TOOELE, Utah (ABC4) — Originally a facility for the sick and elderly in the region, the “Old Tooele Hospital” is now a haunted attraction with plenty of thrill-seeking visitors each year. However, its unfortunate history also bears reports of actual ghost encounters said to be from residents and staff who once inhabited its halls.
The building was constructed in 1873 by Samuel F. Lee, who built it as a home for his family.
Just 40 years later, the family vacated the home and the county turned it into a residence for the elderly and those who required special care. Functioning as a makeshift care facility for years, it eventually became a hospital in 1953.
However, it’s reported that the hospital was poorly funded.
According to an article on Haunted Places To Go, the residents shared a community bathroom and didn’t even have a morgue for residents who passed. Instead, staff would stack their bodies in a single room until the coroner would finally arrive to fill out their death certificates.
This lack of appropriate care, many say, is a contributing factor to the paranormal experiences at the location.
As reported in a piece by US Ghost Adventures, with accounts from many who visit, there are various spirits that still inhabit the building.
Samuel F. Lee, who originally constructed it as a home, is said to be one of several ghosts at the old hospital. Visitors report hearing his voice speaking to them in the halls, alongside his 7-year-old son who passed there and is known to play practical jokes on unsuspecting guests.
During a visit in 2011, the Ghost Adventures television series on the Travel Channel interviewed staff at the elderly care facility that once occupied part of the building.
According to the staff there, some elderly residents claimed to have seen the apparition of a nurse in white named Maria just days before their passing. Stories also tell of the nurse’s spirit guarding a “portal” to the afterlife, whilst also warning of its dangers.
Other stories by staff recall a “man in black” who walked across the hall and into a resident’s room. Upon investigating, they found that the door was locked and required maintenance to remove its hinges. Once inside, the staff discovered that the resident had passed.
Additional sightings involve a series of ghosts, with many reporting hearing their voices and even their apparitions roaming the halls.
Since the hospital closed, the location has become rather famous, even featured in Hollywood films such as The World’s Fastest Indian, telling the true story of Burt Munro, as well as Stephen King’s 1994 picture titled The Stand.
In 2006, the building was converted into a haunted attraction called Asylum 49.
To this day, it welcomes crowds of visitors over 18 years old to enter at their own risk for its “full contact” experience, where horrifying characters will touch, grab, and even separate groups for complete immersion.
Even more, the location hosts real ghost hunts, giving participants a chance to explore the “Old Tooele Hospital” to learn about its paranormal history and investigate the building for themselves.