Exhuming the Ghosts Within the Ellis Island Hospital Compound [PHOTOS]

Posted on: April 30th, 2015 at 10:36 am by

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Endless corridor that connects all the buildings

For 60 years the Ellis Island Hospital complex sat abandoned. The facility, upon construction, was deemed the largest health initiative the United States had ever attempted. Open between 1902 and 1930, it was meant to keep contagious diseases (tuberculosis, cholera, trachoma, diphtheria et. al.) from entering America along with the tens of thousands who departed the old country for the shores of New York.

During our recent excursion, we made our way onto the south side of the island, a mysterious place to many. While the public is still learning of this opportunity to go rogue on Ellis, we recount for you a chilling tale alongside a plea to help restore these priceless structures.

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Let’s start the adventure, shall we?

The tour guide walked us through the ruins with iPad presentation in tow, an ironic century clash not lost on this group. The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital is made up of 22 separate buildings, each connected by one creepy above-ground corridor that branches off to various wings. Our leader explained how the architecture was built so that sickly occupants could avoid having to brave the elements. We made our way from the main structure to the Ferry Building, and through a double door to the past…

We meandered into the contagious disease ward, the laundry room (for washing thousands of sheets daily), the doctor’s quarters, the autopsy theatre, the kitchen, the mattress autoclave room (for sterilization from the highly contagious diseases), the power plant, the dormitory rooms for tuberculosis patients…the dust and silence settled on my shoulders. A place once filled with life and death was muted by the sound of howling wind outside and time.

The real adventure began in the TB dorm rooms. Each was outfitted with two sinks – one for cleansing and the other for expelling sputum. A small mirror hung innocently over the cleansing sink. Our guide encouraged us to take a photo in the mirror. One woman took a selfie.

Nope, nope, nope. Never, ever look into a mirror in a place that may be haunted. Countless cultures believe that mirrors can be occupied by spirits. They can steal your soul, possess you etc.

Google it for a million-plus results. Friendly tip, don’t even look in mirrors that are antique. Buy one at Ikea. Safe bet.

Over in the next room I heard a visitor ask her husband “what is that girl saying?” I thought they were hearing the same thing I was, but would come to find out no one was speaking.

But me.

“Get out, get out” over and over; someone or something was controlling my speech. It was brief, but afterwards my arms hung like lead weights. I was ashen and weak, but sensed no evil. It felt as though the spirits wanted us to “get out” of their room so we wouldn’t be exposed to TB.

Despite the physical presence in that ward, what would the pictures reveal? Well, surprisingly, not much. Except for one, and trust me, in this case, one is enough.

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There is a gaunt man standing to the left of the window with his head tilted to the right peering in. He is hard to see, but he is there. You may have to lean back a bit depending on the device you’re using. There are sunken eyes atop a frail face with protruding cheekbones. It appears he is wearing a hat almost like that of a fisherman. One side his body is visible; the rest is behind the wall. The top arrow points to the top of his hat and the second to where his shoulder begins.

Can you see him? I cannot stop seeing him.

Next we made our way to the most intact room in the entire facility: the autopsy theatre with its semi-circle concrete seating intact, freezers made of wood in check, light fixture still hanging, sink still standing:

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Everyone else entered, but my feet would not move. Again, nothing malicious. It seemed like a guardian stopping me, protecting me. Why not the others? I cannot say. Perhaps they were not open to the presence.

Naturally, you may be skeptical. However, this has happened to me many times in the past, instances of which I’ve previously shared. Each occurrence tends to revolve around a place imprinted by intense love, death, birth, pain, or change.

Many of the children born in the Ellis Island hospital were named after the nurses and doctors who took care of them. An intense connection, no?  If not that then how about the 3,500 persons that passed away there?

Take it all in, people!  History matters. Places matter. Living or dead, all lives matter and to leave this place to decay would betray the very core of what the hospital intended to do and did: provide top notch care to those in desperate need.

Now the hospital is in desperate need and for those who linger. We can hope they find peace knowing the first place (and perhaps the last) they knew in America will be preserved with our assistance.

Sincere thanks to Bob Currie, Clan Currie, and Tartan Day for shipping us over to Ellis Island (not steerage class). Please head over to SaveEllisIsland.org to help.

Sweet dreams!

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