Erasing the Past at the Ghost Hospital
By LAWRENCE DOWNES
Published: August 4, 2012
KINGS PARK, N.Y.
Engineers and earth movers have now joined nature and vandals in the slow dismantling of the Kings Park Psychiatric Center, an all-but-abandoned city of the sick on the North Shore of Long Island, on thickly wooded bluffs above Long Island Sound.
Kings Park was one of the island’s four giant state mental institutions — part farm, part warehouse — that treated hundreds of thousands of patients from New York City. It began in the 1880s and kept growing into the 1960s and ’70s until, like its counterparts on the island and across the country, it was made obsolete by new drug therapies and a new understanding of the rights of the mentally ill.
Kings Park shut down in 1996 and the grounds became a state park, partly because nobody knew what else to do with it. Too far from major roads and full of buildings contaminated with asbestos and lead, it has proved inhospitable to redevelopment. (The sites of the other hospitals have long been home to ball fields, shopping centers, apartments, even a federal courthouse, and one is now a nature preserve.) At Kings Park, the state mows the lawns and tries to keep the ruins sealed, but only recently found the money to tear down the dozen or so unsalvageable buildings. After that, state parks officials say, it will be time to figure out what to do next.
For now the site remains one very strange state park — a place where you can launch a canoe into the Nissequogue River among reeds and herons and striped bass, or wander the grounds of a rotting asylum, among a century’s worth of ghosts. In its prime, Kings Park had not just hospital wards and offices but also a power plant, firehouse, workers’ cottages, dairy and horse barns, a piggery, libraries and garages. It had its own farm fields, reservoir and railroad spur.
Nearly all of what remains at the site is abandoned, including Building 93, a tower that looms over the grounds like a horror-movie hospital. Doors and windows are covered with plywood; weeds sag on brickwork. Graffiti defaces the ruins inside and out; thieves have stripped them for scrap metal, sawing off pipes and gutters and smashing electrical switches with rocks to pick out the copper like crab meat. There is a subculture of Kings Park infiltrators, carrying heavy tools and posting videos to YouTube. They seem to work as doggedly as the birds, squirrels and thick weeds that wrap themselves around metal stairwells and window grates.
Last Thursday, parks officials gave a tour. We drove back roads and went into Building 7, once home to administrative offices and surgical wards. The morgue was awash in filth and graffiti, but the body slabs still rolled. I wandered the rooms, then stopped when a worker with a flashlight said we weren’t alone; he had heard crunching feet down the hall. I saw a man in a T-shirt slip through a doorway into a pitch-dark room where stairs led to the basement. I was told not to follow.
Kings Park used to be far-off countryside, but over the decades, as development sprawled eastward from the city, it became an island of green in the heart of suburbia. This was true of all the Long Island state hospitals, but Kings Park, with its 600 rolling acres and water views, is the most beautiful. Its future is unclear: there will be parkland, certainly; housing in significant amounts, probably not. As for some sort of refuge for the poor and mentally ill, forget about it.
The surrounding township, Smithtown, will have a say on land use, and the not-in-my-backyard forces are legendary there. Nobody, aside from the looters and a few dedicated amateur researchers and bloggers, seems all that interested in the Kings Park Psychiatric Center as it is, or used to be. Long Island’s hospitals may not have had as bad a reputation as their New York City counterparts, but the whole era was toxic with abuse and neglect. And the memory of the patients who lived and died there is all but lost. Hundreds of them lie today in a potter’s field at the far edge of the property. Parks workers had trouble remembering where it was. But they found it, up a dirt road behind a locked gate: a grassy meadow scattered with a few stone slabs bearing numbers, not names.
New York State has largely abandoned its comprehensive commitment to caring for the mentally ill and disabled. When the hospitals emptied out, patients were sent to group homes to be better cared for; many were forsaken there, too. A recent series of articles in The Times found that abuse and neglect plague the mental-health system to this day. It would be wonderful if someday profitable redevelopment of Kings Park led to a surge in financing for care of the mentally ill. I’m not counting on it.
Outside Building 7, I chatted with an engineer about the bygone days of great brick-and-mortar public works, of bridges, schools and hospitals, of well-meaning efforts at great expense to meet the needs of the poor and sick. I looked around at the remains of a city built from scratch for people who couldn’t care for themselves. Standing among glass shards and weeds, on what might someday be the site of biking trails, parking lots and private luxury homes, it seemed like crazy talk.
