The Hospital Ghost
by Nancy Wallace
I found a job at a hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois, which specialized in and had a very commendable tuberculosis unit. One night, while I was completing some paperwork for a patient’s chart, I heard someone crying. I looked around to see if I could spot anyone, as the sound didn’t seem to be coming from any of the rooms, and it was long after visiting hours.
I checked each room, but I could not find the source of this crying; in fact, it was in the middle of the night, and most patients were sound asleep. Every time I would go back to the nurse’s station and resume my work, I would hear the crying again.
I finally asked one of the aides if she had heard anyone crying, and she looked concerned and said, “No. Why, do you hear someone crying?” and started looking up and down the halls. I told her I definitely heard someone weeping, and that it sounded like a woman’s voice.
The aide, who was also my friend, gave me an odd look. We were working on the men’s ward, which was a locked ward at the time. There was no way, really, that a woman could have been on that floor, unless it had been another nurse or medical assistant, and everyone was accounted for. The aide kept telling me she wasn‘t hearing any crying, while giving me sidelong looks that translated to, “Nancy’s gone crazy.”
The crying continued. I tried to ignore it. After about 20 minutes, I glanced down the hallway one more time. I saw a shadow move out of one of the rooms. I didn’t get up, because I immediately knew it wasn’t a person, but a ghost.
I watched as the ghost started walking up the hall, toward me. She appeared to be holding her head down in her hands and crying. The aide also saw the ghost, and she became very, very frightened and started to pray.
At first, the ghost materialized as something very similar to a smoky-like substance, with an “airy” kind of look. Then, gradually, the smoky look turned into a more “figured” body, and I could make out a lady with shoulder-length, mousy-brown hair, which was kind of messy-looking. She stood about 5’5”.
I told the aide quietly that this was the spirit of someone who had died here, but that she didn’t know she is dead. Almost as soon as I spoke those words, the ghost vanished into thin air.
That aide quit the following day. I’m sure it was quite a disturbing experience for someone who most likely wasn’t used to seeing ghosts, but then I thought about how quickly the ghost moved out of our sight when I said, “She doesn’t know she is dead.”
As is often the case with ghosts, when they are recognized and addressed, and particularly when they are told that they are dead, they will listen to us and move on to the other side. Apparently this poor earthbound spirit who had believed she was still alive in the hospital and suffering, had heard what I said and she “got it.” If my instincts were right and she did go toward the light, I’m very happy I was able to assist her in that transition.
A few weeks later, I discovered that a lady had died on that floor years before it had been converted into a men’s TB ward, and she would often appear on the anniversary of her death. No one wanted to talk about it.
Note: This article is excerpted with permission from Nancy Wallace’s autobiographical book, Raised By Angels (2007; ISBN 978-1-60402-001-4).
See Nancy’s interview in this issue!