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Ghosts In The Hall

By free2delude in Culture
Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Tuberculosis, also called the "white plague" or "consumption" affected thousands of Canadians every year until 1944. Before the 1943 discovery of the drug streptomycin, however, these thousands of tubercular Canadians suffered horrible deaths.

Prior to this drug therapy, treatment consisted of bed rest, wholesome food and plenty of fresh air, no matter what the temperature outside was. There was also isolation: not for the good of the patient, but to prevent the spread of the disease. To meet these needs, sanatoriums, or "sans", sprang up around the country. This is the story of one of the sanatoriums and the ghosts that continue to roam the buildings.

The building

Plans for the first sanatorium began in 1911 and it was to be built in Western Canada, called the Fort San sanitorium in Fort Qu'appelle, Saskatchewan. It was finally completed following the First World War. Many veterans came home with tuberculosis and were in need of treatment. 1919 saw the facility finally open, with returning soldiers occupying over half the available beds.

World War I helped to build this sanatorium, and World War II helped to render it obsolete. Because of the antibiotics and quality of these drugs, all treatment could be done in the hospitals.

Changing venues

In 1972, this western sanatorium closed its doors and it was sold to the provincial government for a dollar. The joke at that time was that the government got "taken." Essentially a village of some fifty buildings it was expensive to maintain, and for years it was of little use.

In the eighties, the property began serving some use as a school of the arts and a convention center. It still operated at a deficit and the buildings began to fall apart. At this time the Department of National Defense agreed to move their Western Canadian Sea Cadet Training Program to the site, and the sanatorium had a new lease on life.

Today the place still displays the old-fashioned windows and hospital-white walls. It is easy to imagine it is still 1940. You will find yourself believing that morning patients were wheeled down the hallways to the sunrooms for the fresh air cure.

According to some, more remains of yesteryear than the old-fashioned features and furniture. This continues to be one of the haunted places in Saskatchewan.

The singer

One of the first stories came from a man who had attended a summer music camp. On this day, the band members had gathered outside for practice. The young man forgot his music in his room and returned to retrieve it. As he was going through his baggage, he heard the sound of a woman singing.

The woman's voice was loud and clear and surprising, since this lodge was assigned to the men. The singing was accompanied with the sounds of running water. The young man walked over to the doorway and saw a woman, young and pretty in a conservative dark dress that fell past her knees. The taps were running, and as she washed, she was looking at her reflection in the mirror. The young man called out to her.

"Excuse me? Lady? I think you are in the wrong lodge." She gave no indication she had heard him. Instead of turning towards him, the woman backed away from the sink and out of his range of vision. He then entered the bathroom and she had vanished.

The young man was not frightened at first. He had been trying to figure out how she could have left the room without him noticing. Walking to the sinks he checked them for wetness, they were dry. Now he became frightened!

He ran out and rejoined his band mates and refused to go back to the lodge until later when it was filled with people.

Ouija anyone?

There were other rumours about a group of writers who had taken an ouija board to the facility. They were aware of the center's supernatural reputation and hoped to conjure some spiritual entertainment.

What actually happened, no one knows. The story has it that they were so frightened as they summoned up more activity than they anticipated, that they would never discuss the matter.

It seems they may have frightened others as well. There was an alcoholics' rehabilitation group booked into the center at the same time. The story has it that these people were terrified, sleeping two to a bed, unaware of what was causing the strange events around them and probably suspecting hallucinations.

Chains in the hallway

Teachers had gathered at the conference center a few years ago for a retreat. They were all awakened at three o'clock in the morning by a noise. It was as if someone was dragging heavy chains and slamming heavy doors while walking up and down the hallways. They would leave their doors open just to watch. They were very scared and couldn't wait to go home!

Nurse Jane

One very common apparition at the Conference Center is known as "Nurse Jane," or "Jane, the folding ghost". She had been called the folding ghost as she was often seen folding linens. On other occasions, she seems content to push a wheelchair around the premises. According to folklore, Jane was a distraught nurse who committed suicide while working at the sanatorium.

On the doorway at the end of a long hallway, a shadow of a wheelchair could be seen. The ghostly shadow was so distinct that it always drew someone down to investigate. By the time they'd reach the end of the hallway, the apparition would disappear.

Another odd experience happened to a center worker decades after the buildings had been used as a treatment facility. She found a nurse's cap on her desk upon arriving at work one morning in the laundry room. She had taken it home to use for a hallowe'en costume, but was reluctant to wear it. It was returned to the laundry room and it was never seen again.

