Real Nurses Share The Terrifying Hospital Ghost Stories That Scared Them To Death

February 25, 2019 | Scott Mazza

Real Nurses Share The Terrifying Hospital Ghost Stories That Scared Them To Death

The hospital is the place we go to when our lives are in danger and we want to live—but is that all there is to it? Some would suggest that sick patients aren’t the only regular visitors that hospitals receive. Given the eerie nature of what hospitals are all about and their position as a crossroads between life and death, it's no surprise that believers in the paranormal point to them as a hub of mysterious, inexplicable activity. Here are 41 such stories which will really make you wonder what is truly lurking out there that we don’t know about...

1. Time for Recess!

On one floor of the hospital, there is a room where different patients often complain of hearing noisy children playing between 1-4 am. This room is on the far end of the unit away from the nurses' station and next to only one other room. The TV is always off at the time. My hospital does not have a pediatric section and visiting hours are over at 2100.

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2. Logical Explanation

We had something happen a few years ago where people were hearing mysterious noises back at my hospital, so I've heard. They ended up finding homeless people living in the walls or ducts or something since the adjacent part of the hospital was under construction.

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3. Yes, Dear

Patient comes in coding. We are working on him and getting nothing, so we bring in his wife to say goodbye and she starts yelling at him at the top of her lungs. He comes back so we arrange transfer to a tertiary hospital and he codes again, so she comes back and yells at him again, at which point he comes back again.

Cut to later on, they are loading him into the helicopter to be transferred and he codes again, so they bring him back into our ER after working on him for a bit on the helipad, his wife yells at him again and once again he immediately comes back. Eventually, they decide to have his wife ride in the helicopter with him to make sure she can scare him back to life if he were to code again. The guy ended up living, received a heart transplant and is still alive to this day—all thanks to his wife scaring the life back into him.

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4. Just in the Nick of Time

This happened to a respiratory therapist that I used to work with. She was working at an old hospital and had finished her rounds on mother-baby. As she got in the elevator to leave, a red-haired nurse on the elevator said to her, "Go back. They need you." She didn't really think about it, she just hopped back off the elevator and returned. A baby had coded and they needed respiratory. Of course, she had no explanation for how that nurse knew what was going on or even who she was.
I don't believe in ghosts, really, but every time I tell this story, I get goosebumps. That same therapist would swear that she had seen a large cat on the roof of the nursing home we worked at. No one believed her. Months later, local news reported a bobcat was caught in the city limits near a creek that passed by the nursing home. Suddenly her story was totally plausible so part of me wants to believe this one is too.

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5. I’m Just a Lonely Blue Boy

So one of my professors in nursing school had a story about working in med surg in the 90s and some woman kept asking the nurses to "stop letting that blue boy come in my room and bother me" and saying things like "he looks sick, and someone should be taking care of him." Now, since this is a page of ghost stories, I'm sure you've already guessed that there was no little boy.

But, a boy had died in the ER from some hypothermia issue earlier that week, and it was still on everyone's minds. It became a big deal by the end of the day. Nurses and other staff were coming from all over the hospital to try to talk with this woman or otherwise touch the story of the haunted ghost boy. Turns out it was too much digoxin and some doc caught it. Once they fixed her levels, no more zany, off-color hallucinations.

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6. I Get Around

I was a new nurse at our hospital and had only been working there a couple of months. I had brought a patient of mine up to day surgery from the ER for an endoscopy and they called back down and asked me to bring her family up because she only spoke Italian (and not enough English) and they needed someone to consent for the procedure.

After dropping them off, I walked past the waiting room to head back down the hall to the elevators. I took the back way to get to the ER and the hallways are all deserted—it used to be the pediatric wing of the hospital, but that is all shut down for years and the rooms are just empty and full of broken equipment and beds and crap.

As I reached the old nurses' station at the T junction between the pediatric hallway in the hallway that goes to the elevators, I saw a little girl standing across from the nurse’s station further down the hall. She had big pigtails, was wearing a brown dress, white shoes, and holding a teddy bear. I thought perhaps she was a family member who had walked away from the day surgery waiting room.

I was concerned that she would go into one of the rooms and get hurt or lost, so I said, "Hey little girl, what are you doing? You don't need to be over there, you're going to get hurt..." and I walked around the nursing station to go grab her hand and bring her back. I kid you not, she VANISHED as I got about 15 feet away from her.

