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Haunted Hospital in Houston Texas | The Jefferson Davis Hospital

"There was blood on one of the operating tables"

The Jefferson Davis hospital was cursed from the very first day the construction crew broke ground in 1924. The land that the creepy hospital was built on had already been plagued with the decomposed bodies of those who died during Houston’s yellow fever outbreak. Not only is the Jefferson Davis Hospital haunted, it was once a place that harbored crime. Drug addicts and squatters would take shelter inside for weeks at a time to shoot up and/or sleep for the night. It wasn’t until a shooting occurred in 2003 that the city decided to take action.

A Forgotten Cemetery


The Haunted Hospital in Houston earned its name from the property's nightmarish past. The land they had built the structure on was the old 1840 Houston Cemetery. The cemetery was donated to the city after Houston’s first burial ground was filled to capacity -- it capped around 10,000 bodies. The new plot of land was sectioned off into specific areas based off a person's race and cause of death. There were sections dedicated to former slaves, white families, and those who committed suicide or were murdered in a fight. 


In 1867, the city of Houston was plagued by the deadly yellow fever virus that killed a tenth of the population. The cemetery was quickly used to bury those who died from the awful disease; however, there were too many deaths and the city could not keep up with the burials. The majority of the deceased were thrown into a man made trench and buried without a proper ceremony. 


The earth beneath the grass of the old cemetery became too crowded with the bodies of the dead. Eventually, in 1879, the saturated cemetery ran out of room and was closed. In the end, it was home to over 6,000 bodies including those of civil war soldiers, politicians, and former slaves. The land then sat abandoned for many decades; it was neglected, abandoned, and forgotten. After some serious thought, Houston decided to redevelop the desolate garden of remembrance into the Jefferson Davis Hospital. This decision would end up being short lived. 

History of the Haunted Hospital in Houston


The Jefferson Davis Hospital first welcomed patients for treatment in 1925. It was named after the president of the Confederate States of America in honor of those who were buried underneath the facility. It was constructed of beautiful red brick, paired with large white pillars, and included welcoming stone staircase. While the building was large enough to meet the needs of the growing city at the time, it soon reached capacity. 


It wasn’t long until the hospital could no longer keep up with the rapid growth of Houston. By 1938, the hospital rerouted all patients to a new facility called the Texas Medical Center and shut down all operations at Jefferson Davis.  


At this point you are probably wondering: Okay, what happened to the Jefferson Davis Hospital?


Houston scrambled for a redevelopment plan for the abandoned property but failed to make anything stick. It was used as a hospital records building, a clinic, psychiatric center, a probation office, a convalescent home, a disease clinic, a juvenile delinquents home, a food stamp distribution office, a drug treatment facility, and a county storage facility. Finally, the city gave up on the unwanted building in the early 1980s. 


The old abandoned Jefferson Davis Hospital sat empty for over 2 decades.  Half of its windows were boarded up while the other half were shattered and open to the elements. This allowed for vandals, squatters, and drug users to enter and wreak havoc. The floors were crusted with dirt, the walls were stained with urine and feces, the wall paper was crumbling, and stacks of soiled mattress were piled up throughout the vacant hospital rooms. 

The Shooting That Changed Everything


Eventually it took a shooting to force the city to do something about the haunted hospital in downtown Houston. The location started to grow in popularity with local teens. They would often break in on Halloween night to hunt for ghosts as it was a cheap thrill. In 2003, a group of boys were shot at and robbed by criminals while ghost hunting the vacant hospital. 


The city quickly reacted and decided that something had to be done. In 2004, the Houston city council turned the desolate Jefferson Davis Hospital into a recognized landmark. Soon after, in 2005, it was purchased and restored to become the Elder Street Artists Lofts.  


What about the paranormal activity? Where are the ghosts? 


The hospital was haunted before doctors even treated their first patients. When the initial shovel pierced the forgotten soil of the old 1840 Houston Cemetery, it woke the spirits of those buried beneath. Physicians and nurses would often report dark figures roaming the hospital’s dark hallways and the sounds of crying and wailing coming from the attic -- probably from those who had died from the yellow fever outbreak in the past. 


Nurses reported odd activity near their offices. One night, a ghostly lady was spotted walking around their area and then into the bathroom. She never came out and was never seen again. 


Another story involves police dogs. One night, the fire alarms inside the Jefferson Davis Hospital were triggered and police were sent to investigate. When they arrived, they released their k-9 unit to go inside. These dogs are trained to be fearless and to take on anything that comes their way, however, something that night caused them stand at the threshold of the hospital's entrance. The dogs refused to enter and backed away; the police were baffled. 


In the early 1990s, two paramedics were having their ambulance repaired at a shop nearby the haunted Jefferson Davis Hospital. Looking to kill some time, they agreed to enter the creepy abandoned hospital. At first, everything was normal. They saw dusty operating tables and the typical things you would expect inside of an almost century old medical facility. But then, they kept walking and looking around. One of the men shined his flashlight onto one of the surgical tables for a better look. What he found was disturbing -- there was a fresh pool of blood dripping from the table as if someone was just operated on.