Mr. Stiff

Mr. Stiff was the undertaker that used to attend to cases at the sanatorium. He may have had an unfortunate combination of name and occupation, but it was interesting enough to earn him a place in Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Still around

It is little wonder that the dark stories persist about the sanatorium. It was a medical purgatory where hundreds died and thousands suffered. Isolation, loneliness and pain were a way of life for its citizens.

Today the conference center still stands. It is a sunny and pleasant. The ghostly visitors remain....


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Votes: 0
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o streptomyc in
o Fort San
o haunted places
o ouija
o Also by free2delude

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Ghosts In The Hall | 68 comments (28 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
World War 11? (2.00 / 5) (#1)
by debacle on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 08:37:37 PM EST

Where was I for that one?

It tastes sweet.
sounds like a canadian version (none / 0) (#20)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 11:49:13 PM EST

of "weird new jersey"



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Fix: (1.40 / 5) (#33)
by SpaceMonkeyGrif on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 02:39:04 PM EST

Please replace 'sanitorium' with 'Sentor Rick Santorum'.

Tubular, dude! (none / 1) (#36)
by creativedissonance on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 03:24:01 PM EST

Why did the tubular Canadiens suffer horrible deaths?

Surfing is NOT A CRIME!

ay yo i run linux and word on the street
is that this is where i need to be to get my butt stuffed like a turkey - br14n

[ot] Tubular Worlds (none / 0) (#42)
by LodeRunner on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:18:49 AM EST

Awesome DOS game. (Originally from the Amiga?)

Used to play it listening to Dream Theater's "Awake" every time (got addicted to the game and the album by the same time). To this day, when I listen to the album, images of the game instantly come to my mind. Probably the closest to synaesthesia I'll ever experience...

"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner
[ Parent ]

Ah oh (1.20 / 5) (#38)
by Phil San on Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 04:26:14 PM EST

*sarcasm* You're posting about something that "can't be proven". You obviously *must* be lieing right? */sarcasm*

I could well believe it although I would solve it via an oversized novelty cross and plenty of holy water.

Frankly I think that it's a rather believable position that these entities are entirely on the dark side. Most people wouldn't dare disobey god if it were obvious that he commanded you to get home.

Looks good.

Hi. (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by What Good Is A 150K Salary When Living In NYC on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:11:11 AM EST

Post again when you have a stronger grasp on the English language. Thanks.

Skulls, Bullets, and Gold
[ Parent ]
-1, it just didn't grab me. (1.20 / 5) (#43)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:34:37 AM EST

IAWTP, but will award a zero (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 02:25:41 AM EST

It doesn't suck, and it doesn't jump up and scream "post me! post me!". I'll let the rest of these yahoos figure it out...

"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
Sanatoria (none / 1) (#45)
by IHCOYC on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 01:53:51 AM EST

Tuberculosis sanatoria seem to be frequent targets for "haunted" urban legends. One local building, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, is reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in this area, and in my day used to be a frequent target for teenage legend trips. Something about a building used to warehouse the victims of a terminal, contagious disease makes it shunned even after the building no longer serves a purpose.

I would like to contract tuberculosis, myself. Maybe then I might write some good poetry before I die.
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G

no no, the poetry will be just as bad. (none / 0) (#67)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 03:17:09 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Mad props for the ghost poll (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by LodeRunner on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:01:44 PM EST

Even though I'm pretty sure it was accidental (poll with just a space in the title or bug in scoop? If either case, I ask the powers that be not to fix it on this article :) ).

"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner

+1 FP, The ghosts have voted! (nt) (none / 0) (#48)
by FeatheredSerpent on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 12:50:00 PM EST

+1FP but only for the poll [nt] (none / 0) (#49)
by Smiley K on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 02:29:39 PM EST

-- Someone set up us the bomb.
[ Parent ]
+1, fun read. nt (none / 0) (#50)
by akostic on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 08:40:27 PM EST

"After an indeterminate amount of time trading insane laughter with the retards, I grew curious and tapped on the window." - osm
BOOO I'M A GHOST!!! (1.50 / 2) (#51)
by Lemon Juice on Sat Feb 11, 2006 at 10:13:18 PM EST


update on the "san" (none / 1) (#57)
by free2delude on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 09:42:49 AM EST

this center is being sold to the town of Fort San and will be redone into housing and condominium units, as the government was losing mega dollars a year on it. I wonder if the "ghosts" will appreciate their new home?
$$Any fool can criticize, condemn, complain. And most do.$$
There's no such thing as ghosts (none / 1) (#58)
by coljac on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 07:01:53 PM EST

(news flash!)