Every hair on my body stood up straight and I turned and ran like a bat out of hell down to the elevator. I pounded that button for what seemed like an eternity until the elevator got to the floor. As I got back to the ER I walked up to the nurses' desk, white as a sheet, and one of the older nurses looked at me and said, "Jesus Christ what's wrong with you?"

I remember babbling like an idiot as I tried to tell them what happened. After listening to me for a moment or two, the nurse said, "Oh you saw the little girl ghost...she's been around here for years..." and I remember saying "Well thanks for telling me about it before this...!" Apparently, the ghost has even been seen down in the ER, ducking in and out of patient rooms and peeking around curtains. My wife worked up on the 7th floor and she said that one time on nights a whole row of patient rooms started yelling about a little girl that was running around in the rooms. I guess she gets around.

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7. Just the Same Old Routine

I work in intensive care at a small community hospital. We have a nine-bed unit that is completely closed off from the medical floor via two doorways. Two nights ago, we were all sitting at our station and charting when we all heard footsteps coming down the hall. It’s a completely open unit where you can see every room from everywhere. No one was in the unit with us. CT is below us and they close at five (unless an emergency comes in) and we only have people on the second floor, the third is used as storage, so no one was above us. It happened two or three times.

Then last night cupboard doors kept opening and shutting in the two empty rooms. I finally asked my coworker what the heck was going on and she just told me that it usually happens after someone passes, especially if it was sudden. We had two codes last week that we lost and I guess everyone has had weird stuff happening for a couple days.

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8. What Lurks Behind Those Curtains

I was still being oriented to F/T nights. A resident rang and was upset, stating they were scared as something had gone past their curtain. We reassured the resident and went on our way. Then, not too long after, another resident on the same side of the hall said she had also seen something go past their curtain. Could have been something outside but it was creepy.

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9. Networking with the Patients

Not mine, but a fellow nurse that I know. We were talking about patients' hallucinations when he told me about this time he was walking past a patient's room, an elderly woman with dementia, and she was chatting up a storm with someone. He asked her who she was talking to, and the woman replied "that nice man in the black and white striped shirt." A while later he went into another patient with dementia’s room, and she asked where the man with the striped shirt had gone.

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10. This One is Weigh Too Creepy

My friend is a PCA on a peds oncology unit. She told me this story. They had a teenage boy who had leukemia. He was in and out of the hospital for a year. He was a big boy, much bigger than any other kids on the unit (160 kg). He passed away in a room in the BMT hallway. A day or so later, they're admitting a kid to that room. The scale turns on by itself and goes directly to the weight of the kid who had died. Totally freaky because it was definitely his weight, as he weighed so much more than anyone else on the floor. She said she has tons of ghost stories from her floor, but that's the only one she's told me so far.

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11. Sounds Like Something Out of a Movie

Before I was a nurse, I worked in Industrial Hygiene, mostly supervising asbestos removal projects. One of the projects was an old abandoned TB hospital in Spartanburg, SC. The entire front of the building had been fixed up cosmetically for the movie Sleeping with the Enemy so it looked somewhat modern. As soon as you stepped beyond the movie set portion of the hospital, things got really spooky immediately.

Most of the windows were either broken or painted over so there wasn't a lot of light. One of the first things you came to was a hallway with a hole in the floor to the basement. To get around it, you had to go through an X-ray room. All the original equipment seemed to be there: metal table, lead barrier with window, control panel.

The kitchen had trees growing through the windows that weren't painted. Old equipment was laying around throughout the place: bedpan washers, some broken wheelchairs, old bed frames, etc. It was a place you expected something ghostly to happen with the atmosphere and knowing about all the people that went there and died. There's nothing more spooky than an abandoned hospital of any kind, I think.

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12. Ring a Ling Ding

Lost a young lady after she coded unexpectedly one day. In the days following the emergency call, a bell would ring randomly from the room at night. Single room, no other patients in there, door was closed every time. The electricians came twice to "fix" the problem, both times finding nothing wrong but went in and changed the bells anyway. Still continued only at night, then eventually just stopped. I'm sure it was just coincidence but you never really know, do you? Definitely spooked everyone out on the ward!

