Sunday, March 24, 2013

Harms Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home-Idaho

When I think of Idaho, I honestly don't think of hauntings.  I think of well, potatoes, lol.  But, like any other state in our great union, Idaho does indeed have its fair share of ghostly happenings and the one I was drawn to in particular is the Harms Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home.

This facility is located in American Falls, Idaho, and is a newer addition to a long history of such medical facilities in the city, thanks to its close proximity to the railroad.  After the previous hospital was deemed outdated, ground was broken for what was to be known as the Power County Hospital and Nursing Home on March 3, 1960.  The hospital was officially dedicated in April of 1961 and opened with 18 nursing home beds and 16 hospital beds, with the room to expand to up to 60 more beds.

The hospital quickly grew and became even more modernized and in the early 1980s changed its name to the Harms Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home.  The Harms name comes in honor of Dr. Frank Harms, who served the area for close to 40 years.  In 1940, Frank opened up a family practice after graduating from the University of Oklahoma.  He and his wife, Lois, moved to American Falls in 1953, where Harms practiced medicine until a mild heart attack forced him to retire in 1980.  Frank Harms passed away on March 28, 1981 of a heart attack, and shortly thereafter, the hospital was renamed.

Frank Harms

As the facility went through many upgrades and changes over the years, it also picked up a fair amount of ghosts along the way.  Here's a few of the things that are reported by hospital staff and patients alike:

* At night, the buzzers to the nurses' stations will go off by themselves, calling nurses to empty rooms and even empty bathrooms.  In my research, this is one of the most common traits of "haunted hospitals."

* Apparitions have been seen out of the corner of one's eye and even directly.  One apparition can be seen sitting in a chair across a long hall.  Former (and deceased) patients of the facility have been seen wandering the halls, there one minute and gone the next.  There's also a tall man that is seen with some regularity.  This gentleman is seen standing in doorways, watching..almost as if he's making sure that everyone around him is doing his/her job.  And while it is not specified whether or not locals believe that this apparition is that of Dr. Harms, he is "experienced" in another way.

* The strong smell of cigar smoke permeating throughout the smoke-free facility is said to be that of Dr. Frank Harms.  Interesting note, though...in the photo of Dr. Harms, provided by the hospital's website, Harms is seen smoking a PIPE.  I'm sure its very possible he smoked both, but if the smell of PIPE tobacco was observed, that would really make for an interesting coincidence!

Anyway, in 2010, the hospital underwent an interesting turn.  It was decided by a commissioned board that the name of the hospital would in fact be changed BACK to Power County for the facility's 50th anniversary in 2011.  I wonder how Dr. Harms feels about that name change??

Hospital's Homepage


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