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DePaul Hospital

DePaul Hospital

Freaky Friday

This is an experience that Dave Young, founder of the paranormal investigation group called Paladin Paranormal. He’s located in Abita Springs, Louisiana, and loves to share all kinds of interesting experiences. Thank you so much, Dave, for letting me share your experience!

I am a self-employed biomedical technician by trade. My job includes going to various medical institutions, from doctor’s offices and clinics to hospitals and surgery centers. Throw in nursing homes and labs across the state of Louisiana and I can be quite busy. Sometimes I hear about paranormal events and a few times I was a participant in paranormal events. This night I am sharing has both.

I got a call from an orthopedic post-operation recovery clinic near a subdivision on Crestwood drive. Positioned behind a Lowe’s, it still offers seclusion in a wooded area. They wanted me to safety check their equipment and give them proof of certification. Easy enough. I get these calls from these clinic pop-ups that rarely last. A doctor or doctors sometimes thinks they can translate their medical expertise into running a business. Doesn’t always work. Like this place I arrived at.

It was located in a former adolescent psychiatric unit called DePaul’s. The building was quite busy in the 60s and contained a surrounding fence with barbed wire. Far enough from civilization back then, it offered isolation for unruly teens needing help. 30 miles north of New Orleans, progress has now enveloped the area and now the new business just advertises convenience, not remoteness.

The clinic took up one wing of the now-abandoned hospital. The building is shaped similarly to a crab’s body with the empty central offices in the center and the legs, the hallways, shoot off in various ways from that center. However, now just one “leg” was in use with the nurse’s station at the elbow or bend in the hallway.

I introduced myself and the head nurse gave me a quick tour, showing me where the devices I came to check were located. I had been given an inventory sheet by the corporation that owned the clinic so I was set. I just needed some direction.

All set, I was getting from one room to another with my cart fairly easily. The carried my tools, test equipment, and paperwork. In one room I stepped away from my cart and I went further down the hall to check the upcoming rooms. When I came back to the cart, the faucet in the room’s sink was going full bore, splashing water all over my paperwork. I was peeved. I immediately figured that one of the nurses did it but for what I haven’t a clue. This was a new area that was going to be used so there wasn’t any reason for a nurse to be back there.

I went to the nurse’s station to tell the head nurse what happened and ask that whoever did it be more considerate.

“So it happened to you too?” she asked.
“Is this common?” I affirmed

“Yes.” is all she shared and offered, “we are at the change in shift and are going to be doing the report. If you are in no rush, stick around and I can tell you a few stories. But right now we have to share our patient experiences with the incoming staff,” as she turned towards her fellow nurses.

I didn’t realize my report about the sink was so audible and the next thing you know “report” becomes one about experiences and not patients.
“That happened to you? It happened to me but I didn’t want to say anything as I am new here'” one young nurse said and another offered “the same with me.”

A young blonde nurse shared a terrifying event where she was working behind the desk when she turned and in the glass window of the storage room, she saw the face of a young man looking out at her in terror. She screamed and got other nurse’s attention and called the lone security guard at the main entrance. A night security guard, he was an employee of the building’s owner and had no linkage to the clinic. He came to look but there was no one. There was only one entrance to the storage room. He offered some shocking news. That room was used as a padded cell behind the then psych unit. I could imagine Nurse Ratchet keeping tabs on the locked-up incorrigible.

One nurse talked about a man standing at the dark part of the hall, with his hands folded in front of him and his cowboy-hatted head was chin down into his chest. She said she described it as such but there was no color or distinctive idea of clothing. More like a grey shadow. And then he was gone.

The head nurse chimed in and said that one night they saw a large puff of what she could only describe as a cloud, just hovering over the floor. It moved towards the station and floated over the long desk and swirled all the paper in a tornadic fashion, rapidly spinning and scattering the loose sheets into the hall. Then disappeared as soon as it arrived, with the staff standing in shock as the paper alights onto the floor.

The nurses are all now on edge and some are begging everyone to stop with the stories.

I am standing there incredulous but wanting to believe. I have seen some strange things in my life and for that, I can’t discount anyone else’s experiences.

But the head nurse wasn’t finished.

“One night I was working the overnight shift and we only had 2 patients. Two men. Across the hall from each other. It was well after midnight when I got a nurse call from one of the patients. I went to his room and he was snoring and asleep it seemed. He might have pressed the button and fell asleep. I didn’t think anything of it and went back to the station,” she said.

“Almost as soon as I sat down the nurse call from that room is activated again. The light bulb on the wall in the hallway matches the beep at the station as it announces itself. I go back to the room and now the man is snoring louder and I am getting pissed. I make my way back to the station and his alert goes off again and this time I kick that door open and turn on the light and offer up
‘Sir..quit playing with the goddamn nurse alert’ and he pops up and fumbles putting his glasses on and shouts ‘what the hell are you talking about?! I never called you! I was asleep. Which by the way I haven’t gotten much of with this pain so thanks!’

