Saturday, March 22, 2014

Haunted New Mexico: St. Vincent Hospital, Part ll

When St. Vincent’s hospital in Santa Fe moved to its new location on St. Michael’s Drive in 1983 the old building then was used for several years as a nursing home called by the locals, La Residencia.

Renovated from hospital to Drury
Plaza Hotel
The nursing staff at this facility are aware of the building’s reputation for being haunted. In fact, they initiate new staff members by escorting them at night to the basement on the elevator--leaving them there. They then direct them to find the staircase and meet them back up on the 3rd floor.

The employees that used this as a “rite of passage” for the newbies on the staff openly admitted they would not go to the basement alone even if they were offered money.

The basement had a history of people seeing apparitions, hearing disembodied voices, loud banging noises, and being touched by unseen hands. As I mentioned in Part l, many feel that the spirits of restless Native Americans haunt the various rooms and hallways in this area.

One evening, the nursing home’s Nurse Coordinator was assigned to escort the new nurse’s aide down the elevator to the basement. When the elevator stopped, she wished her ‘good luck” and reminded this young lady to meet her back upstairs via the staircase.

Time passed, and the nurse’s aide did not come back upstairs. The coordinator and another nurse agreed hesitantly to go down the elevator to find the aide.

As they reached the basement, the coordinator went in search of the young woman while the other nurse kept the elevator doors open. The only light besides what came from the elevator was the Exit signs and the flashlight the coordinator held.

She called out the aide’s name and heard a faint reply. She found the younger woman huddled in the corner of one storage room. The woman was grateful to see her. 

She told the coordinator she had gotten lost and then heard some weird noises. The coordinator called out to the other nurse that everything was okay.

As they left the room, her flashlight picked up something shiny on one wall. She reached out and touched it with her fingers--it was wet. She didn’t have a handkerchief, and she didn’t want to wipe it on her uniform, so she just let her fingers dry.

When they entered the elevator, she looked down at her hand. Her fingers appeared to be covered in blood. She smelled them and picked up the distinct iron scent of hemoglobin. 

Now in a panic, she yelled at the other nurse, “Press the button, press the button.”

Afterward, one workman who had been an employee when the building was used as a hospital told her that this storage room had once held a small furnace. 

The hospital had used this furnace to cremate amputated limbs and organs removed during surgeries.

After this, the nursing home staff no longer used the basement to initiate new employees.

While the building was still St. Vincent Hospital, Room 311 on the 3rd floor was not used for patients unless absolutely necessary.

During one Christmas holiday a new employee, a nurse’s aide experienced something on the 3rd floor she will never forget.

She was helping a patient get into bed one evening when she heard crying coming from down the hall. She went to investigate and stopped at Room 311, she listened to the crying once more.

She opened the door and went inside, but the room was empty. She then checked other rooms, but all the patients were asleep. As she walked toward the nurse’s station, she heard the crying once more.

She backtracked and heard the sound as she stopped outside Room 311. This time when she entered she turned on the lights and checked under the beds--perhaps a stray cat had gotten into the room-- but nothing was there.

Later that night, she heard the crying once more. She ran down the hall to 311, but the sound stopped as she entered the room. The following evening she described what she had heard to several nurses.

They informed her that everyone heard crying--that worked on the 3rd floor, especially during the winter months. They advised her just to ignore it. 

The next time she heard the crying, it was Christmas Eve. She felt it must be a baby--she had worked with babies in an intensive care unit in another hospital, and this crying sounded very similar to what she had heard in the past.

She listened as she heard the crying stop, and then gasping sounds followed. She had heard similar sounds as she had held babies that were dying.

The next week she mentioned the “crying baby” to a group of fellow employees having dinner. 

One woman told her that many years before, she had been on duty on the 3rd floor on Christmas Eve.

There had been a fatal 2-car accident on I-25 and the driver in one car, a father, had been instantly killed. His young son had been brought in with internal bleeding. 

This baby remained in critical condition and sadly died. The nurse stated she still remembered him gasping for breath as he struggled to live.

The aide asked what room this had been, she replied Room 311.

New hotel
The nursing home left the building after 7 years. The old St. Vincent hospital building has recently been renovated by Drury Hotels. This summer--2014--the Drury Plaza Hotel is having its grand opening. 

Here is Part l of this post where I share another eyewitness account and why the building is thought to be haunted.

* Excerpts taken from New Mexico Ghost Stories, by Antonio Garcez


Unknown said...

I am the one of the Security guards that walks around there at night. I wont mention my name, but i will tell you I have seen some strange stuff. I haven't seen much but I don't like the Basement at all and i cane even go in to the corresponding building. Merian Hall I believe it is spelled. There is a big door in the main building that leads over to the Merian Hall building. Me a staff member and a former guard went in via this door. I started to get sick almost instantly. I started gagging and i could feel blackness closing in on my vision the further I went. I started to feel like I was going to pass out. The Staff member helped me get out after i almost went over on to the floor. After i went back in to the other building I was just fine. Though a little light headed. On the out side of the building if I stand close enough i can feel heat coming off the building even though the bricks are cold.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Hi Remo,

If you have to work in this area on a regular basis--and you evidently are sensitive to it--my suggestion is to read my post about protecting yourself in advance so you don't have a negative reaction in future.

Here is link to my post about protecting yourself.

The post addresses ghost hunters but these methods will hopefully help you.

Unknown said...

I worked for St. Vincent's as a candy stripper and assisted with the move to the new building, on St, Michael s Drive, in 1977. During the time I worked here the basement area in question was avoided. When you left the elevator you always turned right in the hallway not left. Turning right lead to Maintenance offices, storage, and the alternate route to Marian Hall, the original Hospital. Turning left lead to an exit, but also the storage area for the kitchen wagons and the incinerator. There was also a storage area next to the incinerator which housed equipment and supplies for a nuclear fall out. On several occasions I had to go left and always as I neared the incinerator you would feel extremely cold, then would sense a presence. The area around the incinerator was especially bad. At night no one in their right mind would go there alone. I also remember feeling a presence and hearing voices. Funny enough as you turned right, toward the maintenance offices none of this was prevalent. Marion Hall also had weird things, especially up on the old surgery on the Third floor.