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October 31, 2009

I’m not really into Halloween this year.  I used to go ALL out .  At my peak, I carved 8 pumpkins over 2 days, had the fake spider webs and stuffed corpses on the lawn. I even had mini-strobe lights that I built on little circuit boards. These were hidden in the shrubs all over the front yard and would fire randomly creating a really cool effect.  This year. Meh. I plugged in a couple of electric pumpkins. That’s enough.

I like Holloween. I love seeing people dressed up. I’m just not in the mood for the extra hassle this year.

But in the spirit of this night, I thought I would post a couple of pictures I found on my phone.

As you know I was in hospital for a couple nights a few weeks ago. This hospital is comprised of three or four separate buildings ranging in age from very old to quite modern. The original hospital opened in 1904 as a sanitarium for Tuberculosis patients. By the 1930’s it could house 630 TB patients and was one of the largest sanitariums in the country. Over it’s 25 years of operation, 6695 patients were admitted, 45% did not survive despite the best and most advanced treatment available at the time. With improvements in medicine and the invention of antibiotics, demand for TB beds declined sharply.  Over years, multiple additions and redevelopment has occurred and today the hospitals focus is adult rehabilitation, complex continuing care and long term care, with a continued specialty in respiratory services.  Also with TB making a comeback, there is still a unit dedicated to the care of these patients.

So when I wander the halls of this Hospital, it’s history is always on my mind. On my last visit, they had set up a display case with old medical equipment from the hospitals very early days, along with photos of how some of  these devices were used. The display gave me chills. I can’t imagine what it was like to have you life depend on such crude implements. And the patients in the photos, I wondered if they had suffered, if they had survived.

One night during my stay, I had some time to spare while waiting for the sleep lab to be ready for me. I decided to go exploring. This is something I have always done. As a kid in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, at night when everyone was gone, I would explore every hallway and room that was not locked down. I found all kinds of interesting things, including a room with little animals in cages, which I thought was  a petting zoo of course. Luckily I could only look through the glass as the door was locked. Another time I stumbled onto a couple of night shift cleaning guys lying on benches and smoking pot in a deserted waiting room in the basement. Somehow, the fact that they were smoking IN a hospital is more shocking now than the fact that it was pot. But it was the 70’s. I’m sure they thought they were busted, but I said nothing. I was not supposed to be there.  I was always somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. But I was never scared. Maybe it’s because I had not yet seen “The Shining”  Of course, it hadn’t been made yet.

This time I went down to the basement and found some deserted hallways linking each of the buildings underground. These area a couple of  pictures I took.


The entire time I was down there I did not see a single soul. Perhaps that isn’t the right choice of words. As I moved through the halls, it was clear in some sections that I was in a very old building.  I wondered about all those that had lost their lives here. How many lost souls might still be here? Was I really alone? I stopped in my tracks. I got goose bumps and the hair on my arms stood up.  I was way at the other end and had a ten minute ride back through empty halls, alone. Or was I?

Happy Holloween!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2009 7:48 pm

    Those pictures are chilling to look at…..thank you for sharing….Happy Halloween.

  2. November 1, 2009 9:09 am

    It’s always a little unnerving to see such empty hospital corridors. We normally associate them with the hustle and bustle of nurses and doctors, orderlies, visitors, carts and gurneys and alarms. Did you ever get caught somewhere where you weren’t allowed?

  3. Lynn permalink
    November 1, 2009 4:39 pm

    A good Halloween story Syl. I love the ghostly twist at the end. You got me!

    I too have lost my Halloween is my favorite to not answering the few ringing door bells to hand out candy to kids in costumes last night. Just did not have it in me to do it. So didn’t.



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