In a place where people shuffle off the mortal coil on a daily basis, it’s hardly surprising that most hospitals are overflowing with ghost stories. Where life and death are just part of the job, nurses from around the world have been sharing their most terrifying true accounts of supernatural encounters. Prepare yourself for tales of haunted hospital wards, ghostly apparitions and even the occasional visit from the Grim Reaper himself.
As the following blood-curdling ghost stories go to show, you don’t just need healing hands to work in a hospital; you also need nerves of steel.
1. Don’t Let them Take Me
“The best I have heard is from a nurse who said that one night she was floated to oncology at the hospital she used to work at. She was given a patient who was passing away and had been unconscious for several days. At one point during the night, the nurse went into the room and the patient was at the top of the bed and looked at her and said, “Don’t let them take me!” The nurse was freaked out and asked her who was going to take her and she said that black thing up there and pointed up in the air. This patient died within minutes.” – Chad
2. The Empty Room
“I heard an interesting story a few weeks ago. Part of the hospital has been rebuilt and faces on to our unit. A nurse doing something near the window looks across and sees two people moving about in one of the clinic rooms (it’s after hours and clinic is shut). She called a colleague over who also saw these two people. They call security who go over and check out the room; nobody there. A while later the nurses again see these two people moving around so they call security. This time the security guys split up – one stands with the nurses while the other one went over to the clinic to check again.
The scary part of this is that the security guys were talking on the radio. The one in the clinic states that the room is empty, but the other security guard standing in our unit with the two nurses could actually see these two people, standing right beside the security guard while he was talking.” – MaryAnn_RN
3. The Sound of Children Playing
“My mother-in-law has been a CNA for 15ish years, and like many new CNAs, one of her first jobs was at a nursing home for the elderly. Soon before patients at that nursing home passed, they would complain about “the children outside being noisy”…in the dead of night. There were also patients that would comment on the children playing outside their window in the daytime (when clearly there were no children to be seen).
She has plenty of other weird stories, but that one is my favorite.” – iamsookiestackhouse
4. Straight to Hell
“Okay, not my story, but something my sister witnessed when she was a med student at a level one trauma facility. Guy comes in from an MVA, motorcycle vs. truck, she said he was a “Waffle House hash brown” — sliced, diced, and chunked. The guy is able to talk at the beginning, drunk, cussing the nurses and docs trying to help him, not a nice guy. The end up intubating the guy to preserve the airway and the guy’s going down hill fast. He codes, but they manage to bring him back.
Suddenly, the guy comes completely to, rips out his tube, grabs my sister’s hand and lets out this breathy little scream, “Don’t let me die, I’m going to hell. Please don’t let me die!” This freaks out everyone, including my sister. The guy says he “woke up” in hell, on fire, and keeps begging someone to check his feet for burns…nobody could believe he pulled out his tube and was talking.
Despite everything they did, the guy still died. My sister said they were all freaked out about it for weeks.” – nerdtonurse?
5. The Man Sitting in the Corner
“OK, this totally creeped me out. I worked at a small privately owned nursing home. A lot of the patients had been there a long time. Naturally, I was silly enough to take the night shift for two weeks right out of school to cover the night nurse who was ill. This place had these old hallway lights that you had to stick a paper clip in this slot on the wall to turn them on and off (real safe right). There was one at each end of the main hallway. I carried the paper clip on my keyring. So there I am one night, I come in at 11 take report, set up supplies etc. I shut out the lights. The only light is
So there I am one night, I come in at 11 take report, set up supplies etc. I shut out the lights. The only light is from the lamp on my desk and the eerily red exit sign that cast this red wash all over the walls. Anyway, I’m standing at the med cart stocking med cups and I feel a whoosh of air. It’s winter and no windows are open. I hear a rustling sound and think that it’s the resident in #3 who is restless sometimes at night. His room is about 6 feet from the med cart. Now, being the brave nurse I am lol, I decide to check to make sure he’s not trying to get out of bed. I go over to his room and find that he’s sound asleep. I do a bed check and everyone is sleeping and accounted for. The CNA is in the tv room doing flow sheets. I continue on with stocking.
A little while later I hear the noise again and this time see a figure out of my peripheral vision (they say spirits present themselves in your peripheral vision) pass by me into room 3. This time I’m not so brave. I take the CNA in with me who now thinks I’m nuts. We creep into the room and find the patient sitting up in bed having a conversation with someone who isn’t in the room. When I ask him who he is talking to he tells me the man who is sitting in the chair in the corner. Naturally, there’s no one in the chair. The aide and I settle him down and leave the room.
