing all of the pews. I have a full spectrum camcorder that I use to guide me through the darkness to the front of the room, while Tim has his Roland recorder and is walking in and out of the pews, enticing anything that may be lingering in the air.
Tim found his way back over to where I was standing at the front of the room, with my back against the wall and my camera on record. I watched him through the tiny camera screen moving towards me while looking just above my head. He had a look of calm concern on his face and then in an extremely demanding tone said, “move over here. Come stand over here.” It was a that moment that I looked at the timer on my camera and noticed that we had already been down there for nine minutes, though it felt like only seconds had passed.
I slowly followed his command and came closer to him. Something was telling me to keep my camera on him. As I was shooting him he asked me if I felt anything. I hadn’t felt anything different than the same heavy dampness I had felt since we entered the room. “There was something behind you. It wasn’t exactly light, but it was something. It was right behind you, near your head.” I’m going with the notion that whatever it was, it was protecting me, because what happened to Tim next was not only disturbing, but like nothing I had ever witnessed.
Tim sat in the lonely metal chair. I kept the camera on him. I watched his posture change as he was calling out to whatever it was out that was out there – goading them to join him in the darkness. Tim’s head began to drop and then it hit. I heard what sounded like an electrical socket popping and his body jumped, “Something just shocked me!” I saw it. I had it on camera.
Minutes later, it happened again. Bzzzzttttt!! Jolt. “It did it again!” It had indeed. I began to pan left, then right and above his head, but nothing was there. Though I’m not sure what I was expecting to see, I wanted a tangible sign that there was something there doing this, my poor tired brain needed proof by way of a visual culprit, but there wasn’t anything I could see.
I moved my focus back down to Tim. He was rocking himself in his seat, forward and back in a rhythmic motion, for a minute or so, then abruptly stopped and began to slump down with his chin to his chest. His head was hung low and he appeared to be nodding off. As I got closer I could see his eyes were closed. I thought about checking for a pulse, probably should have, but I decided to just keep filming (and I didn’t want to catch whatever the freakiness was that he caught). It was as if he was in a trance. He would pop his head up every so often and say something to this thing that had him under its spell, “What do you want?!” or “Are you trying to fuck with me?!” Then go back to his tired slouch with his eyes closed.
Eventually he “came to” and looked confused and disoriented. I asked him if he was OK, which confused him even more, but he claimed to be fine. As he stood up, I began to tell him what I saw and heard, and he remembered being shocked. As we gathered our thoughts and began to leave the room, I looked at the camera, it had been running for 47 minutes. What had felt like ten or fifteen minutes was almost an hour. This seemed absurd. How did we lose time? Why did it feel like everything happened so quickly?
We both felt drained when we were leaving the basement. We headed back to the lobby area to “recharge” ourselves and to try and make some sense of what we had just experienced. There were a few other folks regrouping when we got there. I had a seat in a chair in the lobby and Tim went behind the counter at the nurse’s station. We both wanted to talk about what had just happened, but I don’t think either of us had the wherewithal to articulate it.
It was while I was sitting next to one of our Ghost Hunt guests, in silence, when we heard the sound of footsteps approaching the lobby. We both looked, anticipating who it might be, when nobody ever showed up. But the phantom footsteps didn’t stop their haunting quite so abruptly. Seconds later we heard the sound of one of our full spectrum cameras turning off and on. Whatever was making those steps had replicated the camera’s sound. This specter wasn’t just an attention seeker, but it was an intelligent ghost, as well.
Then the shadow people began appearing in the same hallway that the phantom noise maker had been showing off in. Some shapes were big. Some shapes were small. The one thing that they all had in common, was that they wanted to be seen (and heard, I reckon). I wish I could tell you the time span, but just as before, the passing of time wasn’t making any sense anymore. What felt like seconds, could have been minutes, and what felt like minutes, could have been hours. It wasn’t a feeling of pure disorientation, it was a feeling of not knowing or trusting myself.
As time passed, nonsensically, I found myself unmotivated to move from the lobby chair. I was almost content to just sit there and watch the figures move around me and listen to their shuffling and mocking of my reality. It was some strange form of energetic paralysis. I must have sat in that chair for hours… or maybe it was only minutes. But eventually, I did move and began to wait for the darkness to leave.
As the night came to an end, and all I wanted to do was sleep, but my brain kept chattering on about the last 48 hours. Who were these wandering souls? Were there more than one or was it just one sinister ghost taking over every part of the hospital, while trying to interfere with the minds of those still living?
Then it hit me. I realized that the hospital was, in itself, its own entity, possessing feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. I can’t help but think that Old South Pittsburg Hospital was alive and breathing. Even as I write this, I go back to how the hospital felt to me, or rather how she made me feel. “ She.” Yes, Old South Pittsburg Hospital was a woman to me, a sad, used, and tired woman. A woman who had been kicked around, taken advantage of, and who never really had a chance. And now, at the end of her life, she is still being prostituted out to folks that are amused by her scars and tears. And maybe – just maybe, that nasty man that mocks and taunts her paying customers is nothing more than her bully… bringing people back to her for more of her time and her energy, even when she has nothing left to give.