It’s almost Halloween, and instead of preparing to go trick-or-treating or planning a costume party, we asked our community of nurses to share their scariest stories from working in the field. On our Facebook page Funny Nurses, we received dozens of spooky tales, including stories about missing patients, ghosts from shifts past, call lights that seem to ring from beyond the grave, and other strange encounters on the hospital floor.
Nurses deal with life and death on a regular basis. Watching so many people come and go can lead to all kinds of bizarre happenings, strong emotions, and maybe even an apparition or two. Whether we project our feelings onto these situations or we’re witnessing our patients come back from the dead, there’s never a dull moment when you’re working on the front lines.
See just how scary being a nurse can be!
The Haunted Balloon
Caren Reichardt shared a story from her time working in a long-term care facility. After a patient passed away, she says, “A few hours later there was a balloon that floated down the hall from the other unit, turn the corner at the nurses station and float halfway down the next hall and turn directly into the room where the lady passed that night.”
It’s as if a ghost were welcoming the patient into the afterlife.
The Screaming Phone
Noelle Fournier knows what it’s like to be scared in the middle of her shift. On Facebook, she describes a strange, long night in which the floor seemed to be inhabited by screaming ghosts. She was floating for her shift that night, and ended up working in the older ward of the hospital.
She says three people died almost as soon as she started her shift, so the day was off to a hectic start. Around 8 PM she and her colleagues heard a screaming sound coming from the hallway. She says it “sounded like someone was calling for help, so me and the nurse started searching the unit for a possible patient or person in distress.”
They didn’t find anything, but they could still hear the screaming. She recalls, “Another unit called down and asked if we could hear something similar, even they searched, and nothing showed up.” Knowing someone else could hear the screams only added to their fears, but it confirmed that they weren’t crazy or hallucinating.
Finally, security showed up and searched the premises, but “nothing was found.” She says the screaming eventually stopped before picking up again, but this time it sounded much closer.
She goes on to say, “A few minutes later our phone rang and we thought it was the unit or security calling back but it was the switchboard who informed us they were getting 911 calls from our unit from a specific room…that had no patient in at the time. This happened several more times, random phone calls coming through from empty rooms. [It] was definitely one of the most interesting nights I’ve experienced since working there.”
The Whistling Man
Kiara Frazier-Jervis describes a strange incident while working in a nursing home, which may be haunted, according to staff.
While finishing up her charts for the day, she heard a man whistling a tune as if they were coming down the hall. She looked up but no one was there. The only person in the room was Mr. D, a patient who rarely speaks, due to severe dementia.
Recalling the mysterious incident, she said, “I peek down the hall where everyone is sleeping, all is quiet, and then I hear it loudly as if it’s walking right behind me. Now I can see it wasn’t the radio or my sundowner, so I quickly gather my things and go sit at the nurses’ station to wait on the other nurse. Not super scared but more so confused. I’ve still got so much charting to do.”
It was several weeks later that she overheard three CNAs talking before a shift change. She says she could hear them saying the nursing home was haunted, but she didn’t think anything of it until she heard one of them say, “Have you heard about the old whistling man?” Now, they have her attention.
According to Frazier-Jervis, the CNA went on to say, “Apparently there was a resident. An old man that died a long time ago. He used to live here, and he always wore these overalls and whistled wherever he went. I’ve heard people say they’ve seen him around and can actually hear him whistle up and down the halls.” Kiara says she definitely heard the whistling man, but she never mentioned it again because she didn’t want to seem crazy.
Disturbing Last Rites
Working in long-term and palliative care, Emily Grace shared a few bizarre happenings from her time in the field. She says she would often see things out of the corner of her eye, including call lights randomly going on, even if the patient died a few days before.
She describes a moment right after one of her residents passed away. The staff wheeled her out of the room on a covered stretcher and every light she passed under flickered as the cart went by. “Really horror movie stuff,” she wrote on Facebook. Either the woman was haunted, or the facility could use better lighting.
Grace goes on to describe her experience working for a Polish man suffering from dementia who didn’t speak any English. She went into his room and started asking the patient if he’d like something to drink, despite her knowing that the patient wouldn’t be able to understand her. Nurses are always chatting up their patients, even if they can’t respond.
Then, she said, “The guy looks me straight in the eye and asks me, in English, ‘What was lemonade?’ I didn’t think too much of other than a rare moment of clarity. He died a few hours later.”
Talking to Ghosts
Last but not least, Jamie Rose wrote about how frustrating haunted call lights can be. She said a call light kept coming on even though staff members kept turning it off. They even called maintenance to see if something might be setting it off accidentally, but they didn’t find anything.
Finally, she decided to talk to the ghost like a human being. “Walked into the room and stated that we had to transfer them to room #___, a room on the closed unit. The call light stopped turning on.”
Nurses are always seeing things most of us wouldn’t believe. Thanks to all the amazing providers that shared their experiences with us on Facebook. Stay tuned for more creepy stories as we get closer to Halloween. Hopefully, you aren’t too scared to go back to work!