At report the next morning I’m telling the nurse about what happened. Before I could say who they pt was talking to she said “The man sitting in the chair in the corner right?” Creepy! Later I had talked to the usual night nurse who said it happened all the time when she was on. More than one patient had the same experience. I never did get the name of the mysterious man in the corner. In any case that was the end of my night shift stint.” – Nurset1981
6. The Grim Reaper
“Intensive care nurse here: I have many stories ranging from sheets being ripped apart, to old women in rocking chairs, but the one which ‘haunts’ me is the time I think I actually saw the grim reaper.
It was 1999 late in the day, it was summer and turning dark in a busy 12 bedded ITU, in London. I was in charge and at the nurses station, there were a few people milling around, but less than during the day. I looked up to see this man opening and coming through the double doors into the unit. What was so striking about him were his clothes. He looked like he had been picked straight out of 1974 and dropped in 1999. He was wearing brown cord flares, the platform shoes men wore then an orange, yellow and brown check shirt with a cream and brown patterned tank top, over the shirt. He was white with shortish brown hair (not quite 1970’s) and about 30 years old. He walked calmly (like he did this all the time) towards a bay of patients. Not recognising him and knowing he wasn’t a relative of other health care person, I said ‘Hello, can I help?’ He looked at me directly, nodded as if to say ‘Hello’ and carried on walking.
I watched him and he stopped at the end of a patients bed and turned to look at them. He never touched the person or do anything other than look at them. This unwell, but stable patient suddenly and unexpectedly deteriorated. As the staff went to assist they all acted like they didn’t see him. He turned around and as calmly as he came in he left.
I never saw what direction he went as I left the nurses station to go and help with the patient, who ultimately despite our best efforts died. I spoke to the some of the staff later on about our 1970’s visitor and no-one else saw him. 17 years later it is vivid in my mind.” – ScaryKerry91476
7. Something Evil
“One night I was caring for a dying male patient. He was scared and I spent quite some time with him, trying to calm and reassure him. Eventually, he calmed and I left the bedside and went over to the nurses’ station which was about 15 feet away. As I sat down I glanced over to him and there was a black shape standing over the bed, looking down at the patient.
I was terrified, and am sure it was something evil.” – MaryAnn
8. The Little Girl with a Ribbon in her Hair
“We had a black girl, about 10 in ICU that was severely injured in a car accident. Lots of brain damage. She didn’t die there but was moved to another facility after weeks and weeks.
After that, I know of 3 older black males, in their 50’s, that, if they were even mildly sedated, would ask about the little black girl with the ribbon in her hair who was sitting at the foot of their beds. One guy said, “she asked me how I was doing, and then got up and walked that way” while he was pointing towards the 2nd-floor window. He paused, a wide-eyed look came over his face, and then he said, ‘But I guess she really couldn’t have left the room that way, huh?”” – Anonymous
9. The Ghost Hunt
“During clinical at nursing school over the last summer, we went to an older hospital that had been converted to a rehab unit after a hurricane. It is a three story facility, but only the top floor is used.
The elevator would stop on the 2nd floor every time, which was being used only for storage. Being inquisitive I asked the staff and found out that supposedly the 2nd floor is haunted by an old ghost doctor who worked and died on the unit. I just HAD to investigate!
I grabbed a classmate and upon stepping onto the vacant, darkened unit, a call bell was on, we walked in and turned it off. What we weren’t told is that 2nd floor was the old OR floor. It was pretty creepy walking through the old surgical suites.
Well, once we had made an entire trip around the unit we came back to the nurses’ station, which was adjacent to the elevator, as we rounded the corner to face the elevators, the doors to the elevator FLEW open and all the call bells went off, as if to say, “Get out!”” – Sahara311
10. Kitty Cat
“I had a patient who was CMO and quite obviously very close to dying. The week before, my best buddy-cat Pippin had died (and I was pretty broken up about it, still). That being said… I walked into her room, and she said, “Oh, you brought your kitty with you!” I blink at her and say, “What?” Mind you, this was the first time I’d had that patient and I hadn’t discussed my cat with her, having cats or even liking them. Her reply, “Your kitty. It’s right by your foot.” I get that frisson, that momentary shiver in my soul and ask, just for kicks, “Yeah? What color’s the kitty?” She says, “Black with some white.”