“I was so embarrassed and confused,” she said “and I apologized for the equipment glitch, as that was what it must have been. At that moment the man across the hall can be heard saying out loud repeatedly ‘Nurse, are you okay?’ behind his closed door.

“So I open his door and ask him if he was okay. He was all strung up in orthopedic fashion after his accident and was recuperating here post-surgery,” she told us as she looked around at rapt faces.

“He says it wasn’t about him but ‘One of your nurses walked into my room, and without saying a word, walked past my bed and went into the bathroom there and she hasn’t come out. I think she may be hurt. Could you check?’ he said”.

“I went into the bathroom, turned on the light and the room was empty. ‘You must have been dreaming’ I told him and he perturbedly said ‘not with this pain medicine I am talking. I can’t sleep. I am watching a boring ESPN show just to kill time and in she walked.’

“I then asked him what she looked like and what he said chilled me.
‘She wore white, had short blonde hair, was fairly tall and she wore a little white nurse’s cap, one with what seemed to have winged edges. Like the old movie nurses.’

“As you well know, we don’t wear caps nor are any of us tall and blonde. We are all brunettes and short, ” she said to her staff and the looks on their faces all revealed to what she was getting at.

“He saw a ghost or was dreaming and he swears he was awake and the side effect of than medicine he takes does cause insomnia,” she added. “Who knows?”. A quiet settled over the room, each nurse within their own thoughts.

They go back to report and I go back to work, checking the equipment. I am sure some of them are thinking about revisiting their resumes now. I have no more incidents with the splashing water and I was pretty well wrapped up except for 4 missing items on my list. I approached the head nurse to see if she knows of their whereabouts. Four small monitors.

“They may be in the storage room down the hallway. I’d give you the key to the room but the narcotics locker key is on the chain. So I will have to unlock it for you.”

I then followed her down this long darkened hallway with my cart, a hallway only lit by dim “Exit” signs.
“I’d turn on the lights but I don’t know where the switch is. We think the landlord keeps the circuit breakers off back here.”.

We come to a door, far from the bright nurse’s station. She opens it and flips on the light and reveals a 20’x30′ windowless conference room. There in the middle, I see a pile of equipment stacked. I enter the room as she remains by the door and stealing furtive glances back down the empty, darkened hall. I can see that the items on my list were there and I tell her that we succeeded in finding them.

“Good,” she replied. “Would you rather me close the door or do you want me to prop the door open with this hand truck here against the wall?”

I glance over to it and tell her, “no,.that’s okay. You can close the door. I won’t be long.”
“Okay”, she says and with that, the door closes behind her.

Left alone, I pull my cart somewhat closer to my find as the room is filled with gurneys and stretchers, a couple of stainless steel heating cabinets, wheelchairs desks, and the flotsam of either closed businesses or ones yet to come.

Feeling spooked by the stories, I go and grab the hand truck and prop open the door and go back to the mission I came for. I didn’t Iive too far away and I wanted to get on home. I was focused on the job at hand when all of a sudden I hear a loud crash and the lights go out. I am in total darkness now. A dark so dense I couldn’t see my hand at my face. I stand there for a second and remember I have a flashlight in my tool case on my cart. I slowly make my way through the equipment on the floor and to my cart several feet away. I pull open the tool briefcase and fumble inside for my flashlight. Finding it I immediately, I turn it on and scan it quickly around the room, fully expecting to almost see a horrid specter of a hag staring me in the face. But I am alone and I make my way to the light switch and am shocked to find it in the off position. I thought for sure it might have been a fuse. How did it switch off?!

Then I grab the hand truck and prop open the door more securely and think that the solution was that the metal mover fell and hit the light switch.

Of course. That had to be the reason and I went back to finish my work. I complete it and pack my gear and get to the door and grab the hand truck and put it back in its original position. Curious, I move it near the light switch and am amazed when I see the upper end of the handle comes 2 inches below the switch. There is no way that hand truck could have fallen and hit the switch. No way. A bit shaken, I remove myself from the room after turning off the light and closing the door. I proceed down the now shadowy and ominous hallway to the station and I tell the head nurse what happened. You can tell it freaks her out.

“I forgot to tell you. Sometimes we get the full force of the emergency response team arriving here. EMTs, police, and fire. They are responding to a 911 call that originates from the same room down the hall there. A room we don’t use and one that doesn’t have a phone. A woman calls out in terror to be saved. And every time they get the call, they have to respond.”

I leave the hospital and head home. I knew the 12th District fire chief via my involvement in community affairs and I gave him a call the next day and he confirmed her tale.

“Yeah, we send the rookies now. It has become quite the legend now within the district,” he said over the phone.

When I left that night, I passed the security guard at his desk. I said out loud to him “Good night and I bet this place is spooky at night.”

He looks up from his book and says “You have no idea. No idea.”

“Oh yes I do”, I think to myself.

Dave Young
July 2020

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