Glenn Dale Hospital was built in 1934 to serve as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Sitting on 210 acres in Prince Georges County, Maryland, the 23-building institution was once state-of-the-art, but has stood abandoned since 1982, when it was closed permanently due to concerns about the copious amounts of asbestos used in the construction.
The main campus of Glenn Dale consists of a Children’s hospital building and main hospital building, which are connected by a series of underground tunnels and walkways. Each of these buildings has its own morgue, and both structures are close to Glenn Dale Road, which bisects the estate and makes the buildings easy fodder for local trespassers who want to match wits with the Washington, D.C Park Police, who routinely patrol the area.
Exploration of the Glenn Dale Hospital grounds is a treacherous experience, and not only because the place is closed and trespassers are not suffered lightly. The portions of the buildings that are aboveground are in severe disrepair, seeing that they have stood abandoned since 1982. Broken glass litters the ground, roofs and walls are collapsing under their own weight, and rusted metal and other debris litters the campus because of all of the unused hospital detritus that was left behind when the place shut down. The basement and tunnels are in the same condition, but with the added hazard of standing water, which rises up to three feet in some places.
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of exploration is the same aspect that led to the hospital’s closure: large amounts of asbestos. The few people who are allowed into Glenn Dale,, and this includes paranormal investigators who have gotten permission to visit, always wear respirators because of the carcinogens in the air.
The haunted history of Glenn Dale Hospital is much like that of any other long-abandoned institution of similar size. For example, after the tuberculosis epidemic faded, the hospital was re purposed to house the mentally ill. Out of this fact the legend became that the hospital was a home for the criminally insane, who were simply let loose to roam the grounds when the hospital closed. While there is no evidence to support the idea that society’s violent crazies have been living in a decrepit hospital for over two decades, such stories do feed the fires of both paranormal interest and expectation. Another example of this is the legend that Glenn Dale Hospital had its own crematorium, and that the odor of burning flesh still permeates the buildings. There is a smokestack on the hospital grounds, but all evidence points to it only ever being used to burn refuse.
The few people who are lucky enough to explore the grounds find no lack of intriguing paranormal experiences, however. There are certainly the usual reports of shadow figures and unexplained sounds. The second floor of the general hospital building seems to be a hotbed of these types of activity, with reports of full-bodied apparitions in hospital gowns roaming the halls and disembodied voices either screaming or laughing maniacally. There have even been reports of a pack of ghost dogs roaming around the campus near the children’s hospital. Paranormal activity like this can certainly be found all over the Glenn Dale campus, it’s just that this particular floor seems more active than the rest.
There are a few local legends that concern haunting at the hospital that can’t be directly confirmed or denied, but they are interesting nonetheless. One of these stories concerns a patient who haunts the hospital wearing a straight-jacket. He went insane having witnessed the murder of his wife and children during a home invasion. He was so wracked with guilt that he didn't save his family that he broke into the pharmaceutical dispensary and killed himself by swallowing pills. It is this same guilt that supposedly binds his spirit to the hospital.
The second legend concerns an unnamed police officer who was called to investigate some vandalism that had occurred on the property. A while after he arrived, people in the vicinity reported hearing gunshots. When backup arrived, the officer was found in one of the patient rooms, staring blankly at a bare wall. He had emptied his gun into this wall, firing at something that no one would ever find. True or not, such stories are a vital part of the mystique of this haunted hospital.
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