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13. Cold Case

Not a ghost story but an interesting and creepy true story about a nursing student: Maura Murray had emailed her professors asking for a week off due to an undefined “family emergency” (which it turned out no one in her family was aware of). Her car was later found crashed. After witnesses from the scene reported that the woman who had been in the car had refused offers of help, claiming that she was already contacting roadside assistance, the police showed up to find no body or trace of her at the scene, and no one has seen or heard from her since. This was in 2004. In mystery threads on Reddit, people are quick to blame all of her actions on latent head injury symptoms, but there's still just too many odd things that happened for it to be completely explained in my mind.

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14. A Familiar Voice

Patient had been in CCU (where I worked at the time) for a long period of time (six months). We had finally been transferred to med/surg floor and he coded. We worked on him for 45 min to an hour and he had no pulse or heart rhythm the entire time. The docs had decided to call it. His family walks in the room, leans over him, rubs his chest lightly and says his name. He immediately regains a pulse and regains consciousness. How do you explain that one?

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15. The Hiss of Death

I work in a cardiovascular surgical ICU. We have a lot of messed up people (both physically and mentally) that come through our unit. We had a stretch of nights where each corner room of our unit (it is a perfect square) reported seeing a cat walking around.
Not a friendly cat either, apparently. The thing was hissing at them. The accounts were so similar to each other we actually spent probably a half hour looking around for a cat and then had security/plan ops come look as well. No cat was ever seen or found. Two of those four patients coded the next day.

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16. You’re Being Watched

Worked at a hospital doing transport for a couple of years. The transport home base was in the basement of the hospital, where all the laundry is done and supplies are also sorted there. I hated working late nights after this incident. On this particular night, I was the only one in the basement when I heard whistling at the end of the hallway by the elevator.

I poked my head around the corner expecting to see my only coworker on duty that night, but there was absolutely no one there. I shrugged it off, I'm not easily spooked. Nights are slow, so I ate some snacks and hung out in the break room for a bit. Next thing I know, I hear a loud bang. I walked into the hallway and a bed is rolling down the hall bumping into the sides. At this point, I think that my coworker is pranking me.

I radio him and he says he's upstairs in the cafeteria. Ah, I still don't believe him and think I'll catch him in the act. I walk past the laundry room and the machines start. Pop my head in there expecting to find him but it's completely empty. Okay, starting to get a little nervous. I walk into the laundry room, and the machines completely stop.

I freeze, then run out and head towards the elevator when I hear whistling again. At this point, I know I am the only worker in the basement. As I am standing there waiting for the elevator, things start falling off of the shelves down the hall. Boxes of gloves, tissues, packages of tubes. I am literally standing there watching them fall off one by one at the opposite end of the hallway.

I kid you not, my entire body broke out in goosebumps, my hair stood on end and I had this strong gut feeling like I was being watched, I was not alone. As I'm getting into the elevator, I feel what feels like someone brushing my arm. Went upstairs and found my coworker in the cafeteria, freaked out to him. I got the hell out of there and transferred soon after that. The creepy thing to add to it is that I usually whistle mindlessly to myself at work, it was almost as if the spirit was mimicking me. Creepiest feeling ever.

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17. The Man in Black

Used to work in a skilled nursing facility. I was usually assigned to the Alzheimer's ward. One night I'm in the linen room stocking my cart, and I heard someone shuffle up behind me, then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and there was no one else in the room. The door was still shut too. Another lady started to complain that a man was coming into her room at night (again, Alzheimer's so I didn't think much of it).

So to reassure her, I told her I'd check on her throughout the night. She complained of this man every single night for two more weeks when I asked her to describe him to me. "He's real handsome, and wears a black suit. Oh. He's right behind you now, honey." That freaked me the heck out. Of course, there was no one behind me. She died the next night in her sleep.

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18. We All Scream for Ice Cream

LPN here, I work in long term care currently, a lot of palliative residents always claim to hallucinate either small dogs or children eating ice cream before they die. It's always facility specific too. In one facility I work at I have had about six or seven residents claim to see a little girl eating ice cream, then they die that night. I’m going to find that little brat, she is causing me so much paperwork.

