For five years, I worked 3-11 in the Housekeeping department at Weirton Medical Center in Weirton, West Virginia. There were several ghosts in that building, and I have a few short tales here. My ghost tales are amusing now, but weren’t at the time. My job at WMC was as a “Floor Tech”, that is, I cleaned and buffed floors and cleaned carpets.
One evening, I was sent up to do a room on the fifth floor, in Cardiac Care. As I went about my job, mopping the floor in preparation for buffing, I noticed a heart monitor in the corner that was beeping. That monitor wasn’t hooked up, and if anyone out there knows what I mean, when a heart monitor is left unattended, it will beep, but only as a signal that it’s been left on. This monitor, however, was beeping in a normal rhythm….”beep-beep….beep-beep….beep-beep….” As I worked, it kind of started to give me the creeps. I went out to the nurse’s station and told a nurse about it, and how it was weirding me out. She only smiled and came in to remove the monitor. She explained then that heart monitors are not normally left unattended in that particular room. It seems that they have an odd tendency to come on by themselves, even if unplugged. Needless to say, that particular room’s floor got only a cursory job that night.
Another experience I had was in the Cardiac Catherization Lab. Now, the Cath Lab area used to be part of the larger Surgery area, but some remodeling was done several years ago, and it was given its own, smaller suite of rooms. I went down one evening to do the Cath Lab floor, and found the area locked up. Everyone had gone home for the night. No problem, I had a key. I went in, started moving stuff around and mopping, as I usually did. I noticed some dust in a corner behind a heavy shelf, and got a vacuum cleaner with attachments to suck it out. As I was bent over, trying to get at the dust, out of the corner of my eye I noticed something that resembled a human form, moving behind me. I stood up and looked around; thinking a nurse or doctor had come in. There were always emergency catherizations being done, and if that were the case, I’d have to leave. No one was visible, however. I even shut off the vacuum and called out, but no one answered. So, I went back to work.
A few seconds later, another glimpse out of the corner of my eye. This time I turned fast enough and saw one the of the bed tables move, just a bit. I thought little of it, though. The tables were on wheels, and would often shift when moved around, as I had done with them. Several minutes went by, and as I went about mopping the back of the room, I bent over to move a chair. At that moment, something slapped me hard, right on the backside!
I turned, but of course, once again saw no one. I knew that there was supposedly a ghost in the Surgery area, often seen by the nursing staff there and by one of my fellow housekeepers, the woman who cleaned the operating rooms every night. She was so used to the spirit, however, that she had even claimed to have regularly spoken with her if that can be believed.
The ghost was supposedly playful, a younger woman in a pink gown, and she appeared most often in ORs 5 and 6, for some reason. She could also often be seen walking alone in the Core area, the large surgical supply room which opens into all the operating rooms. I think that, since the Cath Lab was once part of Surgery, the good lady considers it part of her domain, as well. Perhaps I irritated her a little for not paying enough attention to her antics.
I also had another little run-in with the OR ghost myself, on another night. I had volunteered to work a double, to cover for the guy who usually worked 11-7 as a Housekeeper. At about 2 AM, I got called to clean up OR 6 after an emergency surgery.
Great! OR 6, ONE OF THE HAUNTED ONES at 2 AM. I knew the whole area would be empty by the time I got there, and it was. I got the Housekeeping cart set up and went to the open door. They had graciously left the light on for me. The floor was spattered here and there with splotches of congealed blood, and various disposable items used in surgery were left lying around. I, of course, had to wipe everything down and thoroughly mop the floor with disinfectant. I went into the Core, just outside the OR, and switched on the stereo, which I blared. I tuned it to an oldies station and started singing loudly along. My eyes kept wandering to the small observation window to the right, where the housekeeper I mentioned earlier, who usually cleaned in the OR, often saw the woman’s face staring at her. Thankfully, I saw nothing. Playful ghost or not, I probably would have ended up cleaning my underwear out as well if I’d seen her. I finished up and put everything away, then went back into the Core to turn off the stereo and turn off the lights. I lowered the volume and switched off the stereo, watching as the “power” light went out; I then hit the lights, plunging the whole area into darkness. The only light came from a dim light way up at the corner of the hall outside OR 6.
I walked into the OR, and suddenly, as I reached the middle of the room, the strains of “Louie Louie” thundered out of the speakers and into the darkness that surrounded me. The stereo had come back on by itself, louder even than I’d had it. That meant that I had to stand there in the dark, waiting for my eyes to adjust, then head back into the Core and turn it off again. I swallowed hard and did this, then hauled tail out of the OR, my feet barely touching the floor, hoping there’d be no more ORs until the next shift came on at 7. There weren’t.
I wasn’t the only one to have stereo trouble in the OR. As I told my tale the next day at work, two other female co-workers volunteered their story; a similar incident had occurred to them as they finished up in the surgery area late one Saturday evening. They were preparing to leave the area and were all the way up in front, out by the doors to the main hall, when the stereo came back on. They called their supervisor, who refused to come to investigate the incident and shut it off. “There are two of you,” he said, and hurriedly hung up.
There were other restless spirits there, too:
Another housekeeper friend had to go up to Psych to clean a room; when she arrived and started cleaning, the nurse at the desk called her out.
“Look here,” he said, pointing at the television monitor (there are cameras in each room, on 24-7, occupied or not). There, on the monitor, was a sheer cloud hovering over the table she’d been cleaning.
They rose and went to look in the room, but of course saw nothing, except that several of the bottles she’d brought with her had been moved. The guy said that they often had trouble with patients in this room seeing odd things or hearing voices, but then, this was the Psyche Ward; such stories were usually dismissed. Maybe the patients aren’t so crazy, after all?
Some other odd things at that hospital.
The “Whistler” was a guy in work boots, jeans and a flannel shirt that hung out in the laundry. We often speculated that maybe he was an employee of the old City Dump, on which the hospital now sits. He didn’t come around often and was usually heralded by a faint whistling.
There was a voice in the Morgue that was actually recorded once on a security guard’s tape recorder. Over the whispery sound of the vents and faint machinery of the Boiler Room down the hall, a voice could be heard saying “Help” several times. I heard that tape myself; very, very creepy. It was no fake, either. Believe me, either the guy was an actor of the caliber of Laurence Olivier, or he was really freaked out by it, too. After that, he refused to go in the Morgue alone, and eventually quit.
I guess that’s all, or at least all I can remember right now. Happy haunting, and remember — Montani Semper Liberi (Mountaineers Are Always Free)!