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.

 

 

 

UPDATES:

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.

10/18/02:  For some detailed, creepy stories surrounding the sanitarium, check out the Submissions page and read about one former employee's description of her own experiences while working at Edwin Shaw Hospital.