Phenix City, Alabama
A front page article in this past Tuesday’s Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer featured this possibly haunted location and presented a number of interesting issues regarding ghosthunting. The article, entitled, “Haunted Hospital?” covers a recent incident where a couple entered the abandoned hospital. After neighbors summoned the police, the couple, who claimed to be conducting a séance, was asked to leave.
By default, it seems most hospitals have some spiritual activity; not only residual activity, but intelligent spirits that have not been able to leave the confines of the place where they died. Throughout the nation and, of course the South, there are numerous hospitals that are known for their spiritual activity. Among them are locations like Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, an abandoned tuberculosis hospital; the Old South Pittsburg Hospital in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, an abandoned regional hospital that closed fairly recently but is now open for paranormal investigations; and Milledgeville, Georgia’s Central State Hospital, once one of the largest mental institutions in the nation, it is now confined to a handful of buildings sitting on a mostly abandoned campus. Even hospitals still in operation may be counted among those that are haunted including Anniston, Alabama’s Stringfellow Memorial Hospital.
Phenix City, located just across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Georgia, is the product of the merger of two smaller towns, Girard and Brownsville, which consolidated in 1923. The city acquired a reputation as “Sin City, USA” in the first half of the twentieth century. Organized crime, prostitution and gambling were rampant in the city until a group of citizens banded together to reclaim the city. After the less moral elements of the city were done away with, the city has remained mostly a sleepy bedroom community for Columbus.
The large Phenix Regional Hospital facility opened in 1947 and was heavily in debt when Columbus Regional Health Systems purchased the hospital from the city in 1993. Columbus Regional intended on replacing the facility with a new hospital, but the plans fell through. When the hospital was closed in 2002, the land that had been purchased for the new hospital was used for a rehabilitation hospital instead with Phenix City residents having to seek medical attention in Columbus instead. The old hospital facility was boarded up and put up for sale. According to the article, neighbors have witnessed the homeless and vandals entering the deteriorating building.
Nationwide, ghosthunting is still considered by the general public to be the realm of thrill-seeking teenagers looking to scare themselves silly in dark, abandoned places. Certainly the couple conducting a séance in Phenix Regional doesn’t aid that reputation. With the rise in interest in the paranormal in recent years, many groups have been formed that are respectably investigating locations after procuring the proper permission to investigate. The investigations attempt to document hauntings using practices accepted by the paranormal community; a far cry from silly teenagers and off the cuff séances.
The article doesn’t cite any particular paranormal activity at the hospital. In fact, it is written from a rather close-minded point of view; discounting the mere existence of anything beyond this realm of possibility. I hope in the near future, the editors would take a more open-minded view of the supernatural.
Barnes, Kirsten J. “Haunted Hospital?" Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
7 December 2010.
Lange, Jennifer. “Hospital was victim of economics.” Columbus
Ledger-Enquirer. 9 April 2002.
Phenix City – Russell County Chamber of Commerce. History
Highlights Phenix City, Alabama. Accessed 10 December 2010.