I worked in an ER for three years. Not one ghost. Oh, plenty of folks died (not at all a statement about ER’s but about the condition of folks arriving—I’ve seen them work a body for 35-45 minutes trying to revive—I love those guys, they’re heroes!). Still, not one supernatural event reported. Amongst the workers, nothing reported when asked. It didn’t feel particularly haunted either.
Why do you suppose that is?
Let’s look historically at death. Death used to occur when someone got an infection, had childbirth, caught the flu, or had their appendix burst. They died at home. They died with family around them saying a proper goodbye, but often times taking days and weeks to die in suffering. It was not a well-medicated death. Sometimes they died in battlefields or makeshift hospitals. That’s quite a different death with strangers around you and great pain and anguish and sometimes even posttraumatic stress, as well. Abandoned hospitals seem to be more haunted.
Why do you suppose that is?
Well, older hospitals had archaic ways of dealing with death from bleeding someone with leeches, lobotomizing, to anesthetizing with liquor. There weren’t a lot of ways to relieve pain or put someone in a haze or even a drug-induced coma to work on them. They had to buckle down and deal with it and the anguish associated by those witnessing it and those experiencing it. Talk about leaving an imprint.
Today’s hospitals provide enough painkillers and anesthesia to ward off the worst of the anguish and ways to help someone pass over that are humane and comforting.
My own mother died at home, the same house her mother died in, as she requested. She was placed on a pain pump that we were able to provide her medicine any time she showed signs of discomfort. I seriously doubt either she or grandmother haunt the house and there are no reports of activity.
What sort of death would leave an imprint or a haunting? Well, here’s a sad example. As a teen I once went drinking with some friends who lived in a fancy neighborhood on the mountainside. I wasn’t a drinker, so I got drunk fast after trying four different kinds of liquor. What does a 16-year-old girl do when she’s drunk? Well, this one decided to go streaking. I walked (I’m telling you, I strolled) through the entire neighborhood at night buck-naked. Yup. I admit it. Then my friend, who I convinced to go with me, yelled “There’s a car coming!” Headlights hit me and I dove to go under cover and rolled down a gravel front yard’s hill and into a cactus patch. Oh, not just any cactus patch, one with every kind of needle imaginable. From head to toe, even in my gums and fingernails—I was a fuzzy teddy bear. I stumbled to stand and told my friend, “I think I might be in trouble.” She looked at me and sobered up real quick. She took me home and my good friends spent the evening pulling spiny needles out of my butt so I could sit in a hot tub and soak the rest loose. (Those are real friends). I didn’t feel a thing.
Death is kind of like that. The body has a way of throwing in hormones (or the hospital provides drugs) that made it extremely humane. In these instances, I believe someone doesn’t necessarily linger. My father, when he died for four minutes and they brought him back with the paddles, told me that he was in a beautiful place with a lake and flowers that don’t exist and colors that don’t exist and his parents were there. He was quite pleased those last days in the hospital knowing where he was going.
The question then becomes, does our anesthetic death of modern day negate hauntings? When one of our modern hospitals closes down, will it be haunted like the old decrepit ones ghost hunters now investigate and find phenomenon? That’s a big question.
I suppose, only time will tell when it comes to modern facilities.