This New Mexico Hospital is One of the Creepiest Places in the State.

New Mexico is a state rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. But it also has its share of dark and mysterious places, where the past lingers and the present is haunted. One of these places is the Fort Stanton Hospital, a former tuberculosis sanatorium that is now a museum and a psychiatric facility. This hospital has witnessed many tragedies and horrors, and some say it is still home to restless spirits and sinister forces.

The History of Fort Stanton Hospital

Fort Stanton was originally built in 1855 as a military fort to protect settlers from Apache raids. It served as a base for several famous figures, such as Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and the Buffalo Soldiers. During the Civil War, it was briefly occupied by Confederate troops, but was soon recaptured by Union forces.

In 1899, the fort was converted into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, who were mostly Merchant Marines and members of the armed forces. At the time, tuberculosis was a deadly and incurable disease, and the dry and sunny climate of New Mexico was believed to be beneficial for the sufferers. The hospital was expanded and modernized over the years, and became one of the largest and most advanced facilities of its kind in the country.

However, life at the hospital was not easy or pleasant for the patients. Many of them endured painful and experimental treatments, such as pneumothorax, thoracoplasty, and lobectomy. Some of them died from the disease or from complications of the surgeries, and others committed suicide or were killed by fellow patients. The hospital cemetery contains over 1500 graves, many of them unmarked or bearing only numbers.

The Hauntings of Fort Stanton Hospital

With such a history of suffering and death, it is not surprising that Fort Stanton Hospital is considered one of the most haunted places in New Mexico. Visitors and staff have reported various paranormal phenomena, such as cold spots, strange noises, apparitions, and poltergeist activity. Some of the most common sightings include:

  • A ghostly nurse who roams the halls and checks on the patients. She is believed to be Julia Staab, the wife of a wealthy merchant who died of tuberculosis at the hospital in 1925. She is said to be friendly and helpful, but also very protective of her domain.
  • A phantom soldier who patrols the grounds and salutes the visitors. He is thought to be Captain Henry Wright, who was killed in a duel with a doctor at the fort in 1862. He is said to be loyal and respectful, but also very strict and demanding.
  • A shadowy figure who lurks in the basement and attacks the unwary. He is suspected to be a former patient who was violent and psychotic, and who was locked up in a padded cell in the basement. He is said to be angry and aggressive, and to cause scratches, bruises, and bites on his victims.

The Future of Fort Stanton Hospital

Despite its haunted reputation, the hospital remains operational today, albeit with a reduced population of approximately 200 involuntary patients placed there through civil court commitment actions. To address overcrowding concerns, a new facility in Galen was inaugurated in 2024.

The old hospital is now part of the Fort Stanton Historic Site, which also includes a museum, a visitor center, and several restored buildings. The site is open to the public and offers guided tours, special events, and educational programs. However, some areas of the hospital are off-limits to visitors, either for safety reasons or to respect the privacy of the current patients.

Fort Stanton Hospital is a place that reflects the history and the mystery of New Mexico. It is a place where the living and the dead coexist, and where the past and the present collide. It is a place that fascinates and frightens, and that challenges and inspires. It is, without a doubt, one of the creepiest places in the state.

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