Haunting of Old Memorial Hospital
By Dana Goolsby
PALESTINE- The old Memorial Hospital in Palestine appears to be little more than a dilapidating building these days, but was once a busy medical center, where area residents sought care, worked, or visited loved ones. Locals also say the basement of the building was once the city morgue, where bodies were stored until either identified or claimed.
The old hospital has been abandoned as a care facility, however locals claim the facility has not been entirely deserted. Supernatural tales have lived within the old hospital far prior to the closing of the facility. Former patients that checked in, but never checked out are believed to haunt the building, as well as the stirring spirits of unclaimed bodies in the basement.
According to local legend, apparitions of deceased patients have allegedly been seen in the building, as spirits have made their presence known over the years in different ways. Claims of paranormal activity in the building resonate through legends of the old hospital. Former employees who once walked the halls of the old hospital, checking patience and dispensing meds, say they would never return to the building where they believed they witnessed the living dead.
Apparitions of patients are said to wander the halls of the old hospital in search of their loved ones. Some have reported seeing a man in a wheelchair traveling the hallways. The man bound to the wheelchair is said to be looking for his wife, who passed away peacefully in their home just days after he passed in the hospital. The man can allegedly be heard weeping and moaning in great sorrow as he passes through the halls calling out for his lost beloved.
Others who lay claim to ghostly encounters have reported unusual noises that have no explainable origin. The sounds of doors opening and closing, and footsteps shuffling down the halls can reportedly still be heard in the facility. Some who are not quite brave enough to enter the building have said they have heard sounds coming from within the building while passing by on foot or while riding their bike along the bordering sidewalk.
The old ICU area of the building is said to be full of mysterious noises and voices. Some say that they have heard what sounds like a ventilator, working diligently to supply oxygen to someone. Others say the faint sound of a heart monitor flat lining can be heard in the ICU area. Reports of voices mumbling, and chattering prayers are said to fill the halls of the old ICU unit.
Locals say unexplainable cold gusts of air rush out of broken windows and can be felt while standing near the building, even during the dog days of the East Texas summer. The chilling cold gusts of air are reportedly almost always followed by a looming presence of someone or something unknown.
Records are still stored in the old hospital building, and occasionally must be accessed. Those who must venture into the building to obtain the records are said to do so as quickly as possible.
Just standing near the old hospital can be a haunting experience. One’s imagination will reel while gazing at the building, and into the broken windows. Blurry images from within begin to take shape if gazed upon in curiosity too long.
The old hospital, though not in use, has seemingly not been entirely abandoned. The city of Palestine may no longer have use for the building, but the spirits within seem to be restlessly inside. If you are passing by the old hospital, where some lives were saved and others were lost, beware of the spirits that may seem to beckon to you from within. The calls and cries that can allegedly be heard, are not calling for you to come in, but rather they are calling to be set free and reunited with others from the other side.
Still, there are others believe that the haunted hospital has nothing to do with former patients, but rather former Palestine citizens.
Pioneer Palestine businessman George Anderson Wright and his wife Mary Henry Wright lived in a beautiful Victorian home built in the late 1883 on the site of the present day hospital building. George Anderson Wright was a former Palestine mayor, who was in the general mercantile business for many years. He also was involved in the organization of the First National Bank of Palestine in 1887, and served as the first president of the bank. He passed away on Nov. 5, 1939 in his home.
The Wright home was said to be one of the grandest homes between Palestine and Galveston. The home was said to be Mary Wright’s pride and joy. In 1940, the Wright home was demolished to make way for the Palestine memorial Hospital, which was completed in 1951. Some people believe the Wrights still linger on the property, on which their mansion once stood.
Today, a “no-trespassers-allowed” sign is posted at the hospital. A tour will cost you a trip to jail, as the police and community have cracked down on unwanted guests since 2010.
**WARNING- MYETX warns thrill seekers and the curious- NEVER trespass, NEVER disturb someone’s property, and ALWAYS respect the locals. MYETX enjoys a good haunted tale, but has no way of verifying claims that have been exaggerated, manufactured, or are downright preposterous.**