I worked on the grounds of Northern State Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, WA for over five years at two different jobs and with Halloween just around the corner I thought I would share some of my experiences, as well as a few others, during my employment their. As many of you have heard, or perhaps not, this old psych hospital built and opened in 1912 is purported to be quite haunted. I can certainly attest to the fact that there is at least some very strange energy that manifests itself on this sprawling 400 acre plus site.
My first job on these grounds was with Job Corp which is located, in part, in the four old dormitory buildings that housed almost all of the patients until the hospital was closed in 1979. And these buildings are still used for the same purpose for the kids attending Job Corp. And part of my job was to do bedroom checks, since I worked the night shift, making sure the students were all where they were supposed to be. The dorm I worked in had two floors, boys on the ground level, and girls on the second floor, and each floor is set up in a T formation with heavy magnetic steel fire doors separating the three different hallways that make up the T. All three of these double fire doors are set up to close together in the case of a fire as they are all on the same electrical circuit. I always knew when I was being escorted along my rounds by something, or someone that I could not see, as quite often when I would pass thru one of the three sets of fire doors they would suddenly close right behind me but the other two sets would remain open. Like I already said, that’s impossible, they are all on the same circuit and it wasn’t the same set of doors each time. It varied I guess depending on which set my invisible helper decided to release for my benefit.
If you ever watched the show Ghost Hunters on A&E they had a half hour segment about Northern State where in one camera shot you can actually see a shadow step out from behind a wall and into a hallway and then suddenly step back out of the camera shot. I have been down that hallway once on a tour and it’s blocked off so you can’t go any further then where you see the shadow person emerge from and then disappear from. I guess permanently sealed doorways don’t present much of a problem for him or her!
I also worked at the Evaluation & Treatment Center that used to be housed on the same grounds about a quarter of a mile down the hill from Job Corp. And much to the dismay of two of our nurses, Shadow Man, as he is referred too, made a couple of visits to see us down there as well. The first one was when one of our night nurses was looking out our break room window, not really thinking about much of anything, when she said that the whole window became shadowed over just like someone was walking right past the window except, other then a shadow, there was nobody their. The second nurse to make his acquaintance about a year later had gone outside for a break during a heavy rainstorm. She had been standing under our front door eve when she very suddenly ran back inside exclaiming, “Oh my god, Oh my god, I think I just saw shadow man.”
After calming down she explained how she had just been kind of staring out at the rain when she suddenly noticed a complete full outline of a man running thru the rain. The thing was though, as she put it, “I could see the rain falling right thru him, but it was just a shadow.” I thought that was going to be the last night we ever saw her but she did continue to work their even after her encounter though she rarely went outside by herself after that night.
I have many other stories that I heard from students and the like but I’ll close with the two scariest stories of all. The first happened in the hospitals administration building that houses a different treatment center from the one I worked at.
One night two nurses went to get on the elevator that runs between the basement and the first and second floors. However, the basement is no longer used except for storage so the elevator is locked out from going down to that level. On this night though the ghosts had other plans and not only did the elevator go down to the basement it refused to go back up after the doors opened and then stayed open no matter what buttons they pushed. I was told that it took the fire department to come and unlock the stairway door and escort these two nurses back upstairs because they wouldn’t leave the open elevator until their rescuers got down there.
And finally, the old hospital building that is on the grounds has been used on a couple of occasions to film horror movies by Valentine Films. One movie called, Bloody Mary, didn’t need any computer to add special effects. In one scene a woman is in a bathroom and is supposedly being attacked by Bloody Mary and as the camera pulls away so you can no longer see her, the bathroom lights start flickering on and off rapidly, creating a great effect along with her screams. However, like the magnetic doors, this bathroom is wired into the electrical system for that entire section of the hospital which means that there is no way the light’s can do that. And if you tried to do this from the electrical panel you would blow out the entire system for that part of the building. It’s in the film which you can still get on DVD online.
So if you ever find yourself on the grounds of Northern State remember, It’s always Halloween their, so expect the unexpected.