MASSILLON, Ohio - Halloween is the time of year to revel in all things spooky.
There is one eerie destination off limits to scare-seekers, but WKYC recently got a chance to go behind closed doors at the former Doctors Hospital in Massillon, Ohio -- where the sick are no longer served and only tales of strange happenings live on.
The former Doctors Hospital sits on nine acres of property in Massillon. While weeds have popped through cracks in the pavement and entrances are boarded up, the facility’s exterior doesn’t look too intimidating. But as you walk inside and get a glimpse at what time and vandals have done, another picture emerges.
“There have been some weird things here that we haven’t been able to explain,” said Ryan Miller, whose property company came to own the shuttered hospital.
Doctors Hospital was built in the 1950s. It underwent a grand expansion in 2001 only to be closed by its former operator, Affinity Medical Health, in 2008.
“The shell is perfect. There is nothing wrong with it, and it’s not that older either,” Miller said as he gave us a tour of the 300-thousand square foot facility.
While the 'bones' remain solid, rehabbing the interior will be costly. There is significant ceiling damage, no electricity and evidence of scrappers in search of copper piping.
Another strange twist? Miller and a partner bought the property for just $1.
In its vacant years, frequent inspections, tighter security and the watchful eye of Massillon police have helped reduce attempted break-ins.
Miller’s company has fielded inquiries from prospective purchasers, but so far the perfect buyer remains elusive. He hopes the empty building will see a business bring jobs to the neighborhood and community.
“The town has been great. They’ve tried to help us out with different things. Work with us if we need zoning."
Much of the interest in Doctors Hospital has come from the curious and ghost hunters. The Amish Paranormal Society has visited, and the movie Hitman Redemption filmed in the basement earlier this year.
The vast majority of requests for access are denied. The liability is too great.
“I like hearing the ghost stories although I’m not a huge believer in those things, but there are a lot of rumors and things,” said Miller who recounted the few tales he had heard.
One story involved a combative older patient, who would often fight nurses and throw off her bedcovers. She threatened to curse the hospital. After her death, the woman’s hospital room left nursing staff unnerved.
"The nurses would complain every time they made the bed, the bed would unmake itself. The hospital administrator heard the story and decided to stay the night in the room. He only made it until 2 or 3 in the morning.”
As legend goes, according to Miller, the administrator ordered the room’s bathroom door to be boarded up and the former patient room was turned into a storage room.
The story doesn’t end there. The nearest water fountain started doing strange things. For unknown reasons, it would activate and shoot water when anyone walked by, Miller said.
Another tale takes place in labor and delivery. According to Miller, an expectant mother was in distress. Her young nurse went in search of a doctor for help. She encountered an older physician in the hallway who barked orders and walked away. Not long after, a superior berated the young staffer for administering drugs without doctor's orders. The young RN offered up a description of the mysterious doctor. Her description eerily matched that of a hospital doctor who had died years earlier.
Perhaps the creepiest point of interest sits in the basement. Once the only morgue in Stark County, an autopsy table, examination lights and dormant corpse refrigeration system make up the room where deceased were sent.
Miller has fielded requests from thrill-seekers asking to spend the night. The answer has been no.
Miller hopes someone will be able to look past the decay and see the potential. A building that's seen better days, but still, could have a future in the city of Massillon.
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