Am I supposed to suspend disbelief when reading a non-fiction puff piece? Sure, it's harmless, I guess. But it kind of reminds me of the way network television has gone, where all sorts of ghost-stories, UFOs and talking-with-the-dead shows are proliferating. It's marketed as "light entertainment" but I can't help feeling this credulous treatment of nonsense is eroding something important in our culture.

Even worse, people who complain about this sort of thing are made to feel they are raining on everybody's fun parade. :)

Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

news flash... (none / 1) (#59)
by free2delude on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 07:39:02 PM EST

well, no, I wouldnt expect you to change your opinion in believing in ghosts or not. In having these stories told to me, my mind wasnt changed to believe in them either. I found the tales quite interesting and enjoy them. I do like to read about or be told about others beliefs, no matter what subject. Its one way of learning about others. :o)
$$Any fool can criticize, condemn, complain. And most do.$$
[ Parent ]
Crazy beliefs (none / 0) (#60)
by coljac on Sun Feb 12, 2006 at 07:46:23 PM EST

Perhaps because I'm a skeptic, Ilike hearing about people's crazy beliefs. No disrespect to your well-written article, but I guess the tone was slightly too credulous for me (hence the reminder of network TV) and chain-rattling ghosts are a little old hat as far as silly stuff to believe. After all, how does one react to a grown man in the 21st century who claims to have seen or heard a ghost?

Anyway, just one humble opinion. Keep up the good work.

Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

skepticism is so 19th century. (none / 0) (#66)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 03:13:54 PM EST

blah blah Scientific Method blah blah Facts.

Cognitive Dissonance is your friend. You can believe in ghosts for the length of this story then go back to the mainstream opinion.

[ Parent ]

skepticism is so 4th century (none / 0) (#68)
by DaoDePhys on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 11:26:12 AM EST

One can go back to what he wants dynamically, but what works dynamically for one is seen as static for another. Sad but true: errors exist. The Skeptic school was there in the First Century BC as a continuity of Plato's Academy. Cicero was one of them. If what one searches is rationality, doubting the unreliable is a way. Who cares which trends used this wrongly. I don't care much about what's hip: nature of rationality and myth are the same.

[ Parent ]
The San was full of great old abandoned buildings (none / 0) (#61)
by shaniber on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 01:58:43 PM EST

I used to sneak into the buildings at The San when I was a kid. While it was spooky, I don't think that I ever ran into anything that ghostly. It was pretty worn down at my last sortie, nearly 13 years ago. I wish that I'd taken a souvenir back then.

I don't recall any specific ghost stories from attending band camp there, either, but since I got stuck having to travel back and forth between The San and my home in town every day, I missed a lot of the fun there. Sucked to live in town that summer.

It'll be a shame if this place gets torn down and turned into condos. While it'll be a great location (it's a short 5 minute drive from Fort Qu'Appelle, with a perfect view of / access to the lake), it's so steeped with wonderful history and whatnot that I'd be sad if I went speeding out along the Echo Lake Road and it wasn't there to bum around on the lawn at.

If anything, it should be returned to the Standing Buffalo Reserve. They might actually be able to run it as a convention centre, and make some sort of profit.

yes.. (none / 1) (#64)
by free2delude on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 05:19:00 PM EST

it would be great if standing buffalo could have it..am sure they could do a lot with it..and I was there about 1994 teaching the First Nations SCA/HC course, thats when i heard of these stories,,:o)
$$Any fool can criticize, condemn, complain. And most do.$$
[ Parent ]
We had one in our town in Massachusetts... (none / 0) (#62)
by claes on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 04:07:46 PM EST

It had been abandoned in the '30s, I guess, and the forest had grown up around it. It was near the town swimming beach, so we had plenty of opportunity to wander off and explore the buildings that we could get into.

Good times, but so very long ago.

-- claes

Tiberculosis (none / 1) (#63)
by Mylakovich on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 05:05:48 PM EST

Is definetly the coolest disease to suffer from for a bad-ass swordfighter.

I like Galford better (in bust mode) (none / 0) (#65)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 03:07:31 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Immigration is enriching us with TP again (none / 0) (#69)
by Baldrson on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 03:10:17 PM EST

What a colourful story that was! Isn't is a shame the TB Nazis wiped out such an enriching experience? Where are we to get our tortured souls from?

Have no fear, immigration is increasing the incidence of TB in the north Americas once again!

-------- Empty the Cities --------

Ghosts In The Hall | 68 comments (28 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
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