(Orig. Published 10/2002)
Currently a rehabilitation facility, Edwin Shaw Hospital was formerly known as Springfield Lake Sanitarium. The sanitarium was opened in 1915. It is located on Sanitarium Road (of course!) in Lakemore, Ohio, near the Akron airport.
The hospital campus is rumored to be haunted by the various ghosts of its former occupants. In addition, nearby Springfield Lake is the site of strange occurrences–mainly unexplained floating lights–reported by local fishermen.
The hospital was built to house tuberculosis patients. At that time, Ohio required every county to have its own tuberculosis facility. At capacity, it housed approximately 200 patients. The sprawling, natural landscape of the sanitarium campus was intended to give the dying patients a comforting retreat.
In 1922, the Sunshine Cottage was added to house children stricken with TB.
Many young patients died here, some of whom are buried in a small TB cemetery located on the Edwin Shaw campus. Typical of many other cemeteries of its kind, the graves contain only numbered markers. The TB cemetery will be featured in an upcoming Springfield Sanitarium Cemetery page.
In the 1960’s, the hospital later expanded with the building of “Sunshine Village,” which once housed abused, orphaned, and/or neglected children in small cottages. The village was later inexplicably returned to the hospital by Children’s Services, and is currently being used by the hospital for its outpatient rehabilitation programs.
With this history, it is hardly surprising that the hospital is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of TB patients, victims of violence, and suicidal children. Indeed, while exploring the grounds on two occasions, the overall feel of the place was creepy and depressing.
One particularly disturbing area was located behind the old hospital, in the woods and near the cemetery.
While searching the back area, we discovered a few strange artifacts, including this piece of old farming equipment.
These photographs were taken during our scouting trip earlier this year, in late April 2002. Below are two different shots of an old truck bed, and an overturned truck near a stagnant pond. Frankly, we cannot come up with a real explanation for these photos–the “haze” seen above and below could not have been sun glare as the shots were taken near dusk and away from the sun. It was not cold, and we were not smoking. Perhaps it was a camera malfunction or the film was bad. In any event, the photos certainly reflect the mood of the place during our visits.
4/6/04: On April 1, 2004, The Akron Beacon Journal featured an article on the Springfield Lake Sanitarium Cemetery. After years of neglect, this historical cemetery has finally received some long-overdue attention by the hospital and the public. You can read the article by clicking here. Edwin Shaw Hospital is arranging a cleanup of the cemetery for a Saturday in May 2004. For those interested in volunteering with the cleanup, contact Susan Joyce at 330-784-1271, Ext. 5554. Also, Ohio.com has posted the cemetery’s burial records. You can access them by clicking here. Many thanks to James Snyder (“F*****g James”) for giving us the heads up and providing us with the interesting newspaper article.
10/6/03: A kind Southern soul has offered the most rational explanation for these creepy photos:
“Here in the South we have a natural (I guess you could term it weather) condition called “vergance” I think. In places that have a high humidity, at night or after a rain, there is a mist/fog condition. I don’t know if it can be called fog since its not a sitting cloud…It will rise up from standing water. Bayou, lake, pond, puddles of standing rain water on the road. It looks alot like that. Very eerie. I thought that’s what it was, but then I realized there wasn’t any water standing where the haze was.”
Webmistress note: Actually, there was a stagnant pond a few feet from where these pictures were taken. Mystery solved, with much gratitude to our learned guest.
10/26/05: Michelle, a former security officer from the hospital, confirms some of the hauntings, as well as shares her own chilling experiences:
I am an ex-security officer from Edwin Shaw Hospital the old sanitarium. Some of the things mentioned in the story on the web site are things that I have witnessed also.
I was patrolling the Dobkin center on the property one night and a little girl came on my radio and asked “can I go home?” I didn’t push the button to reply to the girl but I did say yes you can go home your family is waiting for you. She came back on the radio and said “Thank you bye bye” That really freaked me out because I went back to the main hospital and asked if anyone heard something on the radio and they said that they didn’t. I have more experiences if you would like me to email them I can. The experiences have also inspired me to write some fiction short stories while I was working there.
10/25/05: Debbie and her man go exploring the mysterious grounds of the old sanitarium and share some interesting photos they captured:
One night, my man and I went ghost hunting. But before we left, we got real psyched by reading the stories on this website. Our goal for the night was Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Center located on Sanitarium Road in Springfield.