Apalachicola – Gibson Inn HWY 98
this place is haunted by a man who died there on he?s stay with pneumonia. He haunts the rooms there and the bar and dining room you hear footsteps late at night and no one there piano has started playing in the bar at night when its closed and no ones there. He appears to the workers there and guest he pull there blankets off them at night and moves your shoes and stuff in a neat place he?s a good ghost doesn?t bother anyone but be careful not to trash he room 128 or hell destroy your things and hell mess with you the whole stay. The workers there well tell you the stories and you always feel someone watching you at night. November Correction/Update: Room 309 is haunted by the ghost of Captain Wood. He died of pneumonia after returning from sea in that room. He is a friendly ghost that moves things in the room such as shoes or tucks guests into bed. He stays in that room. We also have the ghost of a woman that roams the second floor. She has been seen wearing a long gray dress with her hair pulled back in a bun. This is reportedly Sunshine Gibson one of the Gibson sisters that owned the hotel in the 1920s. A worker at the front desk claims one of the ghost has been calling their phone all night. Sometimes when the phone rings the switchboard lights up from rooms that are unoccupied. The only thing they hear on the receiver is a crackling noise. They?ve gotten phone calls from the kitchen and the phone in the kitchen is not working. They also received a phone call from the boss office even though he had left 2 hours earlier. The speaker on the phone has come on by itself a couple of times also.
House (Now a frat house)
Submitted by: matt
On: Friday 14th of November 2008 02:43:53 PM
Comment: IT IS ALL A LIE I GO THERE
Submitted by: Cathy Spencer
On: Saturday 8th of May 2010 10:00:10 PM
Comment: It is NOT a lie!!! My sister lived in Boise when this happened! Also, I drove a good friend home from work one night and I noticed this big, old two-story home on a corner of Linder. It was the eeriest looking house I had ever seen. I commented to my friend about it. She told me that the house was the scene of a murder in the 1980’s. This was the same house mentioned above. She continued to tell me, in detail, the story her mother told her about this house and the heinous crime that happened. So, Matt, it is NOT a lie!!! The murder was over drug dealings!
Submitted by: Jen
On: Sunday 11th of July 2010 09:54:46 PM
Comment: The murder did happen but people live there now and the fact about blood still being visible and such are incorrect..
Submitted by: Dinah
On: Wednesday 21st of September 2011 09:02:01 PM
Comment: In my communications class (room 226) Prof. Robideaux told us today that her classroom is supposedly haunted…the comm bldg used to be the SUB and our classroom was the ballroom, where a girl hung herself from the rafters after being stood up by her date. Any further info?
Submitted by: Dave
On: Friday 6th of January 2012 10:07:13 PM
Comment: Is there anyone who has a contact to investigate the Murder House?
Submitted by: Kylee
On: Wednesday 14th of March 2012 06:13:39 PM
Comment: I\’ve heard of the murder house a lot of times, and I believe the stories to be true. I haven\’t investigated because I don\’t want to be scared to be living down next to it.
Submitted by: Val
On: Thursday 31st of May 2012 10:16:14 AM
Comment: I had a friend who lived in that house years ago, and while it is creepy and a bit run down, we didn’t have any weird experiences. There are some questionable stains on the walls, but I’m sure people have been partying there for a long time and that could explain those.
Submitted by: Sam
On: Wednesday 27th of June 2012 08:46:56 PM
Comment: I live almost right next door and though I stare at the house every time I go by and have heard all the stories, there are people living there and I have never seen anything weird. It does have a strange but intriguing presence that forces you to stare that\’s for sure. But no ladies in the window or blinds opening. I have lived very close for 12 years and walk by all the time.
Submitted by: Lauryn
On: Wednesday 11th of July 2012 02:16:47 AM
Comment: Every populated area has it’s legends and ghost stories. Ever since I moved to Boise I’ve heard the ghost story about the so called \”Murder House\”. When you search for haunted places online, you undoubtedly come across an assortment of \”haunted places indexes.\” Most of them regurgitate the same inaccurate info, alone with an eerie legend about the so called \”murder house’\”. One of the most prevalent links is \”shadowlands index of haunted places\”. Most, if not all of the information on this page is inaccurate. The legend is that a woman can be seen in the window at night, and blinds open and close on their own. If you read the synopsis I’ve written below about the actual crime that was committed, that apparition makes no sense at all. Being a believer in psychokinetic activity, I find it very likely that this house IS actually haunted. I just want people to have their facts straight before they go around repeating unfounded myths. Online indexes of haunted places have it inaccurately mapped as well. The house is actually located on the corner of Linden and Leadville. (You can’t miss it, the architecture is unique, and the yard needs some serious TLC.) It’s also inaccurately listed as a current frat house for BSU. The truth is far more interesting than than any frat party could get. The true story involves three main people: Daniel Rodgers, 37: Assailant. Daron Cox, 31 : Accsessory Preston Murr, 21 : Victim Synopsis: The year was 1987. Daniel, Preston, and Daron were involved to some extent in the drug and gun business. Something had gone wrong and Daron and Daniel were suspicious of Preston. Earlier in the day Preston had received a threatening phone call from an unknown source. He called his pal Daniel (who later ended up shooting him in the back of the head and cutting his body into thirteen pieces) to try and figure out who might have called him. For some reason, Preston, Daron, and Daniel ended up cursing around