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19. Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Nurse here! I worked night shift when a ward patient's relative came running to the nurses' station in a panic. "Nurse! Come quick!" she cried. "What happened?" "You have to see it for yourself!" I ran to the ward when this little old lady patient was crying and holding on to the bed for dear life. Her bed was shaking.

Now, you're probably thinking that the lady was the one causing all that shaking. But she was this frail, practically emaciated thing. She couldn't have even barely rattled the bed rails. The ward had only two other patients in it and their respective watchers. Everyone was huddled in a corner, shaking in fright. Apparently, that particular ward was seldom used, and the bed that old lady lay in was rarely occupied. People who have laid in it complained of nightmares where they hear screams and laughter of angry children. I guess some restless spirit called dibs on that particular bed.

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20. Maybe She’s in the Wrong Profession...

A coworker of mine is cursed. We work on the med/surg unit in my hospital and for the last 12 deaths on our floor she has been working, but she has NEVER been the nurse taking care of those patients. We're keeping a tally now. After death four it was funny. Now at death 12 it's scary. I personally never believed in that mumbo jumbo before this, but now every time she is on with me, I watch my patients like a hawk. Just in case.

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21. A Date With an Angel

I'm an RN and while I was a student I was caring for a lady who had end-stage renal failure, had a DNAR, and was shutting down. We were having a little chat when she stopped, looked over my shoulder and said "Bill's here love, I've got to go," and swiftly stopped breathing. Read her old notes and Bill was her deceased husband.

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22. Gimme a Hallelujah!

About two years ago we treated patients during a fungal meningitis outbreak. Our acute care floor has a census of 20. During this, at least 10-15 were meningitis patients, age ranging from twenties to nineties. There are no shared rooms and all the patients were in isolation, no contact with one another. Many of them had the same hallucinations, children in the corners of their rooms and auditory hallucinations of religious music.

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23. Oh, I Didn’t See You There!

I did my clinical as a CNA in a memory care unit. I helped feed this woman. She never really moved. Never talked. It was like she was in a coma or something. I would wheel her into the dining room. I can hardly get any real food in her. I'm able to slide in some special ice cream. For days she doesn't move or have any response. So one day I'm feeding her and talking to myself pretty much. After about ten minutes she slowly turns her head and says "Oh hello", then she rotates her head back to her blank staring position. Super creepy!!

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24. Second Time’s a Charm

When I was a student, I got called in on a stroke patient. She had coded and they were doing CPR. They worked for 45 minutes, but she died. They cleaned her up, and called on the family to say goodbye. By the time the family left. She had been both brain dead and without a pulse for more than 45 minutes. Blood had filled her brain, and she was completely grey and started to smell. Suddenly, she sat up and called for her family. The nurses rushed to get monitors and equipment back on her. Started working on her again, she stabilized, said goodbye to her family, and promptly died a second time.

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25. Anything Voo Can Doo I Can Doo Better

Night nurse for four years now at an old folk's home. Had a palliative who couldn't sleep because of incredibly vivid hallucinations. She would describe voodoo people around her room that would just stare at her waiting for her to die. I didn't take it seriously until the lady across the hall (who rarely ever spoke) starting seeing them in her room too. Legitimate shivers.

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26. Sounding the Alarm

Used to work in a personal care home. A couple of times a day or so after a resident had passed, their call bell would go off in their room. No one was in the room when the call bell went off on any of the occasions. We had one resident die pretty traumatically (nurses had to perform CPR because he was a full code). That night, the midnight staff said they saw him at the end of the hall just walking down like he always did. Then, the alarm on the door to the outside (it was a secured unit for Alzheimer's/dementia) went off. It was the door he always tried when he was looking to get out.

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27. The Nurse Healeth and the Nurse Killeth

Never anything paranormal, but I had an older patient who kept every piece of paper from every hospital stay. His heart was in bad shape so I was desperately looking for anything to help our cardiologists out with. I finally found his records from when he had heart surgery. It was in Perris, CA in the 1980s. I was just reading a book about nurses who became serial killers, when sure enough I see records with the name Robert Diaz. I was the nurse for a man whose former nurse was a serial killer.

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28. The Lady in the Pink Cardigan

My mother in law is a nurse in palliative care. One night shift there was a disturbance in one of the rooms. One of the little old ladies was sitting on the edge of her bed trying to dress herself, when asked what the matter was she replied 'the lady in the pink cardigan is telling me I have to get up and go now.'