We parked across the street at the driving range, and walked across to the woods. Just walking to it, I started to feel light- headed and cold. It was real humid out and the cold air was creepy. I saw something in the trees and right away knew I was not going into the woods. Instead, I stood in front and take some photos. I took this picture, right where I saw something……..
We decided it was time to go. As we walked on the path back to the truck, I had an overwhelming feeling to run. Then, I heard someone skipping behind us. As I took off, something knocked Sam’s bottle of pop out of his hands. This freaked him out, and we compared stories once we were in the safety of the truck. That thing I felt and heard was what knocked the bottle out of his hands….. creepy stuff….
On the way home on Albrecht Road, there is a large cemetery going up the hill. Next to is a big two-story, eerie green house. I have heard that this house was used like an apartment and rented out. It is vacant due to the ghostly unexplainable things that all the tenants experienced. (Well, it appears to be practically built on top of the cemetery, so it doesn’t surprise me if its very haunted). By now its 2:30 am and I just stopped in front of the house and took a shot. You cant tell me this is not a scary site……….
Finally I pulled in right next to this house in the cemetery, but the gates were closed. So, I held the camera out the window and took a shot and immediately gave it to Sam to take another shot from that angle. This is what he got………..
10/5/04: Voices of children humming and moving doors are just some of the things folks have experienced in the cottages on the Edwin Shaw campus, as Rob explains:
Edwin Shaw is haunted. When I was 15, I used to stay in one of the surrounding cottages during the night, and spent time in the main building that’s in your photos during the day. It is definitely a creepy place. I never saw anything in the main building, but the surrounding cottages definitely have something going on in them
The cottage I was in used to house children with TB. One night, I remember hearing a young girl humming a tune in the closet from across my bed. Other kids in my cottage heard the same thing, but in different rooms. Sometimes, we would wake up in the morning and find the closet doors open. At night, we would sneak out for a smoke and walk in those woods, which was pretty creepy in its own part.
Most of the pictures you took were from the old Children’s Home, which is very haunted.
The place was empty for years and went to renovation where many of the workers reported many strange sightings. I worked in housekeeping at the time and was told to go over on many occasions during renovation. I went to the top floor of the building where an office was being finished. This was in December. When I went up there to sweep the floor, I kept hearing a buzzing noise. I turned to look toward the windows and they were covered with flies!!! I mean covered, too. Just like the Amityville story!!!!! Creeped me out.
Then I was assigned to work there. I had to start my shift at 6 am. No one was there but me for approx. an hour. I always felt as if I were being watched as I walked over there from the main building. When I went in, I was always a bit uneasy and felt unnerved!! I would hear noises coming from the basement area. I never went down there till weeks later and had someone with me. There was a ton of old furniture down there, mostly antiques and desks chairs and old beds.
One of the counselors [a new person who did not know about the haunted history of the place] came up to me one day and asked if I ever heard the noises in the cafeteria section in the morning. I said no!! She was appalled and scared half out of her wits.
She said that when she would come in, even before entering the building, she could hear alot of children talking and the sound of dishes rattling–as if there were a bunch of people eating in the dining room. When she would unlock the door, the voices and noises would stop. She heard this almost every day and was really frightened about it.
Other workers also heard children laughing and playing in various rooms. All unseen.
When I worked in the main building–the oldest one called “The North Building”–I used to see a ghost of a man in a hospital gown sitting on a bench near what is now the psych. section. I saw him often. He never looked at me but just sat there. Other people I knew that clean that building at night told me they had also seen him.
My co-workers also said that when they were on the second floor, someone would open and close doors. They would hear footsteps in the restrooms, and stall doors opening and shutting. No one was there, of course.
There are tunnels under the hospital. One that leads to the Sunshine cottage building (that one has been closed for years) and one which is still in operation that goes to the laundry building. That is a really creepy place. There is a feeling that someone is watching you, even walking with you.
It is indeed a creepy place, but it is a good place, too. The hospital has done wonders for many of the people who have been treated there over the years.
By the way, the Lakemore area is one of the best places ever for orbs. I’ve seen many myself and had to live with them in an apartment for 4 years. There are Indian ghosts there, as well.
There are more stories. They are all true, and my family has witnessed many of them, as well.