Pippin was a black tuxedo cat with white paws and a white bib. And the patient died that night.” – MiddleEarthGardens
11. Nurse Betty
“I was working in the NICU when we had a threat of a tornado. Some Nurses got pulled to go to a sister hospital in town to assist in the disaster plan. When all was over one of the nurses returned with this story: She was assisting the nurses in giving some meds before pulling all into the hallways. Every pt she went to said they already had their meds from that nice nurse in the white uniform and hat. She realized after she left that it been awhile since a nurse has worn a hat. That story revealed the urban legend of Nurse Betty.
The story goes she had an affair with a married MD, became pregnant then agreed to allow him to perform an abortion on her on the 2nd floor OR room.She died and he went to jail. She never left the hospital and was seen frequently. The local newspaper would do an article on her every year around Halloween on her sightings. The hospital has since been replaced with college dorms. Hmmm I wonder if any students have seen her?” – Jdon
12. The Room in the Bell Tower
“Had always heard ghost stories but never had my own until I had been nursing about 6 years. We had a bed tower in the hospital where I worked the night shift as a float nurse. It was a pretty quiet night at about 3 am and the nurses were sitting at the desk charting when my patients light went off. His room was the right in front of the station so I went in to check and he wanted to know “if everything was OK” and I said, “what do you mean” and said, “someone just came in here. I woke up and someone was standing by the bed and then they went out but didn’t say anything.” I didn’t want to upset him, but I knew no one had been in there so I just said, Maybe it was the CNA or maybe you dreamed it, but I was secretly a little freaked out. Then I was REALLY freaked when I went out and told the others. They weren’t surprised, said it happened all the time in that room and the call light frequently went off when the room was unused.
No one was sure who the ghost was but had been seen many times. Sure enough not a while later I was working that floor and in the early morning hours the light went off, same story, different patient.” – jenny031
13. The Old Nun
“Like most very old hospitals, at one time our hospital was run by nuns. One particular unit had been converted into a sleep study lab area for outpatients tests. One shift in the middle of the night I was watching the video monitor and five patients simultaneously began removing their monitoring equipment. I went into the first room to ask what was going on and the patient said that old nurse with the cap told her the study was over and that she could leave.
All the patients reported the same story.” – Anonymous
14. Never Open the Door
“In the morgue at my hospital, I would always hear knocking coming from inside the freezer. It really creeped me out, especially when the pathologist looked up, grabbed me by the shoulders, stared me straight in the eye and said ‘you hear that? You never open that door when they’re knocking. Never.’
It turned out to be some loose pipes, he thought it was hilarious I didn’t sleep that night.” – eaturliver
15. A Call for Help
“Psychiatric RN here. Absolutely.
My first job was in a small, 35-bed psych hospital in California. It used to be a medical facility where surgeries were performed and, of course, people died. When I’d work the night shift, I’d sometimes get a phone call from the local police station asking if everything was okay. Sure, everything was fine. All the patients are asleep and it was just a normal night. The police then said that they received a 911 call from our hospital and the extension from where the call was being made was the arts and crafts room (NOBODY goes in there at night, not even staff. It’s always had a creepy vibe and used to be where surgeries were performed). The caller, identifying herself as Satana, was asking for help.
This would happen about once a month or so. Night shift didn’t have much staff, so as supervisor, I knew where all my staff was because I would be the one to help relieve them during breaks. I know with 100% certainty that no staff or patients were the ones calling 911. I know it wasn’t a patient because psych hospital doors are locked and to get to that room, a patient would have to cross 3 barriers of passcode protected doors.” – sensicle
16. Getting Ready
“Over the course of my nursing career, I have experienced numerous patient deaths. It always seems there is some circumstance revolving around one that you always remember. Several months back, a terminally ill patient who had been suffering from leukemia for a number of years began declining in health rapidly. One night around supper time, he became very anxious and indicated that he had to get ready because they were coming to get him at 6pm. Several minutes later when checking on his status again he had passed away at nearly 6pm on the dot.” – steve40
17. The Elevator
“I was at the nurse’s station and we heard the bell in the elevator ringing. Someone was yelling “Help!” and we heard pounding. We called security to tell them someone was stuck in the elevator. I then walked over to the elevator doors and was shouting to the person to try to stay calm and help was on the way. She just kept yelling for help, banging, and ringing the bell. Security called the nurses station to say all of the elevators were working and they didn’t find anyone stuck. At this moment, whoever was in the elevator was suddenly quiet.