As the night progressed patients in other rooms started doing similar things. They all described the same lady, and said she was telling them to 'get up and go.' Another patient said that she didn't want to go with the lady because she wasn't ready to go anywhere yet. Another patient said the lady was pulling and tugging at them to get up.

After a couple hours into this shift, a lady a few rooms down from where it all started passed away. Amongst her belongings was a picture of her with a lady wearing a pink cardigan.

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29. The Telltale Signs

I work a stroke/telemetry floor on the bought shift. Most of our patients are elderly. Apparently, there are two things that patients see before they pass away. Some will say that two men are walking in their rooms and telling them to get ready to leave. The patient will call and tell us that these men are big and abrasive in their demeanor.

They are either terrified or annoyed when they see the two men. The other thing they will see is a little boy who will go into their rooms and try to wake them up. The boy is usually loud and runs around their rooms. The patients will call and ask who's letting children just run around late at night. Several nights later, or even that same shift, we're coding or cleaning the patient for the funeral home to pick up.

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30. Too Much to Hand-le

My town has two really old hospitals. One no longer functions as overnight, and the stories are unsettling. No one cleans the old ER alone, because all the lights and call bells go off. On other floors, there's a kid with his ball, a lady in a white dress, etc. A coworker was cleaning an entire floor utterly solo (the norm) and bounced between rooms because the cleaning solution stays wet for a few minutes. Upon returning to a freshly wiped bed, handprints were clearly visible.

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31. Thinking Of You

Patient had passed away during my shift. The patient was well known and liked on the ward. At handover that evening, I mentioned the patient had passed away. At that moment the door to the handover room (which I had closed) suddenly opened and shut just as I mentioned she had passed away. She was totally saying goodbye.

Later that month, on nights we were chatting about said patient at the nurses station, a card which was pinned on a notice board weirdly fell just as we started talking about her. Went to pick it up. It was a card from the patient’s family saying thanks for caring their parent. I thought it was quite nice.

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32. Looks Like He’s Going Back There...

Not my personal story, but when my mom worked as an ER nurse, a guy came in from a car accident and was losing blood. In the midst of resuscitation, the man jolts awake and screams "Don't let me go back there! Please, please, please don't let me go back!" A few seconds later they lost him.

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33. She's Not Done Yet

First story: I got called in to a coding stroke patient. We worked for 45 minutes, but she died. They called the family to say goodbye. By the time they were on their way, she had been brain dead for almost an hour—and that’s when the most disturbing moment of my life happened. His family walks in the room, leans over him and rubs his chest lightly and says his name.

Suddenly, she explodes back into life - she regains a pulse and regains consciousness. She had come back. I'd never seen that before, though apparently it can happen.

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34. The Unexplainable

I work midnights in a long term care facility as a nurse’s assistant. I have two men under my care and both of them are unable to use their call lights. They have severe dementia and debilitating Parkinson's disease, but still, their lights are looped around their bed rail. One night their light came on and I went to answer it already confused and creeped out.

I turned it off and left the room. Before I could get two doors up the light came back on. I went in there and both lights were unplugged from the wall and thrown under their beds. I fished them out, plugged them back in and left. I've seen shadows standing over the dying and felt a tap on my shoulder while doing chest compressions so I knew that lady had passed. I'm not a believer but some of those things can't be explained.

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35. Witness Corroboration

My great grandmother was 94 and just started suffering from dementia. She told the home nurses and I that there was a little boy in the corner of the living room who would taunt and tease my great grandmother while laughing at her, telling her she was going to die. Well at first it was a little disturbing and we all shrugged it off because of her dementia.

But then things got serious when my best friend came over with his little boy who is about three or four. The little guy pointed over to the same corner and yelled "I'm going to beat you up!" When we asked him what that was about, he told us that he saw another little boy in the corner and he was not nice! We flipped the heck out! I got shivers just typing this. Maybe Nana wasn't hallucinating…

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36. To Thine Own Self Be True

I work as an EMT, and the one I have that best fits the question is an elderly male who had fallen and hit his head a few hours before they called for an ambulance. The guy was screwed. All of the signs of a traumatic brain injury. All of his responses to our questions to this point were nonsensical. We were about four minutes from the hospital when we tried talking to him again, and he seemed to come as clear as day and open his eyes and stare at us to say "I'm dead." My partner tries to say "oh, don't say that" and he stares more intensely at us to reiterate and say "no, I mean it, I'm dead." He died an hour later.

