America is home to some of the most haunted hospitals in the world. Infamous locations like Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Penshurst Asylum, St. Albans, and Ashmore Estates are some of the most-explored paranormal investigation hotspots thanks to the amount of ghostly activity that occurs inside their walls on a daily basis. There are, however, a few haunted hidden gems out there. The St. Ignatius Hospital in Colfax, Washington may not have gotten the same amount of attention the big guns have, but this under-the-radar hot spot is one of the most haunted buildings in the country.
Built in 1893, the St. Ignatius Hospital was a six floor, twenty-five room medical facility that was built to bring much needed healthcare to the Palouse, Washington area. Funding for the building was provided private donations, and in the early days, patients were treated by the Sister of Charity in a small wooden building on the property while the actual hospital’s construction took place. By 1894, the hospital was officially opened, and for many years treated the sick and dying.
Unfortunately, for a hospital which relied on donations, sponsorship, and whatever meager funds patients could afford to pay for their treatments, St. Ignatius proved to have an unsustainable business mode. The hospital fell further and further into disrepair, and by the mid-sixties, the St. Ignatius was was converted into a mental health facility. By 2003, the large building was officially abandoned and boarded up for good.
It wasn’t long before whispers about strange activity inside the winding corridors of St. Ignatius began to spread through the community. Bumps in the knight drew curious urban explorers to the crumbling walls of the hospital, documenting the abandoned corridors with their cameras and telling tales of frightening encounters with the unexplained. As news of St. Ignatius Hospital’s paranormal activity hit internet forums, ghost hunters from all over the country began making the trek to Washington to see what all the fuss was about. Those who made the journey left impressed, frightened, and loaded with evidence of the afterlife, and St. Ignatius quickly became a best-kept secret.
One of the most active areas of the hospital is the left-side hallway of the first floor, nicknamed the “left is dead” area by investigators. The strange name came from the fact that in the hospital’s early days, if a patient entered the emergency room and was taken to the right, there was a very good chance they would be walking out in the morning, but if they where wheeled to the left, odds are they weren’t going to be so lucky. The left hallway also leads to the elevator which carried the dead bodies down to the basement morgue.
One of the most popular spirits witnessed by investigators is believed to be that of the first patient to ever die in St. Ignatius Hospital. In 1893, the man was crushed between two railroad cars, only to die on the hospital grounds. He’s said to be very active on the main floor of the building, and appears to have taken on the grotesque visage of his gory demise even in the afterlife, frightening ghost hunters with his bloody, crushed body.
The fourth floor of St. Ignatius has proven to be a favorite amongst paranormal investigators, as it used to be the surgery ward. Quite often, ghost hunters report hearing the sounds of loud footsteps coming towards them, as if a surgeon is quickly making his way to the operating table. Many of the rooms have been named after previous patients, and the Rose Room happens to be one of the most active of them all, with many unable to spend more than a few minutes inside before feeling dizzy and overwhelmed by feelings of dread.
More often than not, groups investigating the building claim to witness the tall silhouette of a shadowy man moving throughout the hospital going from room to room. The shadow man is often thought to be one of the more negative entities that spends his time wandering St. Ignatius Hospital’s abandoned corridors.
Despite the spooky stories and rampart paranormal activity that emanate from the abandoned building, St. Ignatius has managed to fly relatively under the radar when it comes to mainstream attention. This super-secret status has proven to be a boon for local ghost hunters who are “in the know”, but for the building’s owner, an increase in attention for the property could mean the difference between saving it from destruction and letting the wrecking ball swing.
Fortunately, paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman, known for their work on Ghost Adventures and Paranormal State, have taken a keen interest in St. Ignatius’ spooky tales, and flew out to Colfax, Washington to spend 72 hours locked inside the haunted building. The evidence they captured during their stay is set to be the focus of an episode in the upcoming season of Paranormal Lockdown on TLC, which should turn St. Ignatius into the nationally-recognized haunted hotspot it deserves to be.
The next time you’re thinking about visiting one of America’s haunted hospitals, you might want to rethink a visit to the big ones, and maybe head off the beaten path to spend some time in one of the lesser-known haunts. St. Ignatius Hospital is a great place to start.