The Most Haunted Hospital in America
Was the Linda Vista in East Los Angeles truly filled with spirits or were its ghosts Hollywood inventions?
An apparition of a woman walks down a narrow corridor, clad in a hospital gown, singing to herself while lugging an IV pole.
A television mysteriously flips itself on in the middle of the night.
Ominous creaking footsteps set your heart racing and then make your skin crawl when you slowly turn to see that no one is there.
That Creepy Feeling
We’ve all heard stories like these from our coworkers or perhaps experienced such phenomena ourselves. Hospitals are optimal spaces for hauntings and ghost sightings, particularly on a rainy night shift after midnight.
The majority of the staff and visitors have gone home, the patients are asleep and the only sounds are the occasional beep of an IV machine, heard echoing in a patient’s room.
That’s when the creep factor tends to settle in. (And let’s not talk about having to do an unexpected late night drop-off at the morgue!)
Ghost hunters and spiritualists will tell you that hospitals are prime territory for ghosts. As places where both life and death are common occurrences, hospitals may become haunted by lost spirits, confused and bewildered after leaving their bodies.
The combined human and spiritual suffering can also attract other entities, both benign and malevolent. At least, that’s what the ghost stories will tell you …
The Linda Vista Opens and Closes
East Los Angeles is home to one of the most notorious haunted hospitals in America: the long-defunct Linda Vista Community Hospital. But is the abandoned hospital truly spooked or did Hollywood curse it, sparking the wave of “hauntings” with decades of movie melodrama?
The Boyle Heights hospital known today as Linda Vista opened in 1905 as the Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital, created to care for workers of the Santa Fe Railroad Company.
The original building was completely redesigned and rebuilt in the ‘20s and in 1937 was renamed the Linda Vista Community Hospital. A managed healthcare company purchased the hospital in 1980, but the facility struggled through the ‘80s, overwhelmed with rising healthcare costs.
The hospital’s emergency department was overtaxed by the aftermath of local gang wars and the facility’s death rate began to climb. There were rumors of negligent care, although the large numbers of gunshot wounds and stabbings likely affected the mortality statistics.
By the early ‘90s, many of the hospital’s nurses and doctors were leaving for other hospitals and replacement staff became tougher and tougher to find. Linda Vista finally closed its doors in 1991.
Hollywood’s Favorite Haunt
After the Linda Vista ceased operating as a hospital, it began a second career as a popular location for movie locations. Abandoned or not, the building still had beautiful Mission Revival architecture and lots of leftover hospital equipment.