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37. The Quiet Ones Are Always the Ones You Need to Watch Out For...

Acute GI bleed, patient was in her 90s. She had been on our floor for about three days with no improvement. I help one of the aides take care of her because she will not respond to any verbal commands and never moved. No moans, no eye-opening, only breathing. Regardless, I like to talk to my patients and let them know who I am before I do anything, introduce myself, and tell them a bit about me.

I tell her my name, I mention my two golden retrievers at home. I assisted my coworker with giving her a bath and Q2 turns and then would leave, never seeing a response from her. The next day I come in and she is my patient. To my surprise, she is fully alert and talking. Just out of curiosity, I ask her if she knew who I was. "Yes dear, you are [insert my name]. You're planning to go to medical school and have two golden retrievers at home, Levi and Leo."

I'm shocked that she heard and remembered so much, but then she continues: "I saw my mother yesterday.... She wants me to tell you that you really need to get that weight off of you." Just then the signal to the TV drops and the room is filled with a blaring loud static noise before switching back to the channel that was on before. I know it was likely coincidence but it was enough to worry me regardless.

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38. Evil! Evil! Evil!

I work at a nursing home and went in to feed a dementia patient her supper. So we were eating and were about halfway through the meal when she became fiercely agitated. Now, this resident has a lot of social anxiety and she does normally get upset, so I didn't think much of it at first, just spoke to her softly and tried to calm her down so she could finish the meal.

I got her settled down enough so she would go back to eating and I was about to put something in her mouth when all of a sudden she sat straight up in bed. She stretched out one pale white arm and pointed with her bony fingers at the corner of the room and started moaning and saying, "evil evil evil," over and over again, and telling someone in the corner to get out and then looking at me with terror in her eyes.

Now I know people with dementia often think things that aren't true and she is a very confused resident, but regardless, I got chills and had to keep myself from running out of the room. I finished her meal as quickly as she would let me and then had the other nurses take care of her for the rest of the night.....

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39. She Wanted a Proper Last Meal

ER nurse. Had an old lady come in by ambulance, near death. She was a DNR, so we weren't going to do much for her. She didn't have any family that we could find. The hospital was full, so we had to keep her in the ER for the night. Again, she was near death. When you've seen enough people die, there's no mistaking it, and she was almost there.

Barely responsive; pale, cool, breaths were really irregular. Heart rate was up and down, too. We just turned the lights down and kept an eye on her monitor, basically waiting for her to die. About an hour later, she's standing at the door of her room. She'd gotten up and put on all her clothes. We were all like, WTF?

One of the nurses went to check on her, and she said she was hungry. Not knowing really what to make of things, we got her a chair and a bedside table, went to the cafeteria and got her a tray of food. Lady sat there, ate all her food, talked with the staff a little. After about an hour, she told her nurse that she was tired and wanted to lie back down. We helped her back into bed, and within 30 minutes she was dead. Not exactly paranormal, but in 22 years in busy, wild, inner-city ERs, it's the weirdest thing I've seen.

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40. Knocking On Heaven’s Door

In the morgue at my hospital, I would always hear knocking coming from inside the freezer. It really creeped me out, especially when the pathologist looked up, grabbed me by the shoulders, stared me straight in the eye and said "You hear that? You never open that door when they're knocking. Never." It turned out to be some loose pipes, he thought it was hilarious. I didn't sleep that night.

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41. Disaster, Come On Down!

This is actually pretty funny. I was doing nursing clinicals at a small hospital that used the same type of telemetry throughout the entire building. Occasionally patients would be put on some other equipment if they had specific needs. The standard telemetry would not make any sounds in a patient’s room, but some of the other options that were used did.

So this one morning I am walking down the hall and I hear "Beep, beep, beep, beep" going super fast (like 160 BPM) coming from a patient’s room. A moment later I heard it start to slow down "beep... beep... beep... ... ...beep," and then it just stopped. I ran into the room expecting to call a code when I saw the patient watching The Price is Right with the volume cranked up. Turns out someone had just spun that freaking wheel.

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