Boise that night looking for some guns that had been stolen from Daniel but to no avail. The three of them end up back at Daniel’s house, and eventually Preston gets shot in the torso. He runs out of the house crying for help, knocking on a neighbors doors, but is dragged back into the house and to his doom. The neighbor calls the cops. The police NEVER COME. Preston is dragged back down into the basement, shot in the head and hacked to pieces. His body is dumped in the snake river via Daniel’s wife’s brown grand prix sedan. Fisherman find the Preston’s remains, which lead right back to the house on Linden and Leadville. Guns, money, and 13 pounds of weed are found in the house. I find it strange that Daniel hacked Preston into 13 pieces, and that there were 13 pounds of weed found. Just an observation . Today, Daniel and Daron are in prison for life. A family member of Daniel’s lives in the house now. I’ve recently driven by it many times. It looks like the Adams family lives there. The back porch is rotting out, theres make shift duct tape repairs to the windows, and the lawn is going for kind of a ‘Jurassic\” look. Interesting side note: Daniel Rogers wife had a history herself. Such a history that a 1992 TV movie was made about her. She had committed numerous armed robberies, until going straight, changing her identity, getting married and settling down as a successful real estate agent. Then, she ended up back with Rogers, at the \”Murder House\” in Boise. I wonder where she is now. Sources: Original news paper headline: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2026&dat=19870707&id=fpQrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=19AFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5497,503562 State records: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/id-supreme-court/1485485.html Movie data base: http://www.awomanwithapastmovie.blogspot.com/ KATU.com Expose: http://www.katu.com/news/local/Boise–Murder-House-Is-site-of-decades-old-murder-haunted-160870855.html
Submitted by: LAURYN
On: Wednesday 11th of July 2012 02:19:03 AM
Comment: By the way I would love to do some accurate research for this site. You can contact me here; Laylalucifera@gmail.com
Most Haunted Place in America: Stones River National Battlefield
For close to 80,000 American soldiers, there would be no new year’s celebration bringing in another year of war in 1863. On a cold winter day, December 31, 1862 a battle took place in a small town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee that lasted until January 2, 1863. Over 23,000 would leave this battle killed, wounded or missing as eventually the Confederated withdrew but it seems today some of them continue to fight in one of the most haunted places in America.
The Stones River National Battlefield is approximately 495 acres that is federally owned and protected. It was established in 1927 and was designated a national battlefield in 1960. Included in the 6 stop driving tour of the park is the Stones River National Cemetery which saw its first Union burials in 1865. The 20 acre cemetery saw it last burial two years later in 1867. There are over 6500 Union troops buried here, most of the Confederate dead were taken to their home towns or buried in a mass grave south of town.
In the cemetery is the Hazen Brigade Monument, a monument built by the soldiers themselves. The Hazen brigade would repel 4 Confederate attacks on December 31 and be the only Union soldiers to hold the line during the first day of battle. On January 2, 1863 this regiment would, with the help of heavy artillery fire, push back the Confederate attack. Hazen’s regiment lost 45 men and had 364 casualties during these 3 days. Their fellow regiment members erected a monument honoring those 45 men after the battle. It is considered by the National Park service, the oldest U.S. Civil War monument still standing where it was originally built.
One of the stops on the tour is a wooded area where the Confederates had effectively bottled up the Union army on three sides. This area resulted in the bloodiest days of the battle. The area is heavily wooded, rocky and full of sinkholes. Known as the “Slaughter Pen” many soldiers died here, some lay wounded and died before they were found and unfortunately some were never found at all.
This is one of the spots claimed to have paranormal activity. Re-enactors have reported seeing a soldier around there camp fires, standing right on the edge of their camp or leaning against a tree. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps walking along side them down the narrow paths in the park and Park Rangers have reported the area to be up to 20 degrees cooler than anywhere else in the park.
Another run in with an apparition of a soldier involved another Park Ranger. It is reported that he was among friends camping when he ran out of water, heading to the administration building to refill he saw a man standing behind a bushy area. The Ranger stopped and asked the man to come out in the open to be seen. He did and began to raise both hands in the air similar to surrendering. Alarmed the Ranger told the man he was armed and to stop right there or he would shoot. The man dropped to the ground and disappeared. The next day no evidence was found of the man, no footprints or even broken branches where he was standing.
No story of the Stones River Battlefield would be complete without the story of Confederate Lieutenant Colonel Julius Garesche. During the first day of the battle the Lieutenant Colonel rode into battle on his horse only to be met by Union gunners. One of those gunners hit Julius Garesche and decapitated him. The headless apparition has been reported to be seen riding in the area of his death near the railroad by railroad employees and visitors alike.
Make a note to visit an honor the soldiers who lost their life at Stones Creek in Murfreesboro. It is a beautiful park and a major part of our nation’s history. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can bring home more than just a history lesson and add your story to the many already told of the ghost at Stones River.