A few times I have been in the elevator and for no reason, it went to the 5th floor. The 5th floor is totally unoccupied but used to be a hospice unit. I would be going up from the ground floor and the only button lit up would be 3. But the elevator would pass my floor, go to 5th, open the door… no one there. I never was brave enough to step foot onto the 5th floor.” – Clovery
18. The Coincidence
“I had a patient one night who was mentally disabled. She was a young, black woman with these huge eyes. I don’t know if she always looked like that or if she was just genuinely spooked, but they were open wide. The first thing she said to me when I walked in the room was “She dead. That lady dead”, nodding her head at the woman in the next bed. The woman in the next bed had apparently been dealing with this all day and was fed up. “I’m not dead!”, she yelled. I tried to calm her down, to no avail. The day shift nurse told me she’d been doing that all day. I felt so bad for her roommate. I considered trying to transfer her, but that would just put someone else in the room to put up with it. She did this all night. She would even put her call light on to tell me her roommate was dead.
So this was creepy on its own, but guess who died the next day? It wasn’t an expected death either. I don’t believe in the supernatural, but damn, that was quite a coincidence.” – Hysterymystery
19. Death Would Always Follow
“I worked for a while in a residential hospice facility. Often, before one of our residents would die, many of the staff nurses would see a little child (sometimes a boy, sometimes a girl) playing in the hallway. The timing was never consistent, sometimes it would be minutes before a death, sometimes it would be hours or days, but always a death would follow. Seeing the child never was really scary, except that you knew it was something freaky. The whole place has a peaceful feel, not scary usually.
Often, patients would speak about angels at their side. Once we had a nun as a patient and when she died we heard singing. We checked all the rooms for a choir on tv and found nothing to explain the sound.” – jhenry
20. The Inspector
“We have a gentleman that we call the inspector. He appears at the end of the long hall (our wings are L shaped). He carries a clipboard in his hand. When he shows up a resident usually dies within the next couple days. We’ve also had residents ring and tell us that there was a man standing next to their roommate’s bed and that we should tell him to leave (no men on nights). The roommate usually dies soon after. And then there’s the children.
Several lucid residents have reported children in the halls at night. There’s a children’s home behind us where children have been abused in the past.” – lpn1313
21. The Man in the Striped Shirt
“Not mine, but a fellow nurse of mine. We were talking about patients’ hallucinations when he told me about this time he was walking past a patient’s room, an elderly woman with dementia, and she was chatting up a storm with someone. He asked her who she was talking to, and the woman replied “that nice man in the black and white striped shirt.” A while later he went into another patient’s with dementia room, and that different patient asked where the man with the striped shirt had gone.” – polyhooly
22. The Bloodbath
“I was working my regular 7-7 night shift in a bone marrow transplant unit with one other nurse. We had 5 patients, and it was about 3:30 am. My coworker had just come out of room 4 and I startled her as she came around the corner. She had been emptying a urinal when the bathroom door had closed on her, which of course freaked her out, and she spilled urine on herself but I digress.
She proceeded to tell me that there was a young gentleman who had been in that room who had died a rather gruesome death… evidently this man was slated to go home, but one night (around 4) the nurses heard a thump…the sound of someone falling…they rushed in the room, and this man was in the bathroom, central line out, and blood everywhere. They coded him, but he died right there in the bathroom. No one is sure why he pulled his line, or what had happened, but evidently, the scene was a bloodbath. Horrible, horrible, now here comes the scary part.
A few weeks later, a sweet little old lady is in that room and asks the nurse if someone had died in there. The nurse explained that this is a hospital, and it was likely that someone could have died. Well, the lady says, “I think a young guy died in here.” The nurse asks why, the lady responds “cuz he’s talking to me.” Aghhh!! Ok, I’m not making this up….this lady has a central line, triple lumen. The nurse goes in there later and there is blood everywhere. One of her lines is cut. Not pulled out, but cut. There are no scissors in the room. The lady says “he did it.”” – Paravell
23. The Man in the White Gown
“Psychiatric RN here. I worked in an acute care adult unit but was sent to work with the kids one evening shift. It was after 10 pm, all patients were in their rooms and in bed. I heard a child screaming and a psych tech trying to calm him. I ran to the room, the 7-year-old boy was hysterical. He was crying, sweating, and shaking. He said he saw ‘something’. After he settled down, he told me that he saw a white man with gray hair in a hospital gown in his room. While we discussed what he saw, the child froze in fear, tears rolling down his face, he said “Ms., whoawhoawhoathere, be still. Oh, my God, he’s right behind you.”
