Thursday, September 5, 2013

Veterans' Memorial Hospital, Pomeroy, OH

Meigs County Children's Home, by Tom Darrell (1983)
Today's blog post is a special Haunted Ohio location!  I didn't really mean to write an Ohio piece today, but what started as an insomnia-fueled quest for some interesting ghost stories to read quickly turned into a hunt for more information on one place in particular.  That place is the Veterans' Memorial Hospital, located in Pomeroy, Ohio.

The hospital opened for business on September 20, 1962 as a 41-bed facility dedicated to the veterans of Meigs County.  Upgrades took place in 1971, turning it into an 88 bed facility, but unfortunately, the hospital closed its doors in 2001.  By 2008, there were talks of converting part of the facility into the new EMS headquarters, but the design of the building and cost were prohibitive of that idea.  Cost was again a factor in the decision to NOT use the space as a new medical clinic.  There has been interest in using the former hospital as an office complex and renting out space, but for the most part, the large building sits fairly empty, being used for storage. (Source: Abandoned Online)

According to several different websites listing haunted locations and ghost stories of Ohio, this hospital is home to a young female ghost who is seen wearing a long, white nightgown.  Further research would give a more detailed description of the girl...a few more clues as to who she might be.  For example, Haunted Hocking: A Ghost Hunters Guide to the Hocking Hills and Beyond, by Janette Quackenbush, features the tale, and adds that the little girl is most notably seen from outside the hospital, through the windows.  The young apparition stands in front of the window, wearing her long nightgown and often holding a candle.  When spotted, she'll quickly disappear, but is said to also play with the interior lights of the building, turning them on and off.

Being seen from outside the building makes sense due to the fact that the building is not occupied, but it seems as if the little girl was haunting the hospital long before it closed its doors!  A former nursing employee of the hospital weighed in on a local TOPIX post about area hauntings with some chilling information.  When the hospital was operational, the little girl was heard much more frequently than she was seen.  Staff and patients alike would hear her bouncing a rubber ball and skipping along the halls.  She was seen, however, by several different residents sitting in certain rooms alongside different patients.  It was accepted that the ghost was that of a little girl who died mysteriously before the hospital was even built!

Up the hill a bit from the hospital on Mulberry Road was the Meigs County Children's Home, an orphanage that first opened its doors in March of 1883 on land given to the county by Ms. Sarah H. Dabney.  The orphanage operated until 1973 and was later used as office space for the county school board, and possibly at one time, as elderly housing.  While I haven't yet confirmed or denied the story, it is said that in the 1940s, a four year old little girl disappeared from the orphanage.  Her body was never found, but a pair of blood-stained little girls' panties were...leading investigators to suspect foul play.

Is the little ghost girl that wanders the halls of the Veterans' Memorial Hospital the same girl who disappeared not so many years ago from a nearby orphanage, or was she a patient who lost her life in sometime in the 40+ years of the hospital's history?  Both of these locations appear to still be standing...perhaps one day her story will be told to someone who will listen.

*Want to read about MORE spooky locations in Ohio?  Check out my Haunted Ohio page for additional ghost stories from the Buckeye State!*

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