We decided to address ‘the man’ and tell him that the little boy was scared…the boy said the man turned around and left after that. The only thing anyone in the unit would have heard was the boy screaming at the beginning…all other discussion was in his room and quiet.
Not even 3 minutes later, a 17-year-old male at the end of the hall started screaming. I ran to his room, he was standing on his bed trying to get away from a white man in a hospital gown.” – whoawhoawhoathere
24. Voodoo People
“Night nurse for 4 years now at an old folk’s home. Had a palliative who couldn’t sleep because of incredibly vivid hallucinations. She would describe voodoo people around her room that would just stare at her waiting for her to die. I didn’t take it seriously until the lady across the hall (who rarely ever spoke) starting seeing them in her room too. Legitimate shivers.” – ryank_119
25. The Sound of Footsteps
“I work in intensive care a small community hospital. We have a 9 bed unit that is completely closed off from the medical floor via two doorways. Two nights ago, we were all sitting at our the station, charting, when we all heard footsteps coming down the hall. It’s a completely open unit where you can see every room from everywhere. No one was in the unit with us. CT is below us and they close at 5 (unless and an emergency comes in) and we only have people on the second floor, the third is used as storage, so no one was above us. It happened two or three times.
Then last night cupboard doors kept opening and shutting in the two empty rooms. I finally asked my coworker WTF was going on and she just told me that it usually happens after someone passes, especially if it was sudden. We had two codes last week that we lost and I guess everyone has had weird stuff happening for a couple days.” – SweepTheStardust
26. The Ringing Phone
“I was rotating nights on a med-surg floor, the furthest room from the nursing station just happened to be the only empty room on the floor. About 11PM the phone in the room started ringing but by the time I got in the room it had stopped. Not familiar with the floor much at night I finished my rounds and went to chart just as the other nurse also was charting and mentioned the phone. She looked at me a little strange telling me the phone couldn’t have rung, ALL phones in patients rooms were cut off at 10PM!
Now I had a mystery. A couple more weeks I again rotated nights, again the phone rang but the regular night nurse was there at the time. The story on this room was so far, every patient for the past month in that room had died, the phone started ringing every night the same time the last patient died, if answered there was no one on the line.” – Straydandelion
27. The Tall Thin Man
“Every night before the next shift comes in, I check on all my patients, make sure their briefs are clean, refill water pitchers, etc. This is usually right after sunset. Three different patients in three different rooms have told me they’re frightened of the tall, thin man standing in the corner, pointing right over my shoulder.
It’s really unsettling.” – PrairieHarpy
28. The Lonely Ghost
“Not a spooky story but a lonely ghost.
One of the rooms, if it was being used regularly, fine. no problems. But, since it was a room at the end of the hall, it was used for ‘storage’ lots of times.
If a couple of weeks went by and there were no patients/activity in the room, the call light would start going off, 4-5 times a shift. But, if you went into the room and turned on the TV, the call light wouldn’t go off anymore.
So, needless to say, when the room was being used for storage, the tv was always on w/ the volume down low.” – Zash
29. Rocking Mary
“The story of “Rocking Mary.” We closed room 12 in our MICU because just about every patient that has been there since Mary died complaints of seeing a woman in wearing a white habit rocking back and forth by their bedside. Apparently, this nun never makes eye contact…just stares outside the window which happens to be on the patient left side over their head. This window overlooks the hospital cemetery where nuns that have died were buried. Mary was a nun that died of a car accident outside the hospital back in the 50’s. She was only about 30 years old and all patient describes her as a young woman. We all thought that it was the ‘sundown syndrome’.
Anyways, since then room 12 became our storage room where no one goes in by themselves unless it is absolutely critical.” – no-recall
30. Itchy Nose
“My wife had a creepy experience a few years ago. She and another nurse were on duty at an inpatient hospice facility. One of their patients was dying and the immediate family was in the room with him. Well, he passed away and the family said their goodbyes. The family stepped out of the room and my wife and the other nurse went into prep him for other family that was coming. This was about 15 minutes after he drew his last breath and his heart stopped. As they straightened his sheets his right arm rose, bending at the elbow, and he itched the side of his nose with his index finger. Then his arm relaxed in the bent position. Both nurses saw this and my wife turned to her coworker and said, “Don’t you dare leave without me.” They quickly finished their work and left the room together.” – azhiker96
Read more from Strange Tales
You